Dear parents, you’re STILL being lied to (rebuttal to Jennifer Raff’s unsupported pro-vaccination claims)

*Update* This article has gotten almost 100,000 views since it’s original publication and has inspired a huge number of comments that I can no longer keep up with (as this is primarily a personal and family-oriented blog, I don’t allow uncensored comments.)  While I appreciate the discussion this article has brought about, I have chosen to turn off comments for now, as most (if not all) of what is currently being said has already been said.  As always, I encourage parents to do their own research on this subject!  Thank you!

 http://consciouslifestyles.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/vaccine-baby-cry.jpgIn 1994, a song written by a jam band called Blues Traveler came out and was played in clubs and on radios across the nation.  It made the top ten charts and remains one of the most memorable songs from the 1990’s.  That song was entitled Hook and the lyrics of the song assert that even if what a singer sings about is effectively meaningless, listeners will keep coming back to it so long as it’s articulated in a way that makes listeners feel “some inner truth of vast reflection” is being conveyed.  Most listeners didn’t even pay attention to the lyrics, but sang along anyway.  Well, folks, that’s exactly what’s been happening recently with an article on vaccinations that’s been making the rounds lately.  Welcome to information age, where a blog post can be shared all over cyberspace and receive over 10,000 “likes” on facebook and say very little that is actually useful.

Entitled “Dear parents, you are being lied to,” Jennifer Raff lists all the vaccination-related arguments she’s heard over the years from (presumably) those who choose not to vaccinate (she simply addresses a collective “they.”)  What makes this article so appealing is that she doesn’t bog us down with details.  She simply lists her points statement-rebuttal style and includes a few links to her pro-vaccination statements.  The problem with this is that when you take the time to dig down into the details, you soon realize she’s wrong.  By exaggerating the information cited in each argument, she makes what is (judging by the popularity of the article) an apparently compelling argument to those unwilling to dig deeper, but is essentially a straw man once the surface is scratched.  In some cases, she uses studies from countries as far away as Bangladesh and Scandinavia to prove the efficacy of vaccinations and includes illnesses and deaths due to diseases found nowhere on the recommended childhood vaccination schedule to show that the message against vaccines is having “dire consequences.”  In other cases, she links to articles that have absolutely nothing to do with the points she’s trying to make.  Like many such arguments, she sets up a very clear “us” vs. “them” theme and attempts to draw black-and-white conclusions from what is, essentially, a very gray area.  No matter which way you look at it, this article, although written by a scientist, is not scientific.

Raff’s article and the popularity it has gained make it glaringly obvious that we simply don’t pay attention.  If someone writes an article claiming something as “fact” and adds a reference at the end, we don’t bother checking the reference.  Rather than study information for ourselves, the vast majority of us essentially want others to take responsibility for our safety – especially in the areas of food and medicine.  If the FDA says it’s safe and effective then we believe it’s safe and effective no-questions-asked.  The reality that Raff ignores is that this debate is not about the  “pro-vaccine” camp vs. the “anti-vaccine” camp, it’s about evaluating what our children need, and determining who gets to answer that question.  Does the government get to decide what our children need, or do parents get to decide, based on the research available to them?  Do we, as parents, sacrifice our responsibility to think on the altar of science’s ability to make stuff?  Should we be required to take what the government, the FDA and the CDC hand to us, simply because it’s offered?  Or should parents exercise their right to examine research on their own and choose methods of care for their children according to what they believe is best?

Below, I have gone through Raff’s article in its entirety, point by point, revealing the details that she has neglected to give us and including information that is glaringly absent from her article.  To the best of my ability, I have quoted only articles written by the CDC, FDA, pro-vaccine websites/publications, and articles whose facts can be easily verified.

Raff’s information is grouped according to subject and presented in blue.  Quotes are indented.

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Claim:
Illness is dangerous!
People could DIE!

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  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS OUTBREAKS OF MEASLES ARE ON THE RISE

“In light of recent outbreaks of measles and other vaccine preventable illnesses, and the refusal of anti-vaccination advocates to acknowledge the problem, I thought it was past time for this post.”

“Recent outbreaks” according to the linked article: 189 (out of roughly 300,000,000) people in 2013. 

To put this in perspective, that’s 1 out of every 1,500,000 (1) in the United States.  That’s hardly an epidemic.

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT NOT VACCINATING PUTS OUR CHILDREN’S LIVES AT RISK

“You are being lied to. The people who claim to be acting in the best interests of your children are putting their health and even lives at risk.”

“At risk” according to the linked article: an interactive map from weather.com that shows “vaccine preventable” outbreaks around the world.

Number of outbreaks in the US since 2008, according to the article:

Whooping Cough: a whole bunch (more on this later)
Mumps: 3726
Measles: 663
Chicken Pox: 141
Tetanus: 3
Rubella: 0
Polio: 0
Diptheria: 0
Rotavirus: 0

Let’s consider this information for a moment.  First of all, this website deals with the total number of outbreaks across America – counting both adults and children.  Second of all, (putting aside whooping cough for a moment – more on that later), lets look at the disease with the most cases of illness – mumps.  Not only does the CDC admit that mumps outbreaks often occur in highly vaccinated communities, they also state that side effects from mumps are extremely rare.  If we consider the number of mumps outbreaks in the United States over a five year period we find that 1 in 400,000 (2) people in the United States are at risk for mumps each year.   1 in 400,000!  Every year! And the risk of contracting measles or chicken pox is even lower.  Is this really a “risk” I should be concerned with?

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT MEASLES IS A DEADLY DISEASE

“They say that measles isn’t a deadly disease.
But it is.”

According to the linked article:

– Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
– In 2012, there were 122 000 measles deaths globally – about 330 deaths every day or 14 deaths every hour.

Please note that both of these statistics deal with the global implications of measles.  When you factor in the poor diet and lack of sanitation often seen in third-world countries, it’s not surprising that the number of measles deaths are so high.

In the United States, however, the CDC estimates the death risk of measles to be 1-2 out of every 1,000 who get the disease (and only about 150 people per year even contract measles in the US!)  In fact, according to the CDC there has not been a single death in the United States from measles since 2003.  Calling measles “deadly” is like calling bunny rabbits “deadly” because they can spread tularemia.

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT CHICKEN POX CAN BE A “BIG DEAL”

“They say that chickenpox isn’t that big of a deal.
But it can be.”

From the linked article:

– Varicella (chickenpox) is a highly contagious disease that is very uncomfortable and sometimes serious.
– The number of people who get chickenpox each year as well as hospitalizations and deaths from chickenpox have gone down dramatically in the United States.

Since there’s not much information in the link provided to support her claim that chickenpox is “a big deal” I thought I’d do a little digging of my own:

– “In the pre-vaccine era, there were 3-4 million cases a year.  What people may not have realized, every year, about 105 people died of chickenpox.  About half of those were children.”

That’s a much better statistic.  So chickenpox at it’s very worst killed 50 children every year.  Depending on your definition of “big deal” that may support her claim… at least, it did a decade ago.  What’s interesting to me regarding this statistic is that even at its height, people were still more likely to die from drowning, choking or, if you happened to live in Africa, being mauled to death by a hippopotamus.  So is chickenpox a “big deal?”  Yes.  And so are hippopotamusses.

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THE FLU IS DANGEROUS

“They say that the flu isn’t dangerous.
But it is.”

I’m not sure if Raff linked to the wrong site here or what, but I couldn’t find anything on her link to show that the flu is dangerous.  However, I did some digging again on her behalf and here is what I found:

“The CDC reports that about 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year.”

The CDC also reports that how well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent flu illness) can range widely from season to season. The vaccine’s effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. “At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that flu vaccine will protect a person from flu illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated (such as their age and health), and 2) the similarity or ‘match’ between the flu viruses the flu vaccine is designed to protect against and the flu viruses spreading in the community. During years when the flu vaccine is not well matched to circulating viruses, it’s possible that no benefit from flu vaccination may be observed.”

The CDC also states that: “While the flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent the flu, protection can vary widely depending on who is being vaccinated (in addition to how well matched the flu vaccine is with circulating viruses).”

In other words, although the flu can cause serious complications in immune-compromised adults and children, vaccinating against the flu is a gamble, at best.

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS WHOOPING COUGH IS BAD FOR CHILDREN

“They say that whooping cough isn’t so bad for kids to get.
But it is.

I’m not even going to bother providing information from Raff’s link because while I agree that whooping cough is a serious disease and a threat to children in the United States, the whooping cough vaccination is not only ineffective (3) against whooping cough, but vaccinated children can actually spread the disease! Since that fact is worth repeating, here is the section of the FDA article in full (3):

“The FDA conducted the study in baboons, an animal model that closely reproduces the way whooping cough affects people. The scientists vaccinated two groups of baboons – one group with a whole-cell pertussis vaccine and the other group with an acellular pertussis vaccine currently used in the U. S. The animals were vaccinated at ages two, four, and six months, simulating the infant immunization schedule. The results of the FDA study found that both types of vaccines generated robust antibody responses in the animals, and none of the vaccinated animals developed outward signs of pertussis disease after being exposed to B. pertussis. However, there were differences in other aspects of the immune response. Animals that received an acellular pertussis vaccine had the bacteria in their airways for up to six weeks and were able to spread the infection to unvaccinated animals. In contrast, animals that received whole-cell vaccine cleared the bacteria within three weeks.
This research suggests that although individuals immunized with an acellular pertussis vaccine may be protected from disease, they may still become infected with the bacteria without always getting sick and are able to spread infection to others, including young infants who are susceptible to pertussis disease.”

In light of this, I have to ask… whose children are putting whose “at risk?”

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Claim:
Medical science holds the answers
and vaccines protect us

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  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT VACCINES ARE EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING DISEASE

“They say that vaccines aren’t that effective at preventing disease.
But 3 million children’s lives are saved every year by vaccination, and 2 million die every year from vaccine-preventable illnesses.”

From the linked article:

“With regard to past evidence, several data from the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries show that the widespread use of smallpox vaccination starting at the beginning of the nineteenth century resulted in a marked and sustained decline not only of smallpox-related deaths, but also of the overall crude death rate, and contributed greatly to an unprecedented growth of European population. As to the present, it is estimated that 3 million children are saved annually by vaccination, but 2 million still die because they are not immunized. Tetanus, measles and pertussis are the main vaccine-preventable killers in the first years of life. Data from Bangladesh show that full implementation of EPI vaccines has the potential of reducing mortality by almost one half in children aged 1-4 years.”

I won’t argue whether vaccines have saved the lives of children in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Europe, and Bangladesh, but I still question their needfulness in the United States today.  Consider, for instance, the fact that the mortality rates (4) of many childhood illnesses were well on the decline BEFORE vaccines were introduced:

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But even putting this aside, is it possible that vaccines are helpful at certain times, in certain circumstances, and not in others?   Are there any immunizations that “science” comes up with that people in the United States should consider not taking?  Consider, for a moment, vaccinations against yellow fever and typhoid.  Adding them to the vaccine schedule would be akin to advising every United States Citizen to dig a well in their back yard in order to get clean water.  Although much-needed in some countries, it’s just not necessary here.  Is it possible that we’re still vaccinating for illnesses we don’t need to vaccinate for?  What are the criteria for determining when a vaccination is no longer necessary?  At what point is enough enough and who gets to make that decision?

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT VACCINES ARE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE CAN DO TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN

“The truth is that vaccines are one of our greatest public health achievements, and one of the most important things you can do to protect your child.”

Aside from the fact that it’s well documented (as Jennifer Raff herself admits) that vaccines aren’t 100% effective, I absolutely agree with Raff that vaccines can save lives.  The next time I’m headed to Africa, I may very well inoculate myself against Yellow Fever and Typhoid.  The question I have to ask myself as a parent is: which vaccines should I subject my children to?  I mean, I could vaccinate them against yellow fever even before our next safari, but is there a good enough reason to?  Likewise, is there a good enough reason to vaccinate infants against the sexually transmitted disease hepititus B, or two-month olds against tetanus?  Is there a good enough reason to inoculate children against measles, which adversely effects only 63 (out of 74,000,000) children each year and hasn’t taken a life since 2003, or chickenpox which at it’s heyday was killing less children each year than accidental drowning?  What about mumps, a disease the CDC admits has a very low complication rate, or the flu which vaccines are only sporadically effective against?  That’s a question every parent must answer for themselves.

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT NATURAL INFECTION DOESN’T WORK AS WELL AS VACCINATIONS

“They say that “natural infection” is better than vaccination.
But they’re wrong.”

The study Raff linked to here has NO information whatsoever as to whether natural infection is better than vaccination!!!  Instead, it briefly mentions “measles parties” and goes on to describe the symptoms and complications of measles.

Interestingly enough, however, I did find the following information on a different page the author herself linked to:

“Research shows that people respond better to some types of risks than others. Natural risks (such as infections for which there are no vaccines) are better tolerated than manmade risks (such as vaccine side effects).”

Hmmmm…

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT NATURAL AND ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES DON’T WORK AS WELL AS SCIENCE-BASED MEDICINES

“They say that ‘natural’, ‘alternative’ remedies are better than science-based medicine.
They aren’t.”

First of all, the article linked to specifically deals with natural treatments for autismThere is nothing in this article refuting the benefits of alternative remedies for any other illness, including those we currently vaccinate for.  To link to this article as a statement that ‘natural’ and ‘alternative’ remedies don’t work is irrational at best, deceptive at worst.

To use an example she herself uses, how does Raff explain the antibodies present in breast milk, that act as nature’s own vaccinations and will, in fact, reduce the efficacy of medical vaccinations if “natural remedies” don’t work?  Maybe we should eliminate breast milk and give them something scientifically formulated instead.  Oh wait… we did that, and it killed our kids.

Furthermore, if Raff is going to deny the effectiveness of natural remedies vs. “science-based medicine,” I’d love for her to explain the placebo effect which utilizes sugar pills as a “remedy.”  In some cases, these placebos actually work better than scientific remedieseven when patients are told they are taking a placebo!   To state that natural and alternative remedies don’t work is not only entirely false, but also completely disregards the brain-body connection.

 

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Claim:
Vaccines are safe

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  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT VACCINES ARE RIGOROUSLY TESTED

“They say that vaccines haven’t been rigorously tested for safety.
But vaccines are subjected to a higher level of scrutiny than any other medicine. For example, this study tested the safety and effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine in more than 37,868 children.”

Considering that prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in America, and that over 100,000 people die every year from adverse reactions to prescription drugs, the fact that the vaccines are “subjected to a higher level of scrutiny than any other medicine” doesn’t inspire much confidence.

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  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT SEVERE SIDE-EFFECTS FROM VACCINES ARE RARE

“They will say that doctors won’t admit there are any side effects to vaccines.
But the side effects are well known, and except in very rare cases quite mild.”

Raff’s point here is that the known side effects of vaccinations are mild except in rare cases.  I counter that the complications due to vaccine-preventable diseases are mild except in very rare cases.  Should we put our children at risk for complications due to vaccinations to prevent the possibility of risk due to illness? 

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT VACCINES DON’T CAUSE AUTISM

“They say that the MMR vaccine causes autism.
It doesn’t. (The question of whether vaccines cause autism has been investigated in study after study, and they all show overwhelming evidence that they don’t.)”

I’d be interested to know who funded those studies… here is a list of over 80 studies that show otherwise (5):

No Evidence of any Link

They say that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism.
It doesn’t, and it hasn’t been in most vaccines since 2001 anyway.

See Here for information indicating otherwise (5)

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT ALUMINUM FOUND IN VACCINES IS NOT HARMFUL

“They say that the aluminum in vaccines (an adjuvant, or component of the vaccine designed to enhance the body’s immune response) is harmful to children.
But children consume more aluminum in natural breast milk than they do in vaccines, and far higher levels of aluminum are needed to cause harm.”

First of all, lets consider that in the study Raff cites, the amount of aluminum present in breastmilk was determined by taking multiple samples over the course of four months and ranged from 0.004 mg to 2.67 mgNow lets consider that according to the recommended vaccination schedule, a child will get 29 doses of a vaccine before the age of six, each dose of which contains anywhere from .17 mg to .85mg of aluminum.  This means that, taking only the very lowest numbers of aluminum present in vaccines (4.93,) children are injected with twice the amount of aluminum as that present in the very lowest numbers of breastmilk (.012 over the course of a year.)

Secondly, allow me speculate for a moment on the safety of aluminum in vaccines by asking a question to you gardeners out there…

Which is better for the soil, NPK fertilizer or compost?  While it’s a pretty well-known fact that healthy soil includes nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, it’s an equally well-known fact that if you extract those three elements and introduce them into soil on their own, you actually destroy the soil.  This begs the question… does the method of delivery of certain substances effect the reaction to the element being delivered, and the consequences thereof?  What else is there in breastmilk that effects how an infant’s body reacts to aluminum?   Show me how vaccines are like breast milk in ways other than the aluminum content and I’ll be much more likely to consider them “safe.”

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT VACCINES HAVE NEVER BEEN PROVEN HARMFUL

“They say that the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (and/or the “vaccine court”) proves that vaccines are harmful.
It doesn’t.”

Agreed… correlation does not equal causation.  That’s true for both sides of the argument.

  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT THE NORMAL VACCINE SCHEDULE SHOULD BE FOLLOWED

“They say that the normal vaccine schedule is too difficult for a child’s immune system to cope with.
It isn’t.”

Hat’s off to Raff as she makes another good point here and links to a website with actual scientific evidence to support her statementI am, however, curious as to what she’d say regarding the normal vaccine schedule in light of the fact that breastmilk has been shown to negatively impact the potency of vaccinations.  Should we delay vaccinating our children until we’re finished breastfeeding, or wean them early so that they can be “protected?”

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Claim:
If you don’t vaccinate your child,
my child will die.

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  • JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT UNVACCINATED CHILDREN ARE PUTTING EVERYONE ELSE’S CHILDREN AT RISK

 “They say that if other people’s children are vaccinated, there’s no need for their children to get vaccinated.

This is one of the most despicable arguments I’ve ever heard. First of all, vaccines aren’t always 100% effective, so it is possible for a vaccinated child to still become infected if exposed to a disease. Worse, there are some people who can’t receive vaccinations, because they are immune deficient, or because they are allergic to some component. Those people depend upon herd immunity to protect them. People who choose not to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases are putting not only their own children at risk, but also other people’s children.”

What does it mean to put someone “at risk?”  Am I endangering someone if I carry a gun?  The answer is yes.  Technically, I could shoot someone.  Should I give up a freedom because someone else is afraid it might hurt them?  Should I start making decisions regarding my own child’s health based on someone else’s fears and concerns?  Not only is the “risk” unvaccinated children pose statistically insignificant (I’m actually putting more children “at risk” by owning a bee hive than I am by not vaccinating my children,) but the logic behind this argument simply doesn’t make sense.

Let’s take that same logic and apply it in a few more ways…

FACT: Breastmilk inhibits the effectiveness of vaccines
FACT: Children who are not effectively vaccinated against disease can spread disease
CONCLUSION: Mothers should not breast feed their children

FACT: In the United States, most of the measles cases result from international travel.
FACT: Both vaccinated and unvaccinated children and adults can contract and spread measles
CONCLUSION: United States citizens should not travel to other countries

FACT: Children who are vaccinated against whooping cough contribute to the spread of whooping cough
FACT: Unvaccinated and vaccinated children can contract whooping cough from vaccinated children
CONCLUSION: Parents should stop vaccinating their children against whooping cough

(Personally, I think that last one is spot-on.)

