Oh, To Be A Fly On the Wall

July 13, 2011

How many times have you heard of a new rule, law or recommendation and thought, “I wish someone had asked me what I thought about that before it became standard practice.”

Well for about 100 people with opinions regarding vaccine recommendations, yesterday was one of those days.

That’s because yesterday, the CDC hosted a public meeting in Seattle that was intended to engage the public in a discussion about vaccine recommendations, with specific emphasis on a vaccine for meningococcal disease in infants. This meeting was promoted to the public with the intent of getting input on the factors that should be considered when deciding if, and how,  vaccines should be added to the childhood vaccine series. While it’s extremely important for policy makers to understand and appreciate the public’s concerns, my suspicions regarding the productivity of this meeting began when I heard the rally call go out on well-known anti-vaccine sites. I suspected that the 100 individuals gathered in Seattle yesterday may not have been an appropriate representation of the country as a whole. It would be a shame to see this entire forum derailed by conversations of vaccine safety and efficacy from attendees who were simply trying to force their own agenda.

Prior to the event, Ed Marcuse, professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Hospital, optimistically expressed his opinions regarding the meeting to KPLU Seattle by saying

 “It’s terribly important that you get other people engaged in the discussions of values, not just the experts. Because experts have knowledge, but the experts’ values don’t trump the values of the general public.”

While this is an admirable point of view, and I appreciate that the experts are concerned about the publics’ values, I am left wondering what I might have witnessed had I been a fly on the wall.

According to the coverage of the event from The Seattle Times, the attendees “wrestled with questions of safety, cost and effectiveness of a vaccine for meningococcal meningitis, one of several types of the disease, which can cause inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord”.

The Seattle Times article goes on to explain the intricacies of this specific vaccine decision. Some key points to be considered are:

  • The vaccine has just recently been approved for infants as young as 9 months
  • It will likely be as expensive as the version used for teens: about $100.
  • Other formulations of meningitis vaccine are now in the approval pipeline.
  • Unless the CDC and the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) officially recommend it for infants, insurers likely won’t cover it, nor will programs that provide free vaccines for low-income children.
  • While bacterial meningitis is considered relatively rare, it is often deadly.
  • Children under age 5 account for nearly a quarter of the 1,000 cases of meningitis in the United States each year. (According to the CDC, about 30 of those children die and about 35 will have a lifelong disability.)
  • It’s anticipated that the current vaccine, which covers about a third of the causes of bacterial meningitis in infants, would protect against about 75 of the 250 cases in children.

It’s encouraging to hear that the CDC had presented this type of critical information to the attendees – all pertinent in evaluating the possible recommendation.  However, I’m left to wonder how constructive it was for the CDC to hear from people who do not possess the expert knowledge on this subject.  Ultimately, will the opinions of the public play into the decision or is this simply a way to gauge public response once a decision is made?

Oh, believe me…If would welcome the chance to share my thoughts and concerns with immunization policy makers. Unfortunately, like many other mothers who have an interest in vaccine advocacy, traveling to Seattle just wasn’t feasible.  Certainly there are others who also wish they had the opportunity to express their opinions on this particular subject. Therefore, if you care to include your views in a comments below, I will then forward them along to those at the CDC who are listed as the facilitators of this meeting.

And just so you are aware of what they have heard so far, upon the conclusion of yesterday’s meeting in Seattle, it has been reported by The Seattle Times that 53 percent of the participants indicated that they would like to add the vaccine to the schedule for all children, 31 percent were against recommending routine use but were for adding it to the government’s Vaccine for Children Program, and 16 percent suggested that the vaccine should not be recommending, nor paid for.

So, what are your thoughts? We want to know.

  1. Karen
    July 13, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I would love for the CDC/ACIP to add this vaccine to the regular infant vaccine schedule. I think the risks of meningitis, even with its rarity, make it well worth the costs of vaccinating.

