Got Questions? It’s OK to Ask

OKtoAsklogoWe all have questions and concerns when it comes to immunizations for our children.   That’s the premise behind the Vermont Department of Health’s bold new immunization campaign It’s OK to Ask.

In a state that once boasted some of the healthiest kids in the nation, falling immunization rates, rising school vaccine exemption rates, and a recent epidemic of pertussis in the state of Vermont are all reminders that when it comes to public health we must remain vigilant.  In a recent interview, Nancy Erikson, Communication Director of the Vermont Department of Health explains that the goal of this new campaign is to transform parental hesitance into confidence. She goes on to explain that the It’s OK To Ask campaign addresses the most common questions about vaccines in hopes of empowering people to make the best immunization decisions they can for themselves and their families.

The website, launched just a few months ago, not only offers detailed information about vaccines and the diseases they help prevent, it also includes an engaging “Ask an Expert” section which connects users to a special panel of Vermont doctors and nurses who have volunteered to address individual immunization questions received through the site.  Other highlights of the website include videos of Vermont parents discussing popular immunization topics with Burlington-based Dr. Hagan, and an innovative timeline created in collaboration with the historyofvaccines.org, which reflects on 300 years of immunization milestones in the fight against dangerous and deadly diseases.  Since this site was created by the Vermont Department of Health, there is plenty of state history that has been integrated into the timeline, as well as state specific information for Vermont residents on topics such as vaccine legislation and school requirements.

While it’s encouraging to see the Vermont Department of Health making such a significant effort to provide  accurate information to their residents, you don’t have to live in Vermont to benefit from this inviting forum.  As just another of the many excellent immunization resources that we have found on the internet, this comprehensive website will help to support positive immunization attitudes all across the country.

Please take a moment to visit the site, share it with your friends and family, and join in your support of the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.  If just one parent decides to vaccinate their children based on information they receive on the It’s OK To Ask site, than that’s just one more life changed as a result of this campaign.

  1. June 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    @Christine – excellent resource! Parents should always been encouraged to ask questions & get correct, factual information to make the best decisions for their children.

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  2. Christine Vara
    June 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Yes, this site is very encouraging. I love the fact that the VT Dept of Health was able to recruit numerous doctors and nurses to volunteer their time (yes, that means they are not getting paid) to help provide factual information to concerned parents. Not only does this illustrate just how passionate these medical professionals are about children’s health, it’s an excellent indication that health care professionals are really beginning to recognize the importance of addressing vaccine hesitancy and the role that social media and the internet are having on parental attitudes towards immunizations. It’s a win-win all around!

    Like

  3. June 6, 2013 at 9:27 am

    @Christine – unfortunately, here is an example (if a bit extreme) of what happens when people make decisions based on “beliefs” and not scientific evidence:

    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Faith-Healing-Churches-Linked-to-Two-Dozen-Child-Deaths-208745201.html

    Like

  4. Mary Beth Workman
    June 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Hi – I’ve only recently begun reading the information here, but as far as the comments go…it seems that you have certain people that attack anyone that questions articles that are written (Lawrence, Dingo, Chris…those are the ones I keep seeing) and you have certain people that attack the articles. It’s annoying to see the same people saying the same thing over and over, without any regard for an actual conversation or exchange of information. So, in my opinion, this is not a forum that I would use to ask a question and agree, or disagree, with something that has been written.

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  5. June 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    My comment was meant to be posted on the previous article, where you asked for feedback 🙂

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  6. June 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I’m very curious now, after reading the linked blog – because I see three names that seem to pop up here frequently – Vera, Michele & Maddoc….I do believe those are all names that have been used by “individuals” that have posted here in the past.

    A coincidence?

    As to the post by MBW – it would be nice if we could have a more honest discussion here, but unfortunately, the vast majority of anti-vaccine posters seem to have little or no regard for facts or evidence & yes, it does get tiring sometimes having to post the same evidence over and over again, but for whatever reason, these people just don’t get it.

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  7. Dee
    June 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    MBW,
    It’s frustrating to bring information, studies, personal experiences regarding vaccines, and be insulted, contradicted, dismissed, and told that no, it didn’t really happen, because if our information was true, it would mean that vaccines are more dangerous than they are presented as being here, therefore we are lying. This is a “my way or the highway” kind of site, which throws off and blocks from commenting anyone who posts several times expressing disagreement. Only hesitant, timid doubters who are easily reassured into conformance with the vaccine schedule are permitted here.

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  8. June 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    @Dee – when legitimate information is presented, it is discussed in detail. When lies, misrepresentations and misinterpretations of the science of vaccines are thrown about, there are those who will correct it.

    Legitimate questions seem to be few and far between from the anti-vax crowd.

