Archive for the ‘Vaccine Myths’ Category

Afraid of an Allergic Reaction to Vaccines? Chances are One in a Million

October 22, 2015 4 comments

It’s a fairly common concern.  What are the chances that I will have an allergic reaction to a vaccine?  And if so, how dangerous could it be?  What about my kids?

schoolvaccinationsAt the onset of almost every doctor’s visit, patients are asked to identify what, if anything, they are allergic to.  For some, it’s a long list of food, environmental allergens, or even medications.  For others, who don’t have allergies, there is always the concern that an unknown allergy may exist, and the fear is heightened by not knowing when, or how, that allergy may reveal itself.

When it comes to vaccinations, parents and children can breathe a little easier now.  A study that was recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology determined that the odds that a vaccine will trigger a serious or potentially fatal allergic reaction is very slim.  In fact, it’s about one in a million (or 1.31 in a million to be exact).

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) searched the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) databases to identify potential anaphylaxis cases following any vaccine. After reviewing 25 million vaccines administered between the years of 2009 to 2011, they found that just 33 people had a serious or potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

After reviewing the records from more than 17 million visits, researchers identified the following:

  • 380 cases of anaphylaxis, possible anaphylaxis, or allergy of which only 135 involved children 5 years old or younger
  • no cases of vaccine induced anaphylaxis in children less than 4 years old
  • none of the people who had anaphylaxis died, and only one had to be hospitalized
  • pre-existing allergies, asthma or past anaphylaxis, which are known risk factors for anaphylaxis, were a factor in as many as 85% of these cases
  • epinephrine (the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis) — was only given in 15 cases, whereas antihistamines and corticosteroids were the preferred treatment by caregivers in the remaining cases
  • only 9% of those who had a serious allergic reaction had a documented prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector
  • only 15% were known to have been referred to an allergist for follow-up after the reaction occurred

Anaphylaxis is a serious and life-threatening allergic reaction, so it’s understandable to be concerned about the risk of allergic reaction to vaccines, especially among children with known allergies.  However, while most common anaphylactic reactions are to foods, insect stings, medications and latex, this study helps identify that there is a very low risk of anaphylaxis as a result of vaccination. Read more…

Why Delay Vaccines For Your Child?

October 8, 2015 56 comments

I hear this often.  

“I plan to vaccinate, but I’m going to wait until my child is a bit older and better able to handle the vaccines.”  

And this.

“I’ll vaccinate my child.  I just prefer to space them out for my child and only do one at a time.”

Parents who choose to delay vaccines, or design their own vaccination schedule, do so because they believe it will be safer for their baby.

They typically want their children to be protected from preventable diseases, but they’re not convinced they need to follow the CDC’s recommended schedule in order to do that.

Some parents find it hard to accept that one schedule can be suitable for all children and so they feel more comfortable with a schedule that they design themselves – one which gives them the freedom to administer their children’s vaccines one at a time, or maybe even when the child is older.  Some parents make these decisions because they’re concerned that the recommended schedule somehow puts their child at risk of suffering some adverse event or reaction.  Essentially, parents who delay vaccines, or space them out, believe they’re providing a safer option for their child.

Unfortunately, the opposite can be true.

Deviating from the well-tested and recommended schedule can actually put a child at greater risk of disease, without ever reducing their risk of adverse events.  Parents often fail to see the harm in spacing out vaccines, but they also fail to acknowledge the increased risk of disease and the data that supports the safety of the recommended schedule.

How can it be safe for such a small child to receive so many vaccines at a single visit?

Some parents worry that too many vaccines administered at such a young age may overwhelming a baby’s immune system.  Some might even believe that this could lead to injury or developmental delay.  It’s understandable that parents have these fears, but a good hard look at the science indicates that there is simply no evidence to support those fears.

Vaccines are designed to facilitate a baby’s own immune system, not overload it like the diseases have been known to do.  From the moment a baby is born they grow and thrive in a largely unsterile environment. Every day a baby’s immune system is bombarded with trillions of new threats in the air they breathe, on the hard surfaces they touch, and in everything they put in their mouths.