  2. Chelsea
    July 13, 2011 at 11:43 am

    It sounds like a great idea– reduce the amount of time a child is at risk for meningitis? Absolutely!

  3. Steve Michaels
    July 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    ” It would be a shame to see this entire forum derailed by conversations of vaccine safety and efficacy from attendees who were simply trying to force their own agenda.”

    As opposed to your kind of attendees who simply want to force YOUR own agenda!! Classic stuff. I actually laughed out loud at the irony. Or do the ‘personal values’ that they are looking to inject only count if they fit your world view? The point of a ‘conversation’ is to converse. You seem overly concerned about the conversation including an alternative view to your own. It is good to see you admit it (if not a bit indirectly).

    By the way, just a question, why put the numbers in these terms?:

    “Children under age 5 account for nearly a quarter of the 1,000 cases of meningitis in the United States each year.”

    Why not just say that 250 children, out of a population of around 300,000,000? Or does the ‘1,000’ number look more intimidating?

  4. Chelsea
    July 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Steve Michaels :
    ” It would be a shame to see this entire forum derailed by conversations of vaccine safety and efficacy from attendees who were simply trying to force their own agenda.”
    As opposed to your kind of attendees who simply want to force YOUR own agenda!! Classic stuff. I actually laughed out loud at the irony. Or do the ‘personal values’ that they are looking to inject only count if they fit your world view? The point of a ‘conversation’ is to converse. You seem overly concerned about the conversation including an alternative view to your own. It is good to see you admit it (if not a bit indirectly).

    Vaccine advocates are very concerned about safety, it’s just that there’s so much noise from people who would be against vaccines even if they could somehow be 100% safe (unlike everything else in the world) that it’s hard to distinguish genuine concerns from people who follow the scientific evidence.

  5. Karen
    July 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Steve, I think this: “Children under age 5 account for nearly a quarter of the 1,000 cases of meningitis in the United States each year” shows not necessarily the *number* of children under 5 who contract meningitis, but the percentage who are left unprotected because the vaccine is not routinely given to them. Truly, if 25% of children contracting a disease are under the age of 5, then the vaccine ought to be given to children under the age of 5 since they are at risk. Does that make sense to you?

  6. ChrisKid
    July 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    It’s also not 250 children out of 300,000,000, since it’s not talking about the entire population of the U.S. but only about the percentage of children under five in the number of people who get meningitis. The number in the whole population is not relevant to that conversation, when the question is whether the vaccine should be given to infants and young children as well as older ones. Steve, I know you’d prefer the other comparison, but that’s not what they were talking about.

  7. Steve Michaels
    July 14, 2011 at 4:42 am

    No Karen, it is the number of cases in the under 5 age group, 250 out of 1,000 cases nationwide.

  8. Steve Michaels
    July 14, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Fair comment. It is 250 out of 2,100,000 and overall 1,000 out of 308,000,000. Or to put it more succinctly, for an under 5 there is a 1 in 84,000 chance of contracting it and overall 1 in 300,000 (inclusive of the under 5 category). These rates are hardly indicative of a need to essentially mass medicate children with no long term study as to safety for that age group.

    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

    And reading the article in more depth, this little gem comes out:

    “The current vaccine, which only covers about a third of the causes of bacterial meningitis in infants, would protect against about 75 of the 250 cases in children.”

    So in reality, this is a call for mass immunization to possibly prevent 75 cases nationwide so we can edit that 1 in 84,000 ton 1 in 250,00. Oh, and the vaccine is already available from 3 months of age on the UK schedule. What this seems to really be about is whether the recommendations should change to allow the vaccine to be administered under insurance coverage. Any concerned parent can still get their child vaccinated. It is about choice, and should remain a choice.

  9. July 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    So in reality, this is a call for mass immunization to possibly prevent 75 cases nationwide so we can edit that 1 in 84,000 ton 1 in 250,00. Oh, and the vaccine is already available from 3 months of age on the UK schedule. What this seems to really be about is whether the recommendations should change to allow the vaccine to be administered under insurance coverage. Any concerned parent can still get their child vaccinated. It is about choice, and should remain a choice.