    Like

  9. June 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Lawrence – your response to me is an example of what i mean. I have never even seen this site prior to today, so to act like I have been on here before, after I post something that isn’t biased either way, is annoying. My children’s names are Vera-Michele and Maddoc. It is highly unlikely that you’ve seen the name Maddoc before, as I’ve not seen it anywhere other than when I write out my son’s name. I was researching vaccines and different avenues because my little boy, Maddoc, has severe food allergies and i have to make sure that what i put into his body is safe for him. He’s entering the age of daycare, so there are things I want to make sure he is protected against without putting something into him that he isn’t able to handle. But your immediate response to my posting, where I stated that whether you agree or disagree, someone instantly jumps on you, was an example of what i meant by ‘annoying’. It is annoying. And, doesn’t do anything but make genuine people go away and do their research elsewhere.

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  10. June 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    MBW and the Musings for Monkeys sites…same person. They are both me. I’m not sure why the one used my name and the other used my blog name.

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  11. Chris
    June 6, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Why do you think asking for evidence of claims is attacking?

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  12. dingo199
    June 6, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    MaryBeth, my experience of this forum is that whenever a new post appears, there is initially a quite valid and interesting exchange of relevant, on topic views.

    But before you know it, there tends to be an invasion of antivaccine comments, usually quite off topic and usually consisting of multiple posts by the same one or two antivaccine people using numerous sockpuppets. Attempts to respond to these posts are initially quite civil and informative, but get ignored and then things quickly drift off topic.

    I realize that the resultant discussion looks like a bunfight rather than a pleasant discussion, but there is a clear imperative for those who have the facts and the evidence about vaccines to make sure that information is visible, so that antivaccine propaganda does not swamp the site.

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  13. June 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    @MaryBeth – I think a question around food allergies and vaccines is very relevant.

    I would definitely recommend that you ask away & I’m sure that legitimate answers will be provided (at least, good recommendations as well).

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  14. June 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Ok – food allergies and vaccines…how does one navigate those waters? my son has something called FPIES – Food Protein Induced Entercolitis Syndrome. He is also anaphylactic to numerous things. The problem with this type of allergy is that you don’t know that he is allergic until he has a reaction – which consists of vomiting, and sometimes he passes out or goes into shock. I’m incredibly nervous to put anything into his body that i don’t know how he will react to, on the one hand. I’m incredibly nervous to put his immune system at risk (aka: daycare) for something he isn’t equipped to handle (like, pneumonia or meningitis or pertussis, etc) on the other hand. What are your thoughts on this type of issue surrounding vaccination?

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  15. June 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    @MBW – that’s a great question. I would recommend having a very in-depth conversation with your pediatric ian about what may or may not be appropriate. Certain vaccines may be contra-indicative, depending on the exact situation.

    You definitely would want to make sure that the Day Care environment consists of vaccinated kids, since their immunity will help prevent your child son from catching something from them.

    You are doing the right thing by being cautious – but a conversation with your chosen medical professional (an MD / pediatric ian) should allow you to make the correct decision.

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  16. Chris
    June 6, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    MBW, you definitely need to make sure your son is protected through community immunity.

    This is something I needed to deal with since my son had a history of seizures and could not be vaccinated for pertussis, at a time when our county was having a pertussis outbreak. I asked other parents if their children were vaccinated, and did not let him be around those who were not.

    You would also need to find a very good quality daycare/preschool that is experienced with children that have medical issues. They are not easy to find. And with the pertussis issues, and my son’s continuing medical issues my option was boiled down to a nanny. But when I priced it out, I realized that my net pay after nanny/commuting/work costs would be less than the nanny’s take home pay. So I quit (and then I got to deal with all there is with special ed. starting when he was three, he had already been in speech/language therapy).

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  17. Fran
    June 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Musings,
    Food allergies didn’t exist before vaccines, so you are right to be very worried. Peanut allergies are triggered by the peanut oil used as an excipient in some vaccines sensitizing the body to react drastically to peanut protein when consumed. Other food allergies work similarly. I can’t say much here, but you should probably post your concerns at Thinking Moms Revolution.com, they are very knowledgeable and supportive.

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  18. Lawrence
    June 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    @fran – please explain lactose-intolerance, which is a food allergy and has been around as long as people have been drinking milk.

    Take my advice, please. For the sake of your son, stay away from Thinking Moms.. Their advice will harm and potentially kill your son.

    I am deathly serious. As a father of two boys, stay away from those wackos.

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  19. Lawrence
  20. Fran
    June 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    http://www.survivalandbeyond.net/the-link-between-vaccines-food-allergies/
    Musings, I just found this, one of the things it said was that Israeli children never get peanut allergies because their vaccines don’t contain peanut oil (unless they move to England and get vaccinated there, where the vaccines do). Israeli children have sesame allergies, because sesame oil is used in their vaccines.

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  21. Lawrence
    June 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    @Fran – that isn’t science. That is a bunch of baseless assertions.

    Like

  22. June 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    @Fran – how about actual PubMed citations for anything that you are claiming?

    @MBW – here is a great resource for you as well: http://antiantivax.flurf.net/

    Like

  23. Christine Vara
    June 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    @MBQ/Musings – I’m sorry to hear that your child has such problems with allergies. I can imagine that it can be very concerning. I’m fortunate that none of my 5 (fully vaccinated) children have any food allergies, but once one of my children had to be hospitalized from a sudden onset of hives that was ultimately attributed to a virus. Go figure.

