Home > General Info, In the News > Court Rules In Favor of Children’s Health, While State Laws Struggle to Do Their Part

Court Rules In Favor of Children’s Health, While State Laws Struggle to Do Their Part

By Christine Vara

Last week I read several articles that addressed children’s health from different and interesting perspectives. 

Photo compliments of Brian Turner

The concerns raised by the first article are particularly troubling.  Parents, failing to seek medical attention for their two year old son, were convicted of involuntary man slaughter when the child died from bacterial pneumonia.  According to various reports, it was their belief – and that of their church- that seeking medical care was a sin and a lack of faith in God. Rather than be shunned for seeing a doctor, the couple prayed over their son, later telling homicide detectives “We tried to fight the devil, but in the end, the devil won.” 

Though the couple was spared from going to prison during the recent sentencing, they did receive 10 years of probation.  Additionally, despite their religious beliefs, the court is requiring that they bring their seven surviving children to see a “qualified medical practitioner” for regular medical exams until they turn 18. 

Though this case doesn’t specifically address vaccinations, the court ruling is notable.  Even the couple’s attorney declared that the sentencing sent a clear message that “religious freedom is trumped by the safety of children”.  However, some have suggested that the sentencing doesn’t do enough in that it never addresses the requirement for following a physician’s recommendations, nor does it require that the children be vaccinated.   

This was an interesting case when compared to a custody hearing in Florida.  While the parents of this particular child were never married, their differing religious beliefs resulted in a disagreement over the child’s health care. 

The mother, a chiropractor and proponent of holistic medicine, stated that her religious views are based on the belief that God has provided the human body with an innate immune system that enables the body to heal itself. She believes that anything introduced into the body to prevent disease or treat illness is against the will of God, and therefore specifically opposes vaccinations. However, the father wants his child to receive traditional medical care, including well baby exams, blood draws, urinalysis, and vaccinations. After three different hearings, in which multiple experts testified in regards to the effectiveness of vaccinations, the court ruled in favor of the father who is to receive custody of the child.   

One legal blog responded to the ruling by saying that this was good news for those that favor “rational, science-based medicine”.  The article  explains,

“When making custody decisions, a court will base its decision entirely on what’s in the best interests of the child. Obviously, there are practically an infinite number of factors that can be considered when making this determination. One of the big ones, however, is which parent can be expected to make sound decisions regarding the child’s physical health.”

In evaluating these court rulings, it appears that the law is exercising it’s power  to protect the health of these children.  By ensuring medical intervention – even if it is in direct conflict to a parent’s religious beliefs – the court is acting in the  best interests of the child. 

However, while the legal system is making these rulings, various state legislatures are battling to create laws of their own. 

Image taken from the Institute for Vaccine Safety at http://www.vaccinesafety.edu

Just last week, the state of NJ was seeking to pass legislation that would tighten recently enacted regulations that have inadvertently loosened immunization requirements for students. 

In Oregon, amidst an increasing use of religious vaccine exemptions, the state’s public health department announced that they will begin to collect more detailed information regarding the use of vaccination exemptions.   Rather than simply collect the total the number of families who have requested exemptions, the plan is to track which vaccines are being refused. Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator at the Oregon Immunization Program and Public Heath, explains that although specific family names will not be included, this data will help prepare for possible disease outbreaks, provide insight into parental concerns and develop educational materials to address those concerns. 

The state of Virginia has also been struggling with a debate over the HPV vaccine mandate for girls in the 6th grade.  Oddly, Virginia was one of the first to mandate the HPV vaccine for girls, but now, just four years after the HPV vaccine mandate was overwhelmingly approved by the state House, there is a strong rejection of the requirement. The Washington Post reports that this could be a sign of public uneasiness with the vaccination and of the resonance of arguments about government overreach in a state with an active tea party movement. Whatever the political circumstances may be, the health of the state’s women remain in the hands of the legislature. 

Even in Wyoming, the state senate has moved to defeat a bill that would have required children to be vaccinated against meningitis.  Sadly, the bill did not pass, largely due to the $335,000 annual cost to administer the shot, which the state lawmakers don’t feel they can afford.

Although Wyoming already offers the meningitis vaccine, the state’s meningitis vaccination rates are considerably lower than the rates for mandatory vaccines.  Unfortunately, if a vaccine is not mandated by the state, many people aren’t aware that they can or should be immunized, leaving many children unvaccinated and vulnerable against this serious and often debilitating disease. 

Interestingly enough, students at Roosevelt High School in Casper wrote the legislation after learning about a college student who died in 2007 after contracting the disease in Colorado. While their interest in the vaccine is critical, their opinions alone are not enough to change the legislation. 

From what we have seen in the news last week, it appears that various states are examining their immunization practices and debating the issues.  As with any other legislation, the final results will not be determined solely on the basis of need, but will most certainly be influenced by politics and budget cuts.

  1. Steve Michaels
    February 9, 2011 at 6:04 am

    I hope you have read this Nathan. This is EXACTLY what I have warned about previously: forcing people to become ‘customers’ of big PharMa through force of law. This is fascism to the max. Public/private partnership that means the government protects corporate interests (vaccine manufacturers are immune from liability for injuries from their products, common knowledge) and mandating healthcare (since when did the Constitution grant any power to force anyone to buy anything?). And don’t argue that the Compensation Fund shows liability for vaccine producers. It does not. Contributions from corporations are capped and it’s taxpayers paying out the rest.