    Actually, you may wish to re-read that. This is speaking of the ‘CURRENT’ vaccine, not the one they had this meeting to discuss. If you haven’t ever had meningitis touch your life, you really can’t speak as to the necessity of a new vaccine to help prevent infants and young children contracting it. Deadly disease prevention isn’t like choosing what you want for dinner, that is a choice. This is literally like playing a game of Russian Roulette. If you keep playing long enough, eventually someone will get shot in the head.

    My younger sister had meningitis when she was an infant, she had just turned one and was just learning to walk (something to bare in mind, my mother was opposed to vaccines so my sister had zero protection to start with). She was hospitalized for six months and nearly died. When she was released from the hospital, she could no longer crawl. She had lost a lot of weight and was too weak to sit up on her own even. Her permanent disability is total deafness in her right ear so she got off lucky in that regard. I was only 4 when this all happened, and I wasn’t allowed into the room to see her (for my own protection since I hadn’t been immunized against it either). But I remember what she was like before she fell ill and what she was like when she finally came home.

    I don’t agree with my mother’s point of view on vaccines, that being they are deadly, unsafe and a means for the government to control people. I believe they are there for the protection of everyone and the common good of society as a whole. My children are immunized, all but my youngest were immunized on schedule. My youngest is fully immunized now, but due to financial constraints at the time, we weren’t able to follow the recommended schedule when he was an infant. He is four years old now and he has autism but I don’t blame vaccines because I know better then to blame autism on something like that.

    The point is, if this new vaccine is found to be more effective against more strains of meningitis, I’m all for adding it to the recommendation. I agree with the article writer that CDC officials, really shouldn’t take ‘personal’ opinion into account when making a decision that is for public health and will benefit millions. Particularly when they only hear from a VERY small number of people.

  10. Steve Michaels
    July 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    There is no mention of a ‘new’ vaccine that is being considered. The current vaccine is available, but not part of the recommended (read required) vaccines by ACIP.

    And while I don’t generally use personal anecdotes in my writing, my father died from bacterial meningitis just a year after retiring. At the ripe ‘old’ age of 66, he had never been seriously ill in his life, save an occasional hernia problem. An ear infection/cold was the determined entry point of meningitis and within 24 hours of diagnosis he was in a coma and remained so for 2 months until he passed away. I stress the speed of decline after diagnosis because, as with your sister, it took several visits to the doctor and almost a week for the correct diagnosis to be made. As is the case when you read or watch the heart wrenching videos about children dying from VPD’s. A common theme is that the diagnosis is often late and life saving treatment is often delayed as was the case with my father.

    As an additional note, please don’t say completely unsupportable things like, “I believe they are there for the protection of everyone and the common good of society as a whole” or “he has autism but I don’t blame vaccines because I know better then to blame autism on something like that”. If anyone who is against the very concept of vaccines says anything like that it is pilloried for be unsubstantiated opinion. My views were very similar to your own until I started researching. What I found changed my mind. As a good starting point, Neil Z. Miller’s study of numbers of vaccines administer compared to childhood mortality rates is a good starting point. Basic synopsis: across nations with similar healthcare availability, standards of living, access to clean water, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, there is a direct relationship between childhood vaccines and childhood mortality. The more vaccines given, the HIGHER the childhood mortality rates!

    http://het.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/05/04/0960327111407644.full.pdf+html

  11. July 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I don’t believe that there is any law against me stating that I believe something or sharing my opinion. There is only one group of people who would like to censor me, and they are the people who believe vaccines cause autism, even though every credible scientific study ever done has been unable to support their claim. They would like to censor me because I’ve been there. I’ve lived the anti-vaccine life and I changed my mind once I was able to see all the truth and learn for myself what science shows us which is substantiated and not just opinion. My son also didn’t get autism from vaccines because he didn’t get the vaccines until after his symptoms had set in. Therefore, neither of these statements you take issue with are unsubstantiated, they are not even opinion but are fact and you cannot refute either statement, therefore you would rather have me silenced, unfortunately we live in a society where freedom of speech is the cornerstone of our government. That being the case, I can be just as vocal and obnoxious about the views that I support but I will draw the line at insults and threats of physical violence, which I can’t say the same for those on the opposite side of the argument because I’ve actually been the target of their venom and it isn’t pretty.