    I’m glad to see that you are asking a question here. Since you may prefer a response from a medical professional, I would like to suggest you try using the resource mentioned in the blog post above (http://oktoaskvt.org/ask) to pose your question to doctors who may be able to provide a more personal and elaborate response. I would also like to recommend that you visit the Vaccine Education Center, which is sponsored by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It is an excellent resource and there is also a way in which you can contact them with specific questions you may have. (You can find that site here: http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/home.html)

    I hope this helps. And to respond to the way in which people comment on this blog, I want to just explain that since this blog began a few years ago, there have been a small handful of people who come here repeating the same stories under different names. Unfortunately, most of the regular commenters are fed up with having to rehash the same old stories. It has also made them suspect of new participants because so often it is one of the same people just changing their name in order to circumvent the system they are trying to abuse. I think you will find that if you are sincerely here to have an intelligent conversation regarding the science behind vaccines that you will be treated with respect. Thanks again for visiting.

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  24. Chris
    June 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Fran, could you please tell us the educational background of the author of that page, Ed Corcoran? Where did he go to college, what is his science background, etc? Thank you.

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  25. June 7, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Thank you all for your input and advice. I will definitely check out the links that you provided, as well as the doctor ‘forum’ on the VT website. I have talked to my pediatrician, but I haven’t felt comfortable that he is comfortable, so maybe talking to additional doctors would give me some additional feedback that would help. I’ll also look into the Thinking Mom Revolution page – I do like to always check out both sides and make sure that i have all of the information before making a decision of this magnitude. Again, your help is so appreciated! Thank you!!

    Like

  26. June 7, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Lawrence :
    @Christine – unfortunately, here is an example (if a bit extreme) of what happens when people make decisions based on “beliefs” and not scientific evidence:
    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Faith-Healing-Churches-Linked-to-Two-Dozen-Child-Deaths-208745201.html

    I know that type of thing occurs, but it is amazing to listen to some of those people and to hear directly what type of nonsense they believe. For instance the member of the church that was interviewed was quoted as saying the following:

    ““The church believe that people get sick because they’re not doing the right thing” … “God promised us that if we do his will, that there’s no infection; all these diseases that you name, would not come to you”.

    Really? Because the children discussed in the article who are now dead include a couple of two year olds, a 22 year old toddler, and a 7 month old infant. Are we honestly supposed to believe these innocent children weren’t “doing the right thing” by their God?

    Seriously – these types of people should be required to wear flashing red lights on their heads to alert everyone around them that they are walking puss bags of ignorance. They add no value to society and (as the article shows) they endanger the lives of others due to their own stupidity.

    To make matters worse the parents on trial for the death of their seven month old did the same thing before when their two year old died… and they didn’t learn their lesson! Lock them up and remove that woman’s ovaries because they have no right to be parents.

    The entire debacle is just infuriating.

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  27. June 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Sorry… my prior comment should have said “22 month old toddler” rather than 22 year old. I’m not suggesting a typical 22 year old isn’t capable of making his or her own medical decisions! 🙂

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  28. June 7, 2013 at 11:17 am

    @MBW – before you give any weight to the “Thinking Moms” you really should read the following:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/05/07/the-not-so-thinking-moms-un-revolutions/

    They are a very scary bunch of quacks.

    Like

  29. June 7, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I did read the link you posted, and while i agree with some of what you say, i can’t say that i agree with all of it. I’m not remotely ‘anti-vaccine’, but I am aware that if my son had gotten (or will eventually get) ALL of the required shots on the normal schedule, he would be very sick, if not dead. Those words came directly from his specialist at CHOP. So, my guess is that there are other children who have been sick, but undiagnosed, that have been given shots that they shouldn’t have gotten and it’s made them sicker. Not every parent has the resources to get an early diagnosis for childhood illness, or the ability to advocate for their child’s specific needs. So, in those cases, i do believe that there should be more education and thought behind what is being put into children – this hits home for me with my little boy. The Thinking Mom Revolution (from a quick look) seems to be people who fit into my group with a sick child that may have been made sicker (thankfully my little boy has not become sicker), and then extreme versions that are anti-vaccine no matter what. I feel like there is always room for gray areas, and that there isn’t a one size fits all model when it comes to health. Just my two cents. Again, I appreciate all of the resources you have all provided!

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  30. June 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

    It’s never easy when it comes to our babies – you hold your breath and do what you think is the very best thing. And, that’s all you can do. I’ve been lucky to have great doctors and specialists that see my son. But, even they, at this point aren’t sure what to tell me to do about his vaccines. I guess that there are exceptions to everything, and I can’t imagine that my son is alone in that exception. I don’t know that there is a ‘right’ answer all of the time. That was the point of my rambling above 🙂

    Like

  31. June 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

    @MBW – I appreciate both your honesty and willingness to listen. Please come back anytime.