And although I have tried not to use pro-vaccination websites to make any of my points, this article addresses the so-called “herd immunity” myth and is worth reading.

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Claim:
Non-vaccinators are lying bullies
who don’t know anything!

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“I can predict exactly the sort of response I will be getting from the anti-vaccine activists. Because they can’t argue effectively against the overwhelming scientific evidence about vaccines, they will say that I work for Big Pharma. (I don’t and never have). They will say that I’m not a scientist (I am), and that I’m an “Agent 666” (I don’t know what that is, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not one).”

I won’t accuse her of any of these things.  I will, however, accuse her of writing a biased, unscientific article with a myriad of references that have nothing to do with the points she tries to make.

“None of these things are true, but they are the reflexive response by the anti-vaccine activists because they have no facts to back up their position. On some level, deep down, they must understand this, and are afraid of the implications, so they attack the messenger.”

On the contrary, we are armed with the same types of information that the pro-vaccine side is armed with.  Incomplete studies, biased doctors and researchers and statistics that can show correlation but not causation.  What it all boils down to in the end is that we don’t know.  We don’t know what causes autism and we don’t know whether vaccines contribute.  We don’t know how frequent the adverse reactions to vaccines are, and we don’t know how effective they are against disease.  For every study “proving” one point, there is another “proving” the opposite.

“Why are they lying to you? Some are doing it for profit, trying to sell their alternative remedies by making you afraid of science-based medicine. I’m sure that many others within the anti-vaccine movement have genuinely good intentions, and do honestly believe that vaccines are harmful. But as a certain astrophysicist recently said “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it”. In the case of vaccine truthers, this is not a good thing. Good intentions will not prevent microbes from infecting and harming people, and the message that vaccines are dangerous is having dire consequences. There are outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses now throughout the United States because of unvaccinated children.”

We’ve already covered some of the “dire consequences” of not vaccinating children, but here is another faulty link from Raff.    The link takes you to an “anti-vaccine body count” listing the number of preventable illnesses and deaths from June 2007 to March 2014.  Among those listed include illnesses and deaths due to California serogroup virus disease, Eastern equine encephalitis virus disease, Powassan virus disease, St. Louis encephalitis virus disease, and Western equine encephalitis virus disease, among a host of other diseases found nowhere on the recommended childhood vaccination schedule.

The article she uses to cite “outbreaks” of vaccine-preventable diseases itself states:

“It’s true that we’ve yet to see measles outbreaks on a massive scale – what counts as a major outbreak, these days, is the 20 confirmed cases in New York City.

As for all those speaking out against vaccinations and attempting to make a profit… can we really use this as an attempt to discredit them?  After all, if we flip that argument around what does that say about the multi-billion dollar vaccine industry?

“In only one respect is my message the same as the anti-vaccine activists: Educate yourself. But while they mean “Read all these websites that support our position”, I suggest you should learn what the scientific community says. Learn how the immune system works. Go read about the history of disease before vaccines, and talk to older people who grew up when polio, measles, and other diseases couldn’t be prevented. Go read about how vaccines are developed, and how they work. Read about Andrew Wakefield, and how his paper that claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism has been withdrawn, and his medical license has been revoked. Read the numerous, huge studies that have explicitly examined whether autism is caused by the vaccine…and found nothing. (While you’re at it, read about the ongoing research to determine what IS the cause—or causes —of autism, which is not helped by people continuing to insist that vaccines cause it).”

I agree that every parent should research this for themselves and I am convinced that two people can do the same amount of research and come away with completely different opinions as to whether they should vaccinate their children. AND THAT’S OKAY. Parents have to make the decisions they feel most comfortable with. But scare-tactics such as those in this article don’t help parents to make informed decisions and it’s unfortunate that this article has gained so much ground among parents.

“That may seem like a lot of work, and scientific papers can seem intimidating to read. But reading scientific articles is a skill that can be mastered. Here’s a great resource for evaluating medical information on the internet, and I wrote a guide for non-scientists on how to read and understand the scientific literature. You owe it to your children, and to yourself, to thoroughly investigate the issue. Don’t rely on what some stranger on the internet says (not even me!). Read the scientific studies that I linked to in this post for yourself, and talk to your pediatricians. Despite what the anti-vaccine community is telling you, you don’t need to be afraid of the vaccines. You should instead be afraid of what happens without them.”

I agree that you should do the research for yourself.  And unlike Jennifer Raff, I believe that the research supports BOTH sides of the vaccination argument and that it’s up to every parent to evaluate the risks and decide for themselves.  Yes, it will be a lot of work, just as it’s been a lot of work to check out all of Raff’s references and discover that over half of them have been used to exaggerate her claims or have little to do with the information she has given us.  But it’s worth it.

 

Whew!  I’m exhausted, what about you?  To bring this full circle and hopefully help you end with a smile – here is a song for your enjoyment … and research verifying my claims! 😉

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Addendum

For parents who wish to do more research on this subject, here is a list of questions my husband and I asked when we were deciding on this issue for ourselves:

1. What are the diseases the CDC tells me I need to vaccinate my children against?

2. How common are these diseases in the United States?

3. What are the possible complications of these diseases if contracted, and how often to the diseases lead to these complications?

4. What is the treatment for these diseases if contracted, and what is the success rate for the treatment?

5. How effective is the vaccine?

6. What are the possible complications and side-effects of the vaccine?

7. Do the benefits of the vaccinations outweigh the risks of possible complications due to the vaccine?

All of the information needed to answer these questions is available through the FDA,  CDC and other “reputable” sources and once we know the answers, we’re better able to weigh the pros and cons of each vaccine. For anyone else looking into the issue, I think that’s a good place to start.

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(1) Thank you to the person who pointed out my mathematical error… I had written 1 out of every 15,000,000 when it should have read 1 out of every 1,500,000.  It has since been corrected.

(2) 3,726 (number of outbreaks since 2008) divided by 5 (number of years [which is actually underestimated, since they also include part of 2004]) = 745 outbreaks each year.  Rounding the current US population (313,000,000) down to 300,000,000 means that an average of 745 out of 300,000,000 get the measles each year.  300,000,000 (number of people in the US) divided by 745 (number of people who get the measles each year) = one out of every 402,684 per year (I rounded down to 400,000)

(3) Ineffective:

– “During a pertussis outbreak in 2010–11 in California teens who had received four doses of the current vaccine were at almost six times more likely to get pertussis as those who had received four doses of the older preparation.” (source)
– “The bacteria responsible for whooping cough may be evolving into different strains, and the current vaccine can’t offer complete protection against these new strains, researchers report.” (source)
– Starting approximately three years after prior vaccine dose, attack rates markedly increased, suggesting inadequate protection or durability from the acellular vaccine. (source)

Baboon study:

Some have made the point that the baboons in this study became carriers of pertussis only after being exposed to the disease.  This is a valid point, but doesn’t change the facts that A. the vaccine has been shown to be highly ineffective (see references above) and B. those vaccinated against whooping cough can become carriers and spread the disease without knowing it, which even the FDA admits is a major flaw in the vaccine (one they are working to fix.)

(4)  Several people have made the observation that this chart references the mortality rates as a measure of vaccine effectiveness.  I have chosen to use it because Jennifer Raff’s link (which I was specifically addressing) also referenced the mortality rates of the diseases in an effort to prove that vaccines are effective (in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Bangladesh.) My response also deals with the mortality rates, with the difference being that I reference the mortality rates in the UNITED STATES. 
As for using the graph to question the needfulness of vaccines in the US today, my question is this:
If, once upon a time, people died from a vaccine-preventable disease because poor sanitation and poor nutrition made complications from that disease deadly but now, in addition to better sanitation and better nutrition, the use of antibiotics have made complications from this disease virtually nonexistent, should we still be vaccinating for the disease? Vaccines aren’t the only way to reduce mortality rates and it is my opinion that in some cases there may be BETTER ways to handle disease.

(5)  A commenter recently pointed out an article that addresses these studies and provides information in an attempt to debunk them.  That information can be found here for anyone who wants to dig into the research and come to their own conclusions, which – as the point of this entire article – I strongly encourage!

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Related Articles:

The 2013 Measles “Epidemic”

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Response to Dear parents you are being lied to
Rebuttal of Dear parents you are being lied to

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158 Responses to Dear parents, you’re STILL being lied to (rebuttal to Jennifer Raff’s unsupported pro-vaccination claims)

  1. Mohee says:

    You act so very knowledgable, you must know that someone who is a postdoctoral fellow with a joint PhD should be reffered to as “Dr. Raff”, NOT “Ms. Raff”. My only conclusion is that you are being deliberately rude or trying to downplay the amount of knowledge that Dr. Raff has on the subject matter she is addressing and attempting to cover the fact that she actually knows how to research a subject, unlike the vast majority of people out there who “have done their research” (googled for site that support their views).
    If this was an oversite on your part, and not deliberate rudeness or an attempt to mislead/discredit, you should correct it immediately.

    • Rina says:

      This was an oversight on my part, and I thank you for mentioning it. So as not to confuse her title with that of a medical doctor, I have chosen to change my address of her and simply write her name, without any title at all, which is also how she identifies herself on her blog.
      As to her knowledge and ability to research other subjects, I can only say that in this particular instance she has written an article using unsupported claims and exaggerated information in an attempt to prove her points and in some cases links to articles that have absolutely nothing to do with the points she’s trying to make. That is neither a reflection of knowledge on this particular subject nor good research.

      • Heikold says:

        The fact that you feel it appropriate to ignore the PHD of someone who has devoted their career to science whilst trying to brainwash people into ignoring their important message speaks volumes.

        If you had any kind of relevant academic qualification yourself, which would mean that you opinion was anything but worthless, then you would understand how insulting they way that you approached this.

        All you are doing is trying to shout your ignorance over the voices of those who know what they’re talking about. Yes, you’ve read a few websites with four different fonts on their main page and a black background. Yes, you’ve watched a few Youtube videos put to a catchy song. That does not make you a scientist and that does not make you informed.

        Stick to forcing stupid opinions on people that won’t kill anybody. Like the whole Jesus thing.

      • Rina says:

        Heikold, the fact that Jennifer Raff holds a PhD in anthropological genetics does not make her an expert on childhood illnesses or vaccinations, nor does it magically make her article scientific or factual. If you’re willing to take the time to check on her research, it doesn’t take a PhD to figure it out.

      • Noah Gooding says:

        304 measles cases so far this year, the most in 18 years. 189 was for 2013.

  2. Dr. Kim says:

    It’s scary that Raff represents those who people trust in the medical community. yikes! Thank you Rina, for pointing out the obvious to anyone who campb recognize a smear
    campaign when they see one.

    • Rina says:

      Thank you, Dr. Kim. I really do believe that there is evidence to support BOTH sides of the argument, depending on where your concerns lie, but the media is filled with information purposefully exaggerated to slant one way or another and I think parents get really bogged down in all of that. My goal in writing it was to expose some of the truths behind what is often said about vaccinations and vaccine-preventable diseases and give parents more information from which to decide for themselves, and hopefully I’ve been successful in that. Thank you for your support and for your comment.

  3. Amy Teets says:

    Rina,
    Thank you for this post. Thank you! For taking the time!
    My 9.5 years of experience investigating, researching, questioning, crying, being fearful, and lied to….. It never ceases to amaze me that “anti-vax” parents / community are always striving to explain and show as much proof as possible to support the thinking / decision not to vaccinate. And for all of us “Anti-Vax” parents, the decision isn’t whether or not to vaccinate. The question is, is this safe for my child?” The Medical profession, and “pro-vax” community as a whole in my experience lack in the support / proof to back up their fear based wordings. Sadly, most* won’t even consider that “what they are taught”, might not be quite the truth. As with most issues today, any potential unrest about any issue including vaccination is stricken down with a partial truth that too often induces fear. Even sadder, the vast majority of those I’ve encountered won’t even consider questioning their children’s doctors. They look at you like you are the disease for doing so.
    I once was that mom. You want to “be able to trust” in your medical professionals. Yet, it wasn’t listening to the two pediatricians argue over “which” vaccine may have cause seizures for my daughter, or the lethargy that snapped me out of my shock, and fear of her reaction…. it took a specialist at the children’s hospital to say, “You really should investigate the increase in the vaccination schedule – and reaction rate before you go further with any vaccinations”.

    Anyways…. Sincerely I thank you.

    Amy

    • Rina says:

      Wow, Amy, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry that your daughter had to go through that, and I’m so glad that parents like you are starting to put two and two together and share their stories. How is your daughter now?

      • Amy says:

        She is well, very well.
        You know I often think about the fact that my two oldest;
        15: Asthma, food allergies, migraines (Vaccinated)
        18: Anxiety, bowel disorder, food sensitives (Vaccinated)
        have issues that are commonly related or thought to be related to vaccines, while my (Except for that first series) UN-vaccinated 9 year old is so very healthy.

        After her reaction we worked with a homeopath; heavy metal detoxing and supplementing to support her immune system. She is rarely sick. And when she does catch a cold the recoup time is a fraction of the time in comparison to my other kids.

        I see, and have lived both ends of this subject. Vaccinated who seem to have had no “reaction” but have issues said to be related to vaccination – yeah………….. it makes me sigh every day. Did I do this to my kids???
        And UN-vaccinated, after the reaction…. healthy.

        I don’t wish that… a reaction on any parent OR child. You can always choose to selectively or completely vaccinate, or not at all. The choice SHOULD be to educate yourself, for your children’s best welfare. But for the vast majority, the damage from vaccination doesn’t get “fixed”. Every little body has a unique make up. Each one can take stress, toxins, etc. on an individual level differently. They aren’t clones.

        Educate, Educate… educate… educate…. then make a choice. An educated choice.

      • Rina says:

        I am very, very glad to hear that about your daughter!

    • Tiffany says:

      First off i enjoyed this article. I am a mother of four daugters, my oldest two are twins and we’re vaccinated on schedule like i was told to. My daugters were normal functioning infants till they were a year old, i got them their one year old shots and my world was flipped upside down. It was like a light switch with in a week they could no longer walk or talk. All they did was scream. At their one year shots i over heard a nurse say how much did they weight again AFTER the shots have been giving, she said oh, oh well they have their shots. My twins weighted only 13 to 14 lbs at a year old. Not till they were 2 did they weight 20 lbs, not premature either they had sensitive tummies and could not hold down formula at all and i didn’t make milk due to a medical problem but i tried. So they were just small kids still are at 8 years old. But do i believe something happened that day yes. So i started my research when i had my now 5 year old. Is he has gotten. 3 shots her whole life, she is the healthiest little girl if she is sick a max 6 hours. The only reason she missed 5 days of school this year was because pink eye kept going around the house. Now that i have a new baby that is now 1 who was born at home with a midwife on purpose, who has had no vaccines at all. She is very healthy, she developed whooping cough at 2 and half months never once stepped foot in a hospital. I got her 02 stats checked often ed and 100 percent oxygen. Her doctor was amazed at how well she was doing, she never turned blue or had a bad time breathe, her coughing spells were often but she was doing great and playful..learned to say mama at three months. It has not stopped her growth. So MY families choice after research was this. My husband was not sure about it, so i said you do the research you come up with your own opinion. If it is different than mine than we can talk. I didn’t tell him where to go or what to read he formed his own opinion and agreed that not vaccinating was in OUR families best interest.

  4. Wonderful! Keep speaking the truth!

  5. “admit that mumps outbreaks often occur in highly vaccinated communities” this link isn’t working.

  6. Pingback: The 2013 Measles “Epidemic” | Rina Marie

  7. Michelle says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. I get that there are two sides to the argument and can understand both why someone might not want to vaccinate and then why someone like myself will still vaccinate. I appreciate that you have made it feel like more a choice rather than making one side or the other a monster for doing what we feel is right for our children. After all, in the end I believe you are right we do need to have that final say of what is best our child.

  8. Stephanie says:

    How would you respond to comments like this:
    “This is not to say that there are not legitimate reasons to refuse a promoted vaccination. For example, the medical community strongly urges all girls to get the HPV vaccine, which I think people should definitely be able to decline. But its important to consider that there is a massive difference between communicability of an STD and the communicability of an airborne disease. The measles is the latter, and even if it puts only a few people at risk, it is still unfair to those people to put them at risk because you are resistant to the government making you do anything that benefits someone else more than you”

    and:
    “I’m with you. Anything that puts a society at risk based off of what is essentially a personal preference is selfish and irresponsible”

    • Rina says:

      I would respond by sending them this article. 😉 No, seriously, considering the fact that many of these airborne diseases can be carried, spread and even ORIGINATE from vaccinated children, it can hardly be said that unvaccinated children are the cause of disease. And as I said in the article, not only is the “risk” that unvaccinated children pose statistically insignificant but I can’t make decisions regarding my own child’s health based on someone else’s fears and concerns.

      • S Doc says:

        Excuse me? Can you link your last statement… that many of these airborne disease can be carried, spread and even originate from vaccinated children? I would hazard to state that is untrue, and that the reason any who are vaccinated have gotten the disease is because firstly, it’s not a guarantee that you are covered, and secondly, that the majority of the population are vaccinated so of course there are some who are vaccinated who will also get infected. However, if you discuss that statement in ratios, the number of vaccinated who become ill out of all who are vaccinated, versus the number of unvaccinated who become ill out of all who are unvaccinated, the reverse is true: you are at higher risk of become ill with a vaccine-preventable disease if you are unvaccinated or if you have not developed a response to a vaccine (which is why boosters exist and why we give MMR twice, to try to account for those who don’t take to the first shot, though this is a minority). You know, much of what you accuse the other author of, you are also guilty, especially in the last half of your blog.

      • Rina says:

        S Doc, it would appear that I don’t need to link my statement about diseases being carried spread and originating from unvaccinated children, as you yourself write “[vaccination is] not a guarantee that you are covered, and secondly, that the majority of the population are vaccinated so of course there are some who are vaccinated who will also get infected.”
        “Not a guarantee that you are covered” – means that you can contract, carry and spread the disease, even if you are vaccinated.
        “There are some who are vaccinated who will also get infected” – also means that you can contract, carry and spread the disease even if you are vaccinated.
        No one is denying the fact that you are more likely to become ill with a vaccine-preventable disease if you’re not vaccinated. My point is that unvaccinated children are not the only source of the disease, and (as was the case with the original polio vaccination) are often not even the PRIMARY source of disease.

