Vaccination fear-mongering

By Siouxsie Wiles 11/04/2011 89


Parents fear toddler’s illness result of vaccine” says the NZ Herald. “Wrongly injected toddler fights leukaemia” says the Waikato Times.

Chace Topperwien was incorrectly given the Gardasil vaccine as a six week old baby. Now just shy of his second birthday he has been diagnosed with acute myaloid leukaemia (AML).

Gardasil is a vaccine against types 6, 11, 16, and 18, of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is responsible for the majority of cases of cervical cancer, as well as some cases of anal, vulvar, vaginal, and penile cancer. Rather fortuitously, the major HPV coat protein can spontaneously self-assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs) that resemble authentic virus particles but lack the viral DNA. This means they cannot cause cancer but can trigger an immune response. The Gardasil vaccine is made up of VLPs assembled from the coat proteins of four different HPV types.

As HPV is most often transmitted by sexual activity, in New Zealand Gardasil is on the national immunisation schedule and is given to girls at the age of 12. This doesn’t mean boys shouldn’t receive it, but that with limited funds it is not considered cost effective. Professor Funk (responsible for the excellent Placebo video) fronted a brilliant campaign aimed at encouraging guys to get vaccinated in Australia. Unfortunately the video won’t play outside of Australia but there is a transcript of it here.

AML is a cancer characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells. While it is quite rare in children, that doesn’t automatically mean that the Gardasil vaccine was responsible. Unfortunately this is the conclusion jumped to by Chace’s parents. Please don’t get me wrong. I completely sympathise with the Topperwien’s. They are searching for answers as to why their child has AML. And the mistaken injection of Gardasil seems to fit the bill for them.

“We feel the development of his immune system has been interrupted” they say.

In New Zealand and many other countries, at 6 weeks old children receive their first doses of Prevenar, to vaccinate them against the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Infanrix-hexa to vaccinate them against Diptheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough, Polio, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B. Prevenar is made up cell membrane sugars of different types of S. pneumoniae while Infanrix-hexa is a cocktail of deactivated bacterial toxins, bacterial cell membranes and other proteins and three inactivated viruses. My point is that, while this cocktail may seem terrifying, it isn’t. Our bodies (yes, even at 6 weeks old) are well designed to recognise these bits and pieces as ‘foreign’ and mount an immune response to them. The HPV proteins that Chace inadvertently received are highly unlikely to have interrupted his immune system. More likely they will have vaccinated him against HPV.

The Topperwien’s have given up their jobs to look after Chace at this difficult time and have set up a facebook page to raise money. This is presumably why the story has appeared in the papers. It is sad to see some of the people who have befriended the page. What this family don’t need now are the raging anti-vaxxers and the miracle-cure peddlers. But they are out in force. I wish Chace a speedy recovery and hope that his family do not fall prey to these ‘friends’.


89 Responses to “Vaccination fear-mongering”

  • Well, actually, it is perfectly possible to affect a child’s immune system by vaccination, causing cancer. This article was an expected discourse from the pharmaceutical industry, which causes more deaths every year than all the illegal drugs combined (over 25 million deaths last year in the US alone). It is a multi-billion-dollar industry that uses the media both to promote itself and to spin-doctor the terrible consequences of its consumer products. I say to the parents, the pharmaceutical industry is no-one’s friend but its shareholders’, and it is wise to listen to your gut feeling about this. Who is the real predator, and who is prey?

  • […] Vaccination fear-mongeringSciblogs (blog)Gardasil is a vaccine against types 6, 11, 16, and 18, of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is responsible for the majority of cases of cervical cancer, as well as some cases of anal, vulvar, vaginal, and penile cancer. Rather fortuitously, the major …and more » […]

  • Given how many women have HPV many infants must be exposed to the real virus at birth without developing cancer. I would think that a natural birth could give an immunizing dose as large as a single vaccination.

  • Gardisil has already killed at least 45 girls. There is no fear mongering here. There is no actual PROOF that vaccines work, and our immune systems – if robust enough, are supposed to take care of fending off the nasties. I have worked for pharmaceutical companies, and KNOW firsthand what is in these lovely cocktails. So there is no one that can tell me to inject my children with this garbage. We are overvaccinated, and it is simply propaganda and money making by pharmaceutical companies that drive this…nothing more – follow the money, and you will find your answers. People tend to be sheep & do what they are told rather than question things. I support that people do their own research and you will find that pets don’t need vaccinating every year (another money maker for vets/pharmaceutical comanies) & this just makes them sicker. Same goes for humans. We were created with immune systems for a reason – injecting ourselves with thimersol, mercury, and all the other fetal tissue has proven to do nothing, yet the “authorities” try to persuade us to take this garbage. The educated are the ones who will refuse, as they take responsibility for their own families, and there is no better authority to take responsibility than those who have an interest in keeping them safe.

  • Infectious Thoughts – the replies to your blog by anon and Renisa Moubiet rather prove your point about vaccine fear mongering. Renisa – 1. No one is telling you to inject your children – you have the freedom to free load off everybody else with herd immunity. 2. What position did you hold in a pharmaceutical company – does it have any bearing on your expertise or otherwise to comment. 3. Mercury as an ingredient of thiomersal has not been used as a preservative in vaccines for over a decade. 4. You’d be better to vent your anger on the nasty dihydrogen oxide thats in them, cause people at home doing research is obviously a much better route to scientific knowledge. :-}

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, April 8, 2011
    The Health Hazards of Disease Prevention
    A Personal Viewpoint by Damien Downing, M.D., London, U.K.

    (OMNS Apr 8, 2011) “No pharmaceutical drug is devoid of risks from adverse reactions and vaccines are no exception. Vaccination is a medical intervention and should be carried out with the informed consent of those who are being subjected to it.” (Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic, University of British Columbia.)

    At a conference held in London this month by the British Society for Ecological Medicine, the main topic was vaccinations. Not one person speaking was anti-vaccination; most said they were in favor of vaccination, but even more so of vaccine safety. One speaker summarized it this way: “Most vaccines offer benefit to most children most of the time. Some vaccines do harm to some children some of the time.”

    Here are some of the surprising facts reported.

    How safe are vaccines?

    *
    There are no studies comparing vaccine safety to a genuine placebo. The only study that claims to do so (1) compared active vaccines to a placebo containing all the adjuvants, including neomycin (a known neurotoxin).
    *
    Adjuvants, a key component of all vaccinations, have been shown to predispose to autoimmune disease (2).
    *
    Aluminum is a serious neurotoxin but is used as an adjuvant in many vaccines; between 2 and 18 months of age children may repeatedly receive up to 50 times the FDA safety limit in vaccines alone (3).
    *
    A Cochrane review of MMR in 2005 found that “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate”(4).
    *
    Recorded adverse events following HPV vaccine in the US, which are thought to represent less than 10% of the actual incidence, now stand at well over 21,000, including 93 deaths, 8,661 emergency room visits, 4,382 cases who have not recovered and 702 who have been disabled. (5)

    Do we need all these vaccines?

    *
    Why do we give rubella vaccinations to boys when the only people that rubella seriously affects are pregnant women and their babies?
    *
    Mumps is very rare and only of serious danger to boys – so why give it to girls? Introduction of the mumps vaccine only served to shift the incidence of the disease from very young children, in whom it was harmless, to older children in whom it was not.
    *
    Diphtheria had effectively disappeared by the time the vaccination for it was introduced.
    *
    Catching measles in childhood reduces the risk of asthma by 80% and of allergy in general by 30% (6).
    *
    Chicken pox, caught under the age of eight, reduces the risk of eczema by 45% and of severe eczema by a dramatic 96% (7).

    Who can we trust?

    Vera Hassner Sharav writes: “Public health officials on both sides of the Atlantic have lost the public trust because they have been in league with vaccine manufacturers in denying that safety problems exist. If vaccines posed no safety problems why has the US Vaccine Court awarded more than $2 billion dollars to settle 2,500 cases involving vaccine-related debilitating injuries in children?” (8)

    When US FDA officials analyzed the data on autism and thimerosal-containing vaccines they found a clear link. Their response, detailed in transcripts of a meeting at Simpsonwood, VA in July 2000 was to “massage” the data to make the link go away (9).

    In the UK, JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunization) has known since 1986 that there were serious safety concerns around vaccinations, for measles in particular. JCVI has repeatedly responded to negative data by ignoring it or covering it up, and has downplayed vaccine safety concerns while overplaying benefits (10).

    Clearly Not the CDC

    If you thought all that was bad, try out the proposal from the National Centers for Immunization and Respiratory Disease in CDC; a study found that the IgA antibodies in breast milk could reduce the potency of vaccines – especially in developing countries; American breast milk is not nearly as good (11). Their proposal: delay breast-feeding. No, you didn’t misread; the abstract says; “Strategies to overcome this negative effect, such as delaying breast-feeding at the time of immunization, should be evaluated.”

    Oh, right. That’ll fix it. Not!

    Reference:

    (1) Virtanen M, Peltola H, Paunio M, Heinonen OP. Day-to-day reactogenicity and the healthy vaccinee effect of measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Pediatrics.2000 Nov;106(5):E62.

    (2) Schoenfeld Y, Agmon-Levin N. ‘ASIA’ Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants. Journal of Autoimmunity 2011; 36 4-8 doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2010.07.003

    (3) Tomljenovic L. Aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease: After a Century of Controversy, Is there a Plausible Link? J Alzheimer’s Dis 2010; 23: 1-32. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-101494.

    (4) Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Rivetti A, Price D. Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004407. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004407.pub2.

    (5) VAERS; http://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb Accessed February 2011

    (6) Rosenlund H et al. Allergic disease and atopic sensitization in children in relation to measles vaccination and measles infection. Pediatrics 2009; 123 (3): 771-8

    (7) Silverberg JI, Norowitz KB, Kleiman E et al. Association between varicella zoster virus infection and atopic dermatitis in early and late childhood: A case-control study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2010; 126: 300-305

    (8) Alliance for Human Research Protection. http://www.ahrp.org/cms/content/view/765/9/

    (9) http://www.scribd.com/doc/2887572/Simpsonwood-Transcript20Searchable

    (10) http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FreedomOfInformation/Freedomofinformationpublicationschemefeedback/FOIreleases/DH_4140335

    (11) Shane AL, Jiang B, Baek LJ et al. Inhibitory Effect of Breast Milk on Infectivity of Live Oral Rotavirus Vaccines. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010; 29(10): 919-923.

    Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

    Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

    The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.
    ================================================
    @ peicurmudgeon

    Anon’s post above is the perfect example of vaccine fear-mongering.

    No doubt about it, anon’s gut is smarter than all researchers combined..

    There is absolutely no doubt about it .. the Gut is far smarter than the researchers .. What we know of the human body is not very much .. just take a look at the medical disasters over the past 100 years.

    Vaccinations used to be administered by scarification so that the NOXINS had to travese the immune system. That is not the case now .. is it?

  • @ anon: the pharmaceutical industry, which causes more deaths every year than all the illegal drugs combined (over 25 million deaths last year in the US alone). citations please.

    @ Renisa – There is no actual PROOF that vaccines work
    Smallpox?
    As John Thomson has asked – what role did you play in pharmaceutical companies (not all of which make vaccines, incidentally). I do wonder, considering your repetition of the discredited trope that there is fetal tissue in vaccines…

  • Renisa Moubiet says “our immune systems – if robust enough, are supposed to take care of fending off the nasties.” The high rate of cervical cancer in NZ women is proof that our immune systems do NOT get rid of HPV, which is very well-adapted to infect us.
    Paxman says that aluminium is a “neurotoxin”. The first rule of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison. Aluminium is ubiquitous in the environment and in your diet. If you want to avoid it, you will have to move to another planet. Good luck finding one that has no Al.
    Why are boys given rubella vaccinations, and girls mumps vaccinations? Because years of vaccinating only girls for rubella proved that you can’t remove the infection from the population if half the people are unvaccinated.
    Measles can cause devastating neurological damage in some people who catch it, and chickenpox can have very serious consequences too. The risks of both outweigh the benefits.

  • Thinking that Pharmacuetical companies have our best interests at heart is akin to believing that Tabacco companies produce a product that is designed to enhance the health of their customers.
    Yes I realise it is an extreme comparison, but the similarities are all too familiar, the problem is ultimate accountability. Let me explain:
    When you have any company or industry that is accountable to it’s share holders, with profit being the main motivator, you allow that industry or company to become polluted with the notion that everything in the name of profit is good business.
    If for one moment you believe that pharacuetical products, whether they are vaccines or pills, are devoid of safety issues you are perhaps suffering from a case of over exposure to the propaganda machine.
    I would be willing to bet my left leg that the vaccine used on that little boy is the cause of his cancer, I would say it was one of the ingredients. No that is madness you say, you don’t know what you are talking about. Well let us use the example of vaccines given by vets to dogs and cats, they give it one in the left and one in the right. The reason for this isn’t balance, it is a practical one, because vets know that certain vaccines will cause cancerous tumors to grow in the legs, and balancing it like that will allow amputation (or hedging ones bets if you will) whilst still being able to have a pet that survives. Now if vets know this, and act regularly in a kind of considerate way to minimise the side effects, then why aren’t we as humans given that choice?
    Why are we led to believe that this is all safe and for the betterment of man kind? There is something good people that those in positions of power won’t tell you, well openly at least, and that is: It isn’t about our individual welfare they concern themselves with, it is the statistical signifigance that is the determining factor, call it friendly fire, someone will and does get hurt or die, but the majority is safe and that is all that matters.
    With the exception of electromagnetic radiation, I believe that vaccines are the number one method of pre disposing a population to cancer, it doesn’t take a genius to look at our steadily increasing rates of cancer across recent time that matches quite nicely with increased rates of immunization, but no that wouldn’t happen? Could it? Would it?
    Having said all of that,my kids are all vacccinated, but funny thing, I had happy healthy kids, we waited for a while beyond the normal age then got them vaccinated, with no family history of astma, or eczema (and nearly 3 years difference between them all), guess what happened to them after each shot? Yes you got it, they all developed asthma and eczema, and statistically whilst easy to prove the timing, and the rate, given the standard resposnes of susceptibility, one has to ask how can we be so unlucky? How could our kids with no history prior to immunization and with years between them, and at different times in their lives get the same result from a simple jab? Well my answer to this, and given that I discovered I wasn’t alone in this happening was this little gem: If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and talks like a duck, it is not a chicken!
    So for all the immunologists, virologists, doctors and scientists who think that you do no harm, look again, It might be nice if we had a whistle blower from inside the pharmacuetical industry, better still can’t wait for Assange to release those US docs on court cases settled with the FDA for unsafe vaccine products.
    Look at the end of the day it is your choice to immunise your kids, but one has to ask the question of weighing up the risks, one has to wonder if these childhood diseases whilst sometimes devasting are not around to help us have a robust immune system, after all nature developed it over thousands of years. Are we messing too much with a natural process? Are we now paying for an artifical way of protecting ourselves, but whilst doing so damaging our health and our childrens? The question is who do you trust? Those who have a reason to profit from it no matter what (ie we get paid to jab you and we make the drug that fights cancer). Or do we trust those in power, i.e the government, who doesn’t want an outbreak of measles as it will cost the economy? Or is it that we have forgotten and are too time poor to take care (or even know how to) of our own sick children?
    I believe it is a combination of all of the above, personally I wouldn’t trust a government or pharmacuetical company as far as I could throw them. Additionally given that all medicine is essentially best guess, when do concrete facts come into play? How many studies and tests are binned because those paying for them don’t like the results, so they pay for others until they get one that suits there purpose? One day the truth will come out, and that truth will be shocking. In the meantime, you will get those posters paid by pharmacuetical companies to spin their usual rubbish, and the real truth is lost in between. That is my 3.1 cents worth, and I am in no way shape or form associated with any anti vaccination group or medical industry. I will leave you with this final thought, why is it in medical insurance underwriting that a persons risk profile(and their premium) for cancer increases when it is indicated in their medical file that they have received the full immunization schedule? I wonder?

  • @ West by North West:

    I don’t think anyone thinks that medicines/vaccines are devoid of safety issues. They come with a list of side effects after all. And there will always be that very small minority who do have an adverse reaction. But you are absolutely right: it is about protecting the community as a whole. The ‘friendly fire’ as you put it, while it can be devastating for the family concerned, is an acceptable risk. This is what being a part of a society means. Doing things for the greater good. When we start ignoring that because of the potential risks to ourselves is when it all starts falling apart.

  • I’m living w/ HPV for 5 years. By the grace of God above, I’m healthy and enjoying life. One of my friends ever recommended me a STD support site STDfish .com. I appreciate the owner create it only for those w/ Herpes/HIV/HPV or other STDs. no rejection or discrimination because we all understand..Lots of people who care and are willing to help.

  • @ Renisa:

    “our immune systems – if robust enough, are supposed to take care of fending off the nasties.”

    But that takes time and often there isn’t time before the ‘nasties’ have overcome us.

    I think there are two common misconception regarding vaccination and our immune systems:

    1. No matter how robust we are, there are a whole sequence of events that have to take place to mount an immune response to an invading microbe. It starts with recognising the foreigner, which sets of a chain of events that ends with the production of numerous microbe-killing defences including antibodies. It is important to remember that the microbes are evolving with us. We are in an arms race with them where they are trying to find ways around our defences. To mount a full immune response can take 10-14 days, but some microbes can kill a robust and healthy person in less than a week. This is why vaccination is so ingenious. Think of it this way: the immune system is a bunch of volunteers who have said they will fight the wolf if one is spotted approaching camp. Someone spots the wolf, but before any one can do anything they first have to be fitted with a spear and shown how to use it. Perhaps even given some time on the treadmill so they won’t run out of breath during the hunt. Vaccination is akin to training the volunteers and turning them into a hunting party, long before the wolf is ever spotted.

    2. Vaccines are just a small dose of the ‘nasty’. This is not the case. They are either inactivated versions or are just small bits, but the crucial bits that our immune system actually sees when we come across the real deal. Think of it like the Jolly Roger flying from the mast of a pirate ship. The ship is the invader and the Jolly Roger is a recognisable beacon. Many vaccines just contain the equivalent of the Jolly Roger but no actual pirate ship.

  • @Siouxsie Wiles
    I think you have struck on something that is somewhat of an unwritten rule being is an acceptable risk. This is what being a part of a society means. Doing things for the greater good. When we start ignoring that because of the potential risks to ourselves is when it all starts falling apart.
    We live in a me centric society now, the greater good has been split up and divided to the highest bidder with the very notion escaping nearly three generations. Whilst I am sure that this is what is leading to the world we have at present, I feel there is nothing wrong with a little what about me. But I wonder if you put that type of assertion on a vaccination information pamphlet, I think you might find that people would opt out completely. For me personally the question is Is any risk acceptable when it comes to your children?, my answer of course is there is no acceptable risk.
    I guess the ones at the bottom of the heap are those who tend to take one from the team (society) for the most part, If I could have afforded it I would have bought the MMR doses separately as you can get them from Europe.
    I am well aware of the mechanism behind immunisations as a whole, but it is not the way in which they work that bothers me, it is the nasties they come with. But on the other hand what I do ponder about is the following:
    1. The wolf methphor is an interesting one, arming the villagers with the right type of spear. But in the instances where one shot gives multiple wolves (for the sake of convienience rather than any medical reason I can find), then perhaps in some instances the villagers may get over run? Just a thought, in my mind you would have to be pretty damn unlucky in the natural world to get a case of measles, mumps and rubella. One wonders how the body can cope with such an onslaught?
    2. The other thing that bugs me (being a person that has been immunized against all the nasties), is that I have had chicken pox 9 times, the only reason anyone can give me is that there are different strains floating about. Again one wonders that given there are multiple strains of the various bugs out there, and immunisations only cover one or two big strains, surely that means as a society total coverage is impossible, or relative to the geography of a specific strain or area? With an increasingly mobile planet, surely this is an oversight that needs measuring?
    Thanks.

  • West by North West,

    “Thinking that Pharmacuetical companies have our best interests at heart is akin to believing that Tabacco companies produce a product that is designed to enhance the health of their customers.
    Yes I realise it is an extreme comparison, but the similarities are all too familiar”

    …while also ignoring the major difference – that most pharmaceutical products have proven beneficial effects, which in some cases make the difference between live and death.
    Most intelligent people understand that many medications are accompanied by some risk, typically of acceptable side effects which are outweighed by the benefits of the medication.

    Attempting to compare most pharmaceuticals with cigarettes in unreasonable, although I might agree with some of your views when it comes to discussing medications such as botox.

  • West by North West,

    ” is that I have had chicken pox 9 times, the only reason anyone can give me is that there are different strains floating about.”