    Like

  32. Kate
    June 9, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Lawrence,
    I looked at the link to the Res. Ins. article on the TMR. It was loaded with snark and mockery of those whose children were damaged by vaccines. I think your team needs to change its strategy. I know you and your colleagues think it’s fine to make fun of moms like me and Musings for knowing or believing that our children were damaged or would have been damaged by vaccines. She had a CHOP specialist confirm that vaccines would have severely damaged or killed him. How riotous is that? Does Orac want to try out a new comedy routine on how stupid that belief is? How many people do you think are going to go over to your side on the basis of your abuse of those afraid of vaccines? The book Our Daily Meds (without a word in the whole book about vaccines) said that 98% of medical professionals receive some kind of compensation from the pharmaceutical industry. That means that your mantra of “always believe what your medical professonal tells you about vaccines, and be sure to get all of them,” already falls on increasingly deaf ears, as most of us understand how credible that makes their opinion pushing

    Like

  33. Kate
    June 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    pushing vaccines.

    Like

  34. Lawrence
    June 9, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    @Kate – your kind of thinking has very real repercussions. Kids get sick and sometimes die from vaccine-preventable diseases in this country and hundreds of thousands of children die worldwide every year. That dies not include the others who get sick and suffer from the very real and serious side effects from these diseases as well.

    I said I appreciated MBW’s honesty, and I do. Realize that her child is just as much as risk, if not more so given his condition, if he was to be infected with a VPD. It is that much more important for the adults and children around him to be properly vaccinated for his protection.

    I do believe that groups like “Thinking Moms” are dangerous, because they are anti-science, anti-evidence, and don’t care that their actions can and will hurt others, particularly children.

    All we ask of the anti-vax individuals that post here is that they provide real evidence, not baseless assertions or junk science.

    Unfortunately, as evidenced by individuals such as yourself, that is an unmet standard thus far.

    Legitimate evidence = legitimate discussion.

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  35. Chris
    June 9, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Kate, here is a better website:
    http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/

    Though, remember, not everything about vaccines is about autism. Especially since there is no credible evidence linking vaccines to autism. There many more who have had children harmed from the actual diseases, like my oldest child.

    What is important is weighing the relatives risks between the vaccine and the actual diseases. And at the present, the risks of diseases like measles and pertussis far outweigh by a million times any risk from the vaccine.

    We acknowledge that some children have a legitimate reason to avoid a vaccine. My son only received the DT instead of the DTP due to a history of seizures (though now more recent data shows it was not that high a risk). For children like MBW’s son, who has a rare condition, the risk is unknown. So he, like my son, needs to be protected through community immunity.

    The agenda is not so much “pushing vaccines”, as much as “pushing verifiable information.” That means good objective data that shows the real relative risks, and not opinions based on anecdotes.

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  36. Katie
    June 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Lawrence,
    Intolerance is not the same thing as an allergy, although vaccines can cause both of them, as we see in the huge numbers of those intolerant of gluten now. That’s why so many people now swear by the Paleo diet: I thought it was silly at first, I’m a vegetarian, but now that I’ve had to put my daughter on the specific carbohydrate diet, I have realized that vaccines sensitize a lot of people to any kind of grain, leaving not much to base your diet on other than meat and almond flour baked goods.

    Can you provide links to information explaining the factors which make some children, like Musing’s and Chris’ children, react with severe damage or death from vaccines, factors which do not exist in most children, who can receive any number of vaccines in complete safety? How do doctors tell the difference before giving the vaccines? No doctor ever asked me before vaccinating for our famly history which includes a fair amount of atopy, neurological disease, and diabetes, which made my daughter a poor risk for vaccines from the beginning. As Musing said, lots of famlies don’t know they need to make sure the doctor is aware of these contraindications to vaccination, or can’t afford specialists who would give careful consideration to the risk factors. So their children are developing asthma, allergies, bowel disease, autism, ADHD, seizure and paralytic disorders, in explosive, unprecedented numbers, and the doctors are totally comfortable saying that they are sure they weren’t caused by the vaccines they gave the children. What makes vaccines dangerous for one child but safe for another? Who can know for sure?

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  37. June 10, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    @Katie – there are plenty of well-known contra-indications of vaccine administration, which are publicized on the Vaccine Sheets given at every well child visit & known by the pediatricians:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm

    Like

  38. June 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Something that I have learned, during the limited time that I have done research, is that people who do feel that vaccines have harmed their children feel that they are not listened to, and are considered crazy, by a large portion of the medical community. This makes me sad, because I cannot imagine trying to have a voice, or at least have someone listen to what I think damaged my child (and, really, who knows their child better than their mother?) and being told that I’m wrong or a wack?

    I had Lyme Disease during my pregnancy with my son, and was on IV antibiotics for 5 days. Because I knew that my son could possibly have been transmitted Lyme Disease, as well as have adverse reactions to the IV antibiotics in-utero, I was on top of things immediately. But, not every person has that knowledge or the resources to act on them. I demanded tests and fought to make sure my son was okay and to see if there had been any damage from the Lyme or IV antibiotics. There’s no ‘proof’ that it caused his severe food allergies, but I have a 9 year old daughter that has never been sick and has zero food allergies. I have to think there is some connection. However, there is no way to prove that. So, what did cause my son to have such a different experience than my daughter? To me, the Lyme Disease/Antibiotics would at least be something I would look into.