  9. Dr C Mcrae says:

    I am so glad you wrote this. Please keep it up. I have been so angry since I saw the stupid article on Facebook and was thinking about writing something like this. But I’ve done it before and it made me so angry whilst writing it that I was almost sick – I didn’t have the courage to do it all over again. Actually I can live with people having different views. But it is the increasing threat of compulsion (in Europe) which makes my blood boil. They’re already at it in America and in Australia. They’d do well not to try to force their products on my 100% natural and healthy children.
    As you have stated, there are known risks associated with vaccines and the efficacy of the vaccines are known not to be 100% (there are documented cases of their manufacturers attempting to exaggerate their effectiveness though!) At the same time, there are ‘known unknowns’ about the dangers they pose to children (to quote an unsavoury character…). To know this last statement is true, we simply need to reflect on the fact that our best medical minds admit freely that they know very little about the brain, and they know very little about cancer, to name but two areas of study. So the effects present and future of vaccine ingredients on these (and other) areas are not known, and any honest person knows this.
    Whether it is wise then to inject a product into the bloodstream of your most precious asset when it is not 100% safe and not 100% effective is something only a parent can decide. Parents and parents only must be allowed to weigh up whether the risks of each disease justify such an act. If they have a daughter, they may also want to consider whether, when she becomes an adult, it will be better for her to have permanent immunity having had the disease as a child (and be able to pass this on to her child whilst it is feeding) or whether it will be better for her to have been vaccinated, not know for sure whether she is protected, and not be able to pass on immunity to her feeding child.
    Thanks again.

  10. Howard says:

    Rina,
    Thank you for providing a fairly non-bias look at this very controversial subject. Due to my chosen profession I have given up the right to refuse vaccinations and therefore I am constantly subjected to vaccination on at least an annual basis.While I continue in the career that i have chosen I will continue to be vaccinated. Once I retire though I will discontinue vaccinating for my self. There are vaccinations out there that have good cause and should be encouraged for people to receive especially before travel abroad. However I question many of Vaccines we try to push on our children today and I definitely question the ages that we are trying to do it at. Vaccines are like any other drug when used properly they can have great benefit when over used or used unnecessarily the benefit is lost and they become a problem rather than a solution.
    I believe that the United States is letting greed turn vaccination into a problem and letting it be less of a solution.

    • Mommacur1 says:

      I appreciate your post. I am currently on the fence about vaccinations for my 5 month old. I delayed all vaccines for my first two children but since then (3 years) there has been a lot more “talk” about it. Researching is soooo hard to do because there are so many opinions out there and I understand that the pharmaceutical companies are the ones doing most of the research. Ugh. I have not vaccinated my 5 month old yet. He is breastfed. I plan to vaccinate…just not sure when I feel comfortable. I haven’t met a pedi YET that will not push allll vaccines on the current recommended schedule. I refuse. But would love guidance on how/when/what. When should I start. Which ones are importance or more importance than others….I would love if you could recommended a good website or source of information that could help guide my decision making. I have already had to change pediatrician again because they would not continue to see my kids since I wouldn’t / didn’t keep them on the “right” vaccine schedule. Thank you in advance.

      • Rina says:

        Mommacur1, I would advise you to do what my husband and I did when we first started researching this issue. Look up every single disease listed on the vaccination schedule. Find out how prevalent the diseases are in our country, what the complications of those diseases are and how often they occur, how effective the vaccinations are against the diseases and how often children develop COMPLICATIONS due to the vaccines.

        As you begin studying the information out there, it will be beneficial to work the math a little differently than what is typically presented, as you’ll have a better understanding of what you’re dealing with. For instance, the CDC reports “There were 159 cases of measles in the United States from January 1 through August 24.” That sounds a lot scarier than saying “1 out of every 1,886,700 people in the US got the measles last year.” The CDC also reports that: “one to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States who get measles will die from the disease.” That sounds a lot scarier than saying “there hasn’t been a death from measles in over ten years.” And yet ALL of these statements are true. You’ll also find that on the package inserts, vaccine risks are listed in a percentage, usually less than 1 %, yet the risk of NOT vaccinating is listed in numbers. “X number of children died from x disease since such-and-such date.” When you do the math, the number of deaths is often statistically the SAME as the risk of harm by the vaccine but saying “X number of children died” carries a lot more power than saying “0.001% of the population.” So keep that in mind.

        Once you’ve done the research into every disease we rely on vaccinations to prevent, and done the research into the vaccinations that are supposed to prevent them, you’ll have a much more clear idea of which vaccinations (if any) you want to give your children, and which you would rather avoid.

  11. Anjali says:

    All your stats on “so few people getting these diseases” might be because of vaccination, ever thought of that? And saying other countries are different compared to the US is ridiculous. We’re all human.

    “What does it mean to put someone “at risk?”  Am I endangering someone if I carry a gun?  The answer is yes.  Technically, I could shoot someone.  Should I give up a freedom because it might hurt someone else?  Should I start making decisions regarding my own child’s health based on someone else’s fears and concerns?”
    This is disgustingly selfish and sickening. So you’d pollute a river, for example (yours was a ridiculous analogy, by the way; gun control is still a hugely debated issue!) because you shouldn’t “give up a freedom because it might hurt someone else”? What kind of a human being says that? We are part of a community. There is more than one of you.

    My main point is that doctors have spent years of their lives studying to be experts in this area. Why would anybody have the arrogance to think they know better off some studies they choose to interpret to serve themselves? And another thing for you conspiracy theorists, do you honestly have so little faith in the world and are so gullible to believe that EVERY SINGLE doctor/scientist involved with the “big pharma” are corrupt/ lying/looking for profit? Do you even know why most people go into research or medicine? To help people. Don’t push your mistrust of people on to others. Besides, just how many people do you think can keep a secret? There would be SOMEONE who would leak it out. Please, please, don’t be scared into believing they are killing people for money. That is fear-mongering. The only reason most of you are well and probably haven’t even witnessed a preventable disease is because your parents had you vaccinated. Don’t deny your children the same privilege.

    • Rina says:

      Anjali, I’ll say the same thing to you as I said to Heikold. I believe that there is evidence to support both sides of this argument, depending on where your concerns lie. The reason I wrote this article was not to push an “anti vaccination agenda,” but to point out where Jennifer Raff gets her conclusions wrong and present another side of the issue.

      Regarding my comments about giving up freedoms, my point is that the risks I’m supposedly exposing other children to are PERCEIVED risks – not real ones (just as my carrying a gun would be PERCEIVED as a threat to anyone who is afraid of guns.) The actual risk is statistically insignificant and I can’t base my own parenting decisions on SOMEONE ELSE’S perceived fears.

      As for doctors lying for profit, no I don’t believe they are all lying. I believe that the majority of those in the medical community believe what they’re taught to believe and the people funding the research and writing the text books don’t always have my family’s best interests in mind. (Although there ARE exceptions, and there ARE people who have “leaked” information, and people who have lost their jobs over it!) We would do well to remember that medical doctors used to promote cigarettes as being “healthy” and baby formula as being a better alternative to breast milk. Were they lying? Were they misinformed? Or maybe they were actually right all along and we’re just too stupid to realize it.

  12. Heikold says:

    So let me get this straight… You’re arguing that we don’t need vaccines because the diseases vaccinated against are now rare. However, the reason that these diseases are rare is because of vaccination.

    So your core argument is that because deadly diseases have been beaten back by vaccination, vaccination doesn’t work?

    • Rina says:

      Heikold, for one thing, I argue that the diseases are now rare due to better sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, and complications were on the decline BEFORE vaccinations were introduced, as is evidenced by the chart pictured in the article. But putting that aside for a moment, lets say that these diseases are rare because of vaccinations. At what point do we consider a disease no longer a threat and STOP vaccinating?

      • Nick says:

        What? You realize the only infectious disease of humans to ever be successfully eradicated was smallpox, and that was a direct result of vaccinations. We stop vaccinating when cases of the disease stop occurring. Can I still get smallpox? No, no one has had it since 1977, so I can’t be vaccinated for it. It’s that simple. We consider the disease “no longer a threat and stop vaccinating” when you can no longer get infected.

      • Rina says:

        Nick, if what you say is true, at what point does it stop, and who gets to make that decision? If science is someday able to come up with a vaccine for every childhood illness – everything from AIDS to the common cold – should we be required to inject our children with them all? Should we be required to take what the government, the FDA and the CDC hand to us, simply because it’s offered? That’s a question I believe parents should have the freedom to answer for themselves.

      • BaDa says:

        That chart is showing only mortality rates from those diseases. It’s possible that fewer people died from them as sanitation and access to medical care increased, (though they still may have gotten really sick) even though rates of infection may have remained high pre vaccine. A better accounting of the decline would be to also show reported cases of the disease both pre an post introduction of the corresponding vaccines.

      • Rina says:

        BaDa, Jennifer Raff’s link (which I was specifically addressing) referenced the mortality rates of the diseases in an effort to prove that vaccines are effective (in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Bangladesh.) My response also deals with the mortality rates, with the difference being that I reference the mortality rates in the UNITED STATES. I agree that it would be great to show reported cases of the disease both pre and post vaccination, and if you find such a chart I’d be happy to post it here.

  13. naturalmamanz says:

    Awesome post, thanks for putting the time and effort in. It’s so important to get accurate info.

  14. I love vaccinations says:

    sorry but your post confirms you live in a bubble. there is no reason not look outside the USA for vaccination and illness statistics. There are children everywhere, not just the USA. As someone who lives in South Africa many children die from everyday preventable diseases and the sad fact is that the anti vaccination messages travel fast all over the world by internet and are now having a negative impact on vaccination rates globally. Most of this agenda is western based. Also you can not assume that because you live in a nice clean, middle class, relative disease free environment that you environment is sealed off from places and people where many of the communicable diseases listed above. Communicable diseases can travel fast between children and it only takes one child. It is even more tragic for us in developing countries because health care is not adequate to save many children from the effects of commonly preventable diseases, which make them very sick ,sick enough to die because they have not received adequate medical attention in time. I have many colleagues who had polio as a child, they were not vaccinated and are now permanently disabled. I find it incredible that you would not support mass vaccination in an emergency situation, such as a war or typhoon, where people are living in crowded unsanitary environments such as emergency shelters or refugee camps. and that you can refute the volumes of published research on the efficacy of vaccination. Cherry picking some small contra arguments is not a scientific or rigorous approach to discounting an overwhelming body of evidence supporting the efficacy of vaccinations. Really, your arguments are NOT based in science, but in fear and conspiracy theories and also do not reflect a global view of communicable diseases. I’m sure there’s nothing that can change your mind on this, as it’s too much of an emotional response, and of course you can do what you like, but please don’t jeopardise other children’s chances of receiving vaccinations through your msinformed postings.

    • Rina says:

      “I love vaccinations”, I actually answered your questions in my article:

      “I absolutely agree that vaccines can save lives. The next time I’m headed to Africa, I may very well inoculate myself against Yellow Fever. The question I have to ask myself as a parent [living in the United States, at this particular moment in time] is: which vaccines should I subject my children to? I mean, I could vaccinate them against yellow fever and typhoid even before our next safari, but is there a good enough reason to? Likewise, is there a good enough reason to vaccinate infants against the sexually transmitted disease hepititus B, or two-month olds against tetanus? Is there a good enough reason to inoculate children against measles, which adversely effects only 63 (out of 74,000,000) children each year and hasn’t taken a life since 2003, or chickenpox which at it’s heyday was killing less children each year than accidental drowning? What about mumps, a disease the CDC admits has a very low complication rate, or the flu which vaccines are only sporadically effective against? That’s a question every parent must answer for themselves.”

      and:

      “Are there any immunizations that “science” comes up with that people in the United States should consider not taking? Consider, for a moment, vaccinations against yellow fever and typhoid. Adding them to the vaccine schedule would be akin to advising every United States Citizen to dig a well in their back yard in order to get clean water. Although much-needed in some countries, it’s just not necessary here. Is it possible that we’re still vaccinating for illnesses we don’t need to vaccinate for? What are the criteria for determining when a vaccination is no longer necessary? At what point is enough enough and who gets to make that decision?”

      Hopefully you can see from this that I am not anti-vaccination, nor do I believe that vaccines should be denied to those who feel they are needed. I believe that parents should research this issue for themselves and make decisions based on what they feel is best for their family.

      • Brett says:

        Scientific studies are a joke. They will try the same experiment 999 times and get the wrong result. They do it once more get the result they want and that’s what they publish. They’ll do it as many times as it takes to get the required number of the result they want.

  15. Dr C Mcrae says:

    Great responses to Anjali and Heikold, Rina. We may also remember that doctors once said Xrays were safe for pregnant women, Thalidomide was safe, Vioxx was safe, etc! Doctors are not evil but they are certainly fallible. Plus it is too easy for companies which profit from selling medicinal products to manipulate/exaggerate/play down information/lobby politicians as it suits.
    And finally, how many times have people who dare to question the blind trust in vaccine products been labelled conspiracy nuts and challenged to provide ‘peer reviewed research’ to back up their concerns? Because peer review (by SCIENTISTS!!) is a system which guarantees everything remains objective and safe, right? Wrong! But don’t take it from me. Take it from a former editor of the British Medical Journal – he should know: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1420798/
    Anyway, my point is this – every parent must be allowed to weigh up evidence for themselves without being labelled nutty, selfish or fanatical. Seems reasonable enough.

  16. Shaun says:

    Thank you for the post Rina. I agree with you when you say that it is up to us as parents to do our homework before we blindly put our trust in the powers that be.I don’t think that not having a PhD should get in the way of us just looking a little closer before we make big decisions (sorry about all the double negatives there). I applaud your courage in speaking out and exposing unsubstantiated scare tactics.

    • Rina says:

      Thank you again. I purposefully chose not to get into the “qualifications” my husband and I have or the research that I’ve done (more than a few articles or youtube videos, I assure you!) for that very reason. Parents don’t have to be scientists or doctors in order to do the research for themselves, and they shouldn’t be frightened into submission by letters at the end of someone’s name.

  17. Shaun says:

    I will urge you to not take any defensive reactions to your article personally. I believe that these are good parents standing up for their kids and for what they believe to be right. Your work is important and if you reach one person and cause them to look deeply into what is spoon fed to them, that is an impact. That is making a difference. So I encourage you to stay strong and don’t give up.

    • Rina says:

      Thank you, Shaun! Your exactly right, and that’s what makes this such a “hot button” issue! I’ll remember that if anyone comes at me with both barrels blazing. 🙂

  18. Dr C Mcrae says:

    Good advice Shaun. A phenomenon I have noticed is that people who have already had their kids injected are often not willing to entertain the slightest notion that they may not have done the best for their children. We can all understand this, but it can make rational discussion difficult. Those who have not yet injected their kids, however, are in a much stronger position to weigh up the facts calmly and objectively. They can still choose to vaccinate and sometimes they will. What they may resent is anyone attempting to take away their right to consider the facts and choose in their own time, or anyone attempting to stigmatise or ostracise them for analysing an important topic which has many sides to it.

    • Bastion says:

      Ahem, no — actually that is not. You have created a false dichotomy, which is a logical debate fail.

      The decision to immunize or not, it STILL a decision, regardless. It’s the classic Hamlet dilemma, to be or not to be — however, to act or to not act is a decision. And BOTH populations want to vigorously defend that decision.

      While it is true that an immunizer cannot later decide to not to (Well, that isn’t completely true, either, as there is an immunization schedule, and a parent COULD decide to skip later injections on the plan. They just can’t “undo” any immunizations already given.), and a non-immunizer can later decide to get injections.

      It is also, however, true that a non-immunizer cannot “undo” their decision to not immunize after their child has gotten sick.

      In short, BOTH sides have made a decision, and a decision is 100% complete at a point in time — it cannot be “undone” either way.

      Therefore, BOTH sides will vigorously defend their position, because nobody likes to be proven wrong. Hmmm, on the balance throughout history, who has a better track record in accepting having been wrong on a position: faith or science?

      The CDC collects data on vaccine problems: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Activities/vaers.html

      And it uses this data to make fact-based, scientific decisions on whether a vaccine is not safe; such as this one:
      http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4843a5.htm

      Hmmm, could someone reference some recanted faith-based decisions on vaccines? You know, “true-believer” turned “true-regretter”?

      • Rina says:

        Bastion, I think we could reference recanted decisions on BOTH sides of the argument. I think we can all come up with a list of people who vaccinated their children and lived to regret it. As for both sides vigorously defending their position, I can introduce you to a huge number of people who have been open-minded and willing to change their minds on vaccination (people who vaccinated their first child but not subsequent children, which was actually the case for my husband [who is a nurse] and I.) I’m sure the same can be said on the other side of the debate.

  19. That was one of thee best articles I have read during my research,I have a alternative radio show we should talk I would love to have you on at some point. Keep up the great work sister,it was a honour to read it.

  20. Myra says:

    Awesome!! Thank you!

  21. Brett says:

    I never like it when man plays God. These scientists think they’re so smart. Yah Just like Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Really Smart.

  22. A couple things.

    I disagree that parents should make all medical decisions without interference. Like for example, refusing blood products that will save your child. Or, trying a dangerous therapy on your child that has been known to cause deaths because you can’t handle autism. Or thinking prayer will cure your child’s diabetes. Or denying your baby a vitamin K shot and the baby subsequently bleeding to death in the NICU. If your stance is based solely on that principle, it isn’t a solid foundation. Being someone’s mother doesn’t make your decision making skills stellar. You don’t have to be super clever to get pregnant. Jenny McCarthy has proven that.

    Secondly, I am super interested in how many people were dying of measles, say, Pre-Wakefield? Because honestly, the fact that the last death that occurred due to measles was just over one decade ago really does not support your claims whatsoever. People shouldn’t be dying from measles in this day and age. And just because it is still relatively rare now does not mean it will continue to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if infections and deaths resulting from these and pertussis have been steadily increasing over the last fifteen years or so due to this nonsense.

    • Rina says:

      Hi, Brandi. When I try to grab an issue in your comment to address what I think might be a sincere concern to you (since I don’t think you want to argue for the sake of nothing better to do,) I am prohibited from doing so by the fact that every single thing you say is either vague or ambiguous – could go one of several ways. You’ve made it really tough to give you a thought-out response. I understand your words, I just don’t know what you mean when you use them. In order to help you see what I mean, below is your entire comment, with nothing taken away and only a few things added.

      “I disagree that parents should make all medical decisions without interference [from the government, their school teacher and the neighbor next door.] Like for example, refusing blood products [tainted by AIDS] that will save your child [from scarring due to a scratch on the knee.] Or, trying a dangerous therapy on your child that has been known to cause deaths [in .000001% of cases] because you can’t handle [the debilitating effects of] autism. Or thinking prayer [which causes a change in lifestyle and your child’s eating habits] will cure your child’s diabetes. Or denying your baby [whose two siblings have both had adverse reactions to vitamin K] a vitamin K shot and the baby subsequently bleeding to death [due to a botched doctor-recommended circumcision] in the NICU. If your stance is based solely on that [ambiguous and undefined] principle, it isn’t a solid foundation. Being someone’s [doctor, teacher, aunt or] mother doesn’t make your decision making skills stellar. You don’t have to be super clever to get pregnant [or prescribe someone a pill that will kill them.] Jenny McCarthy [and the myriads of doctors who have “properly prescribed” prescription medicine and made prescription medications the 4th leading cause of death in the United States] has proven that.