    From what a medical doctor once told me there are some people whose immune systems simply do not react to some vaccines – i.e. they can be vaccinated multiple times but do not produce antibodies. Siouxsie might be able to confirm this idea (or shoot it down in flames 🙂 )
    However, if the majority of people are vaccinated and develop immunity against a contagion then these people remain relatively well protected.

    “For me personally the question is Is any risk acceptable when it comes to your children?, my answer of course is there is no acceptable risk.”
    While I understand and agree that protecting our children is important can I ask if you drive your children from place to place in a car? If so, do you not realise that there is a risk of an accident everytime you set foot in a car? Of course most of us still use cars because we have assessed that the benefit outweighs the risk. In the same way those who support vaccines consider the benefit of not being struck down by some pretty nasty diseases is outweighed by the small possibility of side effects, a very small minority of which can be quite nasty.
    One of the challenges here is that psychologically it is more accept to accept the consequences of something bad occurring from a lack of action than taking the risk that something bad will occur as a consequence of one of our actions.

  • @Michael Edmonds
    Whilst one would imagine your thinly veiled aspersions could only be designed to silence debate, one also does wonder the reason that your need to defend such companies stems from?
    That aside, yes there are definitely medicines out there that do help people, I don’t believe I wrote off the whole industry? But you could have gotten that from my comparison, then again I did acknowledge I was being extreme in my statement,but my statement was not based on a product comparison level it was based on behavior driven by profits, not for the good of the common man. Or let me phrase it perhaps in a way that illustrates things in a brighter light, it is more profitable to treat a cancer patient than to cure them. From vague recollection it costs in the millions over a period of time to treat a cancer patient, but if a cancer cure was developed in pill form? I imagine it would be slightly less expensive? Then again lets hope they could take a leaf from Jonas Salk, and it would be a gift to humanity….but I believe that kind of altruism is long gone, I hope I am wrong.
    Given this is the internet, and you could be from anywhere, let us go with informed consent as an issue I have, or as I loosely like to call it the right to choose.
    Here in New Zealand we do things a little differently to the rest of the developed world (although I am sure that status will slip to third world sooner rather than later), but for arguments sake lets compare this country with say Europe:
    NZ – This is the immunisation schedule this is what you need to have and this is the only way you can get it.
    Europe – This is the recommended schedule, we will give you this first then test in a few months to see if you have developed anti bodies if you have then no need for a second dose.
    NZ- It’s MMR or nothing, and no where in the world can you buy the doses separately.
    Europe – You have a choice for one shot, or you can split them up and we can test to see if you have developed anti bodies, so no need for an unecessary jab.
    That is just a brief example of what we have to deal with here, no to mention the 1984 style of the national register, you are on it like it or not, then it’s opt out if you choose. Again not a big deal, just a little frustrating to have my thinking done for me…Having lived in Australia, Germany, The US and here, I do personally know the difference in the way things are done.
    Let me finish by saying most intelligent people, though aware of the side effects (here we have only just started getting info sheets with our prescriptions as a rule), should be told of absolutely everything that can happen as a side effect, that should be the doctors job, not the dispenser. But here we suffer from We know what is best for you, and that I am afraid is nowhere near good enough.
    One tiny note, I would love to hear your thoughts on things like Ritalin, Anti-depressants, pain meds and all other highly addictive substances peddled by the pharmaceutical industry, yes they have a benefit (a smoker would tell you a cigarette calms them down), but is it too much of a stretch to see the similarities? Just a thought.

  • John Thompson – your comment about herd immunity. I’m just coming to terms with hearing of a 19-year old friend of mine dying from Meningococcal, apparently there was an outbreak starting in 1991 and was rapidly controlled (I’m having a hard time taking the anti-vaxxer’s arguments seriously after having seen Meningococcal B epidemiology versus MeNZB uptake), then phased out. Apparently 15-20% of parents said NO to the immunization.

  • @Michael Edmonds post 2:
    We walk most places for a start, but when I do drive I am in control of the vehicle, and using reasonable sense I can avoid an accident, touch wood…That is the point isn’t it? Being in control of what happens? I think that is why most people feel powerless when it comes to vaccines, that is quite simply put fear.
    Again I will re-iterate there is no acceptable risk when it comes to your kids health. But that being said look at the recent WHO statement on anti biotics, the over use of a medicine has dire consequences.
    Re Chicken Pox, I have anti bodies in my blood, I was additonally vaccinated as an adult, I still got them. As stated the only explanation I was given was a variety of different strains.
    Then again, you might be aware that vaccines do have a failure rate as well? Varicella used to be between 2% and 68% from memory.
    Again it comes down to the greater good as an argument, I think once the next generation moves into power this ideal will cease to exsist, I think it will be for the better somehow everyone equal.

  • @ Michael ..

    However, if the majority of people are vaccinated and develop immunity against a contagion then these people remain relatively well protected. Evidence please Michael!
    =======================================
    I note that the ultimate super bug is causing waves, pretty soon those shares in antibiotics will be pulped for toilet paper.

    Pasteur has been hung out to dry, so where does that leave the shares issued by the vaccination merchants ? Bechamp was right .. Pleomorphic Organisms .. the shape changers who change when under assault .. I wonder what they change into when assaulted by vaccination ? I do not think we have to look very far .. as a specie we are awash in new and unexplained disease.

    I note that no one has picked up on my post from the Ortho-Molecular people .. I found it shocking that the FDA has recommended withholding breast milk from babies because it is interfering with the babies vaccination routine.

    What an absolutely stupid remark .. the baby gets its immunity from its mothers milk .. of course it interferes with the Pharmageddon NOXINS .. Duh! and Duh! again.

  • @Sam Vilain
    Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.
    Although a sad occurence, that vaccine was pulled from the market due to it’s side effects? and general ineffectiveness? As I understand it, there was also an economic factor too.
    I think you will find the immunisation rates have dropped even more of late across the board.
    What is interesting about the graph that you have is that with the decrease in three years, one could argue that the marketing campaign at the time about not sharing bottles and the like had just as much effect as the vaccine did. Case in point even without the vaccine now the cases are only a handful every year.
    see here for a comprehensive graph: http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/meningococcal-disease-graphs#cases

  • @Paxman
    Thanks a lot!!! I now have a whole lot more reading to do 🙂
    But seriously what you are posting requires a lot more research on my part for me to get the Duh bits 🙂
    I think what you are saying is that the organisms we/they are fighting adapt depending on what is attacking them, they evolve, scary stuff.
    And yes wow to the FDA witholding breast feeding for immunisation, one wonders who needs more formula sold?

  • North By North West

    “Whilst one would imagine your thinly veiled aspersions could only be designed to silence debate, one also does wonder the reason that your need to defend such companies stems from?”

    Pehaps you could clarify what my thinly veiled aspersion was? And was it any worse than what yours above is? I have no need to defend the pharmaceutical companies per se, just a respect for sound science. And with regards to Retalin and anti-depressants, while I believe the have their genuine uses I suspect that sometimes they are used as an easy answer when a more holistic approach (psychology and medication) would be more appropriate.
    I still think the driving analogy is a valid one for vaccines because although I assume you are in control on the roads, it is not full control – you cannot anticipate and protect you and your family, however, the risk is outweighed by the benefits.
    Good to hear you enjoy walking over driving, I quite like cycling though yet again chossing to do so is a risk/benefit assessment.
    Your experience with chickenpox is interesting, I’ll have to ask some more questions of my medical friends about this. How do you know that you have antibodies in your blood? Have you been tested specifically for them?

  • I wonder which anti-vax site sent all its minions here. This a science blog. Most of the commenters above make arguments premised on the baseless assertion that scientists are all a bunch of self-interested ghouls who love nothing more than hurting children for fun and profit, and that all scientific research is hopelessly compromised by financial incentives. If you believe that, you might as well hand in all your modern technology and go home to your unelectrified cave.

    If you don’t understand the difference between antibiotics, sterilisation and vaccination, you’ve no claim to an informed opinion on the subject. Those comments are not persuasive, not enlightening, and frankly deserve serious consideration as to whether Sciblogs should be providing a platform for such nonsense. It’s not like there’s a shortage of it on the internet.

  • “Most intelligent people understand that many medications are accompanied by some risk, typically of acceptable side effects which are outweighed by the benefits of the medication.”

    Ooops, it occurrs to me that my previous statement above could be considered to be casting aspersions. Ignoring the fact that if “most intelligent people understand” something that therefore there must be “some” intelligent people do not, I apologise if this statement offended anyone.

    “Pasteur has been hung out to dry, so where does that leave the shares issued by the vaccination merchants ? Bechamp was right .. Pleomorphic Organisms .. the shape changers who change when under assault .. I wonder what they change into when assaulted by vaccination ? I do not think we have to look very far .. as a specie we are awash in new and unexplained disease. ”

    Paxman, evidence please!

    With regards to the evidence you require try “smallpox” though I’m sure you will counter with the flawed argument that smallpox declined because of improvements in hygiene and diet. Unfortunately for you, these arguments don’t hold up.

  • Trouble,

    Of course places like sciblogs are the only place that anti-vaxxers get to argue with scientists, medical professionals and others who are convinced that vaccines work.
    If one of us ventures onto an anti-vaxx site and criticises their views, we are quickly banned/silenced. Fortunately for antivaxxers, sciblog authors don’t apply the same censureship here (unless they get extremely rude).

  • WNW, you could argue for any number of reasons that MeNZB was ineffective. And Michael, please bear in mind that coming for an argument is only going to end badly. Remember that it takes a lot of effort for people working in the industry to make a reasoned response to arguments put forth here. “A lie can travel half-way around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on” comes to mind.

    If you are really honest about learning, then you will take time to read the resources presented at you (not looking at anyone in particular) to understand the position instead of simply posting and posting. Take some time to understand how these vaccines work – in particular, the MeNZB exploits knowledge about how the immune system mounts a response based on recognizing proteins – the Wikipedia page explains this well. It is a very targeted way to control a particular outbreak as was the case in NZ. It might not work all the time, but surely in times of an epidemic it is better to give their immune systems a chance, rather than denying them one based on marginal questions about minor reactions.

    MeNZB was taken off the immunization schedule because the outbreak was thought to be controlled, and because of the difficulty of producing these very tailored jabs yes it is expensive.

    If the disease was largely controlled by other educational campaigns such as bottle sharing, just remember what it was that brought you that knowledge – Science. Either way, Louie Pasteur is still right.

