Home > Parent Perspective, Vaccine Myths > In The Autism Community, Vaccines Can Be the Elephant in the Room

In The Autism Community, Vaccines Can Be the Elephant in the Room

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“Can’t We Just All Get Along?”

By Dena Penner  

I have often been reminded of that phrase from back in the late 1990’s as I have begun to navigate a new and somewhat challenging road in our family’s life.  My sweet, happy, affectionate, almost-three year old son was recently diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (known as PDD-NOS).  This is a somewhat vague diagnosis, but is described as having some characteristics of being on the autism spectrum, though not enough to warrant a full-blown autism diagnosis.  In my son’s case, this means that both his expressive and receptive language are delayed and his social skills are also somewhat behind for his age.  And while there is debate as to whether PDD-NOS should be classified as an autism spectrum disorder, the reality is that my son’s symptoms are the same as those experienced by someone “on the spectrum.” 

 

There are many unknowns with this diagnosis, and while the doctors can tell us much, I find that parents of autistic children are a huge comfort and source of information.  Even though my son doesn’t have the sensory issues that are common in many autistic children, he has the same challenges with language and with understanding abstract concepts, and it is always helpful to hear of the experiences of other families.  I have been amazed at how many people I have met whose children have some sort of autism spectrum disorder, ranging from the very mild to the more severe.  I meet them on the playground, in our local coffee house, birthday parties and really just about anywhere that people with children gather. 

But in these situations, there is always the “elephant in the room.”  Will this parent I am meeting think that vaccination caused their child’s autism?  This theory has been disproven many, many times but the idea that vaccines cause autism still persists.  Do I respond that I have worked in the field of immunization for more than 12 years, and that I believe in the importance of vaccinating children according to the recommended schedule?  Do I say that my son is fully vaccinated, and has never shown any signs of regression following vaccination?  This has led to some awkward moments, where someone who had previously offered commiseration has pulled away from me.

I hate that I have to have anxiety when interacting with other parents, who have helped my husband and I to feel less alone, and more optimistic that our son will continue to progress.  I have been humbled by the kindness of parents who immediately bend down to speak directly to my son, and who offer words of encouragement, “He makes great eye contact – that’s a really good thing” and “Oh, my child wasn’t doing that at this age.  I think you have a lot of reasons to be hopeful.”  They know which of our local public schools has the best support for children on the spectrum, and which classroom is likely too restrictive for our son.  They tell stories of how their children went from non-verbal to being able to communicate.  Most of all, they simply “get it” – they understand how hard it is to see your child unable to function like all of his peers, to fear that he will never be able to live independently.

Thankfully there are many parents of autistic children who know that vaccines do not cause autism.  But I also understand the desire to look for a cause, the need to assign blame for something that is a daily challenge, and can be a daily sadness.  Particularly troubling are some of the blogs and other online parent resources I have stumbled across, where parents place great energy into blaming vaccines for their child’s autism.  I feel a pit in my stomach whenever I read these, and I feel overwhelmingly sad for the parent and their child.  I can’t imagine the guilt that would come with thinking that you did something to cause your child’s autism.  And I can’t help but think that energy would be better served in looking for a cure for autism, and in helping their child to achieve whatever they are capable of.

I confess that I often just hope that the topic never comes up.  Because if it does, I have to state what I know to be true – I am certain that my son’s condition was NOT caused by his vaccines.  I often joke that we have actually seen improvements in his language aptitude following his vaccinations.  Perhaps his flu shot this fall should be credited for his new ability to say “cookie” and “milk”?  I know that the real reason for these gains is the excellent preschool special education program he has been enrolled in since September.

So while there are many reasons why I wish the perception of a link between vaccines and autism would just go away, my biggest reason is a selfish one.  Parents of children on the autism spectrum need each other for support, and the idea that vaccines cause autism (or any sort of harm) distracts us all from our most important role – loving and caring and advocating for our children.

  1. Kristen
    March 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I am right there with you. It is difficult to try to avoid that subject and it is so touchy. I have two on the spectrum: my five year old daughter diagnosed with PDD-NOS and seven year old son diagnosed classic autism.

    I’m there for you, we all need to stick together. Feel free to email me or message me on Twitter if you need any support.

    Like

  2. Steve Michaels
    March 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I feel for any parent who has the challenges of an ASD, or any other, developmental problem. Unfortunately, as previously shown on this site and others, the most quoted ‘proof’ of no link between developmental problems and vaccines are industry sponsored or done by ‘scientists’ with major conflicts of interest or by institutions that receive funding from the vaccine industry and the works are published in ‘scientific’ journals that receive up to 97% of their revenue from industry advertising. The unfortunate truth is that many parents with autistic children will latch on to the pseudo-science because it means that they are not responsible for their child’s problems. In truth, the parents are NOT responsible for their child’s problems precisely because they have been led down the primrose path that vaccines are ‘healthy’ by well meaning (but ill informed) or sometimes fully knowledgeable doctors who choose to promote the single most profitable (and completely immune from product liability) products around. It is not the parent’s fault for believing bad information. It is the peddlers of that bad information who are to blame. I read this site with amazement at the blatant contradictions of the posts. On some posts, it is claimed that the ‘pro-vaccine’ argument has been won because over 90% of parents have their children vaccinated, and then other posts beg people to read the ‘approved’ sources of information because there is so much ‘disinformation’. Some posts talk about how ‘effective’ vaccines are while others talk about the ‘huge risks’ of outbreaks. Here’s the news that this site doesn’t want readers to look at:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-07/japan-stops-use-of-pfizer-sanofi-vaccines-on-four-deaths-1-.html

    http://www.progressiveconvergence.com/H1N1-RELATED%20miscarriages.htm

    And if you REALLY want to start looking at uncensored material about vaccines, safety and efficacy issues, why not go to:

    thinktwice.com

    Research the facts.

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  3. March 9, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I’m a very patient person, but it truly gets under my skin when people make false statements over and over again without feeling the need to provide justification. The studies which were done on vaccines have simply NOT, I repeat NOT been funded by pharmaceutical companies and to make this statement over and over again proves the point that those in the pro-vaccine camp have been saying…that the allegations made by those in the anti-vaccine camp are baseless scare tactics. I urge our readers to follow this link to view a list of studies on vaccine safety and determine for yourselves how on earth they could have been paid by pharma http://vaccinesafety.ecbt.org/ecbt/studies.htm

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  4. Melisa Danko
    March 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I know exactly how you fee. I have 2 children with that fall in the autism spectrum. My 14 has Aspergers and my 6 year old was just recently diagnosed with P.D.D. as well as O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). I too would love to find out what causes these disorders but until there is actual proof I refuse to put all the blame on vaccinations. I would rather my children get the vaccinations to be protected from more deadly illness’s and deal with the possibility of autism than not get them and possibly have my children die. It is such a touchy subject with a lot of parents with autistic children it’s like walking on egg shells around it. I tend to avoid the subject of autism all together just so that I don’t have to try to explain myself over my reasoning for getting my children vaccinated.

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  5. March 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Wow. In many ways, it’s like I could have written this post. My daughter is nine with regressive/classic Autism and my son is eight with Aspergers. We pulled away from the local Autism groups when I discovered that they simply could not leave the vaccination subject alone. We vaccinated my son on a delayed schedule after my daughter had been diagnosed… and… no surprise… he developed symptoms of AS before we’d hit his 2nd birthday.

    I can sympathize with those who believe vaccinations caused problems because often my kids had outrageous reactions to everything during their first few years. In those first guilt-filled years I can see trying to find something to blame when my daughter retreated into the quiet and my son banged his head for a half an hour before he could sleep. Their immune systems seemed to be under constant attack and my daughter was sick over thirty times during her first two years. On the other hand… I wonder what hell might have awaited us if we hadn’t vaccinated. Recently, a chicken pox epidemic plastered our town and my vaccinated son got a single sore on his stomach and life went on. So, while I can sympathize with these parents, I don’t want to spend time with someone beating it to death and telling me their children are vaccine-damaged. (That leads to me simply pitying them… and that’s not a healthy friendship.)

    Someday… maybe we’ll have some real answers… which might bring us more guilt as parents… or less, but in the meantime, I’ll just focus on my kids as they are. This focus has led to them being fully-mainstreamed and both are extremely high-functioning. I’ll take the blame for that. ; )

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  6. Mand Hoskins
    March 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    These studies are not funded by BigPharma, BigGovernment, or BigBird. The fact that one commenter consistently placed the word science in quotation marks suggests that no matter what scientific evidence was published, he would not believe it. Science is not an opinion and Google is not a university.

    Like

  7. March 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Dena.

    The elephantine situation you describe helped motivate me to co-found The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism website, and (forthcoming) book — so that autism families looking for positive community and evidence-backed decisions have resources, a place to go, like-minded people to connect with. TPGA is lively, vibrant space — both the site and the Facebook community, and it brings together not just parents of children with autism but professionals and adults with autism — ideally, our entire community. With compassion and respect.

    Two posts that might particularly interest you:

    Today’s post on mitochondrial disease & autism, and whether there’s a link that may explain some autistic folks’ heretofore unexplained GI, etc. symptoms:

    http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.com/2011/03/mitochondrial-disease-and-autism-linked.html

    Why my Child With Autism Is Fully Vaccinated:
    http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-my-child-with-autism-is-fully.html

    So, perhaps you can redirect conversations by telling people “You know what is a good source for autism information? The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism.” 🙂

    http://www.thinkingautismguide.com

    Good luck. We’re here if you need us.

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  8. Erin
    March 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Dena, Thanks for sharing. I hear ya! We have a son with autism, my husband is an MD and I am in public health…we both have read A LOT of medical literature, scientific studies, etc. and absolutely refuse to engage in the anti-vaccine debate. While I cherish the support of other moms with similar experiences, I find myself keeping a bit of a distance until I can ascertain whether or not my stance on vaccinations will be an issue.

    @Shannon, thanks so much for posting those great links.

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  9. March 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I know how you feel. For me it is a bit like finding out your favourite actor is a scientologist *looks over shoulder* because it is hard to understand why anyone would believe it. But the vulnerability of parents in any situation helps me to try and appreciate how they fell into the blame spiral and how hard it is to get out of that. (especially when they have invested in it so heavily)

    xx

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  10. March 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Two of my four children are on the autism spectrum and I simply have never believed that the vaccinations had anything to do with it. I have a child between those two and one after who have never presented with any symptoms. The anti-vaccination crowd has always annoyed me.

    Like

  11. March 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Although not a parent of an ASD child, I have met and worked with several. I’ve also had my fair share of conversations with people about vaccines and autism. The emotions surrounding the issue make it a bit of a minefield. I’ve had my own experiences talking to someone and wondering if they thought vaccines were to blame and, if so, were they going to shut me out when I disagreed.

    Like Shannon, you have my support.

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  12. Vince Guzniczak
    March 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    As a father of an autistic son, I completely agree with the blog and all but one of the replies here. And Mand, I love “Science is not an opinion and Google is not a university”! I am going to steal that (hope that’s okay). It can be used in SO many situations…like the next time someone who doesn’t know anything about autism tries to tell me what’s best for my son!

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  13. March 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    We have a similar situation everywhere we go here, except that it’s always been exacerbated by the fact that our town is ground zero for Thoughtful House and formerly for Andrew Wakefield. Most people I meet use Thoughtful House and subscribe to the “vaccines cause autism” idea…and it has unquestionably served to divide people in our community. It is almost always the first thing to come up in a conversation (the other one is GFCF diets), and it’s always extraordinarily awkward. I try to use a neutral voice while saying that I’ve found no science-based evidence for a link and leave it at that. But it undoubtedly cools what otherwise might have been–and often seemed to be becoming–a mutual interest in friendship. It’s funny, because I, too, often have “can’t we all just get along” in my head for the exact same reason.