      Secondly, I am super interested in how many people were dying of measles, say, Pre-Wakefield? [see the chart in my post for the answer] Because honestly, the fact that the last death that occurred due to measles was just over one decade ago really does not support your claims [that vaccination is effective] whatsoever. People shouldn’t be dying from measles [or obesity] in this day and age [and if parents would just let the government control what their children eat and the medicines they take, this wouldn’t happen anymore!] And just because it is still relatively rare now does not mean it will [not] continue to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if infections and deaths resulting from these and pertussis have been steadily increasing over the last fifteen years or so due to this [vaccination] nonsense [which causes vaccinated children to hold the bacteria in their airways for up to six weeks and spread the infection to others.]

      I’d bet that you don’t agree with some of your own words now, with those additions. I don’t want to put words into your mouth (shows poor sportsmanship, although it promises an easy “win.”) 🙂 Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I have concluded that I do not know what you mean and I won’t mentally rewrite a more precise comment on your behalf. For what? Only to turn around and disagree with it point by point? Might make for a fun exercise, but I don’t think you’d benefit from it much.

      Given all that, thanks for your response, Brandi. I would ask, if you have the time and desire, that you re-read my post and if you have a more specific, precise issue you would like to discuss, feel free to re-post a comment and we can try this again.

  23. Jamie says:

    Kids need to be vaccinated, period. Those who aren’t are a public health risk. I spent two years on pins and needles while my toddler went through chemo and was immune suppressed. Her biggest danger? Measles!

    • Rina says:

      Jamie, I can understand your concern and respect your decision to vaccinate your OWN children, but have to balk at your inference that “all” children should be vaccinated. Vehicles are a public health risk. So are stairs, swimming pools and hot cups of coffee. Statistically, the chances of your child getting the measles were very, very low – much lower, in fact, than the chance of her being involved in a fatal car accident on the way to and from the hospital for her chemotherapy treatments.

      Do you know what the complication rates are for the measles vaccine? These stats are from the CDC website on vaccination side effects:

      Seizure: about 1 out of 3,000 doses
      Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints: 1 out of 4
      Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder: about 1 out of 30,000 doses
      Serious allergic reaction: less than 1 out of a million doses

      Know what the incidence rate of complications due to measles is?

      LESS THAN ONE OUT OF A MILLION.

      Statistically, the risk of “serious” adverse reactions to the vaccination (and that’s just going by what the CDC is willing to tell us, and doesn’t include the risk of seizure or low platelet count) and the risk of serious adverse complications due to the disease are the same.

      Considering ALL of the facts, I still believe that it should remain up to parents to make this decision regarding their OWN children.

  24. KJV says:

    **I have chosen to edit this comment… this is obviously a hot-button issue, and I ask that everyone please be kind and respectful in their responses!**

    Heikold JESUS IS GOD nuff said and vaccines do not immunize like they say they do. The fillers and heavy metals in the vaccines are toxic chemicals humans should not introduce into their system.

  25. Apologies for my brief reply earlier that is still awaiting moderation. I replied before under Brandi Bowman and I think you blocked me. I was in class and could only touch on what I thought was most interesting about what you said. Now I have time to actually answer you, although I was pretty clear in my original reply.

    Hi, Brandi. I didn’t block you, I was simply away from the computer. I have since deleted that reply, however, since you seem to have made a much better one here. I’ve chosen to cut and paste your response and offer my reply point-by-point, below, as I think that will make it easier both for me to respond to and for you to read….

    • Rina says:

      To begin, I’m glad to see that you didn’t agree with anything I wrote in my last response to you, Brandi. That was the point, and it wasn’t meant to be an actual rebuttal to your comment. As that’s the case, I won’t go through it point-by-point here but I will briefly touch on some of the things you asked about that ought to be taken seriously:

      I will warn you of one thing-I don’t want to discuss autism or chelation therapy with you.

      I don’t recall ever mentioning chelation therapy.

      I find your assessment of autistic people and families highly insulting and your statement about the abuse that parents have inflicted upon their children due to their autism despicable.

      What abuse?

      Perhaps certain parents feel their child’s ASD is “debilitating” or that it has caused immense suffering in their life. I have to say, I think those parents are projecting their feelings onto their children. Every parent wants to know why their child has ASD at some point. Been there. I’m not looking for a scapegoat like many other people, however. The way ASD, or any other health concern or condition, affects your day to day life is up to you as an adult. Adjust your attitude and stop feeling sorry for yourself and work on your child’s potential and happiness. And that is the last I will say on that matter.

      I apologize if the description of autism being “debilitating” offends you. I have worked with autistic children in the past, and depending on the level of severity it can, indeed, be debilitating. But there is no need to argue that point, please feel free to substitute any vaccine-induced side effect you like for the word “autism” (“paralysis” would be a good one) and you’ll understand my meaning. There ARE debilitating side-effects that are a result of vaccination (check the package insert) and while you are on the pro-vaccination side because you’re worried about the risk of disease, I’m on the anti-vaccination side because I don’t want to put my children at risk for complications due to vaccinations to prevent the POSSIBILITY of risk due to illness. I can respect your decision to vaccinate… can you respect mine not to?

      In the beginning of your blog, you state that this debate isn’t about pro vs. anti. You assert that the heart of the issue is whether or not the government should be able to interfere with a parent’s medical decisions for their child. Obviously, it is safe to assume you think no. I disagree, as there are many circumstances that a child indeed NEEDS treatment. If a parent is refusing a treatment that will subsequently kill their child, then I think they lose their parental right to make that decision for said child.

      It is my belief (and that of the government, by the way) that parents are ultimately responsible for the well-being of their children. Government is responsible for enforcing certain obvious matters but government cannot and should not be responsible for every aspect of their care. Should the government have the authority to force a parent to feed their child? Of course. In that sense, I agree with you that there does need to be some civil authority on matters that are obvious, but what we’re arguing about is the definition of “obvious.” When the government says they need to inject my child with a downgraded pathogen, that’s when I start to argue (and thankfully I live in a country where I am free to do so.)

      Your mention of blood products being tainted with AIDS is very off base. As that hasn’t been an issue for decades. I happen to work in health care and I can tell you that blood is thoroughly screened and the process of administering blood products is monitored very very cautiously. So that insertion was 100% baseless and you were obviously grasping for any valid reason possible for a parent to make such a decision.

      Again, this was meant to be a rhetorical argument to show you where your original comment was vague, but since you touched on a good point here, I’m going to address it. At one time, the risk of contracting AIDS through a blood transfusion WAS a very real threat, and one that was not being addressed by the medical community. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when not allowing your child to receive certain blood products because of the inability to test it for HIV was one of the wisest things you could have ever done as a parent. That kind of skepticism would have saved lives. My skepticism is a lesson learned from the past and one that would be wise to consider in the future. To give the government carte blanche approval to do what they want with our children is a mistake that history will more than prove.

      As for your comment that prayer “causes a change in your child’s lifestyle and eating habits”…..you aren’t making any sense there. I would love to read, from an unbiased source which you don’t seem to be very good at providing, about the last time a child died due to a botched circumcision or getting a vitamin K shot. Although, if someone is allergic to something, they obviously shouldn’t get it. That has zero to do with the debate on this. Everyone is in agreement about that.

      Again, you drastically misunderstood the comments I added to yours… I didn’t propose an argument, I added to your comment to make you disagree with your comment in order to show how you were being vague. I was being purposefully ridiculous.

      I really feel that it was hard for you to give a thought-out response because you aren’t very knowledgeable on this. If you were, you would know that once a disease is eradicated, you don’t continue to get vaccinated for it. But you obviously aren’t aware of that based on your reply to Nick….which is a little concerning since it’s common knowledge.

      Now we’re getting back into the “who’s responsible for my child’s healthcare debate.” I understand perfectly that this is the position of Big Pharma, (which is somewhat convenient since as long as they can show that even the smallest percentage of people still get the disease, they can continue to push vaccinations.) But the question remains, who should be responsible for weighing the risks for our children? Is it possible that in some cases the threat of possible side effects due to vaccination outweighs the threat of possible complications due to disease (HepB, for instance)?

      When I was speaking of the number of deaths due to, for example, pertussis and measles, I was speaking of where the USA stood as far as deaths related to vaccine-preventable illnesses prior to this conspiracy theory becoming a trend among certain groups of people. I think it is interesting that the little chart you provided doesn’t link to any verifiable data…..just another person’s blog or website that I had to translate to English. Did you assume no one would bother? This is the problem with these blogs. People read them, don’t bother to follow your links, and take what you are saying at face value. When it is nothing you researched, just something you found internet searching.

      The information in that chart came straight from the Vital Statistics of the United States, as it says right there in the title. Easily verifiable for anyone who is observant enough to figure that out and look it up.

      The link you provided about deaths due to these illnesses from 1900-1963 (how the data is relevant now, 50 years later, I have no idea) comes from an anti vaccine blog of someone named Jure. She cites naturalnews.com as one of her credible sources. That is pretty rookie, to be blunt. Anyone who has taken even just an entry level college course (of any specialty) knows that you need to find sites that lack an agenda if you want credibility when debating a topic. Especially about health!

      I’m not sure which link you are talking about… if you could provide it for me, that would be helpful and I’m certain that I can show you where the information can be verified, as I was extremely careful to make sure that ALL of my references led to verifiable information. As a matter of fact MOST of my links come from CDC, FDA and PRO vaccination sources.

      If I wanted to play things like you, however, I could cite the CDC’s data on the rise of pertussis since the 1990s (you know, during a time when most of the people replying to this were even born).

      http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/images/incidence-graph-age.jpg Take a look at the top values that indicate children under one year old who died due to pertussis. Our most vulnerable group, sadly. Notice the trend? In the past 15 years or so, pertussis has been trending up instead of down. And when did cases start increasing? Why, just a few years after Andrew Wakefield was paid loads of money to represent a couple of disgruntled parents with an ASD child, angry and looking for a scapegoat. Ironic. Unfortunately, he wasn’t exposed in time to save some of those babies whose parents staked their child’s health on lies. Just an FYI, the CDC gets their numbers from mandated reporters like your husband or I, a nurse.

      It’s interesting that you chose to use pertussis as the basis of your argument, since we know that pertussis can spread by the vaccine. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if those rates continue to go up.

      I don’t have to play this like you, however, and that is the beauty of being on the right side of history. Let’s take a look at the states in the USA who allow parents to exempt their children from vaccination based on their “philisophical reasons”.

      http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/school-immunization-exemption-state-laws.aspx

      If you are interested in the intentions of this website, read their About Us. They actually support the right for states to make their own decisions. As I am sure benefits certain people like you. But what is most interesting is the states that are allowing this: California, Colorado, Ohio, Washington, Michigan….just to name a few. What do those states have in common (California being the biggest cesspool currently)? Outbreaks of disease. Big coincidence! Right now, we are just seeing the beginning of the consequences. I think it is unfortunate that people like you, instead of our children, won’t be around to face them.

      Where is your data to prove that those states actually HAVE the highest number of exemptions? Simply because they allow for it, doesn’t mean the majority of the population is taking advantage of it. Secondly, many of the states you listed that do NOT allow for philosophical exemptions DO allow for religious exemptions (Kentucky, for instance.) How many people in the low-incidence states hold a religious exemption? Considering that many of the states that don’t allow for philosophical exemptions lie within the “Bible Belt,” I’d be willing to bet that a huge number of parents have filed for religious exemption, although I have no data as of yet to support that speculation. But to base your conclusions on nothing more than the fact that these states are ALLOWING exemptions does very little to prove the point you’re trying to make.

      But lets lay this matter aside for a moment. Actually, lets lay ALL of this aside for a moment, because we’re getting bogged down in details…

      Not once in my article have I stated that vaccines are ineffective or that they are evil. In fact, I have agreed with Raff that vaccines can save lives and I have stated that there is evidence to support BOTH sides of the argument. My article was not written to push an anti-vaccination agenda, but to expose some of the misinformation presented by Jennifer Raff, give real statistics for the scary statements that are often thrown out there (i.e. Statement: “measles is deadly.” … Statistic: Measles hasn’t caused a death in over a decade,) and encourage parents to think for themselves.

      If you have studied the argument and come to the conclusion that vaccines are necessary for your children, I applaud you for that and certainly won’t argue against whatever conclusions you’ve made.

      Best wishes. I will be surprised if this gets past moderation.

      On the contrary, I thank you for your response.

  26. Oh, I forgot!

    In regards to the FDA article, you seemed to want to paint that ONE study that is new as though it were blaming the vaccination solely for the rise in pertussis. When it clearly states that it MAY only account for SOME of the reasons. And the others are not yet fully understood.

    • Rina says:

      Which doesn’t really change the fact that the pertussis vaccine can, indeed, cause the disease and that vaccinated and unvaccinated children can get the disease. If we’re really interested in eradicating pertussis and protecting our children, this is no small matter.

  27. Polly says:

    Well written, and compelling evidence to back up your reasoning. Congratulations.

  28. Rina, when I mentioned “dangerous therapies”, you probably should have inquired as to what I was referring to before giving a flippant stat so as to invalidate the concern over it. When I spoke of abuse, I was talking about chelation therapy. If you aren’t aware of what that is, look it up. Children have died due to this therapy and it is a pretty horrible death. A large part of the responsibility for this rests on the people who spread misinformation about autism and subscribe to the ideology that it’s a disease. I have to be frank, if there is a hell I hope there is a special one for these people. Again, I don’t think your having “worked with” autistic children in the past means you have the expertise to assess their status as human beings. I’m well aware of what it means to live with autism. I don’t mourn it, I embrace my daughter as an individual. No need to further discuss.

    “Government is responsible for enforcing certain obvious matters but government cannot and should not be responsible for every aspect of their care. Should the government have the authority to force a parent to feed their child? Of course. In that sense, I agree with you that there does need to be some civil authority on matters that are obvious, but what we’re arguing about is the definition of “obvious.” When the government says they need to inject my child with a downgraded pathogen, that’s when I start to argue (and thankfully I live in a country where I am free to do so.)…………To give the government carte blanche approval to do what they want with our children is a mistake that history will more than prove.”

    Immunizing against diseases that are only mild and self-limiting in certain groups of people and deadly to other people IS obvious. Diseases like measles and chicken pox might not be guaranteed to take lives, but complications from these diseases often do. Can the flu be deadly for a child? Not usually. Can pneumonia? It absolutely can. Babies, small children, people who receive regular immunosuppressive therapy, HIV positive people, people who suffer from pulmonary disease, diabetics, and the elderly are people who matter just as much as your child. As long as your personal decisions have an effect on people as a whole, our government is reasonable to intervene.

    “Is it possible that in some cases the threat of possible side effects due to vaccination outweighs the threat of possible complications due to disease (HepB, for instance)?”

    As long as the possible side effects you speak of are autism, ADHD, diabetes insipdus, and other things that the anti-vax crowd mistakenly believes to be a result of vaccination, no it is not. However, if there are suspected allergies or a parent doesn’t want to consent to a vaccination is new to our health care system, I absolutely understand.

    “The information in that chart came straight from the Vital Statistics of the United States, as it says right there in the title. Easily verifiable for anyone who is observant enough to figure that out and look it up……I’m not sure which link you are talking about… if you could provide it for me, that would be helpful and I’m certain that I can show you where the information can be verified, as I was extremely careful to make sure that ALL of my references led to verifiable information. As a matter of fact MOST of my links come from CDC, FDA and PRO vaccination sources.”

    Yes, the person who created the graph references Vital Statistics. However, that graph doesn’t link to them, the CDC, or the FDA. And there is a health website in the bottom right hand corner where I am sure the chart came from. If you Google image search the chart you provided, it links to dozens of antivax blogs. Where you got it from, I don’t know. It is irrelevant in any case because 1) it is decades old and that data isn’t relevant to today’s issues and 2) no one is claiming immunization is the one and only golden way to reduce mortality rates. It is the best way to reduce infection rates. That graph is simply a reference of how many people died due to these diseases during that time period. The decline prior to the introduction of immunization could easily be attributed to medicine advancing, as it is always changing. Even so, you might look at it and say “Well, it was declining….”. But it isn’t reasonable for you to just assume that would have continued without the introduction of immunization. No one can know that. It is very very clear that you and others have obtained this chart and presented it in a biased way.

    I am choosing pertussis because you yourself acknowledge it as a serious disease. And you are right, it is a serious disease. The study done by the FDA brings up a valid point. During the 90s, whole-cell pertussis vaccines were removed and acellular pertussis vaccines were introduced, due to concern over side effects that while rare, were concerning. However, if you look at the number of reported cases of pertussis, you can’t really say acellular vaccines are the culprit.

    http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/surv-reporting/cases-by-year.html

    These are reported cases of pertussis by year. The vaccine was introduced in the 30s and being administered widespread by the mid 1940s. If you look beginning around the year 1950, numbers begin to trend down. And that trend is pretty consistent. Until 2004 when the number of reported cases more than doubles. In 2012, we had more cases of pertussis reported than we’d had since the 50s when cases of this started to decline. So while you are correct about the investigation of the pertussis vaccine, it doesn’t invalidate its effectiveness and it doesn’t prove to be to blame for the recent situation. Again, as I said, the people who conducted that study clearly states that the reasons for the increase are not yet known and this one factor may account for only some of the problem.

    “Where is your data to prove that those states actually HAVE the highest number of exemptions? Simply because they allow for it, doesn’t mean the majority of the population is taking advantage of it. Secondly, many of the states you listed that do NOT allow for philosophical exemptions DO allow for religious exemptions (Kentucky, for instance.) How many people in the low-incidence states hold a religious exemption?”

    I don’t know if there is data about how many parents are being exempted from vaccines, but I would be interested to know it, state by state. It may not qualify as information that should be public record due to HIPAA. Nearly all states have allowed religious exemption for a long time. Still, the incidence of disease is only recently going up and it is going up in states specifically who allow these exemptions. California being one of the absolute worst. I have no doubts this is becoming an issue. Why else would they have enacted a stricter exemption law that was effective January 1st of this year? I would say because they are having a health problem and need to get it under control. Many health care providers were saying several years ago when this conspiracy theory began to gain popularity that we wouldn’t see the consequences right away, but give it a decade or so and it will start to emerge. And here we are.

    I am not sure why you insist on painting yourself as a person in the middle here. It is clear after reading your previous blog posts, blogs that are linked to you, websites you reference, and statements you make that you DO have an agenda that you want to spread. You say it is to hopefully get parents to think for themselves, but I think it is to scare parents that they are putting their child at risk in a way that has been disproven time and time again. If I shouldn’t care that you’d rather your child get measles or mumps, why should you care that I’d rather my kid have autism than die due to complications of pneumonia related to chicken pox, like a beautiful little girl in Minnesota did in 2001? What is the point of this blog if you don’t care what people do? It shouldn’t matter to you if Jennifer Raff is wrong. Your children are safe from what you are afraid of, correct?

    • Rina says:

      Hi again, Brandi. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this subject so I’m only going to address a few of your comments:

      “when I mentioned “dangerous therapies, you probably should have inquired as to what I was referring to before giving a flippant stat so as to invalidate the concern over it.”

      I really wasn’t trying to be flippant, you said that I made a statement about “abuse that parents have inflicted upon their children” and I had made no such statement. I was asking for clarification.

      “As long as your personal decisions have an effect on people as a whole, our government is reasonable to intervene.”