    When I said this was the road this website and others were heading down, I think the word you used was paranoia. If vaccines were so obviously safe and effective, people would be lining up to get them. They are not. While various Federal and State authorities are pushing the mandate option, entire nations are banning the very same vaccines. Several flu vaccines and HPV vaccines have been banned in Australia, Finland and India. Why? Because they don’t buy the ‘its all coincidence’ argument when adverse reaction rates go up by massive amounts. This attempt at a top down approach shows two things. Firstly, the intellectual battle is being lost. If you can’t convince them, force them. Secondly, the elitists in our Government, with the support of shills like yourself, believe that winning an election embues them with some sort of superior wisdom and power to tell people how to live their lives and treat their bodies as a master tells a slave. (Not to mention the great financial benefits of furthering corporate interests.)

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  2. Snoozie
    February 9, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Steve–
    You are mistaken. People ARE lining up to get vaccinated. For example, last year, people spent hours in line with their children for H1N1 vaccines, often until the clinic ran out of vaccines. The vast, vast majority of parents understand that vaccine are far safer than diseases against which they protect.

    We have laws to protect people in our country. You must vaccinate your children because in doing so you, you provide protection to people for whom vaccines are contraindicated, people who are immunocompromised, and people for whom the vaccine is not effective. When you choose not to vaccinate your children, your choice puts not only your children at risk, but also many other people (unless, of course, you have chosen to live in the woods and have no human contact outside your family). Therefore, I am in favor of the government taking away that choice–the choice to endanger the lives of other people.

    There are other examples of the government taking away from its citizens the choice to harm others–drunk driving is a prime example. While you might want to booze it up and then get home of your own volition, it is wrong and it is illegal because the chances that you could kill someone else are good.

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  3. Nathan
    February 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I read it Steve, though predictably I don’t agree with your apocalyptic prophecy.

    This is fascism to the max.

    Wow, fascism. Which part, Steve? There are two cases described in the article.

    One is a child who died because the family would not provide him with medical care. The family is required to take the rest of their children to the doctor for well-checks and illnesses, in the hopes that this does not happen to their other children.

    The other is a custody battle where one parent wants the child to have appropriate medical care and the other does not. The judge sided with the parent who does.

    You know what is fascism to the max? Actual fascism. Protecting children from neglect is not fascism. We have a lot of liberties with how we raise our children, but we cannot deny them food, shelter, and appropriate medical care. This is not a new power of the government, and cases like this have occurred for decades. No child should die like that child did.

    If vaccines were so obviously safe and effective, people would be lining up to get them.

    “Safe and effective” does not get people to line up for stuff. Vegetables are safe and effective yet woefully undereaten, even amongst people who can easily afford them.

    Several flu vaccines and HPV vaccines have been banned in Australia, Finland and India. Why? Because they don’t buy the ‘its all coincidence’ argument when adverse reaction rates go up by massive amounts.

    No, it’s because they do exactly the same thing we do. They investigate.

    Australia recalled a single brand of influenza vaccine that was reported, then investigated and shown, to cause an increase in febrile seizures. Other brands of flu vaccine in Australia were not recalled. The CDC recommended against using this company’s brand of influenza vaccine in America this year. They are currently investigating what it was about that particular batch of vaccine that caused the increase of febrile seizures (an event that is virtually always benign).

    I presume you are referring to Pandemrix with regards to Finland/Iceland/Norway, though I haven’t seen any indication that it was “banned,” or recalled, just under investigation for conflicting reports of narcolepsy in teens, which has not been replicated in the 47 other countries that use Pandemrix. The cause is undergoing further investigation. Here is a summary: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=10720. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    India stopped a trial of HPV under pressure from special interest groups after four reports of death following vaccination of thousands of children, which were then investigated and determined not to be caused by the vaccine. In fact they turned out to be from such things as suicide, a snake bite, and drowning. It looks like the trial may be restarting soon.
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cervical-cancer-vaccine-trial-may-restart-early-next-year/723880/0

    So, out of hundreds of countries and millions if not billions of doses of vaccines around the world, you cited three examples of functioning systems to ensure vaccine safety as “evidence” that vaccines are not safe. The same processes that occurred in these examples occurs in the U.S. too. Vaccines, like any medical product (or any product at all for that matter) are subject to recall, although rarely since they are much more extensively tested than most other products.

    This is a good thing. What it is not, is fascism.

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  4. Gary
    February 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    “This is fascism to the max.”
    Are you actually claiming that this is the maximum level of all possible levels of fascism? Really? Holocaust anyone?

    ‘fascism’
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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  5. Steve Michaels
    February 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Fascism, coined by Benito Mussolini in Italy. He stated that it was more accurately described as ‘corporatism’. It is you, Gary, who does not understand the word. Fascism as defined by Wikipedia (since it’s easily accessible) :

    Fascism (pronounced /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy. Fascism was originally founded by Italian national syndicalists in World War I who combined extreme right-wing political views along with collectivism. Scholars generally consider fascism to be on the far right.

    So let’s see if my comment is accurate. “Corporatist perspectives, values, and systems”. Well that, my friend, is using legislation to force people to become customers of corporations, i.e. forcing them to buy products. “Right-wing political views along with collectivism”. Well that would be saying that us individuals have no authority over our own lives, no, we must be the Borg, and give our humanity over to the collective. Haven’t missed the point there either.