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  14. Kia
    March 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I am a loud unapologetic pro-vaxx parent of an autistic teen. I know that vaccines did not cause her autism. I refse to allow someone to claim big pharma is behind the vaccine lies. I’ve even had people say there’s still mercury in all vaccines now and Pharma is lying about the ingredients.

    There’s no money to be made in vaccines Pharma gets much more from the things they show on tv.

    Don’t be afraid. I’ve found there are many parents with children on the spectrum who are pro-vaxx. We don’t judge you for agreeing with us.

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  15. March 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Dear Dena,

    I am not an autism parent or a person with autism, but consider myself an advocate for those with autism.

    I have been an advocate for high vaccine uptake for over 15 years, prompted by the near-fatal illness of someone dear to me who had immune deficiencies and was exposed to a vaccine-preventable disease by a vaccine-refuser.

    To me, high rates of vaccine uptake is not just a public health issue, but a social justice issue, as the burden of vaccine-preventable disease falls more heavily on people of low social-economic status (SES). Often these parents are working two or more benefit-free jobs to make ends meet, and the need to stay home to care for a child can mean economic catastrophe.

    Last night I went to a talk by Seth Mnookin, the author of The Panic Virus

    http://sethmnookin.com/the-panic-virus/

    and one of the things he stressed was how the “autism is vaccine injury” myth provides community and support for parents whose children have autism.

    It’s time to begin to build those kinds of community for parents who reject the “autism is vaccine injury” myth. As Shannon mentioned, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism is one such place. [Disclosure: I am a co-founder.] But I hope that many more such circles begin to evolve, especially in real-life settings.

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  16. Steve Michaels
    March 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    It’s quite funny really because I have cited previously sources and proof, but many of you do EXACTLY what you are accusing me of. I don’t bother re-citing already provided links and studies because the hypocrites on here basically say that if they don’t agree with the research results, the research doesn’t count. The best ones were from Amy Pisani (if I recall correctly) when she stated that studies from 10 years ago don’t count, as if the results of studies change over time and from Nathan who, when challenged to show a double-blind placebo study of vaccinated versus non-vaccinated groups, came up with an totally undocumented study of measles in Africa where the total number of subject and control groups combined was 60 and all diagnoses were clinical, meaning observational and NEVER laboratory confirmed. When it comes down to it, just follow the money and you can easily see the biases of studies.

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  17. March 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Science is on your side. It doesn’t always make it easier when face to face with someone who you just wanted to share stories with, not debate the facts.

    I also wrote about why I vaccinate: http://www.wantapeanut.com/2011/01/one-more-voice-for-vaccination.html

    Like

  18. March 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    This article really touched a nerve with me. I just started to venture out into the Autism related play group/parent support group world. And am conscious this issue bubbles under the surface constantly. As do therapy choices. It’s a drag but it’s not going anywhere soon. I’m not too good at biting my tongue so it’s an added strain when the topic arises to be diplomatic and respectful when I just want to scream STOP THIS INSANITY. Oh well. Thanks for writing about your experience. It’s nice to know there are others out there who feel the same.

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  19. Dena Penner
    March 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for all of the positive comments — it’s so nice to hear from other parents who feel the same way. Shannon – I read your blog religiously and discovered the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism site a while back as well. It is a fabulous resource and great to have a place for parents to go for reliable, sensible information.

    Like

  20. S.E.
    March 9, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Thank you for writing what’s been in my head. I have a PDD-NOS dx’d boy and boy have we run into this issue – within our own family! Try having close relatives who are anti-vac who try to give you books, supplements, etc. My response is and has always been I would rather have a live healthy child with autism than a child deceased from a completely preventable disease. Vaccines had nothing to do with it. We make our stance clear politely when it comes up, then drop the subject and leave it up to the other parents to decide whether or not to accept us as friends. Life is too short, precious and challenging to antagonize people so needlessly. Indeed, why can’t we all just get along?? Thanks again for this post!

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  21. Nathan
    March 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Steve, you are thinking of someone else. It seems that you can keep neither names nor facts straight.

    I do recall Gary posting a long, yet partial, list of DBPC vaccine studies on a previous post. You should go read those.

    Like

  22. Patricia
    March 10, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Hang in there mama! When parents of autistic children speak out in support of vaccination it does a lot to educate the public! If you can help even one parent make an informed choice about vaccinating their child then you may have saved that child from a life threatening illness.

    I just want to say that I agree with you that it is very sad when parents think they caused their child’s autism because they allowed them to be vaccinated. I wouldn’t wish that sort of guilt on any parent and it’s hard to believe that they wouldn’t embrace the research findings that prove otherwise.

    Thanks for bringing up “the elephant in the room” Dena 🙂

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  23. Steve Michaels
    March 13, 2011 at 7:04 am

    As I said, ‘if I recall correctly’. I wasn’t sure so I stated so up front. Sorry if it was mistaken. The use of the flawed study on this site is completely accurate.

    Like

  24. Steve
    March 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    amy pisani :I’m a very patient person, but it truly gets under my skin when people make false statements over and over again without feeling the need to provide justification. The studies which were done on vaccines have simply NOT, I repeat NOT been funded by pharmaceutical companies and to make this statement over and over again proves the point that those in the pro-vaccine camp have been saying…that the allegations made by those in the anti-vaccine camp are baseless scare tactics. I urge our readers to follow this link to view a list of studies on vaccine safety and determine for yourselves how on earth they could have been paid by pharma http://vaccinesafety.ecbt.org/ecbt/studies.htm

    Amy, that’s an easy one to answer. In the MMR section there is a link to a report in the Lancet based on children born in 1973. Don’t you think, given that there are three times as many vaccines given now by age 12 months versus in 1973 that this study is a little, um, behind the times? In addition one of the authors, A J Hall, received a financial contribution from Merckin 1998 and is a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (2002–present). At the bottom of said study “This statement does not imply that these people necessarily agree
    with all parts of the paper.” Wonder which parts they don’t necessarily agree with?

    Also, the CEO that publishes Lancet, Sir Crispin Davis, was given a non-executive director position in 2009 with Glaxo-Smith Kline, makers of MMR. The position pays over US$100,000/year. Oddly enough James Murdoch who owns The Sunday Times who funded Brian Deer’s research into Wakefield also received in 2009 the exact same position with the exact same salary.

    Not linked to Pharma? Really?

    The biggest problem with anyone labelling people as “anti-vax” is often these people are not anti-vax, but are rather concerned with the total lack of liability Big Pharma takes in the vaccine program. There are no long-term studies being done on the effects of 2-phenoxyethanol, aluminium, thimerosal (in the annual influenza vaccine, the one you’re going to get the MOST of throughout your life), glutamates (excitotoxins), formaldehyde, etc., etc.

    I actually had someone regaring the rather useless flu shot tell me the other day, “don’t worry, there’s 20 times more mercury in tuna”. Well I don’t recall seeing anyone ever injecting a can of tuna directly into their bloodstream, bypassing the body’s natural blood-filtration system, do you?

    People who vaccinate should be aware of the risks. 8 questions to ask:

    1.Am I or my child sick right now?
    2.Have I or my child had a bad reaction to a vaccination before?
    3.Do I or my child have a personal or family history of vaccine reactions, neurological disorders, severe allergies or immune system problems?
    4.Do I know the disease and vaccine risks for myself or my child?
    5.Do I have full information about the vaccine’s side effects?
    6.Do I know how to identify and report a vaccine reaction?
    7.Do I know I need to keep a written record, including the vaccine manufacturer’s name and lot number, for all vaccinations?
    8.Do I know I have the right to make an informed choice?

    If you answered yes to questions 1, 2, and 3, or no to questions 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 and do not understand the significance of your answer, you may want to review information on NVIC’s website with links to other websites and resources so you can better answer these questions designed to educate consumers about the importance of making fully informed vaccine decisions.

    http://www.nvic.org/Vaccines-and-Diseases.aspx

    People should not just be worried about autism, they should be worried about cancer, ADHD, parkinsons, alzheimers, and any number of long-term effects that the toxic substances in vaccines along with the toxic substances in our drinking water, cooking products, pesticide/herbicide/insecticide-grown food, genetically modified food, toxic household cleaners, etc., etc.

    We simply seem to blindly follow Pharma on vaccines, without making sure they’re putting in the effort to create safe and “green” vaccines.

    Here is a list of over 200 studies that should give you reason to want additional studies done on the safety of vaccine ingredients:

    http://www.vaccinesafetyconference.com/resources.html

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  25. Steve
    March 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Kia :I am a loud unapologetic pro-vaxx parent of an autistic teen. I know that vaccines did not cause her autism. I refse to allow someone to claim big pharma is behind the vaccine lies. I’ve even had people say there’s still mercury in all vaccines now and Pharma is lying about the ingredients.
    There’s no money to be made in vaccines Pharma gets much more from the things they show on tv.
    Don’t be afraid. I’ve found there are many parents with children on the spectrum who are pro-vaxx. We don’t judge you for agreeing with us.

    Kia, they are not lying about mercury. When they changed to 2-PE, they didn’t suddenly say “destroy all vaccines containing mercury” – they said, “make the NEXT batch with 2-PE instead”.

    What is 2-PE? It’s 2-polyoxyethanol and it is used in antifreeze and insect repellant and is a toxic ingredient. It is found in Pentacel, the DTaP injection your children get at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months.

    You child is recommended to get the influenza shot annually from 6 months old onwards. It contains mercury, if you want the 2-PE variety (single dose form) you have to specifically request it, wait for it to come in, and pay more money. Nevermind that all the scientific (PubMed-supported) evidence shows that the flu vaccine is a giant waste of time and money for infants and adults. Zero effectiveness against transmission (bye-bye herd argument)

    As for no money to be made from vaccines? The influenza vaccine makes over a billion dollars a year. Why else would guys like John McCain buy stock in Tamiflu.

    I had chickenpox when I was 15. It was itchy. I was pissed I couldn’t go outside. I don’t have preexisting immune disorders. It was not life-threatening. Nor was it to my brother, or my sister, or several people at my school that also got it.

    Parents should be able to make their own choices without being scorned upon. Seems more that people who don’t want to follow the schedule that in 2011 in the US has over 30 vaccines given by 12 months vs. 11 by 12 months in 1973 are labelled as anti-vax loonies. Bill Gates calls people “child killers”. Seth Mnookin calls people “f’n a$$holes”. That is well out of order.

    Statistics are grossly misconstrued by Pharma when it comes to vaccines. Let’s look at the National Institute of Health and the Cochrane Library’s study on the influenza vaccine:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20614424

    An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines.

    Well, I guess when you include deaths from disease in 3rd world countries where there is no sanitation, no running water, no sewage systems and improper handling of food, it’s no wonder people get scared into thinking vaccination is vital. Chickenpox vaccine has brought with it an impending epidemic of shingles. WHat does pharma do? Create a shingles vaccine! Hooray for pharma!

    “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” –Thomas Sowell

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  26. Chris
  27. Steve Michaels
    March 18, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Nice one Chris! Are you hoping that people won’t actually read the blog comments you linked to? Then again, people on here have used a vaccine related death of a child to promote more vaccines so I guess anything is possible. I think you can now sense that you are losing the argument among the open minded readers. The dogmatic ones, like yourself, who cling to the belief no matter what will probably never be swayed. Even if your own kids are damaged.

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  28. Chris
    March 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Actually, I do want them to read the comments. It shows that there is confusion in the anti-vax literature to what 2-PE actually refers to. It is quite amusing. (and gets even more so when the University of Google is used on the various chemical names)

    Just like your distortions of reality, and lack of actual evidence and refusal to look at science because you don’t like the results. It is odd that you only like articles by journalists with agendas, and not scientists with real expertise.