      What is “the government?” In America, we live in a democracy which is defined as: “a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people.” THE PEOPLE. You and me, and Jennifer Raff and Jenny McCarthy and the thousands of others who have chosen to vaccinate and NOT to vaccinate. The government only has as much right and responsibility to intervene as we give to them, and as long as enough parents are choosing not to vaccinate and choosing not to give over their rights as parents to make those decisions, the government will never be right or “reasonable” to intervene in this regard.

      I wrote: Is it possible that in some cases the threat of possible side effects due to vaccination outweighs the threat of possible complications due to disease (HepB, for instance)?
      You responded: As long as the possible side effects you speak of are autism, ADHD, diabetes insipdus, and other things that the anti-vax crowd mistakenly believes to be a result of vaccination, no it is not.

      Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease. As long as my child is not sexually active (and they certainly wouldn’t be, at only a few days of age when the vaccine is first administered), the risk of contracting HepB is virtually 0. Some of the risks associated with the vaccine (as presented right on the package insert): anaphylaxis, encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Arthritis and Bell’s Palsy. Now, we can argue all day long as to whether those side effects are incredibly likely or whether they only present in .0001% of cases. So long as my child isn’t having sex, sharing dirty needles or getting unclean blood from a transfusion, the risks of the vaccine don’t outweigh the benefits. At least, that is MY opinion. I’m sure you have a DIFFERENT opinion, and by golly that’s what makes living in this country so great. We still have the right to choose.

      “Yes, the person who created the graph references Vital Statistics. However, that graph doesn’t link to them, the CDC, or the FDA.”

      It really doesn’t matter WHO came up with the graph, or WHERE I got it from. If the information can be VERIFIED through vital statistics, it’s still valid. As for its relevance, for one thing I was specifically addressing Jennifer Raff’s comments about morbidity (which makes it very relevant) but secondly, you yourself agree that vaccines aren’t the only way to reduce mortality rates. If, once upon a time, people died from mumps because poor sanitation and poor nutrition made complications from mumps deadly but now, in addition to better sanitation and better nutrition, the use of antibiotics have made complications from mumps virtually nonexistent, should we still be vaccinating for the disease? Again, you would (I’m sure) answer yes. But please refer back to your original statement… “vaccines aren’t the only way to reduce mortality rates” and in some cases there may be BETTER ways to handle disease.

      “I am not sure why you insist on painting yourself as a person in the middle here. It is clear after reading your previous blog posts, blogs that are linked to you, websites you reference, and statements you make that you DO have an agenda that you want to spread.”

      Laying aside for a moment that the vast majority of the references I provide are actually from PRO-vaccination sites, I never said I was unbiased, I said that there is information to support both sides of the argument depending on where your concerns lie. Obviously, you’re more concerned with the risk of complications due to disease, where I’m more concerned with the risk of complications due to the vaccines. That doesn’t make me “right” and you “wrong,” it makes us both parents with our own set of concerns for our OWN children. (And I ought to add that this is not an issue limited to parents, medical professionals are also involved and weighing in on both sides.)

      As for my “agenda” it is twofold.

      1. To show where Jennifer Raff’s conclusions were exaggerated, and in some cases the links not backed up with any relevant information. Why is this important? Oh… I don’t know, I guess I just have this crazy desire to help parents push past all the unsupported claims and exaggerated information presented by Raff so that they can recognize the need to research the matter for themselves (which leads me to agenda number two):

      2. To encourage parents to do their own research on the subject. If someone comes away from my article with the desire to do that, then I’m happy and have achieved what I set out to achieve – no matter WHAT conclusion they come to on this issue.

      Please know that it is not my desire to continue to debate this issue with you point-by-point, arguing about whether such-and-such disease will cause our children’s legs to fall off and their heads explode, or whether so-and-so vaccine will loose pink alligators to attack and carry them away. That kind of debate falls under neither of my stated agendas and I respect the fact that you (and others) believe differently on this subject.

      • moladood says:

        Are most parents qualified to understand the medical tests and are they able to sort through what is science and what is pseudo science? I highly doubt it. Many people can be swayed by a single article for or against it and make rash decisions. Like believing your graph that is clearly irresponsible showing mortality rates and not incident rates. Show incident rates instead tied to vaccine introduction. Not only does mortality not show the true picture but it also does not account for people who had permanent disabilities caused by the preventable disease. I agree some of the anti-vaxx stuff sounds scary and seem logical but when you actually bust the myths and see the real data, it paints a different picture.

        BTW – Hep B can be contracted by sharing a toothbrush and kids will put anything in their mouth.

      • Rina says:

        I have answered your concern regarding the mortality chart in another comment and have since added information in the article itself. I disagree that parents are unable to understand the medical tests and sort through what is science and pseudo science (you give us very little credit), but even if this IS the case, every parent is capable of seeking out the help of a medical professional on BOTH sides of the issue for help with their research. As for the “permanent disabilities” that can be caused by the disease… look up the diseases we typically vaccinate for. Find out what the complications are and how often they occur. If, after your research, you feel that these diseases put your children at high risk for major complications then by all means vaccinate them.

        (As for your comment about HepB being contracted by sharing a toothbrush, that’s a risk parents should evaluate for themselves… some parents might not want their children playing on the playground with kids who have AIDS either.)

      • “Hi again, Brandi. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this subject so I’m only going to address a few of your comments.”

        SURPRISING.

        “The government only has as much right and responsibility to intervene as we give to them, and as long as enough parents are choosing not to vaccinate and choosing not to give over their rights as parents to make those decisions, the government will never be right or “reasonable” to intervene in this regard.”

        Whether you realize it or not, people are already intervening. More and more, children who are not being vaccinated are asked to stay out of school at even a hint of an outbreak and pediatricians are refusing to treat patients whose parents won’t agree to immunization. And it is absolutely deserved. It is sad that unqualified people will have to oversee education for their children and will have to misuse the ER, more than likely, to get health care (that they don’t seem to value anyway). Sad for the kids. Unfortunately a choice that their parents make. As long as there are people like me who care, this will continue to happen because as prominent as you people are with your memes and blogs, our voices are much louder.

        “So long as my child isn’t having sex, sharing dirty needles or getting unclean blood from a transfusion, the risks of the vaccine don’t outweigh the benefits.”

        1. Well, I chose the vaccine because I work in health care and accidental needle sticks are common. I am also required to get it. Your reasoning on this isn’t entirely invalid, no. However, if you think what you stated will continue to be true with zero doubt, you’re living in a fantasy land. Eventually, your child will have sex and you won’t get to pick whom.

        2. If the only vaccine you seemed to take issue with was HepB we wouldn’t be having this conversation, more than likely.

        “It really doesn’t matter WHO came up with the graph, or WHERE I got it from. If the information can be VERIFIED through vital statistics, it’s still valid. As for its relevance, for one thing I was specifically addressing Jennifer Raff’s comments about morbidity (which makes it very relevant) but secondly, you yourself agree that vaccines aren’t the only way to reduce mortality rates. If, once upon a time, people died from mumps because poor sanitation and poor nutrition made complications from mumps deadly but now, in addition to better sanitation and better nutrition, the use of antibiotics have made complications from mumps virtually nonexistent, should we still be vaccinating for the disease? Again, you would (I’m sure) answer yes. But please refer back to your original statement… “vaccines aren’t the only way to reduce mortality rates” and in some cases there may be BETTER ways to handle disease.”

        You clearly are missing the point and I’m shocked you don’t seem to understand. I never admitted vaccines TREATED disease. I said they PREVENT INFECTION. When someone dies of an infection just years after a vaccination has been introduced, that really proves nothing. Vaccines don’t treat diseases, they keep you from ever getting infected.

        The graph does not address anything, other than deaths were slightly declining before immunization was introduced. that doesn’t mean it predicts that it would have continued, unless you are psychic. And yes, it does matter who it came from. The graph never provides any link at all to verify the information. Do you really think that anyone can just pull a graph out of thin air, with no real reference, and just accept the person’s word about where the info came from? It doesn’t work that way. The fact that you don’t seem to grasp that just proves what I’ve been saying. People like you who run these blogs are purposely spreading misinformation.

        “Laying aside for a moment that the vast majority of the references I provide are actually from PRO-vaccination sites, I never said I was unbiased, I said that there is information to support both sides of the argument depending on where your concerns lie.”

        People like you use reputable credible sites, yes. However, you use the information so as to please your agenda and frame it so that it “proves” a false claim. Like deaths in the 1930s slightly declining before immunization being reduced having ANYTHING AT ALL to do with immunization PREVENTING disease. Fortunately, not all of us are that gullible.

        “Why is this important? Oh… I don’t know, I guess I just have this crazy desire to help parents push past all the unsupported claims and exaggerated information presented by Raff so that they can recognize the need to research the matter for themselves”

        Why does that matter to you? If they vaccinate their child, it does not affect you. Their child won’t sneeze and give your kid autism/cancer or diabeetus or ADHD. I shouldn’t mean a single thing to you. I know that if vaccines were not preventing diseases that were even contagious, I wouldn’t care if people didn’t agree to them. The ONLY reason I care is because the diseases vaccines prevent can kill children. And have killed children and elderly people in this past decade. Babies. You don’t care though. You on the other hand, are wholly unaffected by someone else choosing immunize their child and yet you still continue with your progaganda and outcries.

        “Please know that it is not my desire to continue to debate this issue with you point-by-point, arguing about whether such-and-such disease will cause our children’s legs to fall off and their heads explode, or whether so-and-so vaccine will loose pink alligators to attack and carry them away.”

        Of course you don’t desire that. I’m not some naive person cheering you on. I presented credible info and pointed out that you were misusing information to paint a specific picture.

      • Rina says:

        “I never admitted vaccines TREATED disease. I said they PREVENT INFECTION.”

        I understand your point perfectly well, I think you misunderstand mine. Some diseases that we continue to vaccinate for simply aren’t as risky as they once were due to better sanitation, nutrition and medical treatment, yet the vaccines themselves continue to have risks associated with them. Whether the risks of vaccines are worth it is for every parent to decide, but the point remains the same.

        “The graph never provides any link at all to verify the information. Do you really think that anyone can just pull a graph out of thin air, with no real reference, and just accept the person’s word about where the info came from?”

        Again, the information presented in the graph comes from the Vital Statistics of the United States. These numbers are verifiable and available to the public. If you really want to try proving it false, go research the stats for yourself and make your own graph. I think you’ll find it will look identical to the one here, but I welcome you to see for yourself. If you end up with a chart that is different based on the same information I will gladly post it here.

        “Why does that matter to you? If they vaccinate their child, it does not affect you. Their child won’t sneeze and give your kid autism/cancer or diabeetus or ADHD.”

        True, and the elderly woman struggling home with huge bags of groceries won’t make MY groceries any heavier, but I’m glad that most of us would stop to help her regardless of how it effects us.

  29. moladood says:

    There is a lot to refute but I will only critique the graph on declining mortality rates, This graph often used by anti-vaxx community is intellectually dishonest. Is mortality (aka deaths) the real measure of vaccine effectiveness? I would say it is not. What you really need to look at is not how many people died but how many were infected or incidence rate. Mortality only tells part of the story. Do you think that health science stood still or do you think advancements were made in treating the symptoms or prolonging life?

    Take for example polio which has a similar curve to the ones shown in your graph. The mortality rate did decline prior to vaccines, it is true! But why, this seems counter intuitive if you believe in vaccines. The anti-vaxx movement will say it is because of sanitation. But the fact is, we got much better at treating the symptoms and prolonging peoples lives which had the impact of reducing deaths. One only needs to look at AIDS today. We have no cure or vaccine but mortality has improved drastically since the 80’s. Just look at Magic Johnson, he is still alive and well. We have not cured AIDS but have advanced to the point where we can prolong peoples lives. Going back to the polio example, the same is true, we made advances in treatment (ex. iron lung) leading up to the vaccine. This explains the decline in mortality. BUT, to get a more accurate picture, take a look at the incidents graph and you will see a much different picture. Incidents hovered around the same mark until vaccines were introduced, people were just dying less due to better treatment. Do your own research and look at incidents vs vaccine introduction, making a case on a single graph does not always show the entire story.

    • Rina says:

      moladood, as I’ve mentioned before, Jennifer Raff’s link (which I was specifically addressing) referenced the mortality rates of the diseases in an effort to prove that vaccines are effective (in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Bangladesh.) My response also deals with the mortality rates, with the difference being that I reference the mortality rates in the UNITED STATES.

      As for mortality only telling part of the story, I agree. If, once upon a time, people died from a vaccine-preventable disease because poor sanitation and poor nutrition made complications from that disease deadly but now, in addition to better sanitation and better nutrition, the use of antibiotics have made complications from this disease virtually nonexistent, should we still be vaccinating for the disease? Vaccines aren’t the only way to reduce mortality rates and it is my opinion that in some cases there may be BETTER ways to handle disease.

      • moladood says:

        Improved treatment doesn’t necessarily mean that you will not have life long complications. Like my AIDS example, since it is treatable now with a good drug regimen, should we stop looking for a cure/vaccine? Like I said, many things have reduced mortality and cases of AIDS but it is still a big issue and a strain on the health care system.

        50 years from now, the anti-vaxx movement will make the same argument about AIDS vaccine saying that AIDS mortality and cases were falling before the vaccine so we don’t need the vaccine today. But in present day, we both know better. And why do you think that you know better than people who dedicate their lives to the cause and say that this is the best option to protect us? What is your background to be giving out this advice?

        No offence, but I find many of the anti-vaxx community went to the School of Google. Finding bits of info from different sites and have never actually run tests or been close to the science. Anyone can find some data to support a theory and write a blog.

      • Rina says:

        moladood, considering the fact that there are plenty of medical professionals who also believe parents should not be vaccinating their children, you can hardly say that I “know better than people who dedicate their lives to the cause.” On the contrary, I side with those who have dedicated their lives to the cause and come to the opinion that vaccines do more harm than good.

      • moladood says:

        I highly doubt that someone in the field of immunization and disease prevention with trained medical background share that opinion. Are there ‘medical professionals’ that are against vaccines, I have no doubt. What constitutes a ‘medical professional’ is a grey area. I have read blogs by ‘doctors’ but when you find them on social networks or other sites, they have no credible background in medicine.

        What I am saying is the people on the forefront of research into this are all in agreement that vaccination is a good thing. Can it be improved, yes like most things in the world. The fact is:

        – not vaccinated children still get autism
        – countless studies prove no link between autism and vaccination
        – there is evidence that when vaccination rates drop, incidents rise
        – historic evidence shows diseases eradicated with introduction of vaccines

        There are two sides of every debate. There were people that argued the earth is flat, hitler was good, gays / blacks shouldn’t have equal rights. What you will find is that some people are just going to be on the wrong side of history. I believe in the science and how it has evolved and changed our lives. The same scientific principles that allow 2 strangers to debate this on a forum, that allow instant communication world wide, that allow us to fly into space and land on the moon is the same science that is used in medicine. Science has fundamentally changed our lives, less babies die at birth, people are living 2X longer than in the 1700-1800s. The real conspiracy was set in motion by a woman who made money by taking her clothes off desperate for something to blame and a quack scientist that was stripped of his medical license. I for one will trust the science, it is not biased by emotion or intuition. Intuition is not an adequate substitute; it doesn’t matter how passionately I feel like my poker hand is a winner, if I bet everything on a bad hand I’m still probably going to lose.

      • Rina says:

        “I highly doubt that someone in the field of immunization and disease prevention with trained medical background share that opinion.”

        Here is a list of just a few: http://www.naturalnews.com/specialreports/vaccinesfullstory/v1/vaccinereport-en.pdf

        “There are two sides of every debate. There were people that argued the earth is flat”

        And we’d do well to remember that these were the prominent intellectuals of their day.

        “What you will find is that some people are just going to be on the wrong side of history.”

        Agreed, and only time will tell which side is the “right” and “wrong” in this particular matter, and in the meantime parents have the responsibility to determine for themselves which side of this issue they feel is best for their children.

        “I for one will trust the science, it is not biased by emotion or intuition.”

        But it is often biased by money.

        “Intuition is not an adequate substitute; it doesn’t matter how passionately I feel like my poker hand is a winner, if I bet everything on a bad hand I’m still probably going to lose.”

        Under no circumstances do I advocate that parents trust nothing but their “intuition.” I advocate that parents do the research and come to their own conclusions – whatever they might be.

  30. J. says:

    I stopped reading after you stated that if you were going to go to Africa you would immunize your self against yellow fever and malaria. There is no vaccine for malaria, as anyone with any science education would know. You completely discredited your entire position with your ignorance. I think you should open a book and educate yourself before you open your mouth on such a controversial issue.

  31. Let’s not forget….Jenny McCarthy’s son DOES NOT have autism. It was a misdiagnosis due to the symptoms of autism being ambiguous and similar to other disorders. Which would also explain the “surge” of autism kids anti vaxxers so often reference to be evidence that it is an “epidemic”. Also, kids are often labeled ASD because while they may not be on the spectrum, they would benefit from the same therapy and treatment. And putting a diagnosis on paper will get them those services.

    A person who has actually worked with autistic people or is a parent of an autistic child would KNOW THIS.

    • Tammy says:

      I thought the child/adult had to be evaluated by qualified medical doctors trainned in this field… So who is it that gives a written diagnose of autism someone that doesn’t have autism just so they can get therepy?

  32. Caitlynklaires says:

    Rina,

    You were referencing the FDA article regarding the pertussis vaccine you cited at (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm376937.htm). Since this study is coming up so frequently in the argument, I want to point out that the baboon study does not indicate that the pertussis vaccine caused pertussis.
    Infectious diseases are scary because they can be passed from person to person. Generally, an infectious agent (a pathogen) is introduced to a human body and it establishes an infection. Then it multiplies in numbers and goes through a life cycle. In the process of this growth, the pathogen interferes with the body and makes a person fall sick (and die if they are too sick). To be transmitted again, the pathogen usually colonizes places where it has a chance of getting out of the human, e.g. lungs, intestines and poop, etc.

    There are several layers of protection in vaccination. The first layer is to reduce a person’s chance of experiencing symptoms and getting sick when they encounter the infectious pathogen the vaccine targets. I think most of us agree on the protective value of vaccination, so I’m not going to go into more detail, but basically the vaccine will train your immune system to respond to infections faster and stronger so the pathogen can’t make you sick. This protects the vaccinated individual. The second layer of protection is to reduce the chance of a person carrying the pathogen in their bodies (even when they are not showing symptoms) and infecting other people. The ultimate goal is to make it so that when a vaccinated person comes into contact with the pathogen, the pathogen not only cannot make him/her sick, it can’t even stay alive in his/her body long enough for the vaccinated person to pass it on. This works when your immune system gets rid of the pathogen quickly and effectively so that it cannot hide in your body and be infectious enough to be transmitted to other people. This protects the community.

    If you re-read the FDA article closely, they vaccinated two groups of baboons with two different types of pertussis vaccines. After the vaccination, both groups of baboons are put in contact with live, infectious pertussis bacteria to see if they would contract whooping cough. Neither group of baboons came down sick with whooping cough, which shows that both vaccines can provide the first layer of protection for the individual. However, while they were not symptomatic, the group of baboons receiving the acellular vaccine (versus the whole cell vaccine) cannot prevent the pertussis bacteria from surviving in the body of the vaccinated baboons and become infectious enough to pass it on to other baboons. Therefore, while the acellular vaccine can protect the individual, it cannot provide the second layer of protection from person-to-person transmission like the whole cell vaccine can. Pertussis is not coming from the vaccine – the researchers were simply concluding that the whole cell vaccine is better than the acellular vaccine at stopping person-to-person transmission if there ever was a community outbreak. The discussion should be that we either want to switch to the whole cell vaccine, or we should make sure everyone is vaccinated against pertussis so no one will get sick.