    As for your ‘study’ I find that the authors and supporters are not trust worthy with ‘scientific’ information because they have their agenda, which is to try and prove vaccines are unsafe, which real science isn’t able to do. With researchers so clearly anti-vaccine and those who donated to the research study also being entrenched in the anti-vaccine movement, their data is questionable at best and down right wrong at worst. Everyone involved has a conflict of interest, therefore the information could have been tainted (which is why scientists use the controls and double blind trials when running research to prevent their own prejudices from coloring the results.)

    Another thing to take into consideration is the immunization counting method that was used in the study for vaccinations given in the US vs. vaccinations given in other countries. For some reason, the US vaccines are counted by antigen rather then by shot given, but that isn’t the case for many other countries, otherwise given their vaccines used and the recommended schedule, they would be WAY ahead of the US in terms of numbers of shots given prior to a certain age. Sometimes, it’s better to view things like this with a skeptical mind so you can see the truth, rather then accept it at face value. Not everything that is said is truth and some that is said is outright lies twisted to look like truth to the untrained eye.

    I’d recommend you visit and read some of Orac’s blogs on the Science Blog web site (look for Respectful Insolence) because he can break things down in terms of actual fact and science versus pseudoscience that masquerades as science, or tries to anyway.

  12. Steve Michaels
    July 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    No Lara, there is no law against you stating an opinion. But there is difference between offering an opinion and presenting that very opinion as some sort of proof that the opinion itself is somehow fact. That is called circular reasoning. I in no way wish to censor you, however it would appear (and I say this realizing that I may have misread your statement) that you would prefer to censor me. I take this from your previous comment of “I agree with the article writer that CDC officials, really shouldn’t take ‘personal’ opinion into account”. Well I am very sorry, but what you are suggesting is that my body, and the body of our children don’t belong to us, but to the whims of the ‘experts’. Experts have been proven wrong before. The quest for knowledge is ongoing and to claim that scientists ‘know’ everything is to grant them the status of gods. I am sovereign over my own body. To be otherwise is to be subhuman. I do not begrudge anyone wanting to get vaccinated, but do not use the directives of man made organizations to attempt to force me to give up my sovereignty over my own being.

    As far as your son goes, I have argued long and hard that overall toxicity load is a possible factor, or which vaccines are only a portion. Also, nobody reasonable claims that vaccines are the only cause for autism. As such, your situation is still only anecdotal. It is very easy to dismiss studies because “find that the authors and supporters are not trust worthy with ‘scientific’ information because they have their agenda”. I have time and time again shown the conflicts of interests and the means by which studies are conducted to protect the VERY profitable money that vaccines provide to the pharmaceutical industry. When you state, “which is why scientists use the controls and double blind trials when running research to prevent their own prejudices from coloring the results” you sadly reveal your naivete with regard to how science is now conducted. The FDA has argued to protect as ‘trade secrets’ incomplete studies by pharmaceutical companies. Read John Virapen’s book, Side Effect’s: Death, to see how studies are started and discontinued if there are too many adverse reactions and then restarted with the, shall we say, more robust participants included and the weaker ones weeded out until the end results meet the desired outcomes. As the Managing Director of Eli Lilly, Europe, he knows what he’s talking about. Additionally, new evidence has come to light about the inclusion of human DNA in vaccines and increased autism rates. Again, this is not from some ‘anti-vaccine nut’, but from Helen Ratajczak, a former senior pharmaceutical scientist.

    http://bridgespdx.com/autism-news/2011/4/4/human-dna-in-vaccines-linked-to-autism.html

    Also I would challenge you to find that elusive double blind placebo study. They don’t exist and they never have because they have never been done. There are many that claim to be, but they are not. If you believe that ‘scientist’ who are trained by schools funded by pharmaceutical companies, are paid by research grants from pharmaceutical companies and are published in journals who depend on pharmaceutical company grants and/or advertising to even exist don’t have an agenda, then I feel for you. The whole issue is a lot of grey and very little black and white, and that is not an accident.