    And to both you and Nathan, I have a VERY good friend with a 4 year old son with regressive autism. Set in within days of his first MMR injection. Last year the poor child suffered from swine flu and recovered. This year his parents were told that he was at risk and MUST be vaccinated for his own protection. Within hours he was much sicker than he was with the actual flu and it lasted approximately twice as long as the flu. Unfortunately all of you ‘we know best’ crowd freely admit that vaccines don’t confer 100% protection (although most of your arguments are based on that very assumption) and do have ‘some’ adverse reactions, but whenever you are confronted with an adverse reaction you will normally say it was ‘only’ coincidental. It annoys me to no end.

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  6. Nathan
    February 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I think it annoy you because you do not want vaccines to be safe or effective, so every time that something occurs after vaccination, you wish for it to be because of vaccination. However, you completely ignore the fact that the very question of “does this cause this” is almost always studied and answered.

    whenever you are confronted with an adverse reaction you will normally say it was ‘only’ coincidental.

    Again with telling me what I would say. No. I know people with true adverse vaccine reactions. What I “will normally say” (and have said to you many times) is that if something seems to be correlative, and has a plausible connection, it should be investigated to find out if it is causative. For most vaccine concerns, it has been.

    In your example, for instance, it has been extensively studied whether or not MMR causes autism. It does not.

    It has also been extensively studied whether people who get influenza vaccine develop influenza more or less than the unvaccinated. They have less.

    It is well known that it takes a couple of weeks after a flu shot to develop immunity, so it is most consistent (assuming the facts around your case in question are correct) with the evidence that the child in question contracted influenza or a similar disease prior to vaccination. This is not passing something off as “only coincidence” but making an educated guess backed by evidence. Of course, the doctor is probably better equipped to answer that question, not me or you.

    But what annoys me to no end is the nonchalant dismissing of evidence as fake when it does not provide the answer that you want. And repeating anecdotes and acting like they prove all the studies done on the subject to be false.

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  7. Gary
    February 9, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    “So let’s see if my comment is accurate. “Corporatist perspectives, values, and systems”. Well that, my friend, is using legislation to force people to become customers of corporations, i.e. forcing them to buy products. ”
    No, not really. Its not. There are a whole host of things which can be included in the concept ‘corporatist’. But it cannot be simplified in the way you are doing here. At least not without losing most of its meaning. Certainly not if you want to take it to the max.

    In the wiki site you got that from, the term “Corporatist” is a link. It describes the concept pretty well as involving organizing economies around functional groups. It is closer to the idea of placing the government in between labor (as a large group) and industry (also as a large group) for the purpose of negotiations. Especially where the government has some power to force the negotiations to a specific end.
    “Fascism’s theory of economic corporatism involved the management of sectors of the economy via government or privately controlled organizations (corporations). Each trade union or employer corporation would, in theory, represent its professional concerns, especially through negotiation of labor contracts and the like. This approach, it was theorized, could result in harmony amongst social classes. ”

    So under a corporatist or fascist economic model, governments can force consumers to have only 1 choice of a product, but they do so by eliminating competition. Not by passing legislation that forces people to buy a specific product.

    ““Right-wing political views along with collectivism”. Well that would be saying that us individuals have no authority over our own lives, no, we must be the Borg, and give our humanity over to the collective. Haven’t missed the point there either. “”
    Yeah, yeah you have. But in your defense, you also missed the boat and perhaps the passing out of reason, so missing this point may be a small matter.
    1) The examples in this blog entry do not even come close to anyone anywhere (except you interestingly enough) from claiming that we have “no authority over our own lives”.
    2) If the developments described in this blog have transformed us all into Borg, I am pretty pissed that I do not have a regeneration chamber. Seriously, if you have one and I don’t I am going to complain to my congressman.

    Want to know what annoys me to no end? You take a perfectly reasonable premise (that government should interfere in the free choice of individuals in very rare cases) and take it to bizarre extremes. Suggesting that we are becoming Borg goes so far beyond reality that it makes the conservative political point of view look bad. I personally prefer the conservative viewpoint. But whenever it comes up I have to spend a significant amount of time describing why crazy conspiracy cabalists like yourself do not reflect reasonable conservatism.

    Please take your conspiracy lunacy and crawl back under whatever rock you spawned under.

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  8. Steve Michaels
    February 11, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Nathan, first you say this: “Again with telling me what I would say. No. I know people with true adverse vaccine reactions. What I “will normally say” (and have said to you many times) is that if something seems to be correlative, and has a plausible connection, it should be investigated to find out if it is causative. For most vaccine concerns, it has been.”

    Then you say this: “It is well known that it takes a couple of weeks after a flu shot to develop immunity, so it is most consistent (assuming the facts around your case in question are correct) with the evidence that the child in question contracted influenza or a similar disease prior to vaccination. This is not passing something off as “only coincidence” but making an educated guess backed by evidence.”