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  29. Steve Michaels
    March 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Chris, I read the exchange and you came out worse for wear. You questioned the source, saying it was up to Duncan to provide the source. He did (and it was one of your sources, i.e. PubMed)that he quoted and you proceeded to imply was an ‘anti-vaccine’ site! By the way, here’s a quote from the main body of the CNN report:

    MNOOKIN: Not only is it exhaustive, but, if you took out everything that Brian Deer had ever written, there would be exhaustive evidence that—that this was not trustworthy.

    Dozens of researchers in dozens of countries have studied literally millions of children around the world. And this notion that there’s some sort of conspiracy between public health officials, doctors, journalists, drug companies, researchers around the world, you know, it—it would be the most brilliant conspiracy that had ever been hatched.

    Why have you not challenged anyone quoting Mnookin? Because you agree with what he says! No need to quote those studies, no need to bibliograph his claims about all of those studies of all of those children. He’s an expert you agree with. It still amazes me that you (and Mnookin and all of Wakefield’s critics) still ignore the Wakefield findings: MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED. What has transpired since does not change the fact that the basic conclusion of the research was there was cause for concern that should be looked at more thoroughly.

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  30. March 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Steve’s use of turnabout rhetoric and personal attacks is an appeal to readers’ emotions: to fear and uncertainty for those still formulating opinions, and to vindication for those who share his unsubstantiated-by-legitimate-science beliefs.

    Readers need to follow the peer-reviewed science, and be wary of misinformed trolls — no matter how many flawed studies they cite, and while remembering that science has repeatedly demonstrated two things: 1) vaccines don’t cause autism 2) vaccines save lives.

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  31. March 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Given the global firestorm Wakefield’s 12 person case study touched off: if it was reproducible, or if it had opened legitimate research avenues, they would have been pursued. It wasn’t, and they weren’t.

    The vaccine/autism question has been studied extensively and to the detriment of funding autism research in other areas. And the question has been answered, time and time again: no one has been able to establish correlation between autism and vaccines.

    So my question is this: Are you truly interested in helping our children and community? Then I would suggest you try to focus your considerable energies on positive community and support. But continuing to bang the broken vaccine-autism link drum, you further divide a community that badly needs unity, and put all of our children — now and in the future — at a disadvantage.

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  32. Steve Michaels
    March 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Shannon Des Roches Rosa :
    Steve’s use of turnabout rhetoric and personal attacks is an appeal to readers’ emotions: to fear and uncertainty for those still formulating opinions, and to vindication for those who share his unsubstantiated-by-legitimate-science beliefs.
    Readers need to follow the peer-reviewed science, and be wary of misinformed trolls — no matter how many flawed studies they cite, and while remembering that science has repeatedly demonstrated two things: 1) vaccines don’t cause autism 2) vaccines save lives.

    Hey, I don’t engage in personal attacks. I don’t call people names. You seem to, like many people who think that I should inject this stuff into my kids, constantly point to the ‘peer-reviewed’ science without so much as an inkling as to the fact that the peer-review process was corrupted years ago. Pharma has been caught publishing journals directly while making them appear to be independent, they have paid of ‘leading’ scientist to promote their agenda and they provide 90+% of all advertising revenue (the life blood of a medical journal) to the ‘independent peer-reviewed’ journals. The Cochrane Library studies consistently find that pro-pharma studies are published more often and are quoted more often and truly independent research consistently is unflattering to pharma in their results and they are ignored by ‘peer-reviewed’ journals. How many positive studies of Vioxx were there? There were many negative ones but they were ignored by your ‘peer-reviewed’ journals until so many people died that the evidence could not be hidden anymore.

    Like

  33. March 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    “…people on here have used a vaccine related death of a child to promote more vaccines so I guess anything is possible. I think you can now sense that you are losing the argument among the open minded readers. The dogmatic ones, like yourself, who cling to the belief no matter what will probably never be swayed. Even if your own kids are damaged.”

    This is a personal attack. And you are waging a conspiracy-based rather than evidence-based campaign, as your comment above demonstrates.

    Like

  34. March 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    For readers interested in the tactics used by Steve and his like-minded, I recommend Dr. Tuteur the Skeptical OB’s post “Five Anti-Vax Lies I read on the Internet.”

    http://skepticalob.blogspot.com/2011/03/five-anti-vax-lies-i-read-on-internet.html

    Like

  35. Steve Michaels
    March 18, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Shannon Des Roches Rosa :
    “…people on here have used a vaccine related death of a child to promote more vaccines so I guess anything is possible. I think you can now sense that you are losing the argument among the open minded readers. The dogmatic ones, like yourself, who cling to the belief no matter what will probably never be swayed. Even if your own kids are damaged.”
    This is a personal attack. And you are waging a conspiracy-based rather than evidence-based campaign, as your comment above demonstrates.

    Firstly, conspiracy requires at least 2 people to collude for the commission of an act, whether legal or illegal. How on Earth can it be a conspiracy to point out that on the Measles/Rat entry that Chris entered this comment (2nd comment on the blog):

    Oh, really? You might want to tell that to the Parkers:
    http://www.eveningsun.com/ci_17547430

    This was in response to ma stating that measles doesn’t kill. I read the article. Did you? Let me save you some time. Here are some excerpts:

    “In a million years, no parent ever envisions a rare, fatal disease from not getting a measles vaccine in this day and age,” Erica Parker said.

    “The documents stated that Emmalee was vaccinated for measles at 16 months old. It did not mention anything about her contracting the viral disease, which is still common in India.”

    “Doctors in America later told the Parkers they believed Emmalee was exposed to measles before she was 1, and that the disease took years to manifest itself in the form of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), an almost always fatal disease.”

    Now let me quote part of my comment on this article to keep things in context:

    “Talk about twisting an anecdotal case to fit the propaganda!! I am truly shocked at the blatant attempt to use a child’s vaccine related death as a call to vaccinate both by Chris and the article’s author!! The article clearly states that she probably was exposed to measles BEFORE the age of vaccination, was subsequently vaccinated and the measles were ‘immune-resistant’ which is exactly what many anti-vaccine medical professionals say can happen with vaccines.”

    Where am I promoting fear? Where am I personally attacking anybody? By the way I read your skepticalog link. Let’s see if I am following the logic correctly. Here’s the opening of the blog:

    “How do you know if someone is ignorant about vaccination? They claim to have “educated” themselves by “researching” the subject on anti-vax websites on the internet.

    Let’s leave aside for the moment the fact that being educated about vaccines involves learning microbiology, immunology and virology”

    So who does the esteemed Dr. Tuteur rely on to prove her point?

    “Anna Kata, a professor of anthropology at McMaster University, has investigated the reliability of the information in anti-vax websites.”

    Instead of using her own medical credentials, she has written a blog based on the research of an ANTHROPOLOGIST presumably with no training or education in microbiology, immunology and virology. Otherwise those credentials would surely have been noted. So the whole premise is that anti-vaccine people don’t have the qualification to know what they are talking about and then uses someone with no qualifications to ‘prove’ the point. This type of argument is called non sequitor and the simple term in logic is invalid. And I have studied logic at Oxford University in my PPE degree so I am ‘qualified’ to show that your source carries no weight in argument. In fact, the title itself of that blog is, at best, misleading. The title implies that Dr Tuteur conducted the research. She did not. I have also broached upon other of the ‘lies’ that are actually not lies in other posts and fully cited.

    Like

  36. Steve Michaels
    March 18, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    By the way Shannon, just to point out how reversed your thinking is, you said I was personally attacking and say this is one of MY tactics, let’s quote a few comments from your side of the argument about people like me from your cited ‘source’:

    Clueless!!!

    lunacy

    stupid, idiotic

    nutjobs

    And you have the temerity to accuse ME of being attacking? PLEASE!!! I don’t attack, I say research and find out. In fact many of the ‘lies’ that are claimed are actually admitted as FACTS on package inserts and product information pages of the manufacturers of the very vaccines you are promoting. I have cited them many times.

    Like

  37. March 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    The pejoratives in the cited piece are regrettable, and I would prefer that this remain a civil discussion. Not all scientists or doctors are able to keep their tempers in check when the anti-vaccination movement distorts, dismisses, and denies research and evidence.

    My hope in participating in this discussion is that readers take it upon themselves to approach research skeptically, and will develop the skills to differentiate between science and “science.” Our children’s health is at stake.

    Like

  38. March 18, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    See comment directly above.

    Like

  39. Steve Michaels
    March 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Shannon, even the indoctrinated can see that your response to everything is basically ‘I don’t agree therefore it is a lie/misleading/not researched/not from a source I am willing to accept. (Circle appropriate excuse).

    The comment directly above yours, is a clear demonstration that your claims are flawed and hypocritical. So I commend you on your honesty in your admission.

    Like

  40. March 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I stand by my comment as stated, not as misinterpreted.

    Like

  41. Steve Michaels
    March 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I have misinterpreted nothing. When I state that a site or a study does not carry weight in rational argument, I state the reason behind it. All you and other pro vaxx shills do is say that the ‘research is bad’, or ‘nobody uses that study’ or ‘it hasn’t been published in JAMA’ or some other industry funded journal. You claim to understand my ‘method’ based on a blog that is worthless for the REASONS I have already stated. You accuse me of being personally attacking, yet quote sources with published comments (which become part of the post) that are personally insulting, ignorant and, frankly, would make me question the scientific integrity of the ‘scientist and doctors’ making them.

    Let me quote so that we are clear, “Not all scientists or doctors are able to keep their tempers in check when the anti-vaccination movement distorts, dismisses, and denies research and evidence.”

    The very way in which a scientist should enter into debate and exploration is with an open mind and a DISPASSIONATE desire for truth. This means looking at the sources and funding of studies and looking for studies that may not have been published because of ‘commercial sensitivity’, meaning it hurts the profits of those who either fund the publisher or the research or both. Researchers who firstly ignore cogent, rational and demonstrable arguments against certain research sources and secondly become angry about those arguments even being mentioned are NOT acting in any scientific manor. Those actions and reactions to critical analysis are symptomatic of dogmatic belief and desire to protect preconceived notions.

    I am not liked by pro vaxx people because I do not get angry and I have been criticized for not having a sense of humor. I do, but my discussions and comments on here are not really the appropriate outlet for being jovial. I simply continue on steady and sure in showing the flaws in the claims and the research and offering an alternative view. I am fully aware that I am in ‘lion’s den’ by commenting on this site and fully expect to be attacked. However, by handling those attacks with dignity and decorum, some of the more open minded people will hopefully see that there is more than the one side to this issue that this site promotes.

    Like

  42. March 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    You are criticized because you promote vaccine and pharma conspiracy theories, and try to undermine legitimate science. Piling on the paragraphs, credentials, and peripheral arguments can’t change the core flaws of your position.

    Like

  43. Steve Michaels
    March 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Shannon, if you REALLY believe that vaccines are safe, explain to me how the patent holder for some 35 vaccines, the former chief of Merck’s vaccine research division, the now dead Dr. Maurice Hilleman. Let me quote an ‘esteemed’ introduction to Dr. Hilleman:

    Dr. Hilleman was the developer of Merck’s vaccine program. He developed over three dozen vaccines, more than any other scientist in history. He was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He received a special lifetime achievement award from the World Health Organization.

    He also freely admitted on camera that vaccines are contaminated with all sorts of substances including viruses that come from the culture materials used to cultivate the pathogens and that, in particular, the polio vaccine contained cancer causing viruses and that Merck was FULLY aware of it.

    This isn’t some ‘crazy, nutjob’ anti-vaxxer talking. This man, although dead for 6 years, is STILL the most prolific developer of vaccines in history. So what is the flaw of this man’s position? Where is the lack of genuine science when it’s coming from the proverbial horses mouth? Where is the accusation of conspiracy? My arguments are much sounder than yours. How do I know this? Because I can provide rational refutations to your arguments. You just hurl accusation and assertion at mine.