    The original study here: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/20/1314688110.full.pdf+html
    There have actually been several explanations proposed for why pertussis is on the rise in the United States. In fact, the acellular vaccine was one of the explanations. Researchers found that the immunity provided by the acellular pertussis vaccine actually wanes over time, so we are experiencing collective loss of immunity. The babies who got the pertussis vaccine in the 1980s are now in their 30s and they are no longer immunized against pertussis. This is discussed in the introduction in same paper.

    You need another citation if you still want to say that the pertussis vaccine caused pertussis. To be thorough, vaccines can be made in several different ways. One is with live, weakened pathogens and one is with killed pathogens. It is biologically possible for live, weakened pathogen vaccines to cause disease with a very very small chance, which is why immunosuppressed individuals cannot be vaccinated against some disease, and must rely on herd immunity to protect them.
    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/vaccines/understanding/pages/typesvaccines.aspx

    • Rina says:

      *EDITED AFTER MOLADOOD HELPED ME TO BETTER UNDERSTAND CATLYIN’S COMMENT

      Hi, Catlyin, thank you for your response and for expounding on this study. I have to admit that my understanding of the study is not the same as yours (I was under the impression that the vaccine itself was making baboons the carriers and you have come to the conclusion that they didn’t become carriers until AFTER they were exposed to the disease.) Tod J. Merkel, (lead author of the study, researcher in the Office of Vaccines Research and Review in the Food and Drug Administration) had this to say about the study:

      “When you’re newly vaccinated you are an asymptomatic carrier, which is good for you, but not for the population.”

      No mention here that it’s only upon exposure to the disease that one becomes an asymptomatic carrier, it seems to suggest that simply getting vaccinated makes you a carrier (which is how I read the article.)

      I need to do some more digging on this subject, as I’m not sure which interpretation is correct (which just goes to show how important it is to check and re-check your facts!!!) But either way, I think it’s a relevant point (even the FDA admits it’s a major flaw in the vaccine and one they’re working to remedy.)

      Thank you for your excellent points, and I will keep researching the subject.

      • moladood says:

        That is not the way I read Caitlynklaires response. She is basically saying that it wasn’t the vaccine that made them pass on the disease but rather they were given the disease after the vaccine to see the response and effectiveness of the vaccine. This is how you test things. Looking at your comment, unless a real world scenario is to get a vaccine from a doctor and then quickly get exposure to the real disease, your point makes little sense because no one is going to do that and that isn’t really what the study is about. The study determines that the whole cell vaccine is better at stopping person to person vs the acellular. It does not conclude that getting a vaccine means you have the spreadable disease. Your initial post is very misleading for what the actual study was for. Don’t you think that if everyone that got the vaccine was a walking pertussis factory without symptoms that we would have a bigger issue?

      • Rina says:

        moladood, thank you for better helping me to understand her comment, you are correct when you say I was reading it incorrectly. I’m not sure, however, that the conclusions she came to are correct. For instance, Tod J. Merkel, (lead author of the study, researcher in the Office of Vaccines Research and Review in the Food and Drug Administration) had this to say about the study:

        “When you’re newly vaccinated you are an asymptomatic carrier, which is good for you, but not for the population.”

        As I wrote to Caitlyn in my updated response to her, there is no mention here that it’s only when you’re exposed to the disease that you’re an asymptomatic carrier, it seems to suggest that simply getting vaccinated makes you a carrier (which is how I read the article.) I’m going to keep researching this subject, to better understand it, and thank you again!

      • moladood says:

        No problem. One additional comment is that typically the vaccine does not contain the active thing it is targeting. Sometimes it is dead or weakened virus in the vaccine which is just triggering an immune response, which is teaching your system how to deal with it as if you had it but without all the ill side effects. Even if a person did become a carrier (which I haven’t read that it does) after vaccination, logic would dictate that it wouldn’t spread the full blown disease since it was never present to begin with.

      • Rina says:

        “Even if a person did become a carrier (which I haven’t read that it does) after vaccination, logic would dictate that it wouldn’t spread the full blown disease since it was never present to begin with.”

        I haven’t been able to find any evidence to verify this (and actually, many authorities on the subject are blaming the vaccine for the recent epidemics we’ve seen in vaccinated communities.) If you are able to find information to verify this information, I’ll gladly post it.

      • Rina says:

        Here is another consideration. You write that in a real-world scenario someone would have to “get a vaccine from a doctor and then quickly get exposure to the real disease.” This isn’t necessarily true, even if it’s NOT the vaccine that causes someone to be an asymptomatic carrier. Nowhere in the study does it imply that vaccinated individuals can only be carriers of pertussis upon immediate exposure to pertussis following a vaccination, it only says that once they are exposed, they become carriers for 3-6 weeks. That could mean that they were exposed to pertussis a day after their vaccine shot, or a year after and it wouldn’t matter – either way, they would become carriers of the disease.

      • moladood says:

        I think you are grasping to find something in this article to prove something in support of not vaccinating. Remember, the point here is that the acellular vaccine did not protect from person to person where the whole virus did. The recommendation is to use the whole virus so person to person is not an issue.

        Acellular – after vaccine, if exposed to the 2 different types of virus, they showed no symptoms. However, they could still carry the virus if exposed. Only first layer of protection – symptoms.

        Whole – after vaccine, if exposed, they showed no symptoms and no person to person contact meaning they would not spread the virus even if exposed. First and second layer of protection.

        Conclusion being that the whole vaccine is recommended over acellular. BUT, acellular is still better than nothing since someone who doesn’t get the vaccine or gets the vaccine can both be carriers (having the vaccine doesn’t make the transmission any worse). At least some (vaccinated) will have first layer protection against the symptoms.

      • Rina says:

        moladood, I’m actually not trying to prove anything in support of vaccinating or not vaccinating, but to show where Jennifer Raff was off-base in many of her comments and conclusions. I think I’ve done that and however you look at the data from the pertussis study (or any of the links I’ve provided,) it shows that parents need to be willing to do their own research and come to their own conclusions – if nothing else, for their own peace of mind.

      • moladood says:

        But to my comments, you are misleading people by your lack of understanding of the method and the research and I am sure more and more of your post will also be debunked so I don’t feel you have made a good case. Your entire point on pertussis with baboons was that people that got the vaccine would infect others – this is spreading misinformation and untrue. When it was clarified for you, you updated posts which is actually refreshing to see. But now you are stating that there is still something wrong and that vaccinated people can be carriers but this is no different than non vaccination. So there is still a ‘win’ for acellular vaccination, just not a complete ‘win win’.

        Win – the person vaccinated won’t get the symptoms but can carry the disease if exposed and this could cause them to infect other vaccinated (which wouldn’t have symptoms) and non vaccinated (which would have symptoms). So you should still get it.

        A win win would be that they also couldn’t be a carrier if they came in contact and no one would get the virus or symptoms (vaccinated or not). This is how herd immunity forms when a lot of people can’t carry to infect others.

        While it is a noble goal of encouraging people to research, most people will not read the study or understand the context so they will settle for a quote and a summary which can be extremely misleading. I am not for or against anything, I believe in the science and the data. You have to base your decisions on the best available data and trust the experts. Would you trust a secretary to engineer your car? How about a dentist to perform open heart surgery? A doctor to build your website? This is the type of behaviour you are encouraging. Parents are not experts in biology, chemistry or the immune system, we should be trusting the experts and the science. This should be the source of research. If science proves any link to autism or that ‘poisons’ have an impact on development, I will be the first one to support it. Will I feel bad about injecting my kid with a vaccine, no. I made the most informed decision based on the latest expert recommendations at the time. Why do we question this vs any other field? Big business exists everywhere.

      • Rina says:

        “Your entire point on pertussis with baboons was that people that got the vaccine would infect others – this is spreading misinformation and untrue. When it was clarified for you, you updated posts which is actually refreshing to see. But now you are stating that there is still something wrong and that vaccinated people can be carriers but this is no different than non vaccination.”

        moladood, there IS still something wrong, and the FDA admits that and they are trying to fix it. You made a point in your last comment that vaccinated people would be carrying a weakened virus and cannot spread the full blown disease, but I haven’t been able to find any evidence to prove that (and actually, many authorities on the subject are blaming the vaccine for the recent epidemics we’ve seen in vaccinated communities.) If you are able to find information to verify that, I’ll gladly post it.

        “Win – the person vaccinated won’t get the symptoms but can carry the disease if exposed and this could cause them to infect other vaccinated (which wouldn’t have symptoms) and non vaccinated (which would have symptoms). So you should still get it.”

        It isn’t true that vaccinated people won’t be symptomatic… there have been SEVERAL outbreaks of pertussis among vaccinated children, and this is one of the faults the FDA is looking into regarding the vaccination. I have since provided sources for this in the footnotes.

        I agree with you that we have to base our decisions on the best available data, I just don’t necessarily believe that we ought to base our decisions on “the latest expert recommendations.” Remember that “experts” once recommended formula over breastfeeding, too, but that doesn’t mean it was best. Medicine is a HUGE business and not everyone has our best interests in mind… the agricultural industry ought to be proof enough of that.

        As we continue to discuss this issue, another thought comes to my mind. The medical community evaluates vaccine effectiveness by monitoring the number of children who get (and don’t get) the disease every year. In the case of whooping cough, we know that many children who ARE vaccinated contract the disease, but the FDA continues to say that the vaccine protects children at least some of the time, because many of the children who are vaccinated do NOT get the disease. My question is this: by what standard are they able to determine it was the vaccine that kept those children from contracting the disease? We know that not everyone (vaccinated or not) who is exposed to the flu will actually GET the flu. And I personally know of unvaccinated children who have been exposed to both chickenpox and whooping cough but have not gotten the disease. If you expose an unvaccinated family and a fully vaccinated family to a disease and neither family gets the disease, can we really contribute the lack of contraction on the vaccine??? And yet, the CDC does just that. Is this really a fair way of determining whether or not a vaccine works?

      • moladood says:

        OK, it is true they admit it isn’t as effective but that doesn’t mean it is bad or causes other issues. Its like saying my car doesn’t have as good of rust protection as I thought. Does that mean no one should drive those cars? I don’t think agriculture is a good comparison and that is often the fall back, blame big business. I think farmers are actually experts that should be heard but it isn’t a good argument here. Big Pharma can either sell a $15 shot or reap cash by patenting a treatment that lasts multiple shots or pills. It is actually more profitable for the entire health care industry to just have sick people so I don’t buy that argument that this is a big business conspiracy. Do they exist? Sure. Do I think you should be able to patent a gene like Monsanto? No, I don’t but that is not a science question, it is a policy question.

        In terms of understanding the process for making the vaccines, it is different from one to the other. There was a write up not from Dr. Raff but another guest doctor on her site with expertise in the area on how the immune system works located http://violentmetaphors.com/2014/04/20/how-the-immune-system-works/

        “You show the immune system what the enemy looks like, get the troops ready for battle, generate all the weapons you need to combat the enemy, but you hurt your own troops as little as possible by giving them a weakened enemy (like the Sabin vaccine), a dead enemy (the Salk vaccine), a disabled enemy (tetanus toxoid) or, more recently, just a portion of the enemy (Gardasil, acellular pertussis).”

        I am sure if you looked up more info on these vaccines, it would be clear that they are not bottling up the active disease and injecting our kids.

      • Rina says:

        “It is actually more profitable for the entire health care industry to just have sick people so I don’t buy that argument that this is a big business conspiracy.”

        Only if everyone is getting sick and needs expensive care, which is pretty much my entire point. Most of these diseases do NOT require expensive care or hospital stays or even medication. Tell me, is it more profitable to inject every child in the united states with a $15 shot, or treat the 1 in 400,000 who get the mumps every year (and actually, mumps isn’t a good example as the CDC admits that complications from mumps are extremely rare and the usual symptoms of mumps are “fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swelling of salivary glands.” Hardly something requiring a hospital visit or expensive care.)
        In any case, conspiracy or no, not every healthcare professional has studied the information and not every vaccine advocate has looked at the other side of the issue. I mentioned in my article that properly prescribed medications are the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, and if this doesn’t encourage us to do our own research I don’t know what will! The mentality that allowed patients to blindly follow swallow what their doctor handed to them is the same mentality that parents have who blindly give their children vaccinations (or antibiotics, or any medical care) without doing any research for themselves. If those patients had gone home and done even a small amount of research, they may have discovered that their doctors had prescribed something to them that would adversely react to a medication they were already taking. But we don’t DO that. We blindly trust those people with letters behind their names, and I think this is a mistake.

        “I am sure if you looked up more info on these vaccines, it would be clear that they are not bottling up the active disease and injecting our kids.”

        I never said or implied that they were, only made the point that vaccinated children can still get and spread the disease.

        At this point, I think our discussion is just getting into a “should we shouldn’t we” debate, and we could really go on forever and never get anywhere. I thank you very much for keeping this conversation civil and if, at some point, you have new information to present to me regarding any of the points I’ve made in my article, I will gladly read over them and them to the article, if applicable. I thank you for the ways you’ve helped me to improve it already and hope you’ll forgive me if at this point I step out of the discussion.

      • moladood says:

        If you take something like Measles as an example. If this comes back, about 10% get ear infections, 5% get pneumonia and 1-2 for every 1000 die. If measles comes back, what is the true cost? Ear infections and pneumonia require treatment and death would likely result in much more strain on health care resources trying to treat it up to that point. Now what other costs are there? Lets take an ear infection. Not very scary but for me, I would need to take the day or morning off work. I would need to see a doctor. Doctor would prescribe a medication like drops. Does that sound like $15 dollars? Your argument is that not everyone will get issues that require medicine so $15 across the majority is a big number. Lets explore that.

        If you read the below link, there is some good info with source and reference links. Excerpt below.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elijah-wolfson-/vaccines-debate_b_3916421.html

        “Not vaccinating your children has real costs. From a purely economic perspective, there is a pretty solid incentive for making vaccination a worldwide requirement. In a 2011 article for Wired, Maryn McKenna found that to treat a single 14-person outbreak, two Arizona hospitals had to spend $799,136 to contain the disease — a cost that doesn’t include the man hours spent by the state’s department of health.”

        14 people vaccinated would have been $210. And with the remainder of that money, 53,000 others could have been vaccinated. This is just one disease and one outbreak. The entire business model behind vaccines is to reduce health care costs. Less money we collectively spend on health care means more spent on infrastructure and jobs.

      • Rina says:

        I really was planning on not responding to this pro-vaccination propaganda anymore, but this kind of statistic is really what kills me and is one of the biggest reasons I wrote this article in the first place. If you want to take measles for example, only about 150 people get the measles every year, so your 10% with ear in infections and 5% with pneumonia would end up being about 22 people in the entire United States. 14 of whom are dealing with EAR INFECTIONS. Yes, I could see why we’d be concerned with the financial implications of that.

        But you know, moladood, you may be right. In a world where we’ve become dependent on the medical community to fix everything from a scratch to a stubbed toe, not vaccinating may very well cost more than medical treatment (assuming, of course, that these diseases “come back” in the first place.) I mean, nevermind that in MOST cases, people with pneumonia get along just fine without hospitalization, and that ear infections, although painful, are certainly not debilitating, people will most certainly want to take at least one day off work to be examined by a doctor, pay to be medicated with all the latest drugs, and maybe even be x-rayed and blood tested just to be sure they’re not dying.

        If Big Pharma was really worried about the “high cost of healthcare” they’d be doing more to let the public know we don’t need to be so dependent on doctors and medications for ear aches and runny noses.

      • Rina says:

        One more thought…

        Lets say (for the sake of argument) that every childhood vaccination costs $15 (which, by the way, is a GROSS underestimate, but we’ll use it to give you the benefit of the doubt)…

        If the CDC had their way, every child in the United States would get vaccinated 25 times in their first year of life. There are roughly 4 million children born in the United States every year, so lets do the math….

        Every child in the US who gets vaccinated pays $375 to the healthcare system for vaccinations (25 vaccinations over the course of a year x $15 per vaccination.) If every child in the US were vaccinated (4 million children each year,) that’s $1,500,000,000 in revenue every year. This is for treating WELL children.

        Now, lets take the “real costs” of not vaccinating. According to the link you provided, a 14 person outbreak of measles in Arizona cost $799,136 to “contain” the disease (I’d love to know what they were spending this money on to ‘contain’ the disease, by the way. I mean, I could build a fort with 16 inch walls and bullet proof glass to ‘contain’ a disease if I wanted to, and a lot of that expense would probably be just as beneficial as a lot of what the health care community does to “treat” disease. But I digress.)

        In the state of Arizona, there are roughly 86,000 children born each year which equals a vaccination revenue of $32,250,000 every year (86,000 x $375). The state of Arizona would have to treat FORTY outbreaks such as this EVERY YEAR to even come CLOSE to the amount of money spent on vaccinations in a single year.

        Still want to tell me that the cost of treatment is greater than the cost of the vaccination???

      • moladood says:

        You are using stats based on successful vaccination (high vaccination rates in US and low incidents of measles – 150) to prove a point not to vaccinate. What happens in a low vaccination rate? This is the risk you are convincing people to take. Measles is highly contagious, about 90% of people exposed will get the disease. As vaccination rates go down, that 150 cases you mentioned will increase and the strain on health care systems goes up. This is my point, it isn’t to say the current 150 is going to overload the system, it is the risk that that number will grow. Unfortunately, this isn’t propaganda, it’s the data.

        http://www.wired.com/2011/04/cost-vaccine-refusal/

      • Rina says:

        Thanks for your comment, moladood. I really am going to have to let this one go, if only to keep from being angry with myself for continuing this conversation after I’ve said I don’t want to debate the issue anymore. If anyone is interested in knowing the truth about the risks of measles, the number of complications due to measles (or any other disease we currently vaccinate for,) and the cost of vaccination (both in terms of money and side-effects) I encourage you to study the subject for yourself!

      • moladood says:

        32M does not seem high to me and yes, I still believe the cost of vaccination is cheaper than treatment. Now, you ask if 40 outbreaks similar to the one I noted is possible. Below is an interactive map where you can filter by outbreak type and see the size and scale of an outbreak. As you go from 2008 to present day, you can see the increase in outbreaks. If the trend continues, 40 outbreaks is actually a huge under estimate when you look at all the different diseases. Here in Canada, we have 400 cases of measles year to date. That is up from 10 cases in 2010 and that is just measles. 40 outbreaks across all preventable diseases in the US with 10 times the population of Canada, is very likely and 32M starts to become a bargain. Make no mistake, no one can really predict what will happen if people stop getting vaccinated, but early data does not support anti-vaxx.

        http://www.cfr.org/interactives/GH_Vaccine_Map/#map

        And this is why you vaccinate, to protect those who need it most.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/04/08/meghan-mcnutt-anderson-whooping-cough-baby_n_5114425.html?1397007678

      • Rina says:

        First of all, much of the $799,136 that Arizona spent was to CONTAIN the disease. Before we start using this as our base point, we should ask the question: Does every state feel the need to go to such great lengths to contain outbreaks? Did all 400 of Canada’s measles cases result in expenditures of over $700,000? Looking at expenditures from a government who spends $60,000 on film parodies of “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island” and $2 million to on the new food pyramid is hardly the best way to determine what something should cost. I also find it interesting that the outbreak that cost so much in Arizona was due to a 37 year old Swiss tourist on her way back from Mexico. Shall we ban international travel, too? Make vaccinations mandatory for all adults?