    Now on one hand you say investigate and on the other you assume that the child was ill first. Thank you for making my point in a single post! Now remember, this is a child who was CONFIRMED to have had swine flu by laboratory test, so should not have been at risk of contracting it again, that is if you believe your own rhetoric. If his immune system was capable of fighting off the illness he should have already developed immunity, thus rendering the vaccine, at best, redundant. If he did not develop immunity from the disease itself, there would be no reason to suggest that the vaccine would provide any protection anyway. So, just for fun, let’s assume that you are right and he should have been vaccinated because vaccines work. Then you MUST assume that his immune system was capable of a response from the disease itself. Now the killer question: Why did he become ill after the vaccine? Wasn’t the disease…. he would have already developed defences against that…. Now please let me quote you again: “But what annoys me to no end is the nonchalant dismissing of evidence as fake when it does not provide the answer that you want”

    I have asked previously at what point do MULTIPLE anecdotes become evidence. No answer forthcoming. Let me paraphrase John Vilipen, former CEO of Eli Lilley Sweden. He states that 75% plus of all studies of pharmaceutical products are conducted by the companies themselves or research centers dependent upon corporate grants. No study is required to be published until it’s completion, meaning that if there are a high number of adverse reactions, the study can be stopped, the victims removed from the subject pool and the study started over again. This can be done as many times as necessary to achieve the desired study result. The public will not be made aware of this as the FDA have ruled that unpublished study results are protected as commercial secrets.

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  9. Steve Michaels
    February 11, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Gary its time to quote you now: “Want to know what annoys me to no end? You take a perfectly reasonable premise (that government should interfere in the free choice of individuals in very rare cases) and take it to bizarre extremes. Suggesting that we are becoming Borg goes so far beyond reality that it makes the conservative political point of view look bad. ”

    Firstly, mandating any sort of health care is not conservative. Conservative means less intervention and more personal responsibility and choice so you’ve missed the boat there. Moving on, let me show you where this is going:

    “Len Nichols, a health economist who teaches at Virginia’s George Mason University, says without a requirement for coverage, Congress might have to find another way to make the consequences of not having insurance even more dramatic.
    For example, he says, perhaps if people don’t buy insurance when it is first available, “if you ever try to buy insurance again, you’ll have to pay three times the market price, and we will put a gold sticker on your forehead and say to all hospitals, ‘You do not have to treat this person; this person has forfeited their right to uncompensated care.’ ”

    Well there is YOUR version of fascism in a nutshell. We all get to be honorary Jews under Hitler if this nut, who is taken seriously, gets his way. Where did this come from? NPR.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/02/08/133503755/alternatives-to-mandating-insurance-maybe

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  10. Steve Michaels
    February 11, 2011 at 6:10 am

    And Gary, here is the exact quotation:

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
    Benito Mussolini

    Note, it is a merger, not one controlling the other but a coming together. For more info on what has happened to America read here:

    http://beforeitsnews.com/story/406/269/The_U.S._Corporation_and_the_Maritime_Flag.html

    You are being led down the road to Hell by your good intentions, as is always the way well meaning people are manipulated to their own detriment. Time to wake up!

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  11. Nathan
    February 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Steve, as usual you completely misinterperet my responses.

    Now on one hand you say investigate and on the other you assume that the child was ill first. Thank you for making my point in a single post!

    I didn’t assume, as I said, I made an educated guess based on the facts surrounding influenza disease and vaccination. And when I say we should investigate anecdotes, I am not saying we should subject that child to a battery of tests after the fact. That will not help us figure out causality. However, we can look at large numbers of people and see if a reaction such as you describe occurs more often in people given influenza vaccine or placebo. It does not. This has been studied many times, often in response to the anecdotes that you point to.

    Let me paraphrase John Vilipen, former CEO of Eli Lilley Sweden. He states that 75% plus of all studies of pharmaceutical products are conducted by the companies themselves or research centers dependent upon corporate grants. No study is required to be published until it’s completion, meaning that if there are a high number of adverse reactions, the study can be stopped, the victims removed from the subject pool and the study started over again. This can be done as many times as necessary to achieve the desired study result. The public will not be made aware of this as the FDA have ruled that unpublished study results are protected as commercial secrets.

    Firstly, it’s Virapen. Secondly, even successful clinical trials are not required to be published, AFAIK. However, there is an extensive process of applying for, performing, and reporting clinical trials in conjunction with the FDA. You cannot just start over and hope for better results if you fail out for severe adverse events, and keep the old trials a secret from the FDA. Further, all trials, including failed trials are required to be reported in the package inserts.

    Vast numbers of new products never make it out of the clinical trials. Of course preclinical trials are paid for by pharmaceutical companies. Do you want to pay for all those failed trials with your taxes?

    Further, you continue to ignore the fact the numerous non-pharmaceutically funded studies that are done after licensure to ensure that the vaccine efficacy and safety are in line with the findings of the preclinical trials.

    I have asked previously at what point do MULTIPLE anecdotes become evidence. No answer forthcoming.

    I have answered you every single time, even in this very thread, but you just don’t like the answer. An accumulation of anecdotes is a reason to do a study, to see if the events occur more often than would be expected by chance alone. This is done, frequently, in response to anecdotes. Sometimes causality is found (febrile seizures in Australia). Sometimes it isn’t (MMR and autism). In the case of flu shots causing influenza disease, it definitely isn’t.

    But perhaps you are looking for a number. Well, we can try to do some ballpark figures.