    Like

  44. March 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Claim

    Chickenpox vaccine has brought with it an impending epidemic of shingles.

    And your evidence for this is?….I’m waiting.

    Meanwhile, definition of terms:

    Varicella = chicken pox = infection with herpes zoster. Once the infection has resolved, the herpes zoster virus is still present in the body, becoming dormant in the nerve roots http://bit.ly/fojhKE. From the link above:

    Many people who have had chicken pox never experience another herpes zoster event; but in some people the virus “reactivates”. When symptoms are sufficiently severe, the condition is called “shingles”.

    Another issue that Steve is confounding: he is assuming that “reported more often” is the same as “occurring more often”.

    Prior to 1972, infection with varicella (herpes zoster) was not a reportable condition http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056339.htm. This would have lead to an under-estimation of the incidence of both chickenpox and shingles.

    Like

  45. March 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Steve, I fail to see how you can hold Shannon (or myself) responsible for the words used by persons other than Shannon or me.

    Like

  46. March 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Steve, you wrote:

    I should inject this stuff into my kids

    You seem to be assuming that your children are not exposed to any antigens other than those in vaccines.

    Would you care to care to explain what antigens your non-vaccinated children are exposed to in the course of daily life?

    Like

  47. Chris
    March 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    That video has been poorly edited with annoying narration and is hosted by a 911 Truther. That does not qualify as a “rational refutations to your arguments.” It is actually just another conspiracy theory.

    Like

  48. Nathan
    March 19, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    So what is the flaw of this man’s position?

    What position? He narrates the discovery of a previously unidentified virus that was then found as a contaminant in the polio vaccine over fifty years ago, in the early decades of vaccine science. Numerous studies have shown that the contaminated vaccines did not lead to cancer. And this, as well as the Cutter incident, led to more stringent regulation of vaccine production.

    Offit did a biography about him entitled “Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases.”

    Like

  49. March 20, 2011 at 1:51 am

    “I am not liked by pro vaxx people because I do not get angry and I have been criticized for not having a sense of humor. I do, but my discussions and comments on here are not really the appropriate outlet for being jovial. I simply continue on steady and sure in showing the flaws in the claims and the research and offering an alternative view. I am fully aware that I am in ‘lion’s den’ by commenting on this site and fully expect to be attacked.”

    With apologies in advance, but you really might want to read this again in isolation. The picture created is not as complementary as you seem to be indulging your self in. First off, the “I’m not like you, I don’t get angry” bit is rather too passive-aggressive for me. If you consider this “the lion’s den”, you are sorely mistaken. This is a quite reasonable forum for discussions. Yes, you will find people here who are quite well read on the subjects and who will disagree with you, but “lion’s den”? Rather too self-congratulatory for my tastes.

    Hardly in keeping with your own statement that people should have a “dispassionate” search for the truth.

    When you make statements like “This isn’t some ‘crazy, nutjob’ anti-vaxxer talking.”, who are you quoting? Who in this discussion besides you has used “crazy” or “nutjob” besides yourself? Don’t hide behind vague “your side” comments. Take the chip off your shoulder and have a reasoned discussion. If you want to go places where people use “crazy nutjob”, I can point them to you. Then you will be in a proverbial “lion’s den” and you will find yourself also amongst people who have the technical knowhow to take your supposedly non-angry, reasoned arguments apart, piece by piece.

    Let’s take Dr. Hilleman. Yep, he’s stated that vaccines were found to have SV40 in them. Guess what, here’s what he had to say towards the end of his life:

    “I advised [federal regulators] to pull the polio vaccine, but in retrospect I think they were right. Those vaccines never caused cancer. And disrupting the [polio vaccine] program would have cost thousands of lives”

    I notice that the “censored” interview is cut short right at the mention of tumors in hamsters. Could this be because the hamster studies raised the alarm, and later studies showed that in humans there was no risk of cancer? So, in the end, they showed that one shouldn’t give the polio vaccine to hamsters?

    Why does this story exist? Because in 1960 Hilleman went public with his findings of SV40 in the Sabin vaccine. He didn’t close ranks. He didn’t bury his results. He presented them to the public.

    You are aware that the tumors in hamsters were found when SV40 was injected into the hamsters, right? And that the tumors did not appear when SV40 was injested. Important point in that the Sabin vaccine was ingested. You are aware that epidemiological studies showed no increased cancer risk in humans, right?

    As to Hilleman “importing” this virus, it clearly isn’t true. SV40 was found in cancer tumors in humans who had never been given the Sabin vaccine.

    You would do well to find a different video of Hilleman to present. This one is, well, not one I would take seriously. “in lies we trust. The CIA, Hollywood and bio terrorism” is in the title sequence.

    Like

  50. March 20, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Dena Penner,

    sorry for the lengthy previous post.

    If anything, the gentleman I responded to demonstrates quite clearly the exact problems that you discuss in your post:

    “the idea that vaccines cause autism (or any sort of harm) distracts us all from our most important role – loving and caring and advocating for our children.”

    Like

  51. Steve Michaels
    March 20, 2011 at 4:24 am

    Whether poorly edited or not, it was part of a larger broadcast and was censored from the final cut, hence the quality not being edited to documentary standard. As far as who host’s it? SO WHAT??? If a ‘truther’ (which you seem to use as a derogatory label, which says a lot) posted the Bible would question it because of who posted it?

    Like

  52. Steve Michaels
    March 20, 2011 at 4:54 am

    “First off, the “I’m not like you, I don’t get angry” bit is rather too passive-aggressive for me.”

    People on here who disagree with me have a tendency of coming across as a parent trying to deal with a petulant child. Impatient and glossing over my points with unsubstantiated accusation then accusing me of not substantiating my claims but when I do it is automatically dismissed out of hand as ‘not relevant’ or ‘we don’t accept that’ or ‘that’s just a (conspiracy) theory’. The best one is in a post above on this thread, ““Not all scientists or doctors are able to keep their tempers in check when the anti-vaccination movement distorts, dismisses, and denies research and evidence.” I do not lose my temper and I am not being aggressive, passively or otherwise. If anything, the appropriate word would be ‘persistent’.

    “If you consider this “the lion’s den”, you are sorely mistaken.”

    Lion’s den is in quotes because I did not intend it to mean anything violent. The proverbial ‘lion’s den’ is going into a place where you are not ‘preaching to the choir’. Simple as that. I suspect you realized this.

    “When you make statements like “This isn’t some ‘crazy, nutjob’ anti-vaxxer talking.”, who are you quoting? Who in this discussion besides you has used “crazy” or “nutjob” besides yourself? ”

    Link provided by Shannon: http://skepticalob.blogspot.com/2011/03/five-anti-vax-lies-i-read-on-internet.html

    Comments from said link:
    “It’s not only the baseless lunacy of anti-vaxxers that scares me”

    “Yes, antivaxers love to throw this stupidity around”

    There were more as I quoted above and Shannon admitted to, but in fairness, it looks like the good doctor has cleaned up the comments to make them less offensive.

    I won’t bother going into the polio vaccine track record. It has been broached and cited so many times that is truly not necessary to explain over and over again the statistics that have clearly shown that the reclassification of all polio type illnesses into separately named diseases (for example asceptic meningitis) caused the drop in ‘polio’ incidence. A rose by any other name and all that.

    Sullivan, this is the problem. I read the studies and research the ingredients, even using the NIH, CDC and WHO as sources. When I disagree with what people on here espouse, I say WHY I do not accept it. Not just, ‘I don’t agree’. Look above and see what the MAIN disagreement with my evidence is. ‘It’s hosted on a 9 11 Truther site’, ‘it’s poorly edited’, ‘it mentions Leonard Horowitz’. These are not substantive refutations. They are, at best, argument by innuendo but have no place in reasoned debate. As far as ‘later in life’, Hilleman was asked about his filmed comments some years later in a public press conference by Horowitz and Hilleman completely denied any knowledge of what Horowitz was talking about.

    Like

  53. March 20, 2011 at 10:45 am

    The reminder is appreciated, Sullivan. Note that Mr. Michaels ignored my direct question above:

    “So my question is this: Are you truly interested in helping our children and community? Then I would suggest you try to focus your considerable energies on positive community and support. But continuing to bang the broken vaccine-autism link drum, you further divide a community that badly needs unity, and put all of our children — now and in the future — at a disadvantage.”

    Like

  54. March 20, 2011 at 11:17 am

    “People on here who disagree with me have a tendency of coming across as a parent trying to deal with a petulant child. ”

    Perhaps that is your perception. Perhaps you came here with that expectation.

    Confirmation bias?

    “truly not necessary to explain over and over again the statistics that have clearly shown that the reclassification of all polio type illnesses into separately named diseases ”

    Please don’t go into it. It is a huge sidetrack and you’ve bought into one of the worst of the anti-vaccine stories.

    “Sullivan, this is the problem. I read the studies and research the ingredients, even using the NIH, CDC and WHO as sources. When I disagree with what people on here espouse, I say WHY I do not accept it.”

    And, so do I. The problem is, you’ve come into a post about “let’s all get along” with a desire for a fight. It doesn’t take any google research to see the problem with that.

    Like

  55. Steve Michaels
    March 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

    The reason I ignored your question Shannon is because you asked a question and told me that the only acceptable way to answer it would be to agree with you or not be true to my principles. I did not feel that it warranted a response. Why do you not stop banging on about how vaccines that have no safety studies are safe and start promoting proper double blind placebo studies for safety?

    Like

  56. March 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Actually, I advised you to look towards other ways to support the community, positive ways — as the author has requested. I then said that your current actions are only dividing the community further.

    “Why do you not stop banging on about how vaccines that have no safety studies are safe…”

    What I wrote was “And the question has been answered, time and time again: no one has been able to establish correlation between autism and vaccines,”

    “…and start promoting proper double blind placebo studies for safety?”

    From my interview with Dr. Paul Offit at
    http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.com/2011/01/interview-dr-paul-offit.html:

    “But you’re right, [a vaccinated/unvaccinated study] is unethical. There’s not an institutional review board in the world that would approve that kind of study, because we know that vaccines work, we know that if you don’t give a large number of children vaccines that some of them are going to get whooping cough or chicken pox, some of them may be hospitalized or even killed by the diseases — you can’t do that kind of study.”

    Like

  57. Steve Michaels
    March 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Yes, because we all know how ethical the good Dr. Offit is don’t we? From Mercola:

    “The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a 15 member panel of immunization experts, selected by the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. They provide advice and guidelines to the Secretary for Health the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine-preventable diseases.

    As a member of the ACIP, starting in 1998, Dr. Offit voted “yes” three times out of four on issues pertaining to the ACIP’s rotavirus statement, including, voting for his own vaccine to be included in the immunization schedule.

    He is also the doctor whose incomprehensible statement, “an infant can safely receive up to 10,000 vaccines at once,” will live on in infamy.”

    So which vote did he not participate in?

    “Dr. Offit abstained from voting on the ACIP’s rescission of the recommendation of the rotavirus vaccine for routine use. He stated at the meeting, “I’m not conflicted with Wyeth, but because I consult with Merck on the development of rotavirus vaccine, I would still prefer to abstain because it creates a perception of conflict.””

    Please choose someone other than Paul Offit when trying to play the ‘we can’t study safety because of ethics’ card. Oh, and don’t bother with the NIH, CDC, FDA, DoD, CIA or most other governmental agencies involved in medicine. They have all breached the ethics standards on informed consent and using unknowing people as subjects for all sorts of experiments.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/022383_research_experiments.html

    You may not like Mike Adams, but his list of crimes in medicine are verifiable.