    That being said, I can understand the frustration of parents who have children that are somehow damaged and there is no one who can explain it – but instead of trying to figure it out, they are just told they are wrong. There are probably numerous reasons for children to be triggered and develop autism or ADD or ADHD…but isn’t it possible that ONE of those reasons, for SOME children could be a reaction to a vaccine? My son is an example of a child that could have been irreversibly damaged. Like I said before, I can’t believe he is one of the rare exceptions. I am definitely for more testing and more assured decisions being made when putting things into our children. There has to be a middle ground. Not just all or nothing. Every child is different. To me, that means every child requires a specific look at their makeup and decisions made based on that data.

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  39. Chris
    June 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Katie:

    Can you provide links to information explaining the factors which make some children, like Musing’s and Chris’ children, react with severe damage or death from vaccines

    Actually, the caution against the DTP was not due to any science but the scaremongering perpetuated by John Wilson, Gordon Stewart, Barbara Loe Fisher and Lea Thompson. The first two pushed bad science in the UK, and the latter publicized it in American media.

    As it turns out, the number of seizures was the same as the background seizures. Seizures can happen for no known reason, my son’s seizures happened before he had any vaccine (as a newborn). Additionally genetic tests have found some conditions that cause seizures like Dravet Syndrome.

    In the future, Ms. Parker (and yes, I recognize your style), please read the comments closer and come back with actual verifiable data. Maybe you won’t get banned, again. Some actual verifiable data:

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

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  40. Chris
    June 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    MBW:

    That being said, I can understand the frustration of parents who have children that are somehow damaged and there is no one who can explain it – but instead of trying to figure it out, they are just told they are wrong.

    It happens to all of us you have children that are different. I was told by a mom/tot group to stop talking about my son’s medical issues as a baby/toddler (seizures, hospital er visits, hospitalizations, neurologists, speech therapy etc), because they did not want to hear it.

    Unfortunately there are those who keep perpetuating ideas that are not supported by the evidence. This includes one person who claimed her child had encephalitis but never took that child to any kind medical intervention. Having had a toddler have a full blown seizure in front of me, calling 911, having paramedics arrive and then going by ambulance to the hospital holding the unconscious toddler, I am shocked!

    Forgive me if I think someone is wrong for not getting medical help for something as serious as encephalitis.

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  41. Lawrence
    June 13, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2013/06/micha-is-dead.html?m=1

    This is why pseudo-science is bad and the anti-vaccine groups are wrong.

    VPD can be anything but mild inconveniences….kids will and do die.

    Not to mention the other, very real serious side-effects suffered as well.

    My heart goes out to this family in their time of grief.

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  42. Robert
    June 14, 2013 at 3:00 am

    How can anything on this site be taken seriously when there are such blatant false statements presented as facts. “300 years of immunization milestones in the fight against dangerous and deadly diseases”? Please! Jenner conducted his experiments in the late 1700’s, nearly 1800. That’s just over 200 years.

    “In a state that once boasted some of the healthiest kids in the nation, falling immunization rates, rising school vaccine exemption rates, and a recent epidemic of pertussis in the state of Vermont are all reminders that when it comes to public health we must remain vigilant”?

    According to the National Immunization Survey reports for children 19 to 35 months and 13 to 17 years old showed Vermont with rising percentages of infants and toddlers getting all four recommended doses of the diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine — up from 83.2 percent in 2009 to 88.2 percent in 2011. (This compares to 84.6 percent nationally.) Among adolescents getting the Tdap booster, the rise has been from 87 percent to 90.1 percent. In addition, the Vermont Health Department reports that 93 percent of children entering public school kindergarten are up to date on the DTaP — one more shot is given between age 4 and 6 for a total of five — and 91 percent of children entering seventh grade are up to date.

    http://vtdigger.org/2013/02/27/pertussis-epidemic-vaccination-debate-in-vermont-makes-national-news/#sthash.Y0HC5WGJ.dpuf

    “the It’s OK To Ask campaign addresses the most common questions about vaccines in hopes of empowering people to make the best immunization decisions they can for themselves and their families.”

    It’s quite obvious that the ONLY “decision” these people (supporters and posters on this site included) can make is to vaccinate. As such, the “its okay to ask” campaign is nothing but window dressing to compulsion. Kind of like fascism masquerading as democracy. Know what I mean?

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  43. June 14, 2013 at 6:12 am

    @Robert – since you seem to be unaware that there are certainly contra-indicators for vaccinations (well known among physicians and the educated), it is always good to ask, just to be on the safe side.

    For those that cannot be vaccinated, it behooves the rest of us to stay current, to help those individuals, for whom getting the actual disease could be far worse for them, due to whatever condition they might have (like Cancer patients, for example) or the HIV-infected, or other immune system problems.

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  44. Chris
    June 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Robert:

    Please! Jenner conducted his experiments in the late 1700′s, nearly 1800. That’s just over 200 years.