    Let’s estimate a population of 300 million people in the U.S. and about a third of them get the influenza vaccine (which is roughly how many people got the H1N1 vaccine last year). According to the Cochrane review we’ve been discussing, between 1-2% of vaccinated people will get an influenza-like-illness during the year. So that makes 1-2 million vaccinated people who still get an influenza like illness. Now, how many people will get it soon after vaccination? Well, flu season is about 16 weeks long. So divide that 1-2 million by sixteen, and we can estimate that between 60,000 and 125,000 vaccinated people will develop an influenza-like illness within a week of getting their vaccination by chance alone. And 10-20,000 will develop it within 24 hours.

    That’s rough math, to be sure, and may be quite a ways off depending on prevalence of disease, uptake of vaccine, etc., but it gives you an idea of how often these kinds of anecdotes are going to occur by chance. And not you, nor anyone, is going to come up with so many anecdotes that it represents a significant amount more than that. So, we have to do studies of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people. And we have done that. Vaccinated people get less influenza, and do not get influenza from vaccination.

    Now remember, this is a child who was CONFIRMED to have had swine flu by laboratory test, so should not have been at risk of contracting it again, that is if you believe your own rhetoric. If his immune system was capable of fighting off the illness he should have already developed immunity, thus rendering the vaccine, at best, redundant.

    I did not say that the child got H1N1 again. I said that he is likely to have caught influenza (by which I mean one of the other circulating strains) or an influenza like illness. His catching of H1N1 last year does not at all prevent him catching those diseases this year.

    Regardless, it is not appropriate or productive to air out this child’s detailed medical history on a public blog. We do not have all the details and are not qualified to make conclusions in the place of his physician anyway.

    Seasonal influenza vaccine contains antigens for three strains of influenza – two of influenza A and one of influenza B. This year, H1N1 (“Swine Flu”) is one of the strains – the others are H3N2 and B/Victoria/02/87. This is a good match year, and the three strains in the shot make up the overwhelming majority of circulating influenza. Being immune to H1N1 does not make a person immune to the other strains of circulating influenza, so the vaccine is still beneficial.

    Please tell me you knew this, even if you need to lie. It will help me maintain the illusion that I am not wasting my time in a prolonged discussion with someone who has not even bothered to gather a passing familiarity with the subject.

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  12. Steve Michaels
    February 12, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Nathan,

    “Firstly, it’s Virapen. Secondly, even successful clinical trials are not required to be published, AFAIK. However, there is an extensive process of applying for, performing, and reporting clinical trials in conjunction with the FDA. ”

    Firstly, sorry for the spelling error, secondly, this is completely irrelevant to my point. The FDA has argued in Court that the results of abandoned studies constitute ‘trade secrets’ and need not be disclosed. Had this not been the case, perhaps Vioxx would have been pulled from the market, or never introduced, since preliminary studies should cardiac events in some 23% of initial subjects within 14 days of starting use.

    “Vast numbers of new products never make it out of the clinical trials. Of course preclinical trials are paid for by pharmaceutical companies. Do you want to pay for all those failed trials with your taxes?”

    Another irrelevant statement. Pharmaceutical companies are among the highest net profit corporations world-wide. These trials are ALL paid for (and more) by taxpayers who are being forced to buy vaccines from these companies whether we like it or not because the government is paying for this stuff out of our tax money already.

    “So that makes 1-2 million vaccinated people who still get an influenza like illness. Now, how many people will get it soon after vaccination?”

    Again you ignore my previous argument that people who develop flu symptoms after vaccination are subject to a systemic bias to categorize the illness as a ‘minor’ side effect. If you go to your doctor with the flu within 2 weeks of being vaccinated, the doctor will class it as a side effect because to admit that the vaccine caused an illness would constitute malpractice.

    “Seasonal influenza vaccine contains antigens for three strains of influenza – two of influenza A and one of influenza B. This year, H1N1 (“Swine Flu”) is one of the strains – the others are H3N2 and B/Victoria/02/87. This is a good match year, and the three strains in the shot make up the overwhelming majority of circulating influenza. ”

    I read this to say that the vaccine may have given him another strain of the flu.

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  13. Nathan
    February 13, 2011 at 12:04 am

    this is completely irrelevant to my point. The FDA has argued in Court that the results of abandoned studies constitute ‘trade secrets’ and need not be disclosed. Had this not been the case, perhaps Vioxx would have been pulled from the market, or never introduced, since preliminary studies should cardiac events in some 23% of initial subjects within 14 days of starting use.

    It is very relevant. You claimed that drug companies can stop drug trials and not publish them. That is true. However, they cannot stop drug trials and keep the results secret from the FDA if they are applying for licensure of the product, which is an important distinction. And they will not get licensure if they have failed out trials for serious adverse effects.

    The Vioxx debacle is not related to this, as it did not involve unpublished, halted drug trials as far as I can tell. Rather, published post-clinical data was misrepresented. Correct me if I am wrong on that, preferable with reputable links.

    I have said many times that we should not implicitly trust drug companies. We need regulatory agencies to keep an eye on their products, and to publish studies of products independent from them. In fact, it was the accumulation of data in long-term, high-dosage use, by the FDA, that demonstrated Vioxx’s potential problems, and ultimately it was voluntarily removed from the market when other studies from the company itself (which they could have kept a secret but did not) showed danger. You can blame the FDA for not doing enough fast enough (I do), but Vioxx is still an example of how the system works, even if it is beaurocratic.