    Why is this controversial? Because, as I am sure you know, he is a joint patent holder on the Merck rotavirus product and a paid consultant to Merck. From the the House of Representatives Gov’t Reform Committee Staff Report:

    Like

  58. Steve Michaels
    March 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Sorry, in the cross referencing for the above quote, it got a little bit out of order. Here is the corrected post:

    Yes, because we all know how ethical the good Dr. Offit is don’t we?

    From Mercola:
    “The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a 15 member panel of immunization experts, selected by the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. They provide advice and guidelines to the Secretary for Health the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine-preventable diseases.
    As a member of the ACIP, starting in 1998, Dr. Offit voted “yes” three times out of four on issues pertaining to the ACIP’s rotavirus statement, including, voting for his own vaccine to be included in the immunization schedule.”

    So which vote did he not participate in?

    “Dr. Offit abstained from voting on the ACIP’s rescission of the recommendation of the rotavirus vaccine for routine use. He stated at the meeting, “I’m not conflicted with Wyeth, but because I consult with Merck on the development of rotavirus vaccine, I would still prefer to abstain because it creates a perception of conflict.””

    Why is this controversial? Because, as I am sure you know, he is a joint patent holder on the Merck rotavirus product and a paid consultant to Merck. The Wyeth product may have been in question, but it is essentially the same as Merck’s. To condemn one would be to condemn them both. And the patent and payments from Merck were reported in 1994, so he was already bought and paid for.

    Please choose someone other than Paul Offit when trying to play the ‘we can’t study safety because of ethics’ card. Oh, and don’t bother with the NIH, CDC, FDA, DoD, CIA or most other governmental agencies involved in medicine. They have all breached the ethics standards on informed consent and using unknowing people as subjects for all sorts of experiments.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/022383_research_experiments.html

    You may not like Mike Adams, but his list of crimes in medicine are verifiable.

    Like

  59. Chris
    March 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Mr. Michaels has been asked how he would design the study in order to prevent harm to children who are not vaccinated from measles, pertussis, etc. He has not done that, and still brings it up. Since his response to you is a diatribe against Dr. Offit, I sincerely doubt you will get any positive ways to support the community.

    By and by, here is a series of blog articles by someone who has participated in IRBs that goes into the ethics and legality of the proposed study:
    http://silencedbyageofautism.blogspot.com/search/label/vaccinated%20vs%20unvaccinated

    Like

  60. March 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Since Steve Michaels rejects Dr. Offit (on entirely trumped-up grounds, but that’s a different comment) how about

    The blogger known as Prometheus (a university professor in the biological sciences). Yes, he blogs anonymously, but his credentials are sound.

    Ethical Considerations (of a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study):

    Another suggestion made was to have a study where children are placed into “no vaccination” and “vaccination” groups. This, of course, would be rejected out of hand by any Institutional Review Board because the risks of not vaccinating are well known and quite serious. On the other hand, the connection between vaccines and autism is tenuous at best. It would be unethical to expose adults to a known serious risk in order to test a weakly-supported (again, at best!) possible risk. In children, it would be unthinkable.

    Another “modest proposal” was to vaccinate one group per the suggested schedule and vaccinate another group with four times the amount of vaccine. Well, at least this commentor understands the concept of “dose-response”. If – as some people argue – the current amount of vaccine is causing some amount of autism, then it would be reasonable to expect that more vaccine would lead to more autism.

    Of course, the idea of doing something with the intent of causing harm to children is unlikely to pass the ethical hurdles of a real IRB. However, even if the hypothesis is incorrect – even if the researchers argue that harm is extremely unlikely, they would still be exposing children to four times the dose used during the safety trials of the vaccines, which would constitute an unreasonable risk, especially to test a hypothesis that is already weak.

    David Gorski MD writing at Science-Based Medicine on Human Subjects Protection and Research Ethics

    The ethical rules laid down by a combination of the Nuremberg Code, the Belmont Report, and the Helsinki Declaration are also the reason why one of the latest talking points of antivaccinationists, a “randomized” study of unvaccinated versus vaccinated children, is ethically not permissible. The reasons are obvious. it would require that the control group of children in the placebo-controlled group be intentinoally left completely unprotected against vaccine-preventable diseases. There would also be the practical issue that antivaccine parents wouldn’t sign up for such a study because their irrational fear of vaccination would prevent them from agreeing to the possibility of randomization to the vaccination group, and parents grounded in science-based medicine would never be foolish enough to allow their children to be randomized to the no vaccine placebo group.

    David Gorski MD, in a comment to a previous post

    You do realize, of course, that the trial you propose is completely unethical and would never–let me repeat this for emphasis, never, ever, ever–be approved by an IRB (institutional review board, the committee that each institution must constitute to protect the rights of human subjects in clinical research). Nor should it ever be.

    Why unethical? Because it is considered doing harm to withhold vaccines that protect against infectious disease from a child. It is true that in evidence-based medicine (and, for the most part, in science-based medicine) the randomized clinical trial is considered the highest form of evidence. However, it is not always ethical or practical to do a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. This is one such case, because leaving children unprotected against infectious disease for at least five years would be doing harm, because the completely predictable result would be an increased incidence of such diseases in the unvaccinated control group.

    Those are just three statements from two research scientists that I happened to have easily to hand. Anyone with any familiarity with Institutional Research Boards and human-subjects protection would have the same opinion.

    Like

  61. March 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Steven Michaels is happy to cite as authorities on vaccine safety and vaccine ethics the online marketers Joe Mercola and Mike Adams.

    The most civil thing I can say about Mercola and Adams is that they spread fear, uncertainty and doubt not only about vaccines, but all conventional medicine, in order to profit from the products they sell.

    Readers wanting less biased information about the ethics of vaccines would do well to consult VaccineEthics.org:

    About Us

    VaccineEthics.org is a production of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics.

    The Penn Center for Bioethics is a leader in bioethics research and its deployment in the ethical, efficient, and compassionate practice of the life sciences and medicine.

    There is also the excellent website, The History of Vaccines, a project of College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

    They have a section on Ethical Issues and Vaccines.

    Like

  62. Steve Michaels
    March 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Liz,

    “The blogger known as Prometheus (a university professor in the biological sciences). Yes, he blogs anonymously, but his credentials are sound.”

    So he won’t say who he is but YOU know his credentials are sound. You expect me to take it on your word? Sorry that is not good enough. Most of the issues with billion dollar industries and related research revolve around conflicts of interest. Without any way to verify anything, the source is worthless.

    “The reasons are obvious. it would require that the control group of children in the placebo-controlled group be intentinoally left completely unprotected against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

    Hence the now institutionalized catch-22. The claim of safety and efficacy in combination (the risk/benefit) is used as the ‘ethical’ excuse for not proving the safety and efficacy. Unfortunately, you are right, IRB’s won’t approve the study because of this circular reasoning. That does make the reasoning logical or valid in logic. You cannot make a statement of risk/benefit without assessing the risks, yet claim that you cannot assess the risks because of the benefit. Here’s one for you, show me one double blind placebo study with some other mammal being injected with squalene or aluminium or mercury or borax or any combination thereof, with or without added pathogens, that show in equivalent proportion to humans in the recommended vaccine schedule over the same proportional time frame that show no damage to myelin, thyroid, kidney, liver, ischemic event or neurotoxic poisoning. I’m lowering the bar and avoiding your ethical questions. By the way, no study from an industry funded research lab or pharmaceutical lab counts.

    As a side note, I see that you have, as all before you have, assertively attacked my previous reply without one bit of evidence to back it up. The public record on the good Dr Offit is readily available. His payment disclosure is on the patent application and his votes (or abstentions) are on the public record. So how did I ‘trump’ that up? And, many a study has been conducted by the CIA, the FDA, and the CDC WITHOUT any IRB approval, yet you choose to look the other way when it suits.

    Like

  63. March 20, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Steve Michaels writes

    [Paul Offit] is a joint patent holder on the Merck rotavirus product

    Mr. Michaels’ information is quite a bit out-of-date.

    From a January 5, 2001 post

    Just for the record: I no longer financially benefit from the sales of RotaTeq. My financial interests in that vaccine have been sold out by either The Wistar Institute, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, or me. I will, however, continue to stand up for the science of vaccines because unfounded fears about vaccines have hurt children. That is why I do what I do and why I have always done it. And I will continue to closely follow the distribution of rotavirus vaccines because these vaccines have the potential to save as many as 2,000 children a day, which is why I joined the research team at Children’s Hospital.

    It has been over 18 months and perhaps as long as 36 months since Dr. Offit and the other patent holders sold their financial interests in RotaTeq.

    Offit’s complete lack of financial benefit from future RotaTeq sales became public knowledge over a year ago (for a detailed look at the claims that he continues to benefit, and the evidence that he does not, see http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/12/paul-offits-mythical-millions-v-2/).

    Paul Offit’s “crime” (as Michaels puts it) is that he spent his career developing a vaccine that prevents suffering and death around the globe.

    Like

  64. Steve Michaels
    March 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Liz Ditz :
    Steven Michaels is happy to cite as authorities on vaccine safety and vaccine ethics the online marketers Joe Mercola and Mike Adams.
    The most civil thing I can say about Mercola and Adams is that they spread fear, uncertainty and doubt not only about vaccines, but all conventional medicine, in order to profit from the products they sell.
    Readers wanting less biased information about the ethics of vaccines would do well to consult VaccineEthics.org:

    About Us
    VaccineEthics.org is a production of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics.
    The Penn Center for Bioethics is a leader in bioethics research and its deployment in the ethical, efficient, and compassionate practice of the life sciences and medicine.

    There is also the excellent website, The History of Vaccines, a project of College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
    They have a section on Ethical Issues and Vaccines.

    Firstly, I fully acknowledged upfront that you and others would question Adams in particular because he sells things on his site. Oh, that eternal sin if you are against vaccines. YOU COMPLETELY IGNORE OFFIT’S PROFIT MOTIVE and it’s worth a hell of a lot more that a few vitamins and supplements. Oh yes, Adams doesn’t vote on public policy recommendations for his products. Diversionary tactics only serve to expose the weakness in your case. Have you questioned the sources of the ethics breaches? NO. When you can’t refute the message, attack the messenger. Just like everyone else on here.

    As an additional note, from your ‘unbiased’ information source:

    Contributions from the following organizations support The History of Vaccines:

    The Independence Foundation

    Merck & Co, Inc.

    Pfizer Inc

    Sanofi Pasteur

    Read it for yourself: http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/donors

    And you call that unbiased??? Please?! All of your sources receive funding, directly or indirectly, from the very industry they are supposed to be unbiased about. It really is beyond a joke that you could even assert that your sources are unbiased.

    Like

  65. March 20, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    “You may not like Mike Adams, but his list of crimes in medicine are verifiable.”

    I assume that you didn’t mean this sentence to imply that Mike Adams has a list of crimes in medicine, did you?

    “Why is this controversial? Because, as I am sure you know, he is a joint patent holder on the Merck rotavirus product and a paid consultant to Merck. From the the House of Representatives Gov’t Reform Committee Staff Report”

    Actually, I’ve done the research that you haven’t. Dr. Offit is a co-inventor on a number of vaccine patents. He assigned the rights to his institutions, which is standard. He *was* a consultant to Merck during the development of the vaccine. He is not a paid consultant now, and hasn’t been for some time.

    “Please choose someone other than Paul Offit ”

    I’ll chose whom I please, thank you very much. Dr. Offit has more integrity than Mike Adams and your other sources. Conflicts of interest are not a sign of a lack of integrity. Failure to disclose such a conflict would be. Dr. Offit was clear about his COI’s. His actions on voting was appropriate.