    Variolation predates Jenner by a century. It was used in Asia, India and elsewhere by 1700:
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/smallpox/sp_variolation.html

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  45. Robert
    June 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Lawrence :
    @Robert – since you seem to be unaware that there are certainly contra-indicators for vaccinations (well known among physicians and the educated), it is always good to ask, just to be on the safe side.
    For those that cannot be vaccinated, it behooves the rest of us to stay current, to help those individuals, for whom getting the actual disease could be far worse for them, due to whatever condition they might have (like Cancer patients, for example) or the HIV-infected, or other immune system problems.

    I did not come here to argue, but you are very silly indeed if you think that the only questions pertaining to vaccines are whether there are contraindications or not. The issues of efficacy and safety are certainly part of the equation, but you have conveniently ignored this fact.

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  46. Robert
    June 15, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Chris :
    Robert:

    Please! Jenner conducted his experiments in the late 1700′s, nearly 1800. That’s just over 200 years.

    Variolation predates Jenner by a century. It was used in Asia, India and elsewhere by 1700:
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/smallpox/sp_variolation.html

    Please!!?? Are you seriously considering variolation as an equivalent to today’s fetal tissue/egg cultivated/cancer cell cultivated/recombinant DNA vaccines? That is like claiming that horse drawn carriages are the same technology as jet engines! I thought that you commenters were of a certain level of intelligence, but that is clearly not the case! Particularly with rDNA vaccines, the issue is genetic engineering. The very same technology and process of genetic engineering is identical to the process of creating GMO corn, wheat, strawberries….etc. Incidentally, I have noted that you have both strategically side-stepped the fact that Vermont pertussis cases are not in any way connected to vaccination rates since vaccination rates have been increasing along with infection rates, that is unless you are admitting that the vaccine itself is related to the increase, which of course would undermine your claims and make you look foolish…

    Like

  47. Chris
    June 15, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Robert, it is considered the first form of immunization. I was only explaining that it was used three hundred years ago, so the straw man you have created is tinder dry.

    And it was actually worse than what you describe as “evil” in present vaccines. There was an actual chance of death from it. And that is true for smallpox vaccination, it had risks. Especially if the the pus to vaccinate was taken from someone who had another disease like hepatitis or tetanus.

    Now, if you some actual evidence that a vaccine in the present American pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the disease: then please present that PubMed indexed study from a competent researcher. That means that someone who actually has education is the medical/biology field, so no one with degrees in law, business, geology, computer science, journalism, etc. Plus no one who has had their legal right to practice medicine, and who has been financed by anyone associated with anti-vaccine groups like NVIC (Dwoskin).

    I am sorry, I am not that up to date on Vermont. I just know that in my state where the exemption form had to be signed by a health care provider has increased vaccination rates. There was a large pertussis outbreak last year, and this year it is less. From the latest Epi-Llog newsletter (pdf), the numbers of pertussis cases between Jan-May 2013 is 40, compared to 356 in the same time period in 2012.

    To make this a balanced conversation about Vermont, instead a report from a journalist (which does not seem to say what you claim it does), please provide official documentation from Vermont’s public health department.

    Like

  48. Chris
    June 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Here is another Epi-Log pdf from the largest county in the state. It shows the difference between pertussis in 2011 (98), and in 2012 (762).

    You will also notice there is a new recommendation to help reduce infant exposure to pertussis. Now, Robert, if you have a better suggestion to prevent pertussis please present it. Make sure to show your work by providing the documentation that it has worked, and is safer than the DTaP and Tdap vaccines.

    Like

  49. dingo199
    June 16, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Robert :

    Chris :
    Robert:

    Please! Jenner conducted his experiments in the late 1700′s, nearly 1800. That’s just over 200 years.

    Variolation predates Jenner by a century. It was used in Asia, India and elsewhere by 1700:
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/smallpox/sp_variolation.html

    Please!!?? Are you seriously considering variolation as an equivalent to today’s fetal tissue/egg cultivated/cancer cell cultivated/recombinant DNA vaccines? That is like claiming that horse drawn carriages are the same technology as jet engines!

    I think you would have known that variolation is precisely conforms to the definition of immunization. The fact that with modern technologies we have managed to refine the process doesn’t mean the fundamental principle is different. Unless you have a completely screwed up definition of immunization no-one else has ever heard of, that is.

    And your analogies are wrong. You should be comparing the Wright Flyer to the Dreamliner. They are both aeroplanes, no question.

    Like

  50. June 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I am just reading and catching up, but had a question, as I’ve been doing research…are you familiar with Dr. Tenpenny and her research on vaccines? Is she funded by anti-vax groups or anything like that? I know that she is board certified (or at least claims to be).

    Like

  51. Chris
    June 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Yes, Dr. Tenpenny preys on the anti-vax to buy her books and DVDs. In general, beware of any doctor whose website has a “Store” menu.

    She has some very odd ideas:
    http://skeweddistribution.com/2012/12/18/tenpenny-blames-vaccines-for-newtown-shooting/

    Like

  52. June 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I get that she IS anti-vax, but is she funded by any groups? Because she is a MD doing vaccine research. I’m wondering if her findings are independent, or funded by someone, thus giving her a reason to sway one way or another?