    Vaccines, on the other hand, are extensively tested by non-pharmaceutical funded studies, and monitored by several methods, much more closely than any drug. Vioxx was removed from the market five years after introduction, and the controversy began years before that. Vaccines have been around for decades. Even Rotateq, the most recent vaccine on the schedule has been around for five years. If there were problems in post-consumer data, we’d know about it.

    Another irrelevant statement. Pharmaceutical companies are among the highest net profit corporations world-wide. These trials are ALL paid for (and more) by taxpayers who are being forced to buy vaccines from these companies whether we like it or not because the government is paying for this stuff out of our tax money already.

    You are partly right. Drug companies pay for their clinical trials out of the profits they make from many things, not just the tiny percentage of their income from vaccines they sell to the government for Medicaid, etc. But my point remains that the drug companies should pay for all their preclinical trials because the alternative is that we would have to pay for all these tons of preclinical trials in addition to what we pay in taxes for vaccines, etc. The additional amount would be staggering, and would make no sense.

    My point is that when you claim that preclinical trials are all pharmaceutical-funded, that it is hardly a bad thing. It’s the monitoring of those trials in the licensure process, and the post-consumer studies that are not pharmaceutical-funded that ensure that the vaccines are safe and effective, and discourage funny business on the part of the manufacturer.

    Again you ignore my previous argument that people who develop flu symptoms after vaccination are subject to a systemic bias to categorize the illness as a ‘minor’ side effect. If you go to your doctor with the flu within 2 weeks of being vaccinated, the doctor will class it as a side effect because to admit that the vaccine caused an illness would constitute malpractice.

    I responded to that nonsensical argument in the previous thread. The side effects of influenza vaccine are minimal compared to actual influenza, and do not include the hallmark symptom of severe respiratory illness. If someone comes down with a mild fever after a flu shot, the doctor will almost certainly attribute that to the vaccine. However, if you come down with an illness that meets the full criteria for influenza after the shot, an intelligent doctor will not call that a side effect of the vaccine, because it is biologically impossible, and numerous studies show that it is does not happen. The intelligent doctor will conclude that you caught an influenza-like illness that was not covered by the vaccine.

    I did all that math to show you how many thousands of people can expect to catch a wild flu-like illness after vaccination by pure chance. That is why, when you hear anecdotes, even lots of anecdotes, about someone getting influenza from a vaccine, it is not very good evidence, and does not in anyway compare to actual studies.

    I read this to say that the vaccine may have given him another strain of the flu.

    Steve, I read this as another example of your intense desire for vaccines to be bad. But I will clarify about the flu shot. It does not actually contain full flu virus. It contains fragments – antigens – from three strains of flu virus, so that the immune system can recognize them, make antibodies and memory cells against those strains, and kill the actual virus quickly if it ever enters the system. It is biologically impossible for the flu shot to cause influenza.

    It would be like losing a boxing match to Clubber Lang’s left glove when it was not attached to his fist.

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  14. Steve Michaels
    February 13, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    “It is very relevant. You claimed that drug companies can stop drug trials and not publish them. That is true. However, they cannot stop drug trials and keep the results secret from the FDA if they are applying for licensure of the product, which is an important distinction. And they will not get licensure if they have failed out trials for serious adverse effects.”

    No, but as previously stated here and cited elsewhere, the FDA ACTIVELY protect those studies from public scrutiny and, as the Vioxx debacle proves, ignore them in their own safety evaluations.

    “I have said many times that we should not implicitly trust drug companies. We need regulatory agencies to keep an eye on their products, and to publish studies of products independent from them.”

    You state this utopian ideal yet completely ignore the revolving door between regulatory bodies and the companies they are supposed to regulate. Not only does the FDA fall short as an independent regulatory body, it actually acts as the marketing arm for the companies by recommending their products, and under Obama Care, to fail to adhere to the recommendations means NO health care for ANY reason. That is, as I have said before, fascism.

    “You are partly right. Drug companies pay for their clinical trials out of the profits they make from many things, not just the tiny percentage of their income from vaccines they sell to the government for Medicaid, etc.”

    You are being disingenuous here, but I suspect you know that. Firstly, it is NOT just income from sales for Medicaid. Secondly, vaccine sales are hardly a ‘tiny percentage’ of income. Let me quote from Business Week about Novartis’ profits from April 2010 issue:

    Quote 1: Sales increased 25 percent to $12.1 billion.

    Quote 2: Pandemic flu vaccines added $1.1 billion in sales as countries around the world bought shots to protect citizens against infection.

    Well smack my fanny and call me uncle! That’s nigh on 10% of sales, hardly a small percentage of business. AND THAT IS ONLY FROM SWINE FLU VACCINES. It doesn’t state (and it seems really hard to find) exactly how much of their sales are actually from ALL vaccine sales and how many of them are part of the recommended vaccination schedule that is considered by many to be virtually mandatory by law. And, yes I admit that they are not law, but they are portrayed to the public as if they were. And the subject of this article is directly in support of making them law.

    “I responded to that nonsensical argument in the previous thread. The side effects of influenza vaccine are minimal compared to actual influenza, and do not include the hallmark symptom of severe respiratory illness.”

    This is the perfect argument for protecting dogma and ignoring evidence. If you get the shot and you stay healthy it worked, if you get sick, it would have been worse if you hadn’t had the shot. Whether you get sick or not, the claim is that it worked. The perfect play. Of course if you really get sick, its coincidence of another virus and NEVER the vaccine.