    You would know that had you done enough research to realize that this is incorrect:

    “As a member of the ACIP, starting in 1998, Dr. Offit voted “yes” three times out of four on issues pertaining to the ACIP’s rotavirus statement, including, voting for his own vaccine to be included in the immunization schedule. ”

    Can you tell me when “his” vaccine (Rotateq) was added to the schedule (hint, 2006). Can you tell me when Dr. Offit was on the ACIP? (hint, he left in 2003).

    Your “research” is actually pretty poor. This is not the only example, as I’ve already shown.

    Like

  66. March 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    “We simply seem to blindly follow Pharma on vaccines, without making sure they’re putting in the effort to create safe and “green” vaccines.”

    Who are “we”? I’m not included in that group.

    But, hey, you seem to blindly follow a number of misinformation sources as I’ve already clearly demonstrated.

    Is there a reason why you repeat incorrect information? Is there a reason why you don’t check the “facts” that you’ve read?

    Like

  67. March 20, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    “If you answered yes to questions 1, 2, and 3, or no to questions 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 and do not understand the significance of your answer, you may want to review information on NVIC’s website with links to other websites and resources so you can better answer these questions designed to educate consumers about the importance of making fully informed vaccine decisions.

    http://www.nvic.org/Vaccines-and-Diseases.aspx

    One can not make an “informed decision” based on what is contained on the NVIC website. NVIC does not have quality data on efficacy of vaccines. NVIC does not have quality data on vaccine adverse events.

    For example, Barbara Fisher came out last year with a fear-mongering video about the “fatal” pig viruses found in rotavirus vaccines. She did not give the information that (a) only virus fragments were found and, much more importantly (b) the viruses are fatal only to infant pigs.

    When I requested information on how NVIC could declare these to be “fatal” and what data they had to make that conclusion, the NVIC refused to make that information available to me.

    How exactly could I make an “informed” decision from a self-proclaimed “information center” if they refuse to supply information? How can I make an informed decision when the information they to give me is incorrect and misleading?

    Like

  68. March 20, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    I feel lucky. Vaccine causation discussions are much more rare here nowadays. Even the local online groups don’t really go into it much anymore.

    Like

  69. March 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    “You child is recommended to get the influenza shot annually from 6 months old onwards. It contains mercury…”

    Not where I live. No indication of a drop in autism rates.

    “I had chickenpox when I was 15. It was itchy. I was pissed I couldn’t go outside. I don’t have preexisting immune disorders. It was not life-threatening. Nor was it to my brother, or my sister, or several people at my school that also got it. ”

    I’ll go out on a limb here. Everyone you talk to today survived all vaccine preventable diseases. Those who died don’t talk. Few people are. It isn’t just immune disorders that pose a danger to people when they are infected by disease. Were you tested for inborn errors of metabolism before you were exposed to chicken pox? Were you kept away from all bacteria which could possibly invade the sores and cause a greater problem? No. You were lucky. Most are with chicken pox. Some fraction are not. Some are killed. Some are seriously injured.

    Like

  70. March 20, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    “I think you can now sense that you are losing the argument among the open minded readers.”

    I take it this is some sort of debate club for you?

    Quite frankly, I’ve seen you to be rather far from open minded. Time and again you’ve been shown that your information and your understanding is quite lacking. But you soldier on in a debate, unwilling to challenge your preset ideology.

    As you consider your response–this is exactly what you are doing over and over in this discussion: painting others with a broad brush as though you know what they think and believe.

    Like

  71. March 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    “Chris, I read the exchange and you came out worse for wear.”

    Once again with the debate club rhetoric. Did you come here to discuss or to pat yourself on the back for being able to debate? If the latter, you are actually failing.

    As in:

    “No need to quote those studies, no need to bibliograph his claims about all of those studies of all of those children. He’s an expert you agree with. ”

    Multiple times you’ve repeated information you’ve gleaned from other sites–information which was wrong but you accepted it without question.

    The irony is a bit thick there.

    Like

  72. March 20, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    “The Cochrane Library studies consistently find that pro-pharma studies are published more often and are quoted more often and truly independent research consistently is unflattering to pharma in their results and they are ignored by ‘peer-reviewed’ journals. ”

    One of the chief members of the Cochrane collaboration refused to accept an award from the NVIC. The reason? The man (Tom Jefferson) refused to share the stage with Andrew Wakefield. You see, NVIC was also giving an award to Mr. Wakefield.

    Tom Jefferson even refused to accept the award at all. Barbara Fisher offered to send it by mail. Jefferson wouldn’t even accept an award if Wakefield was given one.

    Like

  73. March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    I’m a bit at a loss here. An “ANTHROPOLOGIST” is not a valid source for information on vaccines, but someone who “studied logic at Oxford University in my PPE degree so I am ‘qualified’ to show that your source carries no weight in argument.”

    “Philosophy, Politics and Economics” and logic are the magic trump cards in a vaccine discussion?

    You may have studied logic. You clearly don’t understand it.

    Like

  74. March 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    and I can pick out much worse from people who hold the same views as Steve Michaels.

    Once again, the difference between “studying logic” and applying it correctly is clearly demonstrated.

    Like

  75. March 20, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Well, as one of “the indoctrinated” I guess I am not capable of making a statement here.

    If I were, I’d probably say that calling others “the indoctrinated” is a form of personal attack. A bit “flawed and hypocritical” to quote someone I’ve read recently.

    Like

  76. Steve Michaels
    March 21, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Sullivan you are displaying ignorance on many fronts. Firstly, it’s Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Secondly, advanced logic is a compulsory part of the curriculum. Thirdly, Others on your side of the fence claim that ‘anti-vaxxers’ quote unqualified sources. When your side quote them, I expect you to ‘man up’ to the inconsistency.

    Like

  77. Steve Michaels
    March 21, 2011 at 6:32 am

    And for Sullivan, the worst thing ANYONE can claim is, let’s just accept my view so ‘we can all get along’. Why don’t we all get along with pushing for valid, non-biased research to end the controversy? I am not trying to change your mind, only to open it up a little. Let’s all push for independent mammal research on the ingredients of vaccines. Stuff the ethics argument. I’ve made the offer. Show me the DBPC study on animals for mercury, aluminium, neomycin, borax, squalene, cancer cultivation cells, in proportional volumes and timings as the recommended vaccination schedule and check for myelin, kidney, liver, auto-immune damage and neuro-toxicity. Not on kids.

    Like

  78. March 21, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Readers need to follow the evidence trails. Mr. Michaels can claim anything he wants, can cite flawed studies endlessly, misinterpret legitimate ones, or edit quotes to suit his purpose — the comments on this site are not moderated for validity, and the Internet is not a meritocracy.

    So, while it can take readers time to track down every spurious vaccination point Mr. Michaels has listed, they really do need to put in the effort. Some good starting points:

    -Almost any mainstream media article on Andrew Wakefield published after January 2010 (HuffPo doesn’t count)
    -My own article on Shot of Prevention, Why My Child With Autism Is Fully Vaccinated
    -Sullivan’s LeftBrainRightBrain article: The Autism-Vaccine Debate: Why it Won’t Go Away
    -Seth Mnookin’s book The Panic Virus
    -Paul Offit’s Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccination Movement Threatens us All
    Robert Goldberg’s Tabloid Medicine (conveniently, my colleage Jen Myers -published an interview with him today on TPGA: http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.com/2011/03/interview-with-dr-robert-goldberg-phd.html)

    I have only linked to the latter so as to not get this comment held up in moderation (comments are moderated for URL spam).

    Readers should not, cannot take my word, or Mr. Michaels’s, or anyone else’s in this thread. But if readers take the time to research the assertions made, they will find which support our children’s health, and which undermine it. And then we can stop quixotically wasting time and effort, and return to the work of strengthening the fabric of our community.

    Like

  79. Steve
    March 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Liz Ditz :Claim

    Chickenpox vaccine has brought with it an impending epidemic of shingles.

    And your evidence for this is?….I’m waiting.
    Meanwhile, definition of terms:
    Varicella = chicken pox = infection with herpes zoster. Once the infection has resolved, the herpes zoster virus is still present in the body, becoming dormant in the nerve roots http://bit.ly/fojhKE. From the link above:

    Many people who have had chicken pox never experience another herpes zoster event; but in some people the virus “reactivates”. When symptoms are sufficiently severe, the condition is called “shingles”.

    Another issue that Steve is confounding: he is assuming that “reported more often” is the same as “occurring more often”.
    Prior to 1972, infection with varicella (herpes zoster) was not a reportable condition http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056339.htm. This would have lead to an under-estimation of the incidence of both chickenpox and shingles.

    http://harmonyhealth.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/chicken-pox-vaccine-causes-a-dangerous-rise-in-number-of-shingles-cases/

    Research published in the International Journal of Toxicology (IJT) by Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D., reveals high rates of shingles (herpes zoster) in Americans since the government’s 1995 recommendation that all children receive chicken pox vaccine.
    Goldman’s research supports that shingles, which results in three times as many deaths and five times the number of hospitalizations as chicken pox, is suppressed naturally by occasional contact with chicken pox.

    Dr. Goldman’s findings have corroborated other independent researchers findings that since death rates from chickenpox are already very low, any deaths prevented by vaccination will be offset by deaths from increasing shingles disease. Dr. Goldman was also published in the journal Vaccine showing a cost-benefit analysis of the universal chicken pox (varicella) vaccination program. Goldman points out that during a 50-year time span, there would be an estimated additional 14.6 million (42%) shingles cases among adults aged less than 50 years, presenting society with a substantial additional medical cost burden of $4.1 billion. This translates into $80 million annually, utilizing an estimated mean healthcare provider cost of $280 per shingles case.

    Both chicken pox and shingles are caused by the same varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Adults receive natural boosting of thier defenses against shingles from contact with children infected with chicken pox.

    Epidemiologists from the CDC are hoping “any possible shingles epidemic associated with the chickenpox vaccine can be offset by treating adults with a ‘shingles’ vaccine.” This intervention would substitute for the boosting adults previously received naturally, especially during seasonal outbreaks of the formerly common childhood disease.

    “Using a shingles vaccine to control shingles epidemics in adults would likely fail because adult vaccination programs have rarely proved successful,” said Goldman. “There appears to be no way to avoid a mass epidemic of shingles lasting as long as several generations among adults.”

    Goldman’s analysis in IJT indicates that effectiveness of the chickenpox vaccine itself is also dependent on natural boosting, so that as chickenpox declines, so does the effectiveness of the vaccine.

    The common knowledge within the medical community has assumed the reason the frequency of shingles increased with age is due to the older individuals’ immune systems are declining. However, Goldman’s new research shows the real reason is due to the fact that older people received fewer natural boosts to immunity as their contacts with young children goes down.

    Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D. served for eight years as a Research Analyst with the Varicella Active Surveillance Project conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LACDHS). The project was funded by the CDC.

    Like

  80. Steve Michaels
    March 21, 2011 at 11:37 am

    “-Almost any mainstream media article on Andrew Wakefield published after January 2010 (HuffPo doesn’t count)”

    Interesting, to say the least. Nathan, on other posts, ALWAYS says that MSM articles are NOT evidence. Why not reference to the GMC and the actual report which is full of inconsistencies and points out that the most egregious charges against Wakefield amounted to not filling in a form and failing to disclose a disclosed payment.

    I agree with you though on one point. RESEARCH, RESEARCH RESEARCH. But don’t just research the ‘pro’ articles that Shannon points to. And don’t take it on faith when a doctor of ‘repute’ says there are lots of studies and fails to mention even one. That happens all the time but the pro camp really seem to overlook that. They also overlook the fact that many research facilities and researchers are, or have been, paid directly as employees or indirectly as consultants to the very pharmaceutical companies they promote without disclosing the conflicts of interests.