  • Pasteur has been hung out to dry, so where does that leave the shares issued by the vaccination merchants ? Bechamp was right .. Pleomorphic Organisms .. the shape changers who change when under assault .. I wonder what they change into when assaulted by vaccination ?

    No, Bechamp was not right. Bechamp championed the “cellular disease theory” (what you refer to as the pleomorphic theory), wherein he claimed that bacteria were the result of disease rather than the cause of it, & that the form of the bacteria changed as a result of the disease. This was pretty much disproved by the work of Koch & others, who demonstrated that bacteria can & do cause disease (a realisation that was subsequently extended to viruses). Bacteria can certainly respond rapidly (as a result of their fast generation time) to selection pressures – the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria is
    an obvious example, as is the work of Richard Lenski with E.coli, But they do not ‘change their form’ as Bechamp believed – not over the period of time when we’ve been able to observe them. Vaccination enhances the body’s ability to recognise & respond to bacterial (& viral) insult, & yes, it will act as a selection pressure – the likely result, however, will be a change in surface recognition proteins on the pathogens, not a ‘change in form’.

    I do not think we have to look very far .. as a specie we are awash in new and unexplained disease.
    Please provide evidence that humans, as a species, are more subject to new diseases than they were in the past.

  • Of course places like sciblogs are the only place that anti-vaxxers get to argue with scientists, medical professionals and others who are convinced that vaccines work.

    They’re not arguing, they’re poisoning the well. Nothing that medical professionals etc say is good enough or will ever be, because they’re all in the pocket of Pharmageddon (spare me). I don’t think anyone has a duty to provide a platform for that, even in the name of honest debate (which antivax isn’t engaging in). And people come to Sciblogs to hear a scientific point of view, not to see science misrepresented and denigrated.
    For example:
    With the exception of electromagnetic radiation, I believe that vaccines are the number one method of pre disposing a population to cancer, it doesn’t take a genius to look at our steadily increasing rates of cancer across recent time that matches quite nicely with increased rates of immunization, but no that wouldn’t happen? Could it? Would it?
    This is the biggest load of tripe I’ve read in ages. It’s deserving of ridicule, not engagement. No tobacco smoke, no other known carcinogens, no awareness of the difference between non-ionising and ionising radiation. No possibility considered that fewer kids killed by vaccine preventable diseases means people survive to old age and dying of something else later. It’s barely deserving of rational opposition.

    This is the only place I’ve seen on the internet that’s had the sense to engage with the irresponsible reporting on the Gardasil/leukemia coincidence. It’s a bloody shame to see it swamped by exactly the sort of scaremongering it’s trying to challenge.

  • Actually I take that back a bit after having a reread. One flaming lunatic and one half-reasoning curious person who posts a lot doesn’t make for a swamping, and perhaps rational engagement can make some difference there. But I do think claims like “as a specie we are awash in new and unexplained disease” deserve more than an “evidence please”.

  • This site seems to function as a site of counter-discourse for science-based corporate interests against the growing public contention that science has become corrupt and focused on profit.
    So perhaps it is best to take what these corporate-proponent scientists say with a large packet of salt.
    Pharmaceutical corporations and their arms – doctors and media scientists functioning as corporate PRs – are the scaremongers in my opinion, scaring the public and their children into unnecessary ‘treatments’; and then we run the risk of being ‘hit by friendly fire’ for the ‘good of all’ (actually for the good of the pharmaceutical corporations). These people are an integral part of a multi-billion-dollar industry and know which side of their bread is buttered. Corporate scientists are the ones who do the scaremongering as well as discoursing for the purpose of quelling any questioning of corporate motives / efficacy, and it is up to us, the public, who are in the main exploited by corporate interests, to sift through the lies and profit-driven agendas. I don’t think that it is productive to engage them in debate, because they will always want to get in the last word, and they will never, ever change their allegiances or views, no matter how much proof is placed before their denial. But here are some facts about US pharmaceutical drug death rates in Florida for the casual reader:
    An analysis of autopsies in 2007 released by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission found that the rate of deaths caused by prescription drugs was three times the rate of deaths caused by all illicit drugs combined.
    The Florida report analyzed 168,900 deaths statewide. Cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines caused 989 deaths, it found, while legal opioids — strong painkillers in brand-name drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin — caused 2,328.
    Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 — fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine (25) and marijuana (0).
    No doubt that can be extrapolated out to the other 50-odd states and then across the globe. That is far too many deaths to complacently accept what we are told and not ask questions, so scientists, please excuse us if we do.

  • Two flaming lunatics. If you want to know the death rate of something, you divide the number of people killed by the number of people who took the risk. Without anything to indicate how many people are on legal or illegal drugs, we can’t tell anything about their relative safety. You’re not going to convince corporate scientists of anything if you appear to be ignorant of high school maths.

    My bread’s buttered on the side of my kids growing up without catching any of the life-threatening diseases that pushed infant mortality so much higher in my grandparents’ day.

  • @Michael Edmonds
    Yes was blood tested specifically for that very reason.
    @Sam Vilain
    I wandered over here from google, so have only just discovered sci-blogs, and given that in my personal sphere of experience bad things tend to co-incide around vaccination time, I often do have trouble swallowing what is being fed to me a lot of the time, and admittedly it is a sensitive topic in my house, much like a plastic waka is in Auckland..
    @Trouble
    Ok if we are matching intellects then I tip my hat to you as resident raving lunatic and say you won. But is it a hollow victory? Yes I would suggest so, for all of my ignorance on the subject I do have some basic insights. Allow me to explain, my grandparents lived most of their lives in a street that had high voltage power lines over head, they both died of the same rare form of cancer. Years later we met other people who lived in that street and their parents/grandparents died of the same type of rare cancer. Now you could dismiss this as mere co-incidence, but as I understand it this isn’t an isolated incident worldwide. But deny being the policy of the day, saw nothing productive come to light, but the vast collection of information out there for and against with no conclusive answers.
    My point is there is no absolutes, there are no nevers and life has taught me certainty is a state of delusion. Please correct me If I am wrong but doesn’t simply observing something change depending on the observer?
    My beliefs are my own, ridicule them if you will, but in my life experience they are really all most people have. But if you will note that I pose question marks at the end of my belief statements as they are always up for a challenge, otherwise how do we grow and move forward?
    Finally please re-read what I have written, it is not a comparison of Tobacco vs Pils, it is of the mindset, of the naieve belief perhaps that says, “No not possible, no company would behave in such a way”.
    I don’t for one second believe that scientists or researchers set out with the intention of harming others, but what would make for interesting commentary is this question: If the system is infallible then how is it that we have seemingly so many “safe” drugs pulled from the market every year? Not necessarily here, but in other places in the world? Assuming those drugs have gone through a vetting process, reviews, trials etc etc
    Look I am a parent, and they are girls, so with x number of girls dying from the HPV shot, how likely do you think I would be to give my kids that shot? For the good of the country? And risk losing someone I love? Or faced with the don’t do it, and they die from cervical cancer anyway? It is not an easy choice to face. But what I find truly astounding is the two faced nature of this so called vaccine debate, I play squash with a couple of GP’s and over a drink after we talk about our kids. When it comes to immunisation, none of their kids or their collegues kids are vaccinated. Their reason is that it’s government funded rubbish(I am paraphrasing), and the risks are too great when it comes to reactions in a sensitized population (I still don’t quite know what that means). Yet they will go to work and spell out the benefits to those in their respective practices. So what am I to believe? Is it do what they do? Or do what they say?
    Look I am sorry I am taking up space here, but I do have a genuine curiosity, and a willingness to learn. What I don’t take kindly to is condescension, my beliefs are a product of my own efforts, combined with that which is fed to us through the system and with personal touch of people that are skilled in their area of expertise. Just to close off here, if these are the questions I have (and in my previous posts) that have no clear answer, how do you think the general public fares with a type of information/misinformation/disinformation war going on? How can the “truth” be presented so that people will be able to make an informed descision without fear or doubt? That I believe is a fundamental question that needs to be answered not simply with because I told you so…

  • “This site seems to function as a site of counter-discourse for science-based corporate interests against the growing public contention that science has become corrupt and focused on profit.”

    On the contrary, I’m not aware of any scientists on here who could be classed as “corporate” employees. Rather you have scientists who are concerned at the spurious arguments of antivaxxers.

    However, you appear to have switched the argument to all pharmaceuticals rather than just vaccines, I’m not sure why.

    Just quoting a few numbers from a reports shows nothing. With any report you need to show how the data was derived. Straight away I can see several issues with just looking at the numbers you quote.
    Oxycontin and vicodin may be legal drugs however there is also significant illegal use of these drugs. So unless the commission’s report is able to distinguish between deaths resulting from those using the drug correctly and those using the drug illicitly or abusively, your numbers prove nothing.
    Also with deaths associated with anti-depressants and other mood altering substances, one needs to consider how many of the deaths might be due to suicides or other abuses of the drugs.
    Furthermore, your figures include alcohol, which is not a drug that is typically sourced from the pharmaceutical industry. Though, if your contention is that alcohol is a problem in our society, I would certainly agree with you.

    If you are going to use a report like this as evidence for your criticism of the pharmaceutical industry, you might want to present the data in more detail.

  • The point about science isn’t that it’s infallible and practiced only by angels – it’s open and challengable by anyone providing they have their facts right. It takes science to unpick the truth from the common sense – people assumed heavy objects fell faster until someone tested it properly. It’s that checking and testing and constant revision that means it’s incorrect conclusions are exposed and therefore seen as fallible, but every time something wrong is fixed, we get closer to the truth. Science has a massive challenge in communicating the state of the art of knowledge to the vast majority of people who work by common sense, and who don’t take kindly to having their certainties displaced.

    Whatever the debates are over high voltage wires, drug safety and so on, with respect to vaccines, the science is solid – the risks, though they exist, are so far outweighed by the risks of catching vaccine-preventable diseases that it’s worth it.

    I wish I were younger and could benefit from the HPV shot, and would have no qualms about my daughter receiving it. HPV is incredibly common (which is why it’s not offered to older people – by the time you’re in your 30s, chances are you’re already infected), mostly asymptomatic, but for a few, leads to deadly cancer – 70 women a year in NZ. The strains the vaccine protects against aren’t the same as the strains people experience as cold sores or wart outbreaks.