    Like

  53. Chris
    June 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I don’t know if she is funded by groups, ask her that. She makes money by selling her DVDs and books, and providing alternative med. stuff.

    What research? Link to the pages about her research so we know what you are talking about, because I only get her page of her articles, which look like pure opinion.

    Like

  54. Chris
    June 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    A search on PubMed for “Tenpenny” brings up six citations, none them Sherri Tenpenny:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=tenpenny

    So you need to provide more details on her research.

    Like

  55. June 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    ok, i guess i’m not sure what qualifies as research and what doesn’t. she looks like she holds clinical trials, but i don’t know where she is published, so not sure how to figure out where/what falls under actual research. i do know that i work in one of the major pharmaceutical companies (top 3) and they fund vaccine research all of the time. i guess i was confused by what you meant about a doctor that isn’t funded by anti-vax, when the makers of the drugs are funding research and clinical trials. what is the difference? pharma companies fund ‘grants’ to research their drugs, and pay the doctors for their ‘opinions’…isn’t that the same thing as people who are against it funding research for the opposite?

    let me see if i can find anything that qualifies as published research under dr. tenpenny. it may not exist.

    Like

  56. June 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    what about this type of information? http://tenpennyimc.com/category/vaccines/

    Like

  57. Chris
    June 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    “she looks like she holds clinical trials, but i don’t know where she is published, so not sure how to figure out where/what falls under actual research.”

    You seriously need to give us more information about those clinical trials. Because all I know is she is an osteopathic doctor who has some integrative medical clinic, but I can’t find anything about her offices hours: http://tenpennyimc.com/

    If she does clinical trials, then it would be listed at the clinical trials website, but she is not listed:
    http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=tenpenny&Search=Search

    The link to her integrative clinic has a phone number, perhaps you should call them up.

    Like

  58. Chris
    June 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    That link to her articles are just editorials, not research. And her “Vaccine Research Library” requires a paid subscription. It is just another money making vehicle.

    Like

  59. June 17, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    i’m not that curious. you had just asked someone previously to provide you with a doctor that had published research who wasn’t funded by anti vax groups, and from what i can tell she isn’t. she has a lot of information, but isn’t published on anything hosted by the government.

    Like

  60. June 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    also, curious about your thoughts on this part of my posting:

    i do know that i work in one of the major pharmaceutical companies (top 3) and they fund vaccine research all of the time. i guess i was confused by what you meant about a doctor that isn’t funded by anti-vax, when the makers of the drugs are funding research and clinical trials. what is the difference? pharma companies fund ‘grants’ to research their drugs, and pay the doctors for their ‘opinions’…isn’t that the same thing as people who are against it funding research for the opposite?

    what i’m learning is that each side thinks they are right. and each side has strong arguments for their beliefs. but only one side has an enormous amount of funding (billions and billions of dollars) and that side has every reason to make sure the vaccines keep being produced. it doesn’t seem that there is any fair balance on either side that will help people make informed decisions. everyone seems to have a reason (mostly financial) to get people to believe the way they want them to. that’s disturbing to me, especially having children. and one child that could be significantly changed by my choosing to believe one side or the other…neither of which REALLY cares about my specific child.

    Like

  61. Chris
    June 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Well, the pharmaceutical companies do publish in the PubMed indexed journals, and their affiliations are clearly noted. Plus, they do sign up their clinical trials at the website I posted earlier.

    The big difference is that the pharmaceutical companies need to present their data to the regulatory bodies for scrutiny. And yes, they have screwed thing up (hence Dr. Goldacre’s most recent book Bad Pharma). Then those public health entities like the CDC and NHS do their own studies to double check the questions by the pharmaceutical companies. The latter are the epidemiological safety studies that I typically link too.

    For more information on how this all works go read Protecting America’s Health, and Lies, Damned Lies, and Science: How to Sort Through the Noise Around Global Warming, the Latest Health Claims, and Other Scientific Controversies.

    The latter is a short concise book, that reminds you to look at the stakeholders.

    The following is my opinion only:

    1: Tenpenny and her ilk (Bradstreet, Wakefield, Geiers, Buttar) are only in it for the cash. They prey on the desperate.

    2: Folks like NVIC, SafeMinds, etc. finance research mostly to support lawsuits. Some of them like Laura Hewitson and Gayle DeLong were Vaccine Court litigants. The Geiers only did “research” to help support those lawsuits, and actually tried to the Vaccine Court to pay for some of that research. (The Autism Omnibus special masters have some very interesting things to say about Mark Geier and Jeff Bradstreet in their legal decisions)

    3: Pharmaceutical companies are beholding to their share holders. If they had their way there would be no clinical trials and they could just dump drugs on the market. Some have reduced regulatory powers already, which is why “supplements” that kill like ephedra and DMAA (JACK3D) end up on the market without proper safety studies.

    4: Public health agencies are beholding to the taxpayers. They like keeping them alive, They are not perfect, and sometimes there is a revolving door. But it is better than #1 and #3 on this list.

    Protecting America’s Health has more detail on the balance between the FDA and the pharmaceutical companies. The book Natural causes : death, lies, and politics in America’s herbal supplement industry by Dan Hurley details how with the help of politicians being in the back pocket of some companies removed regulations.