    And again, I have offered the opportunity to find a study on the ingredients of vaccines on laboratory animals and Shannon has again side-stepped providing REAL proof of safety. That is because the proof doesn’t exist. It is only asserted.

    Like

  81. March 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Telling folks to do the research themselves and not take my word or yours is hardly side-stepping. As I said, the onus is on the readers. Apparently you don’t have the faith in their intelligence that I do.

    Even though the “study on the ingredients of vaccines on laboratory animals…” assertion is peripheral, and readers can again find study after study that will reassure them about vaccine risks … Penn & Teller of all folks delved into this topic at length. Critics have taken issue with their (again peripheral) use of profanity and brief nudity in the short film — which is a cop out. The research and interviews are fact-grounded, and illuminating regarding perspectives on both sides of the autism/vaccine divide.

    http://www.squidalicious.com/2010/09/antivaccionationist-misinformation-and.html

    Like

  82. Steve
    March 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Steve Michaels :“-Almost any mainstream media article on Andrew Wakefield published after January 2010 (HuffPo doesn’t count)”
    Interesting, to say the least. Nathan, on other posts, ALWAYS says that MSM articles are NOT evidence. Why not reference to the GMC and the actual report which is full of inconsistencies and points out that the most egregious charges against Wakefield amounted to not filling in a form and failing to disclose a disclosed payment.
    I agree with you though on one point. RESEARCH, RESEARCH RESEARCH. But don’t just research the ‘pro’ articles that Shannon points to. And don’t take it on faith when a doctor of ‘repute’ says there are lots of studies and fails to mention even one. That happens all the time but the pro camp really seem to overlook that. They also overlook the fact that many research facilities and researchers are, or have been, paid directly as employees or indirectly as consultants to the very pharmaceutical companies they promote without disclosing the conflicts of interests.

    Yes, like with Brian Deer for example. His research was funded by The Sunday Times, whose owner James Murdoch in 2009 took a non-executive US$100,000+/year position on the board of Glaxo-Smith Kline. Guess who else took the exact same position? Sir Crispin Davis, CEO of the publishing house responsible for the Lancet, who retracted their report. I’ve yet to see one mainstream media article mention these conflicts of interest, nor one mainstream media report that actually talks about what the GMC trials found, instead they just spew forth Deer’s sensationalistic headlines. The “interviews” of Wakefield on CNN and Good Morning America were an affront to journalism. But that should have come as no surprise after seeing the way Anderson Cooper treated Ron Paul during the Reagan debates in the last election.

    Like

  83. Steve
    March 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Sullivan :“You child is recommended to get the influenza shot annually from 6 months old onwards. It contains mercury…”
    Not where I live. No indication of a drop in autism rates.

    I was looking for the data to support that statment, but you don’t seem to have provided it.

    Like

  84. March 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Again, readers who research these assertions will easily determine which commenters are wearing the tinfoil hats.

    This constant conspiracy volleying is especially detrimental to the families of our most vulnerable children with autism — those who cannot function independently, and/or who have debilitating co-morbid medical conditions.

    By insisting on sowing doubt and discord, instead of looking to legitimate science for answers, conspiracists can leave these families mired in negativity and increase their isolation — when the families could be forming bonds with, and be supported by a community with whom they so much in common on a day-to-day basis.

    Instead, divisions remain, in large part because people like Mr. Michaels care more about being “right” (in quotes because he has consistently misinterpreted or spun what I’ve written) or having the last comment in a thread, than they do about the people, families, and children in question.

    Like

  85. March 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    “Why not reference to the GMC and the actual report which is full of inconsistencies and points out that the most egregious charges against Wakefield amounted to not filling in a form and failing to disclose a disclosed payment.”

    Get the transcripts. Read them. You clearly do not have any idea of what you are talking about here.

    Andrew Wakefield was guilty of subjecting disabled children to invasive procedures for the expressed purpose of obtaining information to support litigation. He did so without ethics board approval.

    I consider that to be much more serious that disclosing his multiple financial conflicts of interest.

    And that is just part of his multiple transgressions.

    Like

  86. March 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I live in California. Mercury containing vaccines are prohibited for use on pregnant women and infants.

    While not the best data, the California special education data are public. No sign of a drop in autism.

    Like

  87. March 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    This is because these are not conflicts of interests for Brian Deer.

    I find Wakefield apologists to be hypocritical. They look for the slightest sign of a conflict of interest in everyone except Andrew Wakefield.

    Like

  88. March 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Steve Michaels,

    I have an autistic child. I have an open mind on this. I have to.

    What’s your connection to the autism community?

    Like

  89. March 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Please, such drama, you have no idea what Mr. Michaels does in his day to day life. He could be an IBI instructor or work within the autism initiative for all you know.

    Labelling those looking for more transparency in vaccine safety based on no less than a couple hundred different legitimate scientific studies as people wearing tinfoil hats looking to further ostracize autistic families does no-one any favors at all period, except for pharma, Dr. Profit and the MnooKing of course.

    As for “legitimate science” if you consider the FDA in that category you perhaps might want to answer why the scientific body wrote a letter to the POTUS about the callous disregard for legitimate science and safety the FDA exhibits on countless occasions by following political and pharma money over their own scientific body…a letter which last year the FDA themselves authenticated.

    “readers can again find study after study that will reassure them about vaccine risks”

    Readers can also again find study after study that will cause them to realize that the vaccine program is not safe, has too many vaccines given to close together and has numerous undesirable ingredients that don’t have scientifically sound evidence to back up their usage as administered. They’ll also quickly find out that the influenza vaccine for example has zero effectiveness against transmission, despite the CDC’s team of scientists and the governments website claiming that not getting other people sick is one of the main reasons to get the thimerosal-containing shot.

    SO where does that leave said readers? Wanting more answers of course. Who can blame them?

    Like

  90. March 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I am holding Mr. Michaels responsible for his actions in this thread, and their repercussions in our community — just as I could care less about Jenny McCarthy’s background as a Playmate; it’s her current actions that harm children and imperil public health.

    Again, these comments are not moderated for validity. Readers need to keep this in mind before taking any of them at face value.

    Like

  91. March 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Sullivan :I live in California. Mercury containing vaccines are prohibited for use on pregnant women and infants.
    While not the best data, the California special education data are public. No sign of a drop in autism.

    From the CDPH website – The Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency has granted an exemption to permit use of Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine regardless of preservative content in children younger than 3 years of age and pregnant women.

    Many mothers were scared into getting the H1N1 vaccine in 2009 when supplies of the single-dose thimerosal-free vaccine were limited, and children aged 3 years and older will always get the multi-dose version which does contain thimerosal unless you specifically request otherwise. All those women being scared into the shot, while said H1N1 vaccine has shown to be responsible for a 300% increase in still births and miscarraiges. It wouldn’t surprise me if infants were still getting the multi-dose to save money, there really isn’t reliable info either way without an undercover investigation.

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure that at age 3 your child is still considered a child? Autism diagnosis occurs at ages well above 3, and as early as 1 year. I don’t think the California studies really hold up well to scrunity.

    Like

  92. March 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Shannon Des Roches Rosa :I am holding Mr. Michaels responsible for his actions in this thread, and their repercussions in our community — just as I could care less about Jenny McCarthy’s background as a Playmate; it’s her current actions that harm children and imperil public health.
    Again, these comments are not moderated for validity. Readers need to keep this in mind before taking any of them at face value.

    Tell the 41 children that died after DTaP vaccination last year that McCarthy’s actions imperiled their children. Or the 76 that died in 2008, or the 82 in 2007. Heck, abstaining from vaccination appears to be LOWERING the mortality rate FROM the vaccine. Of course, no causality was established, that should go without saying though; money will always make sure that parents of vaccine-injured children will not see a link of causality established because it would put the manufacturers out of business.

    Like

  93. March 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Sullivan :“Why not reference to the GMC and the actual report which is full of inconsistencies and points out that the most egregious charges against Wakefield amounted to not filling in a form and failing to disclose a disclosed payment.”
    Get the transcripts. Read them. You clearly do not have any idea of what you are talking about here.
    Andrew Wakefield was guilty of subjecting disabled children to invasive procedures for the expressed purpose of obtaining information to support litigation. He did so without ethics board approval.
    I consider that to be much more serious that disclosing his multiple financial conflicts of interest.
    And that is just part of his multiple transgressions.

    Sullivan :This is because these are not conflicts of interests for Brian Deer.
    I find Wakefield apologists to be hypocritical. They look for the slightest sign of a conflict of interest in everyone except Andrew Wakefield.

    They sure are conflicts of interest, and referring to them as “slightest signs” is pretty laughable. This is definitely a case of “don’t shoot the messenger” – Deer was just a pawn.

    Like

  94. March 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    If you’re going to talk about children dying, you damn well better cite evidence. Again, any commenter on this site can *claim* whatever they like.

    For parents interested in legitimate evidence and statistics regarding children and immunizations:

    http://www.vaccineinformation.org/stats.asp

    Like

  95. March 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    You damn well got it!

    https://www.vaccinationnews.com/sites/default/files/deaths_from_pertussis_containing_vaccine_by_year_vaccinated.pdf

    Age: All
    Date Reported: All
    Date Vaccinated: All
    Event Category: Death
    Gender: All
    Manufacturers: All
    Onset Interval: All
    Primary Reports: Primary
    Recovered: All
    Serious: All
    State / Territory: The United States, Territories, and Unknown
    Symptoms: All
    Vaccine Products: DIPHTHERIA AND TETANUS TOXOIDS AND ACELLULAR
    PERTUSSIS VACCINE (DTAP), DIPHTHERIA AND TETANUS
    TOXOIDS AND PERTUSSIS VACCINE (DTP), DIPHTHERIA AND
    TETANUS TOXOIDS PERTUSSIS AND HAEMOPHILUS
    INFLUENZA B VACCINE (HEXAVAX) (DTPHIB),
    Diphtheria/Pertussis/inactivated polio virus (DPIPV),
    Diphtheria/Pertussis/Polio (oral [live] or inactivated not noted)
    (DPP), Diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis/hepatitis B (DTPHEP),
    Diphtheria/Tetanus/whole pertussis-Inactivated Polio Virus-
    Haemophilus influenza b (Pentacoqr) (DTPIHI), DIPHTHERIA
    AND TETANUS TOXOIDS AND ACELLULAR PERTUSSIS
    VACCINE + HEPATITIS B + INACTIVATED POLIOVIRUS
    VACCINE (DTAPHEPBIP), DIPHTHERIA AND TETANUS
    TOXOIDS AND ACELLULAR PERTUSSIS VACCINE +
    INACTIVATED POLIOVIRUS VACCINE (DTAPIPV), DIPHTHERIA
    AND TETANUS TOXOIDS AND ACELLULAR PERTUSSIS
    VACCINE + INACTIVATED POLIOVIRUS VACCINE +
    HAEMOPHILUS B CONJUGATE VACCINE (DTAPIPVHIB),
    DIPHTHERIA AND TETANUS TOXOIDS AND PERTUSSIS
    VACCINE + INACTIVATED POLIOVIRUS VACCINE +
    HAEMOPHILUS B CONJUGATE VACCINE (TETANUS TOXOID
    CONJUGATE) (DTPPHIB)
    VAERS ID: All
    Group By: Year Vaccinated
    Show Totals: True
    Show Zero Values: False

    2010 – 41
    2009 – 42
    2008 – 76
    2007 – 82

    Like

  96. March 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    You are not seriously citing VAERS — a self-reported system — as evidence? Anyone can report anything they like to VAERS, as long as they *think* a vaccine reaction has occurred. No credible person cites VAERS as anything other than a early warning system for further investigation.

    VAERS reporting is what led to the retraction of the first Rotavirus vaccine — and that was just based on possibility. If the deaths you cited were legitimate, serious action would have been taken re: the DTaP vaccine. They weren’t, it wasn’t.

