Home > Expert Insights, In the News, Preventable Diseases, Science & Research > Vaccine Safety and Efficacy Begins with Science

Vaccine Safety and Efficacy Begins with Science

cdcimage3I’m not a scientist or a researcher, but I have a great deal of admiration for both.  As a health conscious person, I rely on their work to deliver safe and effective vaccines that help keep me, my family, my community and – hopefully one day – the entire world free from preventable disease.  Vaccines don’t just save lives, they prevent long-term health complications and even unnecessary suffering and hospitalizations.  And I’m grateful that ongoing scientific research is helping to improve on the benefits of vaccinations.

In just the past week, there have been a number of important studies related to immunizations that I hope parents will take note of.

  • On Monday, information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that in looking back on the 2009 influenza pandemic, the influenza vaccine saved roughly 300 lives and prevented about 1 million illnesses and 6,000 hospitalizations.
  • Today, I read about a research project involving a new immunization technique in which a dried version of a live vaccine is formulated into a tiny disc with needles made of sugar which dissolve when inserted into the skin. The vaccine, which remains stable and effective at room temperature, requires no refrigeration or traditional needle, both of which will reduce expense and pain. I find this research fascinating, and I’m excited about the promise it has in the global fight against disease.

But even though good science may not always reveal good news, it’s critical in helping us to determine where our vaccines fall short and how we can improve upon current immunization practices.

Take for instance the blog I wrote earlier this week about the disappointing results of a new tuberculosis vaccine trial.   And then yesterday, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that there may be changes in the circulating strains of pertussis bacteria which is contributing to the rising incidence of whooping cough.  While experts have acknowledged that the current pertussis vaccine is far from perfect, it remains the best means of prevention at this time.   While yesterday’s report clearly addresses the challenges we face in the battle against pertussis, it also represents an important step in improving pertussis vaccine efficacy in the future.  As stated in the closing sentence of the report,

An understanding of the epidemiology and virulence of pertactin-negative variants is crucial to developing the next generation of pertussis vaccines.”

While critics will inevitably use this report to suggest that the pertussis vaccine is not effective, those of us who understand the challenges of pertussis vaccination will applaud the fact that this research is bringing important considerations to light and confirming what some had suspected.   This report helps us recognize the dangers of pertussis, explains why we may be seeing an increase in cases and outlines the limitations of the current vaccine.  But even when science doesn’t reveal good news, it can ultimately lead to progress.  The point is, with a better understanding of the pertussis bacteria, we can work on developing a better vaccine to protect our children and our children’s children.

Occasionally I get frustrated by the never-ending barrage of comments from people online who refuse to acknowledge the science-based evidence that they are presented with time and time again.   But then I realize that if they don’t understand or appreciate the science, how can they recognize what we are learning from it?  The same scientific findings that vaccine critics choose to ignore or discredit, are often the same ones that help us to evaluate and improve safety and efficacy – two concerns that are consistently repeatedly by those who choose not to vaccinate.   When will they acknowledge that science can not only help address their concerns, but even confirm whether their concerns are valid?

Take for instance a recent report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), conducted in response to public concerns over the safety of the entire childhood immunization schedule. A panel of experts analysed all the research and scientific data that is available and determined that there is “no evidence of major safety concerns associated with adherence to the childhood immunization schedule”.  This was an important report and it’s findings are equally important.  But just because it didn’t reveal what vaccine critics had expected, doesn’t make the findings any less accurate.

The video below, conducted with Executive Director of Every Child By Two, Amy Pisani on Fox CT Now, demonstrates the efforts that are being made to ensure that accurate information is getting out to the public.  We can only hope that in discussing vaccine research that people will gain a better understanding of the risks of disease and the benefits of vaccinating children according to the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule.

  1. February 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm


    more evidence of vaccines damaged people.

    Once again..the brainwashed are here…

    go to http://www.RUSSELLBLAYLOCKMD.com
    a neurologist that has articles written on the brain link with vaccines and autism..

    just read the article…then stop injecting chemicals into healthy people and killing them..

    If you read the article and still are not convinced, that is your choice and I will stop commenting..it is not pseudo – science.. it is real medical literature and the understanding of pathways…


  2. drcub1908
    February 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    of course nice photo of a baby and her dumb parents injecting poison. None of you would get a vaccine of equivalent dosage today.
    the same parents feed their kids milk, cereal, McDonalds and soda…
    my kids still NOT SICK…..11,9,5….all A students and thin and lean..

    do you know what you call 10000 pediatricians at the bottom of the ocean…a good start


  3. novalox
    February 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    @dr. s/drcub1908

    Wow, making death threats now.

    And still not putting any reliable citations for your unsubstantiated beliefs.

    Also, [citation needed], and you better start reading up on the comment policy.