While children today receive more immunizations than their parents did, today’s vaccines are safer and contain less antigens.  Antigens are the elements of the vaccine that contain the weakened or killed versions of the germs that cause the disease.  They are the critical part of the vaccine that stimulate the immune response.  A child who receives all the recommended vaccines based on the 2014 childhood immunization schedule may be exposed to up to 315 antigens through vaccination by the age of 2However, in 1980, that figure was as high as 3,041 antigens.  So the argument that today’s schedule is more dangerous simply because there are more vaccines is simply not supported. Read more…

Dr. Harrison Exposes Anne Dachel’s Inept Evidence on Age of Autism

October 1, 2015 Comments off
journalsEvery Child By Two is pleased to launch another article in their Expert Commentary series which will be referenced here on Shot of Prevention with links to the in-depth articles available on the Every Child By Two website.  This series features guest writer Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, a retired epidemiologist who has worked in the areas of preventive medicine, infectious diseases, medical outcomes research, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Dr. Harrison volunteers his time to provide in-depth and expert analysis of articles which ultimately make false claims about the safety of vaccines.  Today we will feature Dr. Harrison’s latest paper, Deficient Science, Hypocrisy & Bogus Arguments: Two Articles by Age of Autism’s Anne Dachel.

by Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

Over the past several decades, a number of bloggers and organizations have claimed that vaccines and/or their ingredients cause a number of disorders, foremost among these is autism. The results of their efforts have been a decline in vaccine coverage and a rise in previously rare childhood diseases resulting in unnecessary suffering, hospitalizations, long-term disabilities, and even death.

Anne Dachel is a regular contributor and Media Editor for Age of Autism.

In two recent Age of Autism articles, “Dachel Media Update: Willingham Wanders Into Waldo” and “Dachel Media Update: Forbes’ Emily Willingham Has Made Up Your Mind”, Dachel criticizes several articles by Emily Willingham, a science writer at Forbes. As this paper will show, from Dachel’s own articles it is clear:

  1. Dachel literally doesn’t understand epidemiology and causal inference.
  2. Dachel displays poor scholarship in claiming that vaccine supporters rely solely on epidemiological studies, missing the numerous references to animal and other research types.
  3. Dachel is hypocritical in criticizing epidemiological studies while promoting/advocating for an epidemiological study comparing never vaccinated to vaccinated.
  4. Dachel resorts to a typical logical fallacy, ad hominem attacks.
  5. Dachel is hypocritical to imply, with NO credible evidence, that Emily Willingham is a “pharma shill“ by stating “Emily Willingtoworkforpharmaaham’s version is below” while she proudly refers to her own for-profit sponsor.
  6. Dachel’s approach is great propaganda for the uninformed; but not a valid scholarly approach. In neither of her articles does Dachel actually address what Willingham writes. Dachel could have directly critiqued each of the points Willingham made, including specific information from the writings she mentions; but she didn’t. Instead, Dachel refers to writings that Willingham may or may not have read. Using Dachel’s approach one could critique just about any article by throwing in a reference to another article or book without giving any details.
  7. Dachel, like many antivaccinationists, takes the approach that people are guilty until proven innocent or, perhaps, guilty with no possibility of proving innocence. However, it is a basic American principle to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Read more…

Fact Checking GOP Candidates on the Subject of Vaccines

September 17, 2015 8 comments

vaxnoautism1The day after any GOP Presidential Debate there is guaranteed to be a lot of conversation over false claims made by presidential hopefuls.  Today is no different.  

By now, you may have seen the various news clips and numerous articles that pertain to comments made by several GOP candidates on the topic of vaccines and vaccine safety.

Immunization experts are concerned because these statements are not all supported by scientific evidence. It is imperative that the American public understands that the recommended vaccine schedule is not only safe, but that is has been effective in saving three-quarter of a million lives, preventing 322 million illnesses, avoiding 21,000 hospitalizations, and saving $1.38 trillion in health care costs in the U.S. over the past two decades alone.

Today, organizations that work to educate the public on the topics of vaccines and autism, such as Every Child By Two and the Autism Science Foundation, have issued formal statements in response to the many inaccuracies made by several Presidential candidates last night.


Statement from Every Child By Two Regarding Vaccine Comments Made During the GOP Debate on September 16, 2015

Last night’s GOP debate was a disaster for children’s health. The politicization of childhood vaccines to grab headlines forgets the true purpose of immunization: To save lives.

Our country has achieved the highest immunization rates in history thanks to the vast majority of parents who are choosing to vaccinate their children according to the rigorously tested vaccine schedule recommended by CDC. In fact, the percentage of children who receive no vaccinations in this country is less than 1%. The CDC schedule has been carefully developed with an eye toward protecting vulnerable infants as early as possible against dangerous infectious diseases. Study after study shows that vaccines are just a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of thousands of challenges a baby’s immune system is exposed to the moment she leaves her mother’s womb. Yet, some parents today are being swayed by misinformation that has caused them to delay or decline vaccinating their children, jeopardizing the health of many others. The measles outbreak earlier this year in California is a poignant reminder of our need to protect all children.

For hundreds of years, politicians on both sides of the aisles have supported vaccinations by making real and meaningful laws to protect the public’s health. We cannot turn children’s health into another pointless political battleground.