    Like

  97. Chris
    March 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    VAERS data is self reported raw data, and is therefore not considered evidence. If you have the reports done after the investigations, that would be sufficient. But they must come from a reliable source like the public health department or other similar entity, not a website that seems to have a biased agenda.

    Here is an example of an acceptable form of evidence.

    Thank you.

    Like

  98. March 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Shannon Des Roches Rosa :You are not seriously citing VAERS — a self-reported system — as evidence? Anyone can report anything they like to VAERS, as long as they *think* a vaccine reaction has occurred. No credible person cites VAERS as anything other than a early warning system for further investigation.
    VAERS reporting is what led to the retraction of the first Rotavirus vaccine — and that was just based on possibility. If the deaths you cited were legitimate, serious action would have been taken re: the DTaP vaccine. They weren’t, it wasn’t.

    If the deaths were legitimate? Wow, now I’ve heard it all. You’re a shining example of “any commenter on this site can *claim* whatever they like.”

    Chris :VAERS data is self reported raw data, and is therefore not considered evidence. If you have the reports done after the investigations, that would be sufficient. But they must come from a reliable source like the public health department or other similar entity, not a website that seems to have a biased agenda.
    Here is an example of an acceptable form of evidence.
    Thank you.

    VAERS is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Good to know that you recognize that the CDC and FDA have a biased agenda. It is estimated that only 1~10% of reports actually make it to VAERS due to most doctors having a strict “it wasn’t the vaccine” policy when it comes to parents of children injured by vaccines.

    http://vaers.hhs.gov/index/about/index#who_reports

    The majority of VAERS reports are sent in by vaccine manufacturers (37%) and health care providers (36%). The remaining reports are obtained from state immunization programs (10%), vaccine recipients (or their parent/guardians, 7%) and other sources (10%).

    Like

  99. Chris
    March 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Please take a course in basic statistics, Perhaps then you will understand why a self selected/report survey is useless.

    Also read this paragraph from that webpage (emphasis added):

    Although VAERS can rarely provide definitive evidence of causal associations between vaccines and particular risks, its unique role as a national spontaneous reporting system enables the early detection of signals that can then be more rigorously investigated. VAERS receives reports of many events that occur after immunization. Some of these events may occur coincidentally following vaccination, while others may truly be caused by vaccination. Studies help determine if there is more than a temporal (time) association between immunization and adverse events. The fact that an adverse event occurred following immunization is not conclusive evidence that the event was caused by a vaccine. Factors such as medical history, diagnostic tests, and other medication given near the time of vaccination must be examined to help to determine the cause of adverse events.

    Like

  100. March 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    As Chris stated, VAERS is not evidence. Steve’s citing of VAERS to prove his point is like publicly declaring an accused person guilty before their trial — a distinction that doesn’t seem to matter to the tabloid-minded.

    Like

  101. Dena Penner
    March 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Wow, I haven’t checked in for a few days and (as someone pointed out earlier), the exact thing I wrote about is happening here. Energy that could be used to benefit children with autism is instead being used to go over the same old arguments about vaccines.

    Steve – I don’t know what your situation is, but if you have an autistic child in your life, truly, you’re not helping them or anyone else with all of your anger and misdirected focus on this issue. Clearly nothing is going to convince you that vaccines do not cause autism.

    OK, fine, we disagree. Now can we move on and deal with things that really make a difference in the lives of autistic children? For example, how do I make sure my son is in an appropriate preschool program next year, when I can’t afford private school and I’m forced to manuever through the bureaucracy of the public school system. Do I really need to continually redirect my son from his love of numbers and letters? How do I help my neurotypical 7 year old daughter as she gets frustrated by her little brother’s lack of communication? And the list goes on… These are the things that matter to me.

    Like

  102. Chris
    March 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Dena Penner:

    How do I help my neurotypical 7 year old daughter as she gets frustrated by her little brother’s lack of communication?

    Or how am I supposed to respond when my younger son tells me he no longer has an older brother, and that it looks like he will be taking care of him when he is older. He was only twelve years old.

    Oh, and when you do get an appropriate public school placement, get ready for this clueless remark: “Oh, you are so lucky to get free preschool!” Ugh. Didn’t help with the private speech therapy we had to pay for!

    Like

  103. Steve Michaels
    March 22, 2011 at 4:56 am

    “As I said, the onus is on the readers. Apparently you don’t have the faith in their intelligence that I do.”

    You say this after spoon feeding many a ‘pro-vaxx’ site, often with conflicts of interests that require much deeper research to discover because the conflicts are not readily disclosed, as any reputable source would.

    Sounds to me like YOU are the one who doesn’t trust a reader to research and find things for themselves. I quote sources that I use. Then I say research for yourself. I even admit that you and the like will try to discredit my sources and even state why. You, on the other hand, wish to TELL people what to research. I leave it to the reader to read ALL sides and make up their own mind.

    Like

  104. Steve Michaels
    March 22, 2011 at 5:13 am

    And your idea of moral supremacy that gets me most. Hold me accountable for harm? Holding anyone accountable for harming children by not vaccinating???? I am trying to educate to prevent the NEXT generation of harm while you are busy cleaning up this generation’s harmed children while avoiding at all costs any chance of preventing it in the future. Any yes, I have several friends with autistic children. And EVERY one to a T began exhibiting regression within hours to a week of vaccination. And EVERY one accepts that vaccines have caused it. Some believe, as I do, that vaccines do more harm than good, but others believe that the multiple pathogen approach is to blame and now pay privately to get the non-recommended single pathogen versions of vaccines in an attempt to reduce further harm.

    What amazes me is your blind belief that playing with the immune system can have UNINTENDED as well as intended consequences. Can vaccines reduce the incidence of some diseases? Probably yes. Do they have NO other effect on the immune system? MOST DEFINITELY but you refuse to even entertain the notion moreless worry about safety, you just assert. Can the unintended consequences be worse than the disease? YES! One friend of mine had a child develop GBS after a chicken pox vaccine. So, to avoid a 5-7 day itchy rash and mild temperature illness for 99.9% of victims, she instead got full paralysis for several days and MONTHS of physical therapy and the poor girl still needs assistance walking! But she DIDN’T GET CHICKEN POX!! Let’s all clap ourselves on the back for stopping one more VPD!

    Like

  105. Steve Michaels
    March 22, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Shannon Des Roches Rosa :
    As Chris stated, VAERS is not evidence. Steve’s citing of VAERS to prove his point is like publicly declaring an accused person guilty before their trial — a distinction that doesn’t seem to matter to the tabloid-minded.

    By VAERS own account, under-reporting of events is by around 90%. So they admit that it does not provide enough information to determine causality. You say this ‘proves’ that there is no causality. It does not. It just means that the system is designed to allow and easy CYA from any reported events. And who investigates the reports? The CDC. And what happens to good CDC chiefs who play ball? The become International Vaccine Marketing Directors for Merck!

    Like

  106. Steve Michaels
    March 22, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Shannon Des Roches Rosa :
    As Chris stated, VAERS is not evidence. Steve’s citing of VAERS to prove his point is like publicly declaring an accused person guilty before their trial — a distinction that doesn’t seem to matter to the tabloid-minded.

    And your ignoring the VAERS system in it’s entirety, as you do is akin to dismissing charges without independent investigation.

    Like

  107. Chris
    March 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    No, we are not. It is quite useful to find things like the RotaShield issues, but as you can see most of what people thought were vaccine reactions were actually something else. That is why they need to be investigated.

    Really, you need to work on your reading comprehension. You read things that are not said, possibly because you have a filter of what you think is being said, but it often turns out that is not what was being said.

    So please figure out how to help rather than hinder the disability community. Either contribute positively with real information, or go and educate yourself better on the issues. I would suggest you visit your library and read some books:
    Unstrange Minds by R.R. Grinker
    Not Even Wrong by Paul Collins
    Complete Idiot’s Guide to College Biology by Emily Willingham

    All of those authors have children with autism.

    Like

  108. Steve Michaels
    March 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    I love the way you tell me what I should read. As is the case with Shannon as well. The mantra is ‘research, research, research, now I’ll tell you WHAT to read so you only read what I agree with’. Please. The best thing for the preventable disabled community is removing the cause of future disabilities so resources can be focused on the already damaged without damaging more. Here’s an article from 2001 that has since been quashed by those with vested interests in vaccine profits:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2001%2F07%2F15%2FMN193825.DTL#ixzz1HL2VJN3c

    Makes very interesting reading about how my ‘view’ is shared by doctors and researchers who have since been silenced.

    Like

  109. Chris
    March 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Did you forget that Sullivan told you that was a non-issue in comment #61? Is that vaccine still in use? Does that have to do with the autism community, which you don’t seem to be part of? And does it pertain to any modern vaccine? Or are the new vaccines screened:

    By 1963 screening procedures were instituted to ensure the absence of SV40 in poliovirus vaccines.

    Are you trying to tell us that our children do not have developmental disabilities, but actually have some mysterious cancer that no one knows about? Now, again, are you helping or hindering the disability community with such out of date and irrelevant information?

    Like

  110. Steve Michaels
    March 23, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Did you read the article at all? I didn’t think so. The issue is that research appears to show that SV40 began spreading directly from person to person as a result of the vaccination contamination. So the vaccine introduced a new disease that KILLS and is communicable by being careless. They knew that the monkey livers were diseased before using them for culturing. And you STILL choose to listen to these people telling you how much they value our health? Beggars belief. Have you not stopped to even consider that if we were all truly healthier then the need for pharmaceuticals would be reducing, not increasing?

    Like

  111. Dena Penner
    March 23, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Steve – I take great offense to your use of the word “damaged” to describe people on the autism spectrum. I regard my son as different, not damaged. He has his own remarkable way of viewing the world and it’s my job as a parent to help him adapt so he can function. But I hope to also help him retain the peaceful, sweet, happy personality that makes him truly a joy.

    That said, clearly you’re not going to convince anyone here with your alleged facts. If you have something useful to contribute, please do. Otherwise, I think it’s time to agree to disagree and move on.

    Like

  112. Steve Michaels
    March 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I apoloigize if you felt that I was being offensive. That was never my intent, however I am not one prone to political correctness. Let me ask you this Dena, what evidence would you actually accept to change your view? I have been clear about what I am willing to accept, ie. double blind placebo studies from non-compromised researchers/research facilities. What would you accept?

    Like

  113. Dena Penner
    March 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Steve – this will be my last response to you because I frankly don’t have the time to engage in pointless debate.

    The research on this topic has already been done, over and over by reputable sources. I am confident in the numerous studies that have proven that vaccines do not cause autism. I don’t believe that researchers and research facilities are compromised and I honestly am annoyed that people like you perpetuate this nonsense and divert time and money from instead focusing on things that would actually help people on the spectrum. Please, can you just give it up already?

    Like

  114. Chris
    March 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    It has not been in vaccines for over forty-five years which is stated in the article, so it is a non-issue. It is time for you to move on.

    Like

  115. Chris
    March 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    That no child be injured, disabled or killed by a vaccine preventable disease. This is a small detail missing from your requested study. If it means so much to you, find a way to fund it yourself. Get Blaxill of SafeMinds and Handley of Generation Rescue to spend their funds on research and not advertising.

    You really need to move on. You are not helping, you are hindering.

    Like

  116. Steve Michaels
    March 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I shall leave you to it Dena. If you believe your confidence in your sources, which I have demonstrated on numerous occasions are full of conflicts of interest, makes them reputable, then you will only choose sources that agree with your paradigm. Oddly, it was my paradigm as well until I found compelling evidence to the contrary and follow it up to search for truth instead of being right.

    Like

  117. November 8, 2011 at 4:35 am

    BHaG0P tghdzkhvtrln

    Like

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