  • West by NorthWestLook I am sorry I am taking up space here, but I do have a genuine curiosity, and a willingness to learn. What I don’t take kindly to is condescension, my beliefs are a product of my own efforts, combined with that which is fed to us through the system and with personal touch of people that are skilled in their area of expertise.
    Please don’t feel that you are taking up space here – it’s great that you’ve come here to engage with some of the ideas relating to vaccination (& other issues with a scientific lean – vaccination just seems to be the one that really gets the comment flowing!) Having read the thread, I think Trouble did draw back from including you in his comments.
    On the vaccination thing – if you do a search of the site you’ll find that we’ve collectively written quite a bit on the topic (some more than others); it might help to give some background on the particular perspectives that we bring to our discussion of the subject. (With regard to the purported deaths ‘from’ Gardasil – it’s worth asking where that data comes from. I suspect most commenters draw it from the VAERS database, which unfortunately has a major flaw in that claims made there don’t have to be substantiated.)

  • @ Anon

    “This article was an expected discourse from the pharmaceutical industry”

    No. This article was written by me, a 35 year old microbiologist and mother. I hold a research fellowship from the Health research Council of New Zealand, which is a governmental funding agency, not the pharmaceutical industry. I am fascinated by nasty infectious microbes and have made a living out of trying to understand how they do what they do.

    I’m interested in how many people they kill so often consult the World Health Organisation’s mortality statistics (http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/2004_report_update/en/index.html). The most recent figures (for 2004) show that infectious diseases killed approximately 14 million people worldwide, one out of every three deaths. Of course, this is worldwide and when you look at the figures by country it breaks down more like less than 1 in 50-100 deaths in developed countries and 7-8 in 10 deaths in developing countries.

    The WHO stats make your figure of “25 million deaths last year in the US alone” caused by the pharmaceutical industry look rather suspect. I took a look at the US population clock (http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html) which says there is a death every 12 seconds in the USA. By my maths this equates to 2.628 million deaths per year ([60/12=5 deaths per minute] x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365 days). And that is all causes. Where did you get your figure from?

  • West by North West,

    I agree with Alison, you are certainly not taking up space. Although we may have different conclusions about vaccination, your comments have been civil and interesting. Thanks for explaining that blood tests had confirmed the presence of antibodies.

    Anon
    not “to complacently accept what we are told and not ask questions, so scientists, please excuse us if we do.”

    Anon, I couldn’t agree more, people should ask any expert as many questions as they need to understand. I quite happily ask my doctor, mechanic, electrician etc questions.

    The problem comes when people refuse to believe the answers they are given in good faith and start accusing people of being profit driven because they don’t get the answers they want to hear.

  • @ West by North West

    “For arguments sake lets compare this country with say Europe:”

    Europe is a large place and not all countries are the same. I’m from the UK and this is not my experience. There they also have an immunisation schedule and we went to our local GP to get my daughter vaccinated. There was no testing between doses and no choice of splitting up the MMR. True you can pay to have the separate shots from selected private GP’s but this is not offered on the NHS. We could have afforded to go private for the single shots but chose not to. There is no evidence that the MMR vaccine is unsafe, whereas splitting up the shots could have put my daughter at risk of catching whatever she hadn’t been vaccinated against. And we lived in London which is in the midst of a serious measles epidemic. Saying that, if my daughter had shown signs of autism (or indeed, if they surface as she gets older), I won’t be blaming it on her vaccines. I’ll be blaming her genes and the fact that she has a scientist with very slight obsessive compulsive tendencies for a mother and a mathematician for a father.

  • @ Alison ..
    This was pretty much disproved by the work of Koch & others,
    I do not believe it has been disproved Alison.

    I am also quite aware of the implications of the work done by Bechamp .. we use different terminology nowadays, however as Pasteur (monomorphism) said on his deathbed “Bernard (Claude) was right .. On his deathbed, Pasteur finally acknowledged Bechamp, and said, “Bernard was correct: the microbe is nothing: the terrain is everything.”.
    =======================================
    @ Trouble ..
    you sir display that unmistakeable signature of a Pharmageddon Troll .. same handbook and same technique. Has it not occurred to you that whilst the scientists haggle an awful lot of people die? People whose children have been irreparably damaged are not interested in these arrangements by science they want some real action ..

    For example what about some studies done on the vaccinated and non vaccinated and then comparisons made?. Many of the people that I know roll their eyes when almost weekly another shonky scientific study is exposed.

    Dr Wakefield .. Just look at the disgraceful smear laid by Deer, Lancet, BMJ and even the Royal society when they themselves are guilty of the very thing that they crucified Dr Wakefield for. What a load of hypocrites. The ungodly Godly of the BMJ when asked to explain .. are you ready? .. said It did not occur to us to state that we have a financial interest in the vaccines.

    The other thing .. how did Deer get hold of confidential papers regarding some patients involved in the matter? We do not have to wrack our brains .. do we?

    The gravy train is about to plunge from a very high viaduct

    • Paxman,

      It seems ironic that you mention the exposure of shonky scientific studies and then go on to call Andrew Wakefield disgracefully smeared by Brian Deer, the BMJ and others. This suggest to me that you are unaware of the facts surrounding Andrew Wakefield’s fall from grace. Myself and others have covered this topic here on Sciblogs previously. You should have a read. The question I would love to have answered is what where the original reviewers thoughts on Wakefield’s Lancet paper and how did it ever get published?

  • @paxman

    “I do not believe it has been disproved Alison.”
    What you believe is irrelevant. Science deals with facts.

    “what about some studies done on the vaccinated and non vaccinated and then comparisons made?”
    What about them? You raise the issue of such studies but do not say anything about them.

    “The gravy train is about to plunge from a very high viaduct”
    More tiresome attacks. If you have something vaguely resembling evidence that supports your antivaccine stance feel free to share it.
    Unsubstantiated opinions, pseudoscience and conspiracy theories have no currency here.

    “Deer get hold of confidential papers regarding some patients involved in the matter?”
    If I recall correctly, as public/court documents they were readily accessible.

  • @Alison, Siouxie,Michael and Trouble
    Well thank you for alaying my concern that I was being a bother.
    I think that being a parent makes one overly protective, I believe that every parent wants/demands the best for their kids. What I would like to see (if it is even possible) is a test before the shots for susceptibility, ala those foot prick tests to determine genetic problems. Now that would be a fantastic tool to have in the box so to speak, plus would remove any debate. One of our little ones is allergic to eggs, so when she had her shots we had to have it done in hospital as a safety precaution.
    I do wonder why the difference or perhaps even the merit of testing for anti bodies, I know any blood tests on wee ones are invasive, but I know from personal experience that it is done and it was explained to me.
    Let me break this down for you and see what you make of it:
    Miss 2, no asthma-no eczema, MMR Shot Flu Like Symptoms for two weeks, then diagnosed with asthma one month later followed by quite severe eczema.
    Miss 3 – no asthma-no eczema, MMR Shot, no symptoms following, diagnosed with asthma eight weeks later, mild eczema as well.
    Miss 5 – no asthma-no eczema, MMR Shot, flu like symptoms, diagnosed with asthma-no eczema yet (6 weeks as well after shot)….As you can see the shots were staggered, we were initially informed that it was a developement issue (the asthma and eczema) and the onset had merely coincided when we had given them there shots, so the delay in time between them I feel disproved that theory, but still no answers.
    Our girls have regular checkups, go to a doc whenever they get a cold/flu, it just seems all too much of a conincidence for me, but I am open to other theories, and your insights on something that I may be missing? Environmentals haven’t changed. Diet remained the same. Although the MMR was the one delayed shot, the rest we as scheduled, so it might be something to do with something else in that course if you will. I know there is some research into the hooping cough vaccine and asthma, but I haven’t got links.
    I can understand peoples frustration and the finger pointing re profits, people do tend to be far more cynical when it comes to companies and their motivations. I just finished reading a tome of a book called “Just a little prick” put out free by a group in New Zealand (they are not allowed to sell it for some reason), anyway that paints a very damming picture of the whole pharmacuetical industry in light of vaccines etc. Would be interesting to see what a virologist, micro biologist or the like would make of the way it’s written, and it’s factual content.
    Alison made a comment about a certain database giving results that didn’t have to be proven, which in my book makes it not a lot of use, so why on Earth have the thing if it just paints a bad picture?
    Look at the end of the day I feel that given history and those things that are constantly proved wrong in due course, like ulcers being caused by a bug (Helicobacter pylori) and not stress and the like, im sure in the not too distant future we might discover that asthma might be caused by something unknown. A case of what we don’t know we don’t know if you will. But for the time being I am all eyes (and ears if you will)…Thanks

    • @ NbNW

      The Immunisation Advisory Centre has reviewed ‘Just a little prick’. Their full response is here: http://www.immune.org.nz/site_resources/Professionals/Topics_Special_Interest/Anti-imms%20rebuttals/Myth-HP-16_Critique_of_Just_a_Little_Prick_IMAC_2007.pdf

      In summary they say:

      This work by Hilary and Peter Butler is a summary of Hilary’s personal study and interpretation of orthodox complementary and alternative medical literature, media stories and various expert opinions concerning vaccination interspersed with a variety of personal accounts of adverse events following immunisation. The authors argue that vaccinations are ineffective and unsafe. They also make allegations of health professional, government and industry cover-up and conspiracy-for-profit.

      In summary, while the authors raise some valid points, IMAC’s interpretation of the available evidence from orthodox medical literature does not support many of the arguments used by the authors to reach their conclusions, and are, in our opinion, misleading. IMAC also wishes to clarify our sources of funding and re-emphasise our independence from commercial conflicts of interest.

    • @NbNW

      Do you mean your daughters were aged 2,3 and 5 when they received the MMR vaccine? Did you take them all together to be vaccinated?

      One small point I’d like to make is that flu-like symptoms are nothing to be worried about but should be celebrated. They show that the body is doing it’s job and mounting an immune response.

  • Anon, I’m not a sir, and I entirely agree that while people haggle over dodgy statistics, lives are lost. From vaccine-preventable diseases, that is. I don’t want my too-young-to-vaccinate baby sitting in a doctor’s waiting room next to someone with measles or whooping cough because someone thinks that Andrew bloody Wakefield is some martyred hero instead of a fraud who made large sums of money falsifying data.

    There have been numerous studies on vaccinated vs non-vaccinated kids. Half a million kids in Denmark. A case-controlled study in Poland. I’d go on, but since the well is poisoned and everything I could say comes from some Pharmageddon Troll playbook (I need to see how I can get on their payroll, it sounds lucrative), I don’t think it will help.