        In your calculations, you are assuming that vaccines are effective 100% of the time (they’re not), that each person who contracts the disease seeks medical help (they don’t) and that each outbreak costs over $700,000 to “contain” (it doesn’t.)

        Nevertheless, lets look at some other statistics:

        Chicken Pox:

        – Number of outbreaks in the US since 2008: 150
        – Treatment for chicken pox: acetaminophen, to relieve fever from chickenpox and in serious cases (5% to 10%), hospitalization
        – Cost of treating chicken pox since 2008: $802,000
        ($10 for a bottle of Tylenol in 90% of all cases and $800,000 for hospitalization in 10% of all cases [I took this number from the cost of the 14-people outbreak of measles in Arizona, which I think is a gross overestimate.)
        – Revenue generated from vaccine since 2008: $300 million (4 million children [overestimate, but an accurate number if big pharma had its way and every child were vaccinated] x $15 for the vaccination [gross underestimate] x 5 years [underestimate as this doesn’t include any of 2014])

        Tetanus:

        – Number of outbreaks in the US since 2008: 3
        – Treatment for tetanus: human tetanus immune globulin, possible hospitalization
        – Cost of treating tetanus since 2008: $48,000 (Since I couldn’t find any information on the cost of treating tetanus, this was factored using the highest cost hospital stay for treatment of pneumonia – $16,000, and assuming that all three cases required hospitalization.)
        – Revenue generated from vaccine since 2008: $400 million (each shot given four times before one year of age and factoring a three-way split in revenue between diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)

        Diphtheria:

        – Number of outbreaks in the US since 2008: 0
        – Treatment for diphtheria: diphtheria antitoxin, antibiotics, possible hospitalization
        – Cost of treating diphtheria since 2008:$0
        – Revenue generated from vaccine since 2008: $400 million
        (each shot given four times before one year of age and factoring a three-way split in revenue between diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)

        Mumps:

        – Roughly 4,000 outbreaks in the US since 2008
        – Treatment for mumps: NONE NECESSARY. According to the CDC“Up to half of people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and therefore do not know they were infected with mumps.”
        – Cost of treating mumps since 2008: $0
        – Revenue generated from the mumps vaccine since 2008: $100 million
        (factoring a three-way split in revenue between measles, mumps and rubella)

        Rubella:

        – Number of outbreaks in the US since 2008: 0
        – Treatment for rubella: NONE NECESSARY. Children generally have few symptoms. Adults may experience a fever, headache, general discomfort, and a runny nose before the rash appears. They may not notice the symptoms.
        – Cost of treating rubella since 2008: $0
        – Revenue generated from vaccine since 2008: $100 million
        (factoring a three-way split in revenue between measles, mumps and rubella)

        Polio:

        – Number of outbreaks in the US ***since 1979***: 0
        – Treatment for polio: Most people have subclinical infection, and may not have symptoms. Those with clinical infection may require antibiotics, painkillers, physical therapy, braces, corrective shoes, or orthopedic surgery
        – Cost of treating tetanus since 1979: 0
        – Revenue generated from vaccine since 1979: over $2 billion
        (This number was calculated using the rate of two doses of the vaccination [though it is now four] and a yearly birth rate of 3.5 million [the birthrate in the 1980’s.] I also estimated the vaccine cost to be $10 to factor in inflation.])

        At this point, I’m sure you’ll point out that I’m using stats based on successful vaccination, and I’m sure you’ll also make the point that these diseases COULD start making a comeback, if we don’t vaccinate. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see just how much money there is to be made on vaccines and how little incentive there would be for pharmaceutical companies to pull a vaccine that hasn’t been needed for, say, over 30 years.

      • moladood says:

        It is clear you don’t get my point which is you cannot use vaccination numbers from 2008 where vaccination is high to support not vaccinating. The low incidents really support the vaccine position. For example polio, no cost is as a result of vaccination. Don’t vaccinate, the disease will return and costs go up so you should be actually showing projected data based on vaccination rates going down if you want to predict costs. Anyway, it is clear that we disagree so I am just going to leave you with an analogy as to how I see your argument being flawed. It is hypothetical if you couldn’t tell.

        People discovered that drinking water prevents hydration. 50 years later, someone questions why drink water, who do you know has ever been dehydrated? There is no medical cost associated with dehydration yet there is huge cost to all this water. Everyone should stop drinking water because it is cheaper.

        Unfortunately, the more I dig into the anti-vaxx research, I find it really doesn’t support the position. I have read some very crazy stuff like vaccines contain cancer virus and also the reason for cancer. Cancer being a virus, shocking revelations.

      • Rina says:

        On the contrary, I get your point perfectly, you just don’t want to play by your own rules. You sent me a chart in an effort to show how diseases have been on the increase in the past five years. I used the exact same chart to show how some of these diseases have not only NOT been increasing, but haven’t even been an ISSUE for the past five years. I also used the chart to show how some of these vaccinations are making pharmaceutical companies millions of dollars each year when the treatments for those who contracted the disease would cost, in essence, nothing.

      • moladood says:

        For me it is simple. If you have ever done your brakes on a car you know that it is better to do it sooner than wait until the pads are totally gone and you get metal on metal contact and potentially more damage and expense. But one could argue that during the year where there was still trace amounts of pad left or even no pad at all, doing nothing is cheaper. A mechanic would highly recommend replacing the pads immediately to be proactive and not potentially cause a) a bigger and more expensive job or b) failure which could result in injury or death. Your point is it is cheaper not to do it today and risk that the mechanic is in it for the money.

        I get your point, it just seems very illogical since you would probably trust your mechanic in this instance.

      • Rina says:

        moladood, my point is that with some of these diseases, the treatment (according to the CDC) is to do absolutely NOTHING. The complications are rare, the symptoms are fleeting or mild (in some cases people don’t even know they HAVE the disease) and in some cases, the chances of you actually contracting the disease are incredibly low. Even if a child WERE to get the disease, the treatment costs virtually NOTHING. To use your example, vaccinating against some of these diseases would be akin to getting a new transmission every month to avoid a break down. Yes, getting a new transmission every month COULD help you avoid an accident that COULD cause you to accumulate towing and repair bills, but is it necessary or cost-effective? Absolutely not.

      • moladood says:

        The fact you have this comments section moderated says a lot. It isn’t a fair discussion when you can block comments. I see that my last comment is not showing. You stated you didn’t want to talk anymore which is fine but you then gave 2 more responses for which you asked questions so I would like to respond. I would appreciate if you allowed my pending response to appear since I think the map link is a good reference to outbreaks and valuable to people that are doing research which is what you are encouraging.

      • Rina says:

        hey, moladood, I haven’t blocked it, just haven’t had time to respond. Working on that now.

  33. Lucy says:

    Thank You Rina!!! I was infuriated when I read Raff’s article and saw how easily people took it as fact. As a masters qualified health professional with 7 years of experience in research, I was disgusted at what she did and how easily it spread (like a disease in itself). I was actually sent your article by a friend who had taken her article seriously and your response made him question and re-think. I’m so glad someone has taken the time to go through and pull it apart. Humanity and common sense is still alive, thank you and thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙂

  34. I understand your point, but I don’t think it proves by any stretch that without immunization that decline would have continued. It’s 100% an assumption. People still die of infections every day. Especially influenza. Obviously, sanitation and nutrition aren’t doing the job all by themselves if as recently as last year babies were dying of pertussis and as recent as ten years ago a child died of complications related to chicken pox.

    It may be up to the parent to weigh risks against benefits, but that doesn’t mean the parent is right. Some things are a matter of fact vs fiction, not opinion. You keep going on about how the risks of complications from disease are so rare that they do not matter, however you refuse to apply this ideology to immunization. Even though your belief about some of these risks is false and has been proven to be false time and time again. Also, it’s quite ironic that you seem to have made up your mind how dangerous these diseases are when you didn’t have the disadvantage of living during the times people were dying because of them. Measles and mumps are likely not going to be as deadly today thanks to immunization. That is being taken for granted now. As I said before, I don’t hope for things to continue the way they are going, but if they do progress I hope people like you are around to see it and face the music. Because it rests solely on your misguidance.

    Sadly, the anti-vaccination movement isn’t helping people with autism. People who like you who view them as injured handicaps who are suffering and people like Jenny McCarthy who publicly mourn it have just made other people afraid of autism. You are actually hurting a very vulnerable group of people to help further your agenda. So, thanks but no thanks.

    • Rina says:

      As I’ve stated before, we could go round and round on this topic and never say anything really valuable, so please forgive me if I pull out of the conversation for now. I appreciate your opinion and if our conversation has made anyone feel they need to do more research, I’ll be happy.

    • Cynthia Maurer says:

      Measles, mumps, rubella were not the boogie man childhood diseases everyone makes them out to be. They were actually good training for our immune systems and were, in effect, nature’s s vaccines, but without all the added poisons. They also provided lifelong immunity with no need for boosters. But men, in their infinite pride, thought they could go God one better, so they intervened into the ways of the natural universe and created an artificial way to generate immunity, but boy were they wrong. With no deep knowledge really of the complex mechanisms of the human immune system, they started bombarding it with toxins, bacteria, cell culture slurry, foreign DNA, monkey viruses and more vile things than you can think of and introduced it in a dramatically artificial way through the cannula of a hypodermic needle. They stayed with just one dose at a time, but now they attack with 6,7,8 vaccines at once in doses far beyond the capacity of a young child to handle and often times children can’t handle the inflammation to the lining of the brain that ALL vaccines elicit. Thus we have concomitant with the rise in the number of vaccines, a similar rise in the cases of chronic childhood disease like diabetes and asthma, autism and seizures. Are they blind to not see this or willfully ignorant of it because they believe science to be their God? Did they think nature would just step back and let them monkey with one of its most marvelous creations and there not be deleterious and critical consequences?

  35. blank says:

    I would like to point out that the argument you did on that people vaccinated with whooping cough was obviously biased. You only based your argument on the results of the acellular vaccines. Cellular vaccines are used more than the acellular.

  36. Stella says:

    Thanks a lot for this post and all the work you put in the research. I did a lot of research myself since I am expecting my first child and wanted to know if and against what my child should be vaccinated. I admit, I’d love to have an easy solution, like “I choose to vaccinate and my child is safe from harm”. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. The highly ineffective pertussi vaccination is a good example. In fact, I found no vaccination – so far – I find worth taking the risk of side effects compared to the benefits. I am still searching for neutral, objective information – trying to avoid dogmatic anti-vaccination people as well as dogmatic pro-vaccination advocates. You helped a lot.

  37. rylandmiller says:

    An interesting article. I’m not convinced, but I don’t have the time to go through everything. I did find one glaring inaccuracy in your reporting, though.

    Regarding the aluminum content of breast milk, you say, “First of all, lets consider that in the study Raff sites, the amount of aluminum present in breastmilk was determined by taking multiple samples over the course of four months and ranged from 0.004 mg to 2.67 mg.” This would mean her source gives aluminum content in the form of mass / time (mg/month), and you interpret it as such.

    However, if we go to the article itself, we find “Aluminium levels in human milk in the winter period of 1992/93 ranged from 0.004 mg/l to 2.67 mg/l and the mean value was 0.38 mg/l.” Sure, the “winter period” may amount to 4 months, but the units on aluminum content are clearly mg/L (mass / volume, the proper unit for concentration). The important thing is that this is INDEPENDENT of time. Multiplying the low-end estimate by 3 gives the mass of aluminum in 3 liters of breast milk, not the mass in a year’s consumption.

    How does this impact the math? Well, if you really want to compare a year’s breast milk consumption to 6 years of vaccinations, you’ll need to determine the volume of milk consumed in a given time. I’ve assumed an average intake of 750 mL/day [1] [2] in these calculations. For the lowest reported concentration of aluminum in breast milk, this gives 1.095 g/year, or 100 times the value you claim. This is actually roughly on par with the 4.93 grams in 6 years of vaccines.

    But let’s go a step further. Let’s compare the average aluminum concentration in breast milk to the maximum reported aluminum content of vaccines. Based on the above, the average child receives 104 mg of aluminum in a year of breast milk. That same child would receive 77.4 mg of Al from vaccines over 6 years! It’s even worse if you look at the high end: a whopping 730 mg versus 77 mg. That is, using the highest numbers, a child would consume nearly 10 times as much aluminum as 6 years of vaccinations!

    I’ll assume you just misread the article and didn’t mean to mislead people. But then, maybe that there is an argument for why we should trust people whose job it is to read, understand, analyze, and interpret the peer-reviewed literature rather than letting letting everyone come to their own conclusions?

    References:
    [1] http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/milkcalc/
    [2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673694913374 Here I used the density of milk (1033 g/L) to convert from mass to volume. It’s a rough estimate, but it agrees well with [1].

  38. Watt Smith says:

    Rina,
    This blog post was painful to read and full of factual errors about the severity and risk of various diseases, Please research more thoroughly in the future and try not to let your prejudices hamper your objectivity. Measles has been responsible for approximately one to two deaths out of a hundred according to the CDC’s Leading Causes of Death publication for 2010 and 2011 (2012 is supposed to be out, but I haven’t found it yet) which also states the flu causes thousands of deaths a year, and whooping cough averages about a dozen.
    There is a prevalent theory that if you don’t vaccinate your children they are more prone to get that disease than vaccinated children would be. If your child contracts a disease the pathogen can undergo hundred and thousands of generations in your child’s body during the incubation period. During this period it would be unlikely, but not unheard of for the pathogen in question to evolve greater virulence, treatment resistance, and even to the point that previous vaccines would no longer be effective. Regardless of whether the pathogen undergoes a drastic evolution or not your child will still be exposing everyone he or she comes in contact with to the pathogen and any individual with a compromised immune system, no vaccination for that illness, or didn’t respond as advertised to vaccination received is now in danger of contracting a disease that has a very real, if acceptable to you, chance that he or she will die. In essence not vaccinating your children turns them into little bio-warfare laboratories – more so than usual – whether you choose to believe it or not.

  39. Jacquelyn Rust says:

    I do not have children yet, but I applaud your article. I love how you gave information on both sides and were not biased. I have read some research concerning vaccinations, because in the near future I will hopefully have children and want to make the best educated decision concerning them. Your article reached me and put most of my fears to rest. Thank you!

  40. Maggie says:

    I love this I’m so many ways. I’m so sick of the scapegoating and calling anti vax parents uninformed. In my experience, we are the ones who take time to do our own research and don’t just blindly follow our doctors suggestions.
    I have two unvaxed, happy healthy kids and although the “scary” outbreaks are happening,im not the least bit concerned. I know my kids’ healthy immune systems can fight off any run of the mill childhood disease with a little time and TLC. It always amuses me because if vaccine lore were correct, we un vaxxed families should be the ones worried about measles outbreaks, but we’re not. Thanks so much for writing this!

  41. Colin says:

    Dangerous quackery. Point refuted a thousand times.Get a job.

  42. Things that make you go hmmmm... says:

    Scandinavia is not a country.

  43. Lulabelle says:

    I found this article, very long and very scientific, but also VERY interesting!
    – for those interested in the autism – vaccine link –

    http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2007/06/no-evidence-of-any-link.html

  44. Reblogged this on Nähbastelkochtantenblog and commented:
    Noch einer (auch auf englisch), aber lesenswert!

  45. nick says:

    Ok. Read both articles. Convinced by one, counter convinced by the other. As you can see I was on the fence.

    Now I’ve read all the comments, rational and irrational, and I have to say that I am now more strongly than I thought possible on the vaccination side of the fence. There were a few commentators (Brandi) who soundly picked apart argue nets from both sides in a compelling and easy to understand way that shows, in my view, that statistics are used (by both sides) in a way to manipulate thought but that the ant-vax crew seem to be a little more liberal with their use of the ‘facts.’

    It seems that confirmation bias is the order of the day, if you have had your kids vaccinated you argue for ( in the most part) if you have not then you you ain’t gonna do it and you are gonna argue against it.

    Rina, you have an agenda, I believe it is well placed but I doubt many people in the developing world (less the Taliban) would agree to your pov.

    Bon Soir.

    • Rina says:

      Sure, I have an agenda… and that is to show how Jennifer Raff’s argument is unscientific and misleading. I would encourage you not to base your decision on two articles plus comments in the comments section. Do research on both sides of the issue, look at the studies and the science and go from there. Your conclusion may be the same, but at least it will be based on fact and not popular opinion.

      • moladood says:

        Jennifer Raff’s entire argument seems to be what your argument is which is to not trust someone on the internet and to learn to understand all the research. That is the same thing you are saying to some extent, you just came to a different result. My comments on your forum is that you may not have interpreted the evidence correctly, hopefully in a non condescending way.

        The way Dr. Raff framed the argument is to show there actually is a scientific side that counters many of the anti-vaxx claims and encourages people to read the counter arguments as well instead of buying into the fear hype.

        Dr. Raff’s concluding paragraph or summation of her argument.

        “…scientific papers can seem intimidating to read. But reading scientific articles is a skill that can be mastered. Here’s a great resource for evaluating medical information on the internet, and I wrote a guide for non-scientists on how to read and understand the scientific literature. You owe it to your children, and to yourself, to thoroughly investigate the issue. Don’t rely on what some stranger on the internet says (not even me!). Read the scientific studies that I linked to in this post for yourself, and talk to your pediatricians. Despite what the anti-vaccine community is telling you, you don’t need to be afraid of the vaccines. You should instead be afraid of what happens without them.”

      • Rina says:

        “Jennifer Raff’s entire argument seems to be what your argument is which is to not trust someone on the internet and to learn to understand all the research. That is the same thing you are saying to some extent, you just came to a different result.”

        I just happen to use facts and links that actually have something to do with the subject at hand. 😉

      • moladood says:

        I am pretty sure that the links provided by Dr. Raff were relevant to all the points made. I read through your logicc on your rebuttal and many points have very big flaws in the arguments. Lets take a few examples.

        JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT UNVACCINATED CHILDREN ARE PUTTING EVERYONE ELSE’S CHILDREN AT RISK

        You then go on to say that you carrying a gun is in some way an analogy or the same thing. Based on your logic people should be able to drink and drive, why should you give up your freedom because someone else is afraid it might hurt someone. Your logic is counter intuitive to any laws really. You also use a fact that children who are vaccinated against whooping cough spread whooping cough. When in fact the real fact is not as you stated but rather your misinterpretation of the findings. You should really stop misleading readers. You claim this example to be spot on, however it is anything but. I will re-write it for your based on the real results of the study.