    Comments containing the following elements will be deemed inappropriate and will be removed from the blog:

    vulgar or abusive language;
    personal attacks of any kind;
    unsupported accusations;
    offensive terms that criticize individuals based upon race/ethnicity/nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.;
    spam or unsolicited advertisements; and
    marketing copy that promotes services or products.


  4. February 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    @(nota)DrS – we’ve already pointed out that you lack the basic understanding of science, biology, & immunology….repeating the same stupid stuff over and over again isn’t going to make it true.

    Get a real education – and even better, make good on your threat to leave.


  5. Thomas
    February 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    “do you know what you call 10000 pediatricians at the bottom of the ocean…a good start”

    Poor fellow. Can’t even imagine winning an argument with reason or facts, so he has to fantasize about mass murder.


  6. Black Lab
    February 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Dr. Blaylock is right on. Wish more would read his studies, he is amazing!


  7. Burke
    February 9, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    @(nota Pediatrician)novalox – wow!


  8. February 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Sockpuppet alert!


  9. Christee
    February 9, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Sound the alarm


  10. Sock Puppet
    February 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    That wasn’t me….


  11. Chris
    February 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Black Lab:

    Wish more would read his studies

    What studies? Blaylock has been retired for years. His PubMed history shows case reports (before 1982), and lately opinionated editorial letters. He has no training or expertise in vaccine safety, and he is also not a pediatrician.


  12. novalox
    February 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm


    I guess when you have to rely on sock puppets to attempt insult, you know you have a lost cause.


  13. Lawrence
    February 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

    @nova – think there will ever come a time when one of these people show up to hold reasonable concersation based on real substance, including facts, citations and actual evidence?


  14. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    @(nota Pediatrician)novalox – nobody made a “death threat” or fantasized “mass murder”, so it wasn’t an attempt at an insult it was just “wow” unbelievably ridiculous comments.

    @Lawrence – why don’t you spend some time with the kids instead of spending your extra time here. They miss you.


  15. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    @Chris – using your logic why would anybody listen to you? You are not a pediatrician.


  16. February 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    @burke – thanks for answering my question. Pretty much what I expected to hear.


  17. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    @Lawrence – your welcome.


  18. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    @Lawrence – you did what I expected as well. Replied within a matter of minutes.


  19. Chris
    February 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Burke, it is because you wrote “(nota Pediatrician)novalox.” I assumed it was because you only want to listen to pediatricians, so I reminded all that Blaylock is also not a pediatrician. So anyone praising his “studies” should think twice, like all of your sock puppets.

    Now, if you some actual information on the reality of vaccine safety, please present them. I know from first hand experience (one of them involving an ambulance ride to a hospital) that the diseases are not safe. So I need more definite evidence showing that vaccines are dangerous than quoting a retired neurosurgeon who now is selling some kind of “brain power” supplement.


  20. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    @Chris – I know from first hand experience (sister almost died from a vaccine) that vaccines are not safe, and I’m not a pediatrician either.

    Again…because Dr. Blaylock is not a pediatrician doesn’t mean he doesn’t have important information to share. I can’t say anything about what he has presented, because I haven’t read any of it, but him not being a pediatrician won’t stop me from checking it out and forming my own opinion.


  21. Chris
    February 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Good, now we are done with the anecdotes, let’s discuss the actual evidence. Here are some studies:

    Vaccine. 2012 Jun 13;30(28):4292-8. Epub 2012 Apr 20.
    The combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines and the total number of vaccines are not associated with development of autism spectrum disorder: The first case-control study in Asia.

    Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
    Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

    Pediatrics Vol. 126 No. 2 August 1, 2010 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1496)
    Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood

    Pediatrics. 2009 Jun;123(6):1446-51.
    Parental refusal of pertussis vaccination is associated with an increased risk of pertussis infection in children.

    Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82
    Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines

    Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Dec 15;168(12):1389-96. Epub 2008 Oct 15.
    Geographic clustering of nonmedical exemptions to school immunization requirements and associations with geographic clustering of pertussis.

    Now, what you need to do, Burke, is to present similar quality papers showing that the DTaP vaccine is more dangerous than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, and that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella.


  22. Black Lab
    February 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm


    Here’s the starting place, excellent information:


  23. Chris
    February 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    No, Black Lab, it is not. One hint on how to determine that you should not trust a doctor’s website: evidence that he is selling his own supplement like “Brain Repair Supplements.”

    Now, just list some good quality studies that show that the DTaP is more dangerous than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. And seeing how (retired) Dr. Blaylock has a link on influenza, just post the study that shows the influenza vaccine has killed more people in one than the number of children that have been killed by influenza this season. The last count from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/ shows it is now 59 children (these are verified by testing for the flu virus).

    So, Burke/Black Lab/Joe/ and other sock puppets, please present the verifiable evidence that the influenza vaccine has killed at least 59 people in one year.