    And Pasteur’s deathbed confession? Bah.

  • Paxman: The other thing .. how did Deer get hold of confidential papers regarding some patients involved in the matter? We do not have to wrack our brains .. do we?
    As I recall all this has been discussed at some length on an earlier thread (& I think you were present there, so why rehash the whole thing here?

    Trouble has already responded to the mth that Pasteur admitted his error on his deathbed (a myth in the same vein as the one that Darwin recanted on his deathbed…)

    On the issue of pharmaceutical companies making big $$ out of vaccines – I suspect they would make many many more if they didn’t make vaccines, considering the enormous bill that would be run up dealing with the surge in infectious diseases that would ensue…

  • @Siouxsie
    No they were staggered at their respective ages, so not all at once…and yes I was aware that was an indication that they were working.
    Not to be that person, but I have to ask and tell something that will raise some doubts about some of the “mis-information” that is dispensed. re Orthodox medical literature: I am gathering that this is the accepted truth until otherwise proven? I only ask because we were told that “There is no such thing as allergies in babies” by not one but two different doctors in Auckland, NZ Trained. They respectively went on to explain that allergies in children and infants are a matter for debate and not fact. Which I find, well to be honest, a little whacky. Unless we have been lied to the by those doing the marketing? Which again is another possibility…I know I am lumping one subject in with another here, but just on that little point, the whole allergy friendly asthma approved safe thing, we just recently had an experience with our latest addition with a product that was supposedly safe and approved by the asthma foundation. It was an insulation product that was supposed to be all natural, turns out that around 10% of that product contains a water repelling agent trapped in a bio soluble fibre glass that caused our little girl to fit, stop breathing and pass out with expose to a single fibre in her mouth.ambulance set a record time of 60 seconds from call to door, she is fine now and ACC covered the allergic reaction, but the product still has it’s asthma foundation approval. So the reason for my sharing this tidbit? I guess it is to illustrate that although convention has it that certain things are safe, sometimes experience proves otherwise, and again not leading the conversation, or trying to put a view across, just painting a picture as to why a lot of people find it hard to discern fact from fiction.
    Interestingly enough funny that Wakefield should be mentioned here, I personally know one of the nurse specialists that worked on the trial that now works in NZ. She paints a different picture again, in vast contrast to both the media and the anti vaccine groups. But I will not give away that confidence here except to say, that truth is far stranger than fiction and media reporting.
    Thanks and sorry for my long winded posts..

  • UK NEWS Monday 11 April 2011
    Eighteen babies and toddlers have died following childhood vaccinations in just four years, a secret Government report reveals.

    Four deaths have been linked to suspected adverse reactions to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) triple jab, according to documents prepared for the Government’s expert advisers on immunisation.
    The controversial jab has been beset by fears of a link to autism and bowel disease, although since its introduction in 1998, yearly deaths from measles have fallen from 16 to zero, while the jab against meningitis C is thought to save 50 lives a year.
    The report, covering the period between 2001 and 2004, details how one baby suffered a cot death following MMR vaccination in 2003. Two more infants were reported to have died after having the MMR jab in 2001, but the cause of death in both cases was unknown.
    After the death of a child who developed meningitis and swelling of the brain three weeks after an MMR jab in 2004, a claim for compensation was made by the child’s parents. It is not known if this was successful.
    Six fatalities followed meningitis C vaccinations between 2001 and 2003. The deaths of seven other babies were linked to combined vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough and reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). They include a baby who died from a heart attack. Another died after a polio jab.
    Almost 800 other reports of suspected complications of childhood vaccination – including convulsions and hyptonia, in which the baby becomes floppy like a “rag doll” – were also made, including 160 for MMR.
    Medics raised the alarm under the MHRA “yellow card” warning system, set up to monitor suspected adverse drug reactions. Although making such a report does not prove that vaccination caused death or injury, it means that doctors fear it may have played a part.
    Their reports were considered by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which concluded that no significant safety issues were identified.
    Details of the document, which emerged after a request under the Freedom of Information Act, come amid fears of “vaccine overload” due to a rise in the number of jabs given to infants.
    The Department of Health last week announced the introduction of a new jab against the pneumococcal bug, which causes a deadly strain of meningitis, in addition to a booster for Hib disease, which can cause meningitis. This means that by the time a child is two he will have had 25 vaccinations, although some will be given in five-in-one or three-in-one combinations.
    Dr Richard Halvorsen, a general practitioner who runs a private single jabs clinic at Holborn Medical Centre in London, said: “We know vaccines have potential side effects, but this does not mean that children died as a result of MMR or other jabs. However, it is not insignificant because these are reports from health professionals who suspect an adverse vaccination reaction.”
    Experts last night said that the true figures for suspected fatalities and serious side effects could be much greater. Dr John Griffin, the former editor of the medical journal Adverse Drug Reactions, said: “For fatalities, it is probably only one in two which gets reported and for other side effects one in 10.”
    This means that almost 40 baby deaths could have occurred following jabs between 2001 and 2004, and 8,000 serious adverse reactions.
    “A lot of vaccine reactions are just inexplicable,” he said. “It may be that someone had an infection before they got a jab, it may be something in their genetic make-up or sometimes there are allergic reactions. “

  • Trouble

    “This is the only place I’ve seen on the internet that’s had the sense to engage with the irresponsible reporting on the Gardasil/leukemia coincidence. It’s a bloody shame to see it swamped by exactly the sort of scaremongering it’s trying to challenge.”

    In my experience if you write trying to ‘correct’ wayward reporting, you draw some who (loudly!) push their position, the wayward pundits, etc., along with those who are simply confused.

    There is, I think, a place for stating clearly the correct information – something that isn’t that easy to do sometimes. You could, for example, take the statements made in this thread that are incorrect and put them right. There are problems with that, of course. One is that people ’promoting’ are inclined to try “drown” opposition by simple spewing a lot of impressing sounding (but meaningless) nonsense, enough that it’d take to long for anyone to correct them. The catch they’re exploiting is that it takes little effort to write something that is wrong, but usually a lot more effort to correct them. (A related thing is the ‘Gish gallop’.)

    It’s not always possible, but short replies can help. Just as one simple example, from this thread:

    “Why do we give rubella vaccinations to boys when the only people that rubella seriously affects are pregnant women and their babies?”

    – because while children usually have only mild rubella infections, they can pass their infection on to pregnant mothers, whose unborn children can be badly affected. (I’ve written previously on congenital rubella.)

    In my experience, those in error (very) rarely acknowledge their error, but instead throw up more… The bigger thing, to my mind, is try reach the ‘lurkers’, those reading but not commenting. There are usually many more of them than those commenting. I sometimes explicitly point out that I’m not ‘responding’ but writing to the wider audience in an effort to avoid toe-to-toe debates and reach those that I generally consider matter more.

    (I have to admit I had hoped to write on the NZ Herald story, too, but Siouxsie has beaten me to it! 🙂 In my defence, I’ve been out of town for a few days.)

  • @ Michael ..

    “I do not believe it has been disproved Alison.”
    What you believe is irrelevant. Science deals with facts.

    Oh is that so ? then state the facts not your opinion.

    “what about some studies done on the vaccinated and non vaccinated and then comparisons made?”
    What about them? You raise the issue of such studies but do not say anything about them.

    Why are such studies not done because I cannot find such studies anywhere .. Why not?

    “The gravy train is about to plunge from a very high viaduct”
    More tiresome attacks. If you have something vaguely resembling evidence that supports your antivaccine stance feel free to share it.
    Unsubstantiated opinions, pseudoscience and conspiracy theories have no currency here.

    There was nothing pseudo and conspiracy about the hypocrites having a vested interest .. the ungodly Godley incriminated the stoning party from her own mouth .. in case you do not know Godley is the Editor or was for the BMJ ..

    “Deer get hold of confidential papers regarding some patients involved in the matter?”
    If I recall correctly, as public/court documents they were readily accessible.

    Well you have not recalled correctly and they only became court documents once the despicable Deer had tabled them .. Where did this man get what is confidential information .. you seem to be having difficulty .. let me help you out .. Deer got them from the medical sources who were also involved .. so much for confidentiality and privacy .. . As for the original fear mongering .. it seems to me how this vaccination scam works.
    ================================================

    @ Trouble .. ok so you are not a Sir .. I knew that from your all too familiar style .. I was just being sarcastic .. you display your ignorance with every word you type .. and I suggest you look up what Pasteur said on his deathbed.
    ======================================

    And as for wily Susie .. just a little prick has a lot going for it.
    As far as scare mongering goes may I suggest that you take your own advice .. because I for one am sick of the fear mongering about what will happen if one does not take that money making needle quietly.

    I am quite entitled to my opinion and if it goes against the other opinions then I cannot help that. I was born before the second world war in the UK .. and I have witnessed many things .. I have learnt to distinguish lies and propaganda .. I have witnessed Cancer attacking children at a younger and younger age and this in ever increasing numbers .. why is this?

    I have watched the introduction of AIDS and HIV into the population at large .. I have watched in horror at the uncontrolled spread of STD .. I have noted the large numbers of deaths associated with the Gardasil vaccine.

    These are matters of common knowledge and should not need citations or references .. all that is needed is common sense and not massaged statistics called clinical studies.

  • @W-by-NW,

    I simply haven’t time to address the (far too) many points various people have raised, but a couple of quick points that I’m more familiar with:

    I just finished reading a tome of a book called “Just a little prick” put out free by a group in New Zealand

    To add to Siouxsie’s comment, I’m familiar with some of the previous work by one of the authors (Hilary). Her track record shows she has a history of this line of things and is a (very) poor source of balanced vaccine information. (For example, she was a journalist involved in scare-mongering the MeNZB vaccine campaign in New Zealand. IMAC’s statement is being very polite: read between lines, e.g. “personal interpretation”, etc.)

    Alison made a comment about a certain database giving results that didn’t have to be proven, which in my book makes it not a lot of use, so why on Earth have the thing if it just paints a bad picture?

    Reporting databases (such as VAERS) collect reports, so that they might not overlook events. They can’t be used in a meaningful way directly (as some anti-vaccine advocates are prone to), as the junk reports need to be filtered out first, but you can use their data once the garbage is filtered out. It’s more of a problem for the hyped vaccines (e.g. Gardasil), where advocacy groups encourage people to file reports… I’ve even heard of accounts of lawyers in the USA deliberately logging reports to prop up cases, even though reports have little meaning until they are confirmed (or not).