    “However, if you come down with an illness that meets the full criteria for influenza after the shot, an intelligent doctor will not call that a side effect of the vaccine, because it is biologically impossible, and numerous studies show that it is does not happen. The intelligent doctor will conclude that you caught an influenza-like illness that was not covered by the vaccine.”

    But will the ‘intelligent doctor’ order a blood test to PROVE that this is not a case of the shot creating the illness? By your own admission, NO. By your logic, the ‘intelligent doctor’ will immediately rule out this possibility without testing for it. As previously cited, when CBS wanted to find out how many CDC claimed swine flu cases were actually swine flu, they were stonewalled by the CDC. When they went to individual States’ health authorities, they found that up to 98% of reported swine flu cases were NOT swine flu, and over 80% were not flu related at all. Testing in the real world would be worth more than potentially biased studies.

    “Steve, I read this as another example of your intense desire for vaccines to be bad. But I will clarify about the flu shot. It does not actually contain full flu virus.”

    From WikiAnswers as to what is in H1N1 vaccines:
    In the US

    The FDA has approved 4 vaccines for the 2009 A-H1N1 Influenza. Three of these are injected inactivated (“dead”) vaccines, and one is a nasal spray that is made with weakened virus particles that can not cause infection in otherwise healthy individuals.

    Inactivated is NOT fragmented and is not guaranteed. I read your response as a reflection of your intense desire to classify any reaction or illness as ‘coincidental’ and not causal.

    Like

  15. Nathan
    February 14, 2011 at 1:39 am

    You state this utopian ideal yet completely ignore the revolving door between regulatory bodies and the companies they are supposed to regulate. Not only does the FDA fall short as an independent regulatory body, it actually acts as the marketing arm for the companies by recommending their products, and under Obama Care, to fail to adhere to the recommendations means NO health care for ANY reason.

    I’m not sure you are using “revolving door” in the way the phrase is intended, so I’m not sure how to respond to that. But I am interested in your source on the last paragraph? Are you saying that under the new health care act, it is not possible to get health care if you are not fully immunized? Reputable link, please.

    Firstly, it is NOT just income from sales for Medicaid.

    Yeah, that’s why I said “Medicaid, etc“. It is still a small amount compared to overall pharmaceutical revenues.

    Well smack my fanny and call me uncle! That’s nigh on 10% of sales, hardly a small percentage of business. AND THAT IS ONLY FROM SWINE FLU VACCINES. It doesn’t state (and it seems really hard to find) exactly how much of their sales are actually from ALL vaccine sales and how many of them are part of the recommended vaccination schedule that is considered by many to be virtually mandatory by law.

    Can I smack your uncle and call you Fanny? Novartis makes no vaccines that are required for school entry, as far as I can tell. Their only other vaccine, besides flu vaccines, is a meningococal vaccine that was released last year and does not have widespread distribution, compared to menactra. You found a single company that profited from H1N1 vaccine, which the government purchased a lot of last year. Overall vaccine revenues are a small percentage (1-2% of sales in 2006 – http://www.nhpf.org/library/background-papers/BP_VaccineIndustry_01-25-06.pdf – though thankfully it is growing), and smaller still, the percentage that is purchased by the government. But the actual amount is immaterial to my argument above.

    And, yes I admit that they are not law, but they are portrayed to the public as if they were. And the subject of this article is directly in support of making them law.

    I disagree, but do point me to examples of the portrayal of vaccines as “the law” outside of school attendance. Or what part of the article above supports making influenza vaccines “the law.”

    This is the perfect argument for protecting dogma and ignoring evidence. If you get the shot and you stay healthy it worked, if you get sick, it would have been worse if you hadn’t had the shot. Whether you get sick or not, the claim is that it worked.

    No. If you got the H1N1 vaccine, and then several weeks later got H1N1 disease, the claim would be that the vaccine failed. But the claim will not be that the vaccine caused the disease, because that is proven not to be the case by science. It is not “protecting dogma and ignoring evidence.” It is in fact paying close attention to the actual evdience, which is the studies. What you are doing, however, is definitely ignoring evidence.

    Testing in the real world would be worth more than potentially biased studies.

    Nonsense. There is no way to test an individual to determine whether something was caused by a vaccine. The way to determine if a certian side effect is from a vaccine is to look at large groups of people who did or did not receive the vaccine, and see if the side effect occurs more in the group that received it. Double blind placebo controlled studies of this manner have a low propensity for bias, and there are a lot of these for influenza vaccine.

    Please do link me to your evidence regarding the reporting of H1N1 disease. Again, something reputable.

    Inactivated is NOT fragmented and is not guaranteed. I read your response as a reflection of your intense desire to classify any reaction or illness as ‘coincidental’ and not causal.

    Ah, tu quoque. Again, I do not classify any reaction as coincidental, as vaccines have many recognized reactions. However, influenza vaccine specifically is quite well studied, and is shown not to cause influenza disease.

    I am very familiar with live influenza nasal spray. I was quite clear above in talking about the shot, not the intranasal spray. I did not get the impression that the child received the live vaccine, not that it matters. It is incapable of replicating at body temperature, and like your own source says, “can not cause infection in otherwise healthy individuals.” Like all live vaccines, it is contraindicated in people with severe immunodeficiencies. Even in those individuals, it does not cause full on influenza, as they still have a body temp that prevents replication.