    For an interesting idea on how one part of the CDC works, read Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service by Mark Pendergrast. I just finished reading The American Plague by Molly Crosby, it is about yellow fever in the USA and Cuba. What it took to find out what caused it, how to prevent it, creating the vaccine, and even issues with the vaccine. More researchers died to find out about yellow fever than any other disease (and yes, it was prevalent in the USA). Hmmm. I guess that takes care of your summer reading. 🙂

    Like

  62. June 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    i love to read, so that’s definitely a good start 🙂 thanks for the info!

    Like

  63. dingo199
    June 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Musings for My Monkeys :what about this type of information? http://tenpennyimc.com/category/vaccines/

    I am aware of Tenpenny, a self styled “expert” in vaccines who doesn’t actually have any expertise and whose primary agenda is to post material critical of vaccines. I think one has to be very careful what one reads and where information comes from.

    I looked at the website you linked to and it took me about 3 seconds to find she is quite wrong/misleading. Take the top item (Formaldehyde in vaccines). Tenpenny would have us believe that people’s maths is shoddy,but she is fearmongering.

    However, do you do realize:

    1. Formaldehyde is a natural product found in foodstuffs?
    2. A single banana contains 5-10x more formaldehyde than the entire pediatric schedule?
    3. The human body actually makes formaldehyde as a byproduct of normal metabolism?
    4. Formaldehyde is actually necessary as a metabolic substrate for essential purine metabolism in humans?

    As for numbers, it is a fact that the adult human liver metabolizes formaldehyde at a rate of 22mg per minute.
    (Clinical toxicology, p1008)
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=PyUSgdZUGr4C&q=50,000&redir_esc=y#v=snippet&q=50%2C000&f=false

    Assuming for argument’s sake that an infant’s liver metabolizes around 10 times more slowly than an adults, then my maths tells me that the 1.8mg of formaldehyde a child receives in the entire pediatric schedule will be metabolized in under 1 minute to its byproduct, carbon dioxide.

    The human body’s natural production of formaldehyde is around 160 times more than an infant would receive at a single vaccination session.

    Just sayin.
    http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-safety/vaccine-ingredients/formaldehyde.html
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2012/04/demystifying-vaccine-ingredients.html

    Like

  64. June 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    @MMM – thanks for coming back & please keep the questions coming!!!

    Like

  65. Robert
    June 18, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Well aren’t you the arrogant and aggressive one! I was not making a “straw man” argument in any way shape or form. I also see that you have completely ignored the analogy. Interesting…. It is also good of you to admit that you see yourself as the sole arbiter of what sources or researchers or qualifications actually count. You see, truth has an intrinsic value and the messenger is actually quite irrelevant. I can see that you put much faith in messengers. By the way, in what way, shape or form are you qualified to determine anything? You see, I have not left comments here to convince you (hard for your arrogant self to believe, I’m sure!). There are blatant factual errors that should be pointed out. By the way, pertussis has “spiked” in cycles for as long as it has been followed, vaccines or not so your claim that rates have now dropped somehow because of vaccines is mere conjecture.

    From the CDC (I am sure you consider this to be a “trusted” source):

    Q: Why are reported cases of pertussis increasing?
    A: Since the early 1980s, there has been an overall trend of an increase in reported pertussis cases. Pertussis is naturally cyclic in nature, with peaks in disease every 3-5 years. But for the past 20-30 years, we’ve seen the peaks getting higher and overall case counts going up. There are several reasons that help explain why we’re seeing more cases as of late. These include: increased awareness, improved diagnostic tests, better reporting, more circulation of the bacteria, and waning immunity.
    When it comes to waning immunity, it seems that the acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP) we use now may not protect for as long as the whole cell vaccine (DTP) we used to use.

    http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html

    As you can see, even the CDC supports the notion that pertussis is cyclical, that peaks have been getting higher each cycle even though vaccination rates are high (as in Vermont) because of waning immunity. Waning immunity can also be called vaccine failure since the vaccine is failing to provide promised protection. It is also of note that they do NOT blame low vaccination rates or exemptions even though every one on here seems to like that “straw man” argument.

    Like

  66. Robert
    June 18, 2013 at 1:21 am

    Chris :
    Yes, Dr. Tenpenny preys on the anti-vax to buy her books and DVDs. In general, beware of any doctor whose website has a “Store” menu.

    Chris :
    That link to her articles are just editorials, not research. And her “Vaccine Research Library” requires a paid subscription. It is just another money making vehicle.

    Hold on a second there sunshine! I am sure that this doctor’s book sales and subscriptions don’t amount to a whole lot of money, yet you blindly accept the research that is either directly funded by, conducted by researchers trained by and/or conducted at research centers funded or contributed to by the second largest industry in America (2nd to banking, another trustworthy business)? Your selective definition of what constitutes a corruption of information is beyond rational.

    Like

  67. January 22, 2014 at 5:54 am

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.

    I’m quite certain I’ll learn many new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

    Like

  1. June 15, 2013 at 8:11 am

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