Every Child By Two- Carter/Bumpers Champions for Immunization (ECBT) is a nonprofit organization committed to reducing the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases among families. Founded in 1991 by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Former First Lady of Arkansas Betty Bumpers, ECBT plays an integral role in helping to set immunization bi-partisan policies and implement vaccination efforts that have lasting impact on the health of our nation.

ASF-Square-Logo_400x400A Reckless Discussion About Vaccines and Autism Hits the Political Stage

Don’t take your medical advice from a politician.

Donald Trump is a part of a fringe movement that includes Jenny McCarthy and others who have dangerously perpetuated the false link between vaccines and autism. The facts are clear. Vaccines do not cause autism. Some people may not like the facts, but they don’t get to change them, even if they are running for president of the United States.

Politicians aren’t pediatricians and they are wrong to speak casually about altering the vaccine schedule in an effort to score political points. The CDC vaccine schedule is carefully and scientifically developed to protect children when they are most vulnerable. Many diseases are far more deadly if contracted by an infant. All vaccines are important. It’s alarming that the physicians on the stage at the debate on September 16th didn’t know better.

We have seen the effects of misinformation on our children’s health. The measles outbreak at the beginning of this year that began in California is just one example of what can happen when we don’t protect our children by vaccinating on-time, every time.

If you are wondering about the safety of vaccines, please take a moment to visit the websites of the organizations quoted above.  Vaccines are continuously and extensively studied, and contrary to what some politicians may believe, the science tells us that the schedule is safe, vaccines don’t cause autism, and there is no basis of concern that infants may be getting too many vaccines too soon.

There is plenty of information on our Vaccinate Your Baby website, to include links to numerous peer-reviewed studies that address each and every concern.  We encourage you to review them all and share them widely.

HPV Epidemic – Someone You Love Film – Watch It, Share It!

July 16, 2015 1 comment
Every Child By Two is pleased to welcome Linn to our social media team. Linn is a student intern who will be sharing her perspectives on vaccines with us through the eyes of a PhD candidate.  We hope you enjoy her first piece of the summer.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for all girls and boys ages 11-12.

This vaccine has the potential to prevent 70% of all cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts.

Why then is there such a low rate of vaccine uptake?

Only about 1/3 of girls aged 13-17 have been fully vaccinated and less than 14% of boys are fully vaccinated.

One study looked to identify the barriers to uptake of HPV vaccine and found that it was not the lack of perceived risk or vaccine safety that kept parents from vaccinating their children, but the perception that it would increase risky sexual behavior in adolescents even though there is no evidence that this will occur.HPV

As a young student, I remember learning about the HPV vaccine in high school. HPV was a sexually transmitted disease that was relatively unknown, but we learned that the vaccine would prevent certain cancers and genital warts. The knowledge that I gained about the ability for this vaccine to prevent these potential diseases prompted me to learn more about the HPV vaccine and increased my desire to receive it.

However, when I discussed it with my mother, an interesting process began to occur. She did not know any information about the HPV vaccine and when I spoke to her about the fact that it prevents a sexually transmitted disease, I could see a shift in her gaze as she narrowed her eyes. I sensed that she was hesitant because of the social stigma that surrounded a female who would get a vaccine that was related to sexual contact.

All of these opinions are related to a negative stigma around sexual behaviors that are not true.  And yet these are the thoughts I sensed were running through my mother’s head as she also considered what her own peers would think, as I am sure many others do.

Back then I perceived that the assumptions that are made about females that get an STD vaccine were:

a) She is promiscuous.

b) She is about to become promiscuous.

c) She wants to be promiscuous.

At the time, I even remember having a discussion with a teacher about the HPV vaccine and her speaking about how she refused to give her child the HPV vaccine because “they should not be giving 11-12 girls a vaccine to prevent a sexually transmitted disease”.   Now I understand that the 11-12 year old visit is the optimal visit, as it eliminates the connection of the vaccine with future sexual contact by integrating it within the routine vaccine schedule, which includes meningitis vaccines and a Tdap booster. In addition, I’ve learned that by waiting to provide the vaccine at a later date, many children fall through the cracks because they do not receive routine health care in their teen years. Read more…

Had Olmsted Been Right About Measles Vaccine, He’d Still be Wrong

May 28, 2015 1 comment


Like many other scientists and vaccine advocates, Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH strongly believes that if parents are to decide whether or not they should vaccinate their children, than they should base their decisions on scholarly articles that represent well-grounded, solid science.  However, as a retired epidemiologist, Dr. Harrison is committed to helping people make these important decisions by providing in-depth and expert analysis of articles which make false claims about the safety of vaccines.