  13. July 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    There isn’t a double blind placebo study for vaccines and autism simply because to do so would be unethical and potentially hazardous to humanity by allowing the diseases the vaccines prevent to take hold in the population again, as they are trying to do because of the tactics of the anti-vaccine community. My opinions are my opinions and my personal experience is anecdotal and I know that. I’ve never said that it proves anything. However, what I can say is that science backs up my opinions, thus making them more plausible then those of the anti-vaccine people.

    I haven’t ever referred to anyone as an anti-vaccine nut and to say so is putting words in my mouth. Since autism is a big factor of my life, I am constantly reading the new information that is released regarding it. Unfortunately, it seems to be invariably linked to vaccines, even though scientific evidence has been unable to find a link.

    I haven’t ever said you can’t state your opinion, but I do believe in order for anyone to make a truly informed decision about anything, they need information and data from both sides of the debate. I’m providing my own personal story and opinion, which is backed up and supported by science. I’ve been there, I’ve done the research, the hard way and I was convinced by science as well as what I’ve experienced myself, on both sides of the argument.

  14. Steve Michaels
    July 17, 2011 at 3:30 am

    It is fallacious to argue that it is unethical to study the risk/benefit analysis of vaccines with double-blind placebo studies. This is an industry backed ploy to prevent real studies from being conducted. It presupposes that the benefits of vaccines are so high that to study the risks factors between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups would be putting people at risk while completely ignoring the risks that vaccines can pose. It is, again, circular reasoning. VPD’s are NOT the deadly scourges that vaccine advocates like to portray. Improved hygiene, sanitation, drinking water and medical treatments had already reduced the mortality rates of EVERY VPD before the introduction of vaccines. This evidence is clear, yet conveniently ignored.

    I did not intend or imply that you called anyone anything. Please don’t be so defensive. I was merely using a descriptive often used in conversation about vaccines that is used as a propaganda ploy to try and discredit a source with whom you may disagree. Had I wished to use your words, I would have said that Helen Ratajczak was not someone with an ‘agenda’. That is the word that you used. And yes, it is a propaganda loaded word because it attempts to imply that researchers and scientists who support current flawed vaccine research don’t have an agenda, only people who question vaccines have an ‘agenda’ by this standard. It is patently false. Here is the problem; vaccines now constitute a very large pillar of western medical theory and practice. Vaccines count for a very large amount of profit to the pharmaceutical industry. Vaccines are NOT market driven products. They rely on governmental ‘recommendations’ to generate market demand. Pharmaceutical companies are among the largest special interest lobbying groups and donors to political campaigns in this country, to BOTH parties.

  15. Steve Michaels
    July 17, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Continuing, the industry is also a primary funding source for medical school infrastructure, training and educational information and continuing education. Even if a researcher believes he is being objective, he can only be objective within the constraints of his training. If a researcher has been indoctrinated into the belief system that vaccines are so valuable that to not vaccinate would be unethical, they will not only never actually conduct a true double blind placebo controlled study, they will reject any study that questions vaccines because it is an ingrained part of their belief system. True science approaches research with ALL possibilities on the table. To summarily dismiss conducting a gold standard study that has never been done because the result has already been assumed is NOT science, it is pseudo-science. How do we know that this is what is happening? There are MANY sources that show correlation between vaccines and chronic illness, child mortality, vaccine injury and death. We are always given the same line, correlation does not mean causation. And with this blanket statement, any suggestion of research into these correlations is rejected. Yet all vaccine pseudo research shows correlation and assumes causation. If you are vaccinated and you don’t get sick, it worked. If you do get sick, it would have been worse, if you don’t get vaccinated you may die. This is the flawed logic that is used by the industry. All you have to do is open your eyes to see it. Perhaps you have heard it so much that you assume it to be true without question. That is what effective propaganda does.