    If the shot is like a boxing match against a boxing glove, the mist is like a boxing match against a handcuffed boxer who is lashed to a post. Really, the best example is a sparring partner. A sparring partner will not hurt you, but will allow you to practice and get ready for an actual opponent.

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  16. Nathan
    February 14, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Correction:
    I said, “Or what part of the article above supports making influenza vaccines “the law.”
    Acually I mean, what part of the article above supports making any vaccine “the law,” outside of public school requirements.

    Like

  17. RickK
    February 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    If vaccines are “fascism”, then so are highway speed limits, laws against drunk driving, handgun regulations, restrictions on addictive drugs, and pretty much every other rule that limits everybody’s freedom in the interest of the health and wellbeing of the community. There is simply no longer a place for this intense fear-driven paranoia about vaccines. Children are dying because of this attitude, and it must stop.

    Here is why this attitude is so dangerous. Because there is a rabidly anti-vaccine community that searches medical literature for any tiny quote that can be blown into a public health panic, they’ve made it much MORE difficult for companies to test vaccines to continually make them safer. No medicine that actually works is 100% safe – not one. But by continuous testing and tuning, they can be made ever safer. However, companies are now more afraid than ever to test, for example, the interaction between a vaccine compound and Tylenol because any anti-vax crusader who hears about it will spam every blog with “Are kids dying from vaccines and Tylenol? Why else would they be testing?” Next stop, Oprah.

    Meanwhile, children are being hospitalized for measles and dying from whooping cough. I wonder how long the vaccine paranoia will last when some restaurant worker fresh off the plane from India or Pakistan fails to wash his hands and a bunch of unvaccinated California kids bring home polio from their soccer lunch.

    If you really want safer drugs, increase funding for the FDA and ensure it is managed by people with strong backgrounds in science and strong track records in public health. And here’s how you fund it:

    For every dietary supplement that claims medical benefits, for every homeopathic remedy, and for every alt med ingestible – add a 30% sales tax. All the manufacturers have to do to cut their product costs by 30% is prove it works better than sugar pills.

    Sound fair?

    Like

  18. farewell
    March 4, 2011 at 3:13 am

    Just stumbled on your site. I’ve been researching vaccines for four years now, work for the Ministry of Health, and am a new parent of a three month old girl. No doctor is going to come within ten feet of her with a needle. Pro-vaccine people: pick up a book on the other side (just once to get you started), or visit your local library so you can educate yourself with the real facts: peer-reviewed journal articles. You all seem well-versed so I’m assuming you’re educated enough to understand the studies. Vaccination is the most dangerous, insane act humanity has ever witnessed, and it’s too bad we won’t be around to see the day when it will all come crashing down. MOMS and DADS: listen to your instinct- it is your most valuable asset.

    Like

  19. Nathan
    March 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Hi farewell,

    I’ve read several antivax books in there entirety. Books by Wakefield, Stephanie Cave, and Neil Z. Milelr among others. I find that when their “research” and references are critically examined, they fall short. So far short that I find it hard to believe the authors are not being deliberately misleading.

    One of the major problems is that they will provide a small or badly designed study that seems to imply something bad is associated from a vaccine, but then neglect to show you the numerous, larger, better designed studies that have been done that do not support the author’s claim. Most people who are familiar with science seem to agree.

    Like

  20. Steve Michaels
    March 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    RickK :
    If vaccines are “fascism”, then so are highway speed limits, laws against drunk driving, handgun regulations, restrictions on addictive drugs, and pretty much every other rule that limits everybody’s freedom in the interest of the health and wellbeing of the community. There is simply no longer a place for this intense fear-driven paranoia about vaccines. Children are dying because of this attitude, and it must stop.

    You really should not bother with political commentary, it exposes your ignorance. There is a HUGE difference between ‘law and order’ for the smooth operation of society and FORCING people to buy something that they may neither want or need. Fascism has to do with whether the border between government and business has been either crossed or removed. To legislate, or attempt to legislate, that I must be injected with a foreign substance for YOUR protection is inane, insane and fascist. Further to the fascist nature of ‘healthcare’ in America, there is only one industry that is 100% protected from liability lawsuits for the damage caused by it’s products. The vaccine industry. Not only have Congress protected them, the Courts have and so has the FDA. Hardly comparable to whether we should stop at a red light or not.

    Like

  21. Jessyca
    December 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    The decline of the medical conditions that vaccines are “supposed to” help prevent, were on the decline once ecological and economic upgrades were made, and these conditions initially resulted because of poor economic and ecological reasons. Vaccines, now a days, are a result to line the pockets of Big Pharm, Big Brother, and the likes. It has been shown that getting the vaccines does not PREVENT, nor are you IMMUNE to such diseases. This year alone people who lined up to get the flu vaccine, got the flu WORSE than they ever had in their lives, and a lot of DEATHS were actually proven. The reactions that babies receive from these vaccinations is horrible… and the deaths are higher after receiving the vaccines than not. A lot of super bugs are a result of synthetic antibiotics. All of these problems can be solved naturally if we stop injecting foods with preservatives and additives, as well as GMO produce and the likes. I think people should REALLY listen to TESTIMONIALS of people who are walking examples of the adverse side effects of these things. They should research what doctors are saying … why government and doctors aren’t receiving the same things (vaccines) or getting exemptions (obamacare) that we citizens are forced to inject eat or live with.

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