    There have been numerous studies on vaccinated vs non-vaccinated kids.

    I’ve been meaning to present one of these for a while now. Perhaps in the near future I’ll find time…!

  • @ trouble

    Forgive my late entry into this fascinating discussion.

    If you don’t understand the difference between antibiotics, sterilisation and vaccination, you’ve no claim to an informed opinion on the subject.

    I don’t have more than a cursory understanding of the difference between antibiotics, sterilisation and vaccination, but I do have daughters and am faced with an interesting choice which I believe makes me entitled to an opinion on the subject – or are you suggesting that I mere mortals like myself should leave it to scientist and their facts to decide what’s good for me and mine. I am just an ordinary mother, I failed science and I’m not so hot at maths or spelling. I have tried to get an informed
    Opinion so I can make wise decisions when ever possible. And there’s the rub. It’s hard to put faith in a vaccine, or any medicine for that matter, when there is reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, there have been medicines, that had the full support of scientist and the medical community, withdrawn because of unforeseen effects/affects (sorry- can never remember which one).
    At the end of the day I feel that some scientist/medical types seem as just as dogmatic and defensive as the so called antivaxxers. Imop your just asking me to trust your facts over their facts – neither of which I have the knowledge or skill to do so.

    The HPV proteins that Chace inadvertently received are highly unlikely to have interrupted his immune system. More likely they will have vaccinated him against HPV.

    Highly unlikely – is this fact or opinion?
    Highly unlikely means it is possible.
    This is not a criticism of you siouxxe ( hope I got that right)…. I understand this is a blog not a science journal.
    I merely wanted to point out this whole thread is based upon an opinion.

    Highly unlikely – science or opinion?
    Highly unlikely

  • @Grant
    Thanks for the heads up re the database. Again another thing has made it onto the wish list if you will, an accurate real time global database logging events with accuracy for a complete picture. It seems reporting often falls down, or people don’t always use it, from a global perspective it would be an invaluable tool both statistically and for a possibly more accurate picture, but maybe in our lifetimes who knows?
    Would love to see what you have to write Grant re the studies.

    @Midget
    As a parent I agree, what seems like a simple descision to those in the know often makes you feel as if you are holding a loaded gun in your hand. It is so frustrating and so disempowering faced with a catch 22 or that which seems.
    On another note I was taking the Highly unlikely as based on current medical knowledge, so personally I would say that anything is possible.
    I think that is the problem we are only 100 years or so on from any real medical progress, and we are often under the assumption that there are answers for everything. We would cringe nowdays if our GP offered us leeches, but that was a common occurence back in the day, as well as blood letting etc. What I think needs to happen is for us to be aware that science/medicine is evolving, and to not take no for an answer when we feel something is wrong or needs addressing, and question until we feel safe and informed, most of all listened to. Thanks.

  • W-by-NW

    Several schemes already exist. How do you think the WHO, etc., report global statistics on diseases, vaccine uptake, etc.? 😉 All data collection comes with flaws – that’s just reality for you. There is a pattern of (some) advocacy groups demanding impossible things from those who they oppose, e.g. ‘perfect’ reporting, ‘perfect’ epidemiology. More meaningful requests would be for methods that yield useful results. The current methods do have limitations, but they do yield useful results.

    (It’s not really a matter of (paraphrasing) ‘reporting often fall[ing] down’ in the case of the VAERS database, but that the reporting is open to all.)

  • We’re all entitled to our own opinions – we’re not entitled to our own facts.

    Paxman:
    Why are such studies not done because I cannot find such studies anywhere .. Why not?

    Because you’re not looking properly. I put two helpful links (they show as different coloured text) in my last post to studies comparing kids vaccinated against MMR and those who weren’t. There’s a more recent German study of 13,000 kids comparing kids with no vaccinations at all to those with some – the only difference they found between the groups was that the unvaccinated kids caught way more vaccine preventable diseases. Surprise surprise.

    I also posted a link to an extract of Pasteur’s biography, which describes his deathbed in detail without any reference to recanting.

    Midget – it is hard when you’re not an expert to engage with these things. You do have to exercise a little trust. But we put our lives in the hands of experts all the time – we don’t second-guess our electricians – we rely on their professional certification. Building codes change like medical advice – we follow the latest standards. They’re not perfect, but they’re the best we know at the time.

  • Midget,

    or are you suggesting that I mere mortals like myself should leave it to scientist and their facts to decide what’s good for me and mine

    I don’t think anyone is saying that, certainly not the way you’re suggesting! It’s worth remembering, I think, that there a difference between opinion and “speaking for the science” inaccurately, though.

    For what it’s worth I have an article pointing to some sources of medical information for non-specialists, perhaps that might be of use – ?

    It’s worth remembering that we all depend on others’ expertise everyday in one way or other. (I wrote on this once as I was struck by a parallel between DIY building disasters and ‘alternative’ medical approaches!)

  • Midget,

    “Highly unlikely – science or opinion?”

    You’ve picked up on one of the challenges of science communication. Most scientists use terms such as “highly unlikely” because science always considers the possibility that future evidence might arise to challenge existing evidence.
    Science does not deliver absolute answers, what most scientists on here are trying to say (I think) is that current evidence shows that vaccines have a beneficial effect which outweighs some of the risks around side effects.
    However, to put this into perspective ask me if the sun will come up tomorrow and I will have problems giving you an absolute answer. I think it is extremely likely that it will but the scientist in me cannot eliminate the minute possibility that some catastrophic event might result in no sun rise tomorrow.
    So with vaccines what we are left with is a risk/benefit analysis similar to what people use unconsciously every day. When we get into a car we know that there is the possibility that we may have an accident but we deem that the benefit of using a car outweighs the risk that someone will run into us.
    The challenge for most parents, and I can see that both you and North by North West are trying to sort this out is that there are so many different opinions and “facts” on what the risks are and what the benefits are. I completely understand that under these circumstances it is easier to do nothing but from what I have read (and I have read both sides of the argument I think the evidence strongly supports the the use of vaccines.
    And while it is easier to do nothing, I think the risks are too great. Children still die or suffer long term disability due to measles, mumps and rubella, even if they are living exceedingly healthy lives.

    ” What I think needs to happen is for us to be aware that science/medicine is evolving, and to not take no for an answer when we feel something is wrong or needs addressing, and question until we feel safe and informed, most of all listened to.”

    I completely agree. I think it is really important to ask questions of any expert.

  • Paxman: Well you have not recalled correctly and they only became court documents once the despicable Deer had tabled them .. Where did this man get what is confidential information .. you seem to be having difficulty .. let me help you out .. Deer got them from the medical sources who were also involved .. so much for confidentiality and privacy
    No. As discussed on another thread here (https://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2011/01/06/wakefield-studies-slammed-by-bmj/comment-page-2/#comments), the patient files were read into the public record in open court during the GMC hearing that saw Andrew Wakefield struck off. They are thus available to Brian Deer or anyone else who cares to read them. There is no conspiracy here, despite the fact that your statement suggests that you are looking for one.

    Midget: At the end of the day I feel that some scientist/medical types seem as just as dogmatic and defensive as the so called antivaxxers. Imop your just asking me to trust your facts over their facts – neither of which I have the knowledge or skill to do so.
    I see Michael’s got in ahead of me & said what I was thinking of too. And you’re right, not all scientists are necessarily particularly good at communicating about their work; those of us who post here are all too aware of that & do our best to counter it.

  • A nice summary of the topic Siouxie. Please forgive me for adding my own slightly verbose 2c
    How very sad for Chace and his family. Of course to summarise the shock and mourning of their previously well child that this family must now be experiencing as ‘sad’ sells it short a long way. To want to search for answers as to why something so terrible happens is natural. To have distrust for a medical system that just made a mistake is also natural. I am sure that an internet search while the family were at their most vulnerable has not helped in their tendency to grab hold of the HPV vaccine as cause.

    But not only are they almost certainly wrong (there goes that scientific ambiguity again). But how much more hurt must they be to be attaching blame around a situation like this. They may have anger towards the nurse, doctor and manufacturers involved but even more so to themselves for trusting them. This unnecessary hurt compounding what is probably the worst time in this families life grinds my gears.

    Some extra info. Acute myeloid leukaemia has an incidence of around 9/million children under 4 in the United States. This makes it a pretty uncommon cancer type, roughly 10% of childhood leukaemias in the age group. Survivability is improving with time as more tuned and aggressive treatments become possible (for example with better supportive care in specialised hospital units).
    Just how plausible is it for a vaccine like this to cause cancer? How can we weigh this against the unsatisfying notion that one thing happened after the other yet they were unrelated (like when I turn on the cricket and we so quickly lose a wicket). In 2006 there were roughly 7% of the population under the age of 4 (NZ Census), thats 280 000 kids. So we should expect 2.5 or 2-3 cases per year on average in New Zealand. This seems about right to me, from my limited experience.
    One paper looked at leukaemias in NZ recorded in the NZ cancer registry and reported 182 cases of leukaemia over 10 years in children less than 4. That’s 18.2 / year, AML incidence in the age group was not reported but is expected to be around 11%, so again about 2 cases.
    (http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CDUQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonlinelibrary.wiley.com%2Fdoi%2F10.1002%2Fajh.20355%2Fpdf&ei=TZGjTZacF5T4swPJvsn5DA&usg=AFQjCNEr-CRnexPBfC24sAX7_gewFo32OA)

    So we have a pretty uncommon disease, but not one we do not expect to see.
    How are cancers caused then? Cancers are genetic diseases. This doesn’t mean that they are all inherited (though a tendency to have certain types of cancer certainly can be and often is to greater or lesser degrees). The genes in a cell provide instructions to the cell controlling important things such as growth rate and their willingness to stick and cooperate with other cells. Genetic mutations altering those sorts of genes can lead the cell to break the rules – divide out of control and form a cancer. A few instructions often have to be broken in order to cause this to happen, but once a few occur, a mini-evolution can occur favouring more and more broken cells, enhancing their ability to get around and wreak havoc. But what breaks these genes? Lots of things can do this actually, and it happens all the time, it’s just that we have repair mechanisms that mostly fix them. But viruses that insert themselves into the DNA, ionising radiation that breaks it, chemicals that damage them e.g those in cigarette smoke, irritants that cause cells to change type and many other things can get the process started. With cervical cancer, HPV causes changes in cell type at the cervix and genetic changes that lead to cancer. The virus infects those cells, and it is the effect of its own DNA that cause the changes. The Gardasil vaccine has no DNA, it cannot have these long term effects, the empty husk of a virus is injected, the immune system has its appropriate reaction and the virus particles eventually are broken down and lost.
    A medical error has occurred which should not occur, however it (almost certainly) has nothing to do with Chace later developing AM leukaemia. It is an awful illness to have struck this family. But they need to rally with their child, forgive the blame that they have misplaced, particularly any they might have taken on board themselves and get out of the spotlight of the anti-vaccine vultures who are already circling. Time the family waste on this issue, is time that could have been better spent with their boy.