In his fourth article in the Every Child By Two Expert Commentary series, Dr. Harrison exposes Age of Autism founder, owner and chief editor, Dan Olmsted, for dangerously misinforming people.  Dr. Harrison’s latest paper, Wrong About Measles, Cancer & Autism: A Review of Dan Olmsted’s Article “Weekly Wrap: Measles, Cancer, Autoimmunity, Autism”, critiques an article by Olmsted that claims measles vaccination is tied to a higher incidence of cancer.

Olmsted wrote an article called “Weekly Wrap: Measles, Cancer, Autoimmunity, Autism” which claimed that a recent study used a measles vaccine to treat multiple myeloma. He went on to speculate that measles may have had a preventative effect on cancer and that vaccinations led to increasing rates of cancer.  He even goes as far as to claim “wild-type measles . . . performs some unsuspected function in preventing the occurrence of cancer.”

In this fourth submission to the Every Child By Two Expert Commentary series, Dr. Harrison exposes the many deficiencies in Olmsted’s article, which appears to have based on two newspaper accounts of the research.  Dr. Harrison is quick to clarify that a measles vaccine was not used in the stated study.  Instead, a genetically engineered measles virus strain was designed to specifically target cancer cells.  Olmsted thereby fails to recognize that the measles virus had been modified and not the measles vaccine, which raises question as to whether he read and/or understood the study in the first place.  What’s unsettling is that both the newspaper articles that Olmsted references in his article are clear on that detail.

It is therefore not difficult for Dr. Harrison to conclude that Olmsted starts off with an inaccurate premise about the use of a measles vaccine in treating multiple myeloma.  However, even if he had been right about the use of a vaccine, he would have still been wrong about the implications he drew from it.  Read more…

Efforts to Support Autism Awareness Often Derailed by Vaccine Critics

April 2, 2015 15 comments

autismdayThe fact is that I’m not autistic and I do not have an autistic child.  Therefore, I’m often reluctant to speak out on the subject of autism.  This is not because I don’t support the autism community – I most certainly do!  But because I don’t consider myself part of the inner circle of the autism community.

The way I see it, this inner circle is reserved for individuals with autism, as well as the family members, educators, therapists, researchers, and caregivers that support those living with autism.  And I would never want to presume to know what they need.  However, I listen intently to their calls for action, and hope to help them in overcoming their challenges by offering funds and support.

From my “outsider’s” point of view, autism awareness is about understanding, acceptance, inclusion, improved quality of life, and better support and resources for autistic individuals and those who assist them.  I believe every individual deserves the opportunity to lead a full, healthy and meaningful life.  But then again, who am I to define what constitutes a full, healthy and meaningful life?  When it comes to autism, I believe that research is critical in helping to understand how best to assist autistic individuals and their families, and not hinder or restrict them in any way.

vaxnoautism1When I investigate the extensive research that is being conducted on the subject of autism, it is truly awe-inspiring. There is so much we have learned, and yet, still so much to understand and discover.  Research is beginning to reveal various genetic factors that appear to contribute to autism.  We continue to learn about early interventions and successful treatments.  And we’ve spent an enormous amount of resources investigating a potential link between vaccines and autism.

To address concerns that maybe childhood vaccines were contributing to the rise in autism, multiple studies were conducted to look at children who received vaccines in comparison to those who didn’t, and in comparison to those who received them on a different or slower schedule.  There were even studies that looked into specific vaccines, such as the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination (MMR), as well as research into vaccine ingredients such as a preservative know as thimerosal.

The results of all these studies were clear and experts agree; there is no relation between vaccines and autism.  But despite the scientific evidence, suggestions that vaccines are a cause of autism continue to appear within comments on this blog, comments on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, and on countless sites all over the internet.

Today, as I perused various social media platforms on World Autism Awareness Day, I noted the ways people were “talking” about autism, and I was saddened to see that some people who are speaking on behalf of the autism community are also actively encouraging vaccine refusal.

Unfortunately, this dialogue is more hurtful than helpful.  Unvaccinated children are suffering with preventable diseases and sometimes even spreading dangerous diseases to others.   To add insult to injury, one of the most well-known autism advocacy organizations in the U.S. (Autism Speaks) continues to send mixed messages about their position on the subject of vaccines and autism.

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post that suggested that #AutismSpeaksTooLate on the subject of vaccines.

It’s no secret that Autism Speaks has continually made statements that seemingly perpetuate the idea of a vaccine/autism link. For instance, their Strategic Plan for Science, which outlines the group’s priorities for the years 2013 to 2017, also makes similar suggestions of a causal relationship by stating: Read more…


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