        FACT: Children vaccinated against whooping cough with accelular vaccine can still become carriers of the virus if exposed in the future (although they are immune to the symptoms themselves)

        FACT: Unvaccinated and vaccinated children can contract whooping cough from exposed unvaccinated and vaccinated people, the vaccinated will not show any symptoms of the disease but the unvaccinated will become ill.

        CONCLUSION: Only vaccinated children do not show signs of the illness to which they were vaccinated from, you should vaccinate your children.

        Lets take another one

        JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT VACCINES ARE EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING DISEASE

        You then go on to show one of the most misleading graphs showing a decline in disease prior to vaccines. It does look convincing but hmmm, something is not right. Mortality doesn’t measure cases or incidences. If an HIV vaccine came out tomorrow, what do you think the mortality chart would look like prior to the vaccine? It would definitely show a decline from the 1980’s. In the 1980’s we had no idea what we were dealing with but over time we got better at treating the symptoms and prolonging life. You can almost expect to live a full long life with HIV these days. Not thanks to sanitation but thanks to the same drug companies, researchers that create vaccines. That chart completely changes when you compare ‘cases’ instead of how many people died.

        The last example is one that bugs me to no end.

        JENNIFER RAFF SAYS THAT NOT VACCINATING PUTS OUR CHILDREN’S LIVES AT RISK

        Your argument on that one is that ‘it doesn’t happen anymore so why vaccinate’. Using incident rates of a primarily vaccinated population to prove not to vaccinate is fundamentally flawed. It is like saying my incidents of cavities is nothing so I should stop brushing my teeth.

        BTW – if you wanted to be even more misleading in this point, you should have used mortality rates again.

        In summary, I find your logic is completely flawed on this. You don’t seem to understand the science or have really read the papers referenced. My guess is you don’t have access to pubmed and just read the abstracts to draw conclusions. I feel bad for you, it does look like you put in a lot of time and effort into the responses.

        “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

      • Rina says:

        oh, moladood, must we keep going round and round this same argument? Read Raff’s article again, read my article again. You’ll find that SEVERAL of her links didn’t have anything to do with the points she was trying to make. Anyway, I wrote this article waaaaay back in April and refuse to get sucked into it again. Most of the points you make here have already been dealt with, either in the body of the article (feel free to read it again) or in the comments section. Thanks for your comment.

      • moladood says:

        I guess my problem is that you added a slight addendum. People that come here will not read through the entire thing or addendum (people have short attention spans). I find it intellectually dishonest not update it right under the actual point you make. Not to mention, you don’t even acknowledge the mistake.

        “There is some confusion as to whether the baboons in this study became carriers of pertussis after the vaccination itself, or only after being exposed to the disease.”

        No, there is no confusion, there is misinterpretation and you and the anti-vaxx community should own up to the factual error of the study. This is my issue. If you really wanted to be honest, you would acknowledge each factual error and remove or update the rebuttal. It seems to me that you would rater spread misinformation and that is where my issue is.

        It is ok to be wrong. Many people are actually doing it these days, here is one persons story.

        http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/growing-up-unvaccinated/

      • Rina says:

        moladood, I addressed the baboon study in another comment to you…
        Tod J. Merkel, The lead author of the baboon study, researcher in the Office of Vaccines Research and Review in the Food and Drug Administration, Tod J. Merkel said himself that “When you’re newly vaccinated you are an asymptomatic carrier.” This seems to imply that simply getting vaccinated makes you a carrier.
        Until I can find a source that tells me positively that this is not the case, I choose to state that there is some confusion.
        Furthermore, the addendum to that part of the article isn’t really even necessary. Read that section again… It states:

        “the whooping cough vaccination is not only ineffective against whooping cough, but vaccinated children can actually spread the disease!”

        Whether whooping cough is automatically spread by those who are vaccinated or whether those vaccinated have to contract the disease before they become carriers makes no difference, the point is still the same. Vaccinated children CAN contract and spread the disease and it’s an issue serious enough to have caused manufacturers of the vaccine to start trying to figure out how they can fix the problem. In the meantime, unfortunately, they’re still vaccinating thousands upon thousands of children with a deficient vaccine.

      • moladood says:

        Sure, let me do my best.

        Here is a link to the full text study (excerpt of the method below): http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/20/1314688110.full.pdf+html

        “At 7 mo of age, vaccinated, naïve, and previously infected (convalescent) animals were challenged with D420, a B. pertussis clinical isolate that causes severe infection in humans and baboons (17). Naïve animals were heavily colonized with peak levels between
        107–108 cfu/mL in nasopharyngeal washes (Fig. 1A). After 2 wk, colonization gradually decreased, and the infection cleared after 30 d”

        This shows that the process to attain the result was by “challenging” vaccinated animals with severe infections in which colonization occurred. So vaccine first then months later test to see how effective it is by introducing infection. If you can honestly read through this entire paper and still state that the vaccines cause infection, then you are only lying to yourself.

        In the link you posted on your response to the FDA article states:

        “This research suggests that although individuals immunized with an acellular pertussis vaccine may be protected from disease, they may still become infected with the bacteria without always getting sick and are able to spread infection to others, including young infants who are susceptible to pertussis disease.”

        By ‘may still become infected’ does not imply that the vaccine infects them. If the result was so clear cut that the vaccine did cause infection and spread, why wouldn’t that be the actual conclusion?

        What is an accellular vaccine? Acellular vaccine definition:

        1. A vaccine that may contain cellular material but does not contain complete cells.

        2. A vaccine composed of only those fragments of bacterial cells that are best suited to stimulating a strong immune response.

        Are you suggesting that the body, reassembled the non living cell fragments in the vaccine and re-created a living cell and then spread this as the full blown disease? That is something out of science fiction.

      • Rina says:

        Thanks, moladood. I have changed the footnote to reflect this information, but as my point still stands regardless of whether those with pertussis spread the disease after contracting it, or spread it as a result of the vaccination itself, I will not be changing the information in the body of the paper.

      • moladood says:

        OK Rina, any progress is good progress. If I had more time, I would go through them all but there are only so many hours in the day.

    • Sarah B says:

      It would be a shame for you to base this very serious decision on a couple of articles that you read on the internet. Please do your own research so that you can know for yourself without a shadow of a doubt that you are looking at unbiased facts.

      • Sarah B says:

        I also wanted to pose a question to moladood about the pertussis vaccine.
        You state:

        “FACT: Children vaccinated against whooping cough with accelular vaccine can still become carriers of the virus if exposed in the future (although they are immune to the symptoms themselves)

        FACT: Unvaccinated and vaccinated children can contract whooping cough from exposed unvaccinated and vaccinated people, the vaccinated will not show any symptoms of the disease but the unvaccinated will become ill.

        CONCLUSION: Only vaccinated children do not show signs of the illness to which they were vaccinated from, you should vaccinate your children.”

        You seem to be saying that since vaccinated children do not show signs of the illness (which isn’t completely accurate since that isn’t guaranteed..), this gives enough reason for all children to be vaccinated. Can we talk about the group that is most “at risk” for complications from pertussis? This is said to be the youngest among us – those younger than 6 months of age that are not able to be vaccinated themselves. The vaccine is pushed for all of those people that surround these infants to receive the TDaP vaccine in a way to “cocoon” the child from becoming infected with whooping cough. Does this “cocoon” effect not backfire when a vaccinated individual does not display symptoms when infected and therefore goes around an infant and exposes them to the disease without even knowing that they are infected?

      • Rina says:

        Sarah B, I’m not sure whether this comment was directed at me or not but I assure you my decision was not based on a “couple of articles that I read on the internet.”

    • Sarah B says:

      Rina, it was not directed towards you at all. It is very clear that you have done plenty of research on the topic as is evident by your article. My comment was directed towards Nick who read both articles and was “convinced by one, counter convinced by the other”. Then goes on to say that everyone is biased, but he is no leaning towards pro-vax since he believes that you have an agenda in writing your article.
      ?
      Interesting.

      No, Rina, I absolutely loved your article and wanted to thank you for all of the time that I know you spend researching to post such a well-written rebuttal piece!

      • Rina says:

        Ahhh… gotcha. Unfortunately wordpress is set up so that I can’t always see which comments are in response to which until they’re published. Thanks, Sarah!

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  47. Rina S says:

    Rina to Rina: You are awesome. It is a shame that there are those that just flatly refuse to take the time to LEARN and answer those questions for themselves in order to decide what is best for their child and family. For the most part I quit fighting to warn others. I know in MY heart and mind I did the right thing for MY child.

    • Rina says:

      Thanks for your comment. Just had to mention that you’re only the second “Rina” I’ve ever met, and the first who has spelled her name the same!

  48. Brittany says:

    I do have a couple of issues with your post. I have done my own research on vaccine safety and I am in no way vouching for the original post- in all honesty I saw it and didn’t check out her links because I was confident enough in the information I had gained through peer-reviewed studies, talking with specialized professionals and reading books written by renowned virologists and immunologists.
    I am currently working on my Master Degree in Biomedical Science with a focus on Immunology so I know very well about the process of analyzing a scientific article. I do agree with everything you have said on the flu. Neither I nor my child will ever get the flu vaccine- It is practically a shot in the dark in my opinion and if you are a healthy individual there really is no reason.
    With that being said, at no point in the original article does the author mention and epidemic. There is a difference in an epidemic and an outbreak. An outbreak is an abnormal number of cases in a given area at a given time. An epidemic is a widespread, highly contagious, seemingly unstoppable number of cases of a disease. If the norm was 1-2 cases per year then 20 cases would be an outbreak.
    The article on mumps on the CDC does not state that mumps is in anyway more common in vaccinated children than unvaccinated. It actually thoroughly details how effective the vaccine is at protecting against mumps. I have talked to several people who had mumps as children and they all remember it as miserable. I have talked to people who said they were delirious and that their family had to pull them out of the window because they were trying to jump out. Someone told me they felt like they were dying, they were so swollen they couldn’t breathe. As a child that is not only terrifying, it is traumatizing. I would not want to make my child endure that if they didn’t have to. They article in no way says that mumps occurs often among vaccinated people, it just stated that if it did, that would be why some vaccinated people caught it, because not all vaccines are 100% effective. In fact, the article says that the unvaccinated are TEN times more likely to catch mumps than the vaccinated.
    Secondly, the CDC has recently released and article saying that measles it at an all-time high. In fact of the 288 cases so far this year in the US 90% of them were unvaccinated (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm63e0529a1.htm) . Not to mention rates have been far above the mentioned “83 per year” for a couple of years now. In both 2011 and 2013 the measles rates in the United States neared or surpassed 200. It does not good to discontinue vaccination until the disease is completely eradicated (like smallpox) or else it will very quickly make a comeback. It stands to reason that the fewer people that vaccinate the more cases we will have.
    Thirdly, your information regarding aluminum was wrong. Paul Offit (Paul A. Offit, MD is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, Dr. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health.
    Dr. Offit has published more than 140 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety.) states in one of his books: “Adults typically ingest 5-10 milligrams (thousandths of a gram) of aluminum every day. Babies are no different; all are exposed to aluminum in breast milk and infant formula. Infants exclusively breast-fed will have ingested ten milligrams of aluminum by six months of age; those fed regular infant formula, thirty milligrams; and those fed soy formula, one hundred and twenty milligrams. All recommended childhood vaccines combined contain four milligrams of aluminum.” In the words of Paracelsus “The dose makes the poison”

    The final issue I had with this article was the typical “conspiracy call” when you couldn’t deny evidence. When it comes to autism where she has linked several legitimate studies, you didn’t have evidence such as poor control methods or insufficient data or not enough people, instead you stated “I’d like to know who paid for these studies to be conducted.” As someone currently pursuing and education in the area of research I am highly offended by that comment. It is typical in my experience for anti-vaxxers to call out “Big Pharma” whenever they can’t prove their point to their satisfaction, but if you truly knew the scientists who study these diseases you would not play that card. I have interned with the CDC, I have met, firsthand, the people you are referring to. These people spend 10 years in school plus another 2-3 years in a focused fellowship program and after going through all that most of them spend the rest of their lives researching ONE disease. The same people don’t study disease after disease getting all the money, instead, vaccine companies get the best of the best in that field- people who have been to third world countries and seen the devastating effects of these diseases, people who are passionate about this one disease, and have those people study the effects. One of the CDC’s core beliefs is to put the good of the public and their health above the prosperity of the institution and they truly believe it.
    And I looked at the link you gave on studies proving vaccines cause autism, very few of those even refer to vaccines, the few that do do not actually say they cause autism. The few that do both only used 8-9 subjects to test their hypothesis and don’t even mention how many controls they use, and finally, the two that had the most evidence were referring to thimersol which isn’t even present in the MMR vaccine.
    Once again- I am in no way defending the original post- I am just tired of people skewing and misaccurately present information. Name one person who has extensively studied Immunology, Virology and Vaccinology and posted multiple official research articles, just one person who is an expert in this area who won’t vaccinate their kids. Every medical doctor I have ever heard cited or mentioned has received an MD and had either a.) no research experience whatsoever or b.) researched an area other than vaccines or c.) been proven to have skewed or have provided false information for the purpose of getting money from the government for compensation (and generally those ones were practicing physicians not even Immunologists.

    • Elisabeth says:

      She doesn’t have the most thorough book, from the reviews I’ve read thus far (haven’t read her book yet myself), but I did meet in person and listen to a talk/Q&A session by Stanford immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych, just one professional who believes there are better alternatives to vaccines for our kids. Suzanne Humphries, another medical professional I’ve met and heard speak on the subject, and whose book I’m working through at the moment, while not specifically credentialed in one of the three fields you mentioned, has definitely done her research! I find your last claim surprising, as beyond these two rather prominent examples, I’ve also met practicing medical doctors in different fields who have not vaccinated their own children. Not alternative doctors/chiros–people with actual medical school degrees etc. Sorry not being very precise here; it’s late! But just wanted to toss out a couple of obvious examples.

  49. Elyse says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article. As a grammar nazi, however, I have to point out that you used “site” instead of “cite” a few times. I don’t want anything to discredit what you have done here. Thanks.

  50. Lena says:

    I’m afraid I don’t have time to address all the weaknesses in your article, so let me just pick two:
    1. No, it would certainly not be worth vaccinating yourself or your child against yellow fever in the US, because the disease is not endemic in the US, and is spread by mosquitoes. That means you’re currently at negligible risk of infection. However, measles is a highly infectious disease spread through droplet transmission (by people, not mosquitoes), and infection rates have recently hit a 20-year high. You may wish to acquire a basic understanding of how diseases are transmitted before you attempt to write future public health articles.
    2. If you had read or included the entire paragraph beginning “Research shows that people respond better to some types of risks than others,” you might have realised that it was referring to people’s emotional or cognitive tolerance of risks rather than physical tolerance of risk. Again, more careful reading might have taken you to the chart in the article Dr. Raff cites, which lists the risks of the disease (natural infection) vs. risks of the vaccination (which are more rare, and tend to be far more minor). You may wish to spend a little more time reading the subject matter which you are attempting to discredit in future.
    You don’t appear to place much value on formal education, so it’s probably not worth pointing out that I have a graduate degree in public health. Besides which, I am certainly in favour of people educating themselves about public health issues, whether or not they have a formal education. I simply object to persons such as yourself spreading misinformation that could be dangerous to others, as you have done in this article. Please reconsider this irresponsible and unintelligent practice.

    • Peacelady says:

      Agreed. Too many parents read articles written by unqualified people like this woman whose only goal is to stir the pot of controversy over vaccinations. She is certainly entitled to her opinion, but she is not entitled to speak as if she has professional knowledge on the pros or cons of the safety of vaccinations.

      • Rina says:

        Peacelady, I don’t normally censor comments on the blog but I have chosen to censor the last three statements you have written because I do not believe they are appropriate to the conversation at hand. I believe that an open discussion about these issues should always welcomed, no matter what “side” of the issue you’re on.

      • moladood says:

        Why would you censor comments at all? Is this China?

      • Peacelady says:

        My last three comments were and are relevant to the conversation because they point out the dire consequences that can occur due to posts put out by you as true and authentic. Yes, you are entitled to your own opinion. No, you are not entitled to entice people to defy doctors recommendations for parents to have their children get timely prescribed vaccinations. You have a responsibility to, at the very least, cite reputable valid medical and scientific sources to back up your opinion(s) which you did not do in the article I read. If you are not willing to accept criticism, you should take your post down before it truly does cause harm, if it hasn’t already done so.

      • Rina says:

        Sorry, “peacelady”, but I refuse to censor my thoughts or opionions on this or any other matter based on what someone may or may not do with the information presented. Any parent not willing to do his/her own research on a subject as important as this but would rely on a single blogpost to sway them in one direction or another is going to run into far greater problems in parenting and in life than that of whether or not to vaccinate.

      • Peacelady says:

        That’s rich. You refuse to censor your thoughts or opinions yet you censored mine because something I posted was offensive to you personally. I stand by my first comment and dare you to have nerve enough to run it in its entirety. My concern is for all children to be able to live a healthy, long, and fulfilling life. Your concern is obviously your ego. Putting out BS like this shows that it’s not your credibility you are concerned about because you have zero on this subject.

      • Rina says:

        Judith, if you want to share something relevant to the conversation, GREAT! If you want to refute my article with facts of your own, WONDERFUL! If you want to write a point by point rebuttal to everything I’ve written here and back it up with credible sources, PERFECT! In each case, I’ll be more than happy to publish your comments in their entirety. If you want to attack me, personally, with derisive, emotionally charged commentary it will be deleted. Feel free to post whatever you want on your own blog, it wont be entertained here.

  51. Robby says:

    I read this article after reading “Dear parents, you are being lied to” to see what the other side had to say. Honestly this is embarrassing and I would take it down because it has only makes the anti-vaccination argument look illogical.

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  53. DCS says:

    Don’t leave it up to scientific communicators and pseudo-scientific detractors, rather see where the actual peer reviewed scientific stands on the topic. The best place to start is “Google Scholar” (simply type “scholar” into google) and type in “Anti-Vaccination”, “Vaccination Study”, or any other hot scientific topic that you are faced with. This will give you a TRUE cross section of what the REAL scientific community is saying.

  54. Nikki says:

    You and people like you are delusional idiots. Vacines were made for a reason. Not everyone is out to get you with conspiracies. I suggest that with your aversion to vaccines, you also forgo any other medical treatment, because why only single out vaccines? So when the flu becomes bronchitis and bronchitis becomes pneumonia, feel safe in knowing that you can get through it with a little sleep and some chicken noodle soup.

  55. Omar says:

    The counter arguments presented in the piece are selfish at best. Please spare us from your anti-govt rhetoric. I read this piece hoping to understand why a parent would put their child at risk. It seems selfish, selfish, selfish that a parent would but their political ideals ahead of their child’s wellbeing. Please take this nonsense down and reconsider your opinion.

    • Rina says:

      Sorry, Omar, I thought I made my point pretty clear… Having done a great deal of research on the subject, my husband and I have come to believe that, at least in some cases, the so-called “risk” involved in not vaccinating is so small as to be statistically insignificant. As I mentioned in my article, I’m not anti-vaccine and we do believe vaccines have a place. I don’t personally know of ANY parents who put their “political ideals” head of their children’s well being, and (assuming they exist) we’re certainly not among them.

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