  • @Ben
    Wonderfully written and explained succinctly in terms I can understand.
    I have two questions if someone will indulge me:
    1. What is the chance that a bit of virus (deprogrammed virus?) with a bit of virus dna accidently got into the mix? Again apologies if this is an impossible scenario, I am a layman here.
    2. Is there anything else in the soup (sorry only analogy I feel comfortable with) that is in a vaccine that could/may/maybe interfere with a cell/any cells ability to function and do their job correctly?
    With humble thanks

  • 1. What is the chance that a bit of virus (deprogrammed virus?) with a bit of virus dna accidently got into the mix? Again apologies if this is an impossible scenario, I am a layman here.

    Exceptionally unlikely. (If I had time I’d dig up a reference that explains how these vaccines are made. They’re made with stringent specifications to have very low levels of ‘extra stuff’.) Furthermore, the amount matters too. If a teeny bit did get in, it’d very unlikely to have any practical effect. (Dosage matters.)

    2. Is there anything else in the soup (sorry only analogy I feel comfortable with)

    There’s no need for an analogy – just call it a mixture.

    a vaccine that could/may/maybe interfere with a cell/any cells ability to function and do their job correctly?

    Ignoring details and looking more broadly, affecting a few cells in the body isn’t going to do any harm. You have thousands of cells in you dying in any one minute. (Your body creates new cells all the time, several billion a day; a similar number die each day.)

    I’m being lazy, not looking up the specific numbers myself, but this post-doc scientist estimates around 200,000 to 3,000,000 cells are lost (die) in an adult body per second:

    http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2001-02/981770369.An.r.html

    (Bear in mind that’s, as he put it only: “one cell out of every 40-50 million”.)

  • So to take Grant’s comments a bit further – it is possible, but very highly unlikely, that either of your scenarios could happen.

    They aren’t ‘wrong’ scenarios, incidentally – what you’re asking is the sort of question that medical scientists, perhaps, would be asking themselves all the time. Their eventual decisions would be made on the basis of the balance of probabilities. That’s the kicker for science, for many people I think – that we can’t give a categorical ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in answer to a question, we just attach probabilities. That may come across as vacillation or uncertainty, but in fact it’s being truthful.

  • Thanks you both, Grant and Alison for your explanations, they do make things a lot clearer in one sense.
    I think being a non scientist, and faced with descisions that essentially require us to put our faith in professionals in the one point of failure that most, myself included, can often not surmount.
    Apart from personal experience with a product that is considered (and advertised as) safer than house dust yet contains a biosoluble ingredient that has a MSDS sheet that reads like an “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” sign, and other bits of information and experiences I have shared here, trust is probably the hardest thing to muster when faced with descisions like these.
    My policy of question, question and more questions, often shuts more doors than it opens in my personal experience here (NZ that is), and one wonders that with recent press regarding the arsenic levels in rice based baby food, that perhaps the scientific community is losing credibility due to bad reporting and industry cowbows (I use the term loosely I am pretty sure there aren’t fly by night scientists whose opinions are for sale to the highest bidder-at least I should say I hope not). Perhaps what is needed is postive PR for the Scientific community, and clear concise counter information to those seemingly outlandish claims. Then again as Alison put it ” That’s the kicker for science, for many people I think – that we can’t give a categorical ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in answer to a question, we just attach probabilities. That may come across as vacillation or uncertainty, but in fact it’s being truthful.” is what society has been led to believe is infallible is essentially descisions and choices made on the balance of probabilities, when what we choose to believe (and again or have been cleverly marketed to perhaps) is that the science works end of story, which personal experience has taught me otherwise.
    I think we have a long way to come in terms of what is expected and what is reality, I think given the current dramatic sensationalist climate that thrives on failures, whilst relegating the successes to a forgotten corner, has gone on too long. As with any people, exposing them constantly to fear based reporting has only compounding negative effects, whilst it reinforces the incumbent power structure, it does little for the mindset of the general population in terms of openly and freely moving humanity forward, nor does it foster an environment of trust and assurance with anyone in a position of authority,education or power. Thanks.

  • As an “informed parent” after Gardasil had seriously damaged my daughter, I have found absolutely no evidence that Gardasil is effective and safe. No scientific proof whatsoever, zilch, zero and we will never find such proof because it does not exist. What I have found is truly scary. Who is behind Merck? Who makes all the decisions behind vaccines and their distribution? From the mouth of Bill Gates which you can find on Youtube that vaccines are a form of population control.
    This family needs to continue with their fight like all the rest of us who have vaccine injured children. Gardasil is poison and that is all it is. No scientist or anyone in the medical establishment will agree (publicly) that Gardasil causes serious side effects as there is far too much money involved as well as their jobs so I can’t see answers being given to yet another very sad case other than the usual jargon and brush off.

  • No evidence? Not here? Or here? There are certainly published scientists who have argued that the benefits of Gardasil aren’t sufficient to outweigh the risks (and here I would defer to actual scientists who know more about the comparative weight of research, rather than what I can google in 10 minutes). That’s not to say it’s ineffective poison.

  • West by North West: when what we choose to believe (and again or have been cleverly marketed to perhaps) is that the science works end of story
    I think you have put your finger on part of the problem – how science is presented in the media (I’ve written quite a bit about this, as have others here on Sciblogs). A related issue may be that often non-science (nonsense?) is presented with a science-y veneer that can look quite convincing if you aren’t aware of the actual science involved. It can be quite hard to tell if you’re hearing accurately about a science-based claim, or not. (This is one of the reasons why Sir Peter Gluckman is suggesting a sort of science-for-citizens focus as part of science education in this country.)

  • From the mouth of Bill Gates which you can find on Youtube that vaccines are a form of population control.
    Unfortunately that is another example of quoting someone out of context. (The quote’s been described as a ‘short excerpt’ from a TED talk by Gates.) What he was saying, as part of a wider discussion around the current pressures placed on our environment by a growing population, was that vaccination might result in a decline in population growth because, if people realised that they would lose fewer children to vaccine-preventable diseases, they might have fewer children to begin with.

  • I find this all very refreshing, well ordered back and forth, so my next question is without dallying here too much longer, how do I get my questions answered? Is there some type of forum here? Or way of starting a conversation? or better still continuing one? I do not want to take up too much of your time, as it is one of our most precious gifts in this life, but I do thoroughly enjoy getting actual reasoned factual answers.Thanks

  • how do I get my questions answered?

    You’ve already had several answered – what are you on about?

    For what it’s worth, I was going to add to Alison’s reply to your earlier comment, but now I feel disinclined to.

  • West by NorthWest – I would say just keep on asking questions here. We’ve got a good conversation going back & forth, so why not stay here (always assuming Siouxsie doesn’t close the thread – please can we stay longer, Siouxsie?) & keep ‘talking’? Alternatively, I wouldn’t mind setting up an ‘open thread’ as a place to continue – just as long as you’re happy that I definitely won’t know all the answers LOL; hopefully others here would chime in occasionally. I’ve always been keen to get that sort of thing running, but it does take at least two people to kick it off 🙂 Depends where you’d feel more comfortable, I guess.

  • @ Grant
    I am sorry I was not trying to appear ungrateful, I have many questions that remain unanswered (a quick re-read will illustrate this clearly). But if you don’t feel compelled to indulge my other questions, I would like to say thankyou for your insight and I sincerely appreciate the time you have taken to answer some of questions that have bothered me for some time without a clear answer, which you have shed a great deal of light on.
    @ Alison
    Thanks well I can try and keep going here, or not to hijack this topic perhaps an open one might be more appropriate either way I am grateful for the opportunity.

  • W-by-NW,

    Excuse if my previous reply is wide of the mark, but your earlier comment is totally confusing. You might want to clarify just what you mean.

    For example, you say both that you’re happy with the conversation, but want to know how to have one. And that you would like your questions answered, but several people (e.g. Alison and me) already have offered replies.

    While I’m writing, the links in the article I pointed to in my reply to ‘Midget’ (in an earlier comment) might be of use to you, too.

  • Whoops, my comment cross-posted – sorry.

    (I didn’t read back to earlier comments – that’s common in blogs, esp. if you arrive late to something – as I remarked in my first comment on this thread, I was elsewhere when Siouxsie put her article up.)

  • West by North West – OK, I will post an ‘open’ thread; if you’d like to come across there (so as not to hi-jack this one) then you’re very welcome. I’d be particularly keen to continue the thing we started on how we perceive science as that’s a particular interest of mine, but other topics are cool too.
    I think Trouble’s link (above) & also those Grant posted earlier, are worth following, too, for the vaccination side of things.

  • […] Over at Siouxsie’s we’ve been talking about the science around vaccination, but also began a bit of a discussion around how science is perceived & presented. Because this is a particular interest of mine, I thought it might be useful to start another thread rather than sidetrack things at Infectious Thoughts. So – all yours 🙂 (& it would be really cool if people who regularly read this blog, but don’t comment, could maybe get involved in discussion; it would be so good to ’see’ you here!) […]

  • @Trouble
    I have been down that avenue, and the response including information given, was less than noteworthy. My questions relate to the mechanics and understanding how with no prior history we have ended up with the result we have given the timing. My critique of government departments is that often what they are set up to do is not often what they achieve especially when customer/public facing. Case in point today I tried finding out who to advise about a certain insulation product marketed as safer than dust with bio soluable ingredients that caused an anaphalaxic response in our four month old. I had to call and was transferred no less than 19 times!!!! and the end of that result is I will try again tomorrow. I don’t think I am in isolation when it comes to this experience.
    @ Grant
    I was hoping I didn’t offend you in any way, I am the inquisitive type and relish the chance to engage with those more knowledgable, and again as stated previously don’t get the chance to do so. It seems I have contradicted myself, allow me to clarify, I am enjoying the back and forth, but fear I am hijacking this authors blog, so I was wondering how to continue without upsetting the apple cart. Thanks