  16. July 17, 2011 at 5:11 am

    The lowering of mortality rates from these diseases is not what it in dispute. Death is not the only risk of getting a disease. I have life long scarring in my lungs which limits my ability for physical activity should it mean increasing my respiration because my lungs can’t keep up anymore. That was from pertussis. My younger sister is permanently deaf in one ear from meningitis. The thing that you are ignoring is, why do we need to suffer through the diseases in the first place and take the risk of being maimed or dying when a simple vaccine will prevent it? The rates of infection had nearly disappeared for many of these diseases in the US and THAT my friend, is because of vaccines, not better sanitation or health care. You’ve heard the phrase I’m sure, it’s old, but it is still apt: An ounce of prevention is worth more then a pound of cure.

    You might want to actually research that whole vaccines equal large amounts of profit theory because it isn’t correct either. Vaccines make up only about 10% at the most of the profit of pharma companies. They would most likely very happily give up that ten percent if the resources they use for development and testing of vaccines could be put toward something that makes them real money. There are actually many pharma companies who are looking into pulling out of vaccine manufacturing because it isn’t worth their while anymore with so many people dropping out of the recommended schedule. This was the real reason the vaccine court was started in the 1980s, to keep the vaccine manufacturers from going bankrupt from vaccine injury claim suits. I know there are all kinds of anti-vaccine articles stating the opposite, there are so many in fact it’s hard to find the ones that are not biased one way or another. They are there, it just takes some time, patience and digging through Google.

  17. July 17, 2011 at 5:38 am

    You forget that I was once on the other side of the fence. So entrenched that the one time my mom did concede to give us a vaccine (MMR so we wouldn’t be removed from school again) I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the clinic. I was 16 years old. I expected the worst to happen, I expected to die, but I didn’t, nor did I have any reaction at all and I realized then I’d been fed a bunch of lies by my mother. The woman who was supposed to protect me and keep me safe. When I was able to do my own research on it prior to my children being born and I came out on the side of science. It makes much more sense to me then the other side EVER did, once I was able to think about it clearly without my mother’s influence there.

    Speaking of the correlation vs. causation thing, I came up with an interesting theory myself. (Please forgive me if this offends anyone, that isn’t the intention but to illustrate a point). So research has shown us that women and men over a certain age are I believe 5 times more likely to have a child with autism (I may have those numbers incorrect, I didn’t look it up). So that leads us to ask the question, why is this the case? Well, in women and men, the older we get, the more mutations can happen in our own genes, including the ones we pass on to our children. There is a genetic influence for autism, I think we all agree on that. But genetic doesn’t necessarily mean inherited. So it’s pretty well established that many women and men wait to have children, some waiting until their early to mid 30’s, I’ve heard of some even waiting until their late 30’s or early 40’s. Career and building a comfortable lifestyle have become more of a priority in the past few decades. If you recall (maybe you don’t, I don’t know your age) back in the 60s and 70s the Equal Rights Movement was in full force and it was during these decades that women exerted themselves into business, school, and other places where before traditionally they didn’t go. So women had to work hard to get the respect they felt they previously didn’t have. They had to work harder in school, at work, in business and whatever it was they were doing. That extra hard work left them with very little time for family, so they maybe didn’t get married and have children until they felt they have accomplished enough. All the while there are potential mutations happening all over her body. Obviously men have little say when it comes to reproduction, other then the option of wear a condom or don’t wear one, but the choice to have, or not have, a baby rests entirely with the women.