  24. February 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    @Chris – again, the very fact that this “individual” requires multiple identities just shows how hollow the arguments on that side are…..as for Blaylock, once again, when you have your own page on Whale.to, it speaks for itself (corner penthouse at the Quack Hall of Fame).


  25. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm
  26. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Lawrence – assumptions are a B-t-h aren’t they?


  27. Chris
    February 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Burke, that is just a website. I said to post the studies, not someone’s interpretation of the studies. Now, again, please post the actual primary papers of high quality studies that show the vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases. Like the collection here: Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project Publications.


  28. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Chris – the website is full of excellent information. “Interpretation” is what we all do. You and I will not agree on things when reading the same exact studies. Most of the time even the authors are not very clear in their findings or the way the conclusions are worded can often be confusing or even be debatable. Unless you are specialist in these areas, you’re just going to have to do your best and make your own conclusions from everything you can find. I take everything I read with a grain of salt. Bottom line is, my sister almost died from a vaccine, so you won’t be able to convince me they are safe. That wouldn’t be logical to me would it. So please don’t waste your time trying to prove to me they are safe. If your family member almost died from a vaccine, you wouldn’t think they are safe either and please don’t go into how rare the dangers of vaccines are either, as my own experience tells me that’s not true either.


  29. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Chris – a piece of advice, you’ll get better results “asking” or “suggesting” things rather than “demanding” or “ordering” people to do things. You come off as quite bossy and I don’t know if you realize this.


  30. February 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    @Burke – you’ve added nothing to the conversation here & admitted that you’ve already made up your mind in the face of decades of clinical research. So, why exactly are you here again?


  31. February 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    @Burke – you’d also be more than happy to provide the VAERS entry for your sister’s reaction & also your experience with the Vaccine Court, right?

    I mean, we wouldn’t just want to take your word for it & if we ask nicely enough, you’d be happy to provide the relevant information, right?


  32. February 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I would also recommend this link as a good place to start for published papers regarding Vaccine Safety:


    Not to mention:


    Between them, a great cross-section of decades of clinical research (both domestic & internationally) show the efficacy and safety profile of vaccines.

    Oh, and look – not a single conspiracy-ladened link between them…..


  33. Burke
    February 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Lawrence – looks like you’ve made up your mind in spite of of studies showing they are not safe. So why are you here again??

    My sister got paid a very small amount of $$ and the process was ridiculous. I don’t have the right to give you any information about my sister, that is her own personal business.

    I took Chris’ word on her experience….I have no problem with that.

    Conspiracy? Not sure what you are talking about.


  34. Chris
    February 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Burke, it doesn’t matter how I ask for the evidence. You are not providing any. That website did not even provide a reference to the papers it was discussing, just to package inserts. All you are proving is that you have no evidence that the vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases.

    Also, Black Lab has only proven to be a spammer for someone who sells his own supplement.


  35. Chris
    February 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Burke, where does one get compensation for expenses by actually getting the disease? Is there a Disease Injury Compensation Program or a Disease Adverse Event Reporting site?


  36. February 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    @burke – wow, I don’t see any studies that you’ve provided that show vaccines aren’t “safe.”

    And provide your definition of “safe” as well, so we aren’t dealing with the Nirvana or Perfect World fallacy, either.


  37. novalox
    February 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm


    Thanks for admitting that you are just an anti-vaxxer and a sockpuppet.

    And also, thanks for admitting that I have more moral standing than you ever will.

    And thanks for calling me a pediatrician, something that you will never even hope to attain.

    So will you pony up an actual scientific citation? Or do you admit that your “argument” has no basis in reality?

    You brought up the assertion, you provide the evidence, Otherwise, why should we even listen to you, who has not shown any reason or logic?


  38. February 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I am so glad we don’t have to only rely on our own experience for data anymore, things would be so much more confusing. I am glad there are specialists in the field who do research and make their findings available to us. Different people may interpret the data presented differently, but what matters is whether or not there is any bias associated with that interpretation. The whole n=1 case study is not sound science, therefore can only be dismissed. For everyone who says, “My own personal experience tells me otherwise.” there are going to be millions of other ‘personal experiences’ that oppose that one person’s interpretation. For some, very few people, there are dangers to vaccines, and these people are contraindicated to receive them. All the more reason those who can receive them should get them so those that cannot will still be protected from the diseases that the vaccines prevent. That is logic. Anyone who tries to say otherwise is lying to themselves.


  39. dingo199
    February 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm


    Please supply us with your definition of “safe”.


  40. February 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    It’s interesting that AV’ers believe that comments like the first two are going to win over any new parents. Science doesn’t lie.


  41. February 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    @MWV – I don’t think they are self-aware enough to understand how posts like that look to reasonable people…….they live so far down the rabbit hole that FEMA Concentration Camps look sane in comparison.


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