    All of these changes in the familial structure and in society in general are a result of the feminist movement. Four and five decades ago, a woman in her mid to late 30s was starting to think her child bearing days were behind her. She had her children and was preparing to send them off to college and lives of their own. That changed when women joined the work force. Career came first, marriage second and children third, if at all. Slowly as the years progressed women became older when they had their first child. It changed from being late teens to early 20s, to mid 20s to late 20s and early 30s, etc. So if one looks only at correlation, and one also agrees that parental age gives a significant increase to the possibility of producing a child with autism, one could say the feminist movement caused autism. I’m sure that wouldn’t be a very popular idea at all, and it’s probably safer to attack vaccines and pharmaceutical companies then feminists too. But it illustrates my point as far as correlation goes.

  18. Steve Michaels
    July 17, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Here’s a Professor of Pharmacy Practice view about pharma profit from vaccines:

    “In fact, the vaccine market is growing even faster than the market for regular pharmaceutical drugs, bringing in as much as $20 billion or more, by some estimates. That’s because the markup on vaccines is larger than on pharmaceutical drugs, making them especially profitable.”

    http://www.bottomlinesecrets.com/article.html?article_id=100000070

    “This was the real reason the vaccine court was started in the 1980s, to keep the vaccine manufacturers from going bankrupt from vaccine injury claim suits.”

    Yes, there were problems with vaccine lawsuits because of safety issues. No, pharma was not going to go out of business, they were just going to stop manufacturing vaccines because they were financially liable for the damage vaccines do. With the vaccine court, not only were damages limited to $250,000 (and not adjusted for inflation), company liability was limited to the equivalent of an insurance premium with the taxpayer funding the balance of payments made. This effectively removed liability from an industry who’s products were already causing so much damage that they were not financially viable. Even with the limits to compensation, the vaccine court has paid out over $2 Billion in claims for autism or ‘autism like’ damages. Hardly gains my vote of confidence.

    If there is a correlation between age of parent and autism, then it SHOULD be investigated. The search for truth should not be limited by whether it makes people angry or not or even whether it offends or not. The truth simply is. Finding the truth should be the goal. I am not trying to make vaccines a scapegoat for autism, I am only saying that the correlations are too strong to simply ignore, which is what is happening with mainstream research.

    Whether you specifically did not have a reaction to MMR is again mere anecdotal evidence and certainly is not cause to call your Mother a liar. I actually find your recounting of that a bit shocking. Incidentally, there have only really been two types of studies looking at vaccines and autism: thimerasol as a preservative and MMR as a multivalent vaccine. No other vaccines have been given any research nor any other ingredients, including human DNA, aluminium and squalene.

  19. July 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    You are only repeating unproven claims spread by the anti-vaccine crowd at Age of Autism. This is the backbone of keeping a dead debate alive in the media and on internet blogs, but there is no evidence behind any of their claims, it’s all just noise.

    It’s clear you are one of these hardcore anti-vaccinists and nothing anyone can say and nothing science can find is going to convince you otherwise. I am, then, just wasting my breath on you. However, there might be someone not quite sure who which side to believe who is reading this. These are the people I write for, the people who have been swayed by the fervor of the feelings behind the claims of those from the anti-vaccine community. Their feelings are strong, but there is no fact, no proof, no science behind anything they claim. It is science that is going to find out the real answers to the puzzle of autism, not the anti-vaccine people. I am pro-vaccine because my own experience left me questioning what I had been taught growing up. So I went to the library and found the answers to my questions. The science is irrefutable, vaccines aren’t 100% safe, nothing in this life is, but they are effective, they save billions of dollars are health care costs, not to mention the lives that would have been lost without them. They do MUCH more good then any harm and the benefits far away the risks. Would we like vaccines to be 100% safe? Absolutely, but most of us realize that we don’t live in a fairy tale and there isn’t anyway we can get that, otherwise I’d put in my order for a fairy godmother tomorrow. Faith has no place in science, common sense and logic are what is needed. That being said, I’m done. Arguments like this are pointless because you are already firmly set in your belief and nothing anyone says can change that. I’m just waiting for the day when science finds the real reason behind autism, because I wonder what your group will do then?

  20. Steve Michaels
    July 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I have really been enjoying discussing all of this with you. You have come across as a rational and thoughtful person who has been willing to discuss both sides of the issues involved. Having said that, I am quite shocked by this last comment. You have resorted to the ad hominem style that others use and made accusations without foundation. I must admit, I find the turn around quite startling. I find it amazing that you call this a ‘dead debate’ when more and more questions are arising about vaccine safety. You make this statement:

    “Their feelings are strong, but there is no fact, no proof, no science behind anything they claim” yet have nothing to say about the lack of the scientific gold standard of research, the double blind placebo study. So where is the science lacking? It is lacking in the study of the safety of vaccines. This is not even a question. It is a fact. There has NEVER been a double blind placebo study of adverse reactions between groups receiving ANY level of vaccination and no vaccinations at all. There are many studies that are called ‘double blind placebo’ in the title, but reading the methodology of the study always show that they are concomitant, concurrent and/or comparative. Yes there is a lack of science, but is on the pro-vax side that this science is lacking. I do find it somewhat amusing that you would claim that there is no science to back up the anti-vax concerns when the burden of proof for safety is on the manufacturers, not those who question the very lack of that proof being provided. You have called it ‘all noise’ about how the vaccine board has paid out billions in compensation for autism or ‘autism like’ damage from vaccines, but it is true.

    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20110511/NAA-calls-for-immediate-Congressional-hearings-and-scientific-investigation-into-autism-vaccine-link.aspx

    An excerpt:

    “Despite numerous studies cited repeatedly by federal officials as proof that vaccines do not cause autism, a new study released today in the Pace Environmental Law Review revealed that over the last two decades, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) has been quietly compensating dozens of vaccine injury cases involving a child with autism. The preliminary findings showed approximately 1300 cases of vaccine injury resulted in childhood brain injury, 83 of which had autism.”

    Oh, and there are another 5,000 cases pending. Hardly noise. And the NVICP is the only program of it’s kind that shields a product manufacturer from liability from the damage their products cause. Not noise, truth. You have also failed to mention my citation backing up the profitable nature of vaccine manufacturing. Calling it noise without foundation rings hollow when you have the opportunity to refute the source, but instead choose to just ignore it and pretend that the proof doesn’t exist.

  21. Stacie
    July 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Steve, you’re awesome! Keep it up! :)

  22. Karen
    July 20, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Steve, you do not understand what I am saying. We already vaccinate children for N. Meningitis beginning at age 11, but if 25% of the cases occur in children under age 5, it is worth considering vaccinating them as well. Thus, reporting it as a percentage and not the raw number. Does *that* make sense to you?

  23. Karen
    July 20, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Steve, it’s not about choice. It’s about whether or not insurance companies will pay for the vaccine. If the CDC adds it to the schedule, they will. If they do not, parents will not be able to afford this vaccine.

  24. hismom
    August 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Vaccines do not cause autism. This is the only statement I will emphatically state when it comes to autism and why it exists. It is (and I am) ok to say we just don’t know what does. Why can’t people acceopt that fact. THEY DON’T KNOW. They are working on it. They will some day. Just LOVE your child and all the children with this devastating diagnosis and treat them the best way they , as an indiviual, need to be treated to help maximize their quality of life, growth, education and so forth. This includes protecting them against other ilnesses. I have a 10 year old son that has autism. He was diagnosed at the age of 2.5 and has received extensive therapy in the first 3 years following his diagnosis. He did not receive any vaccines prior to his diagnosis. We have two cousins with autistic children (one on my side and one on my husband’s) and neither of these children (one boy, one girl) received any vaccines. I went ahead and had my son vaccinated at the age of 5.

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