Are Doctors’ Vaccine Recommendations Motivated By Profits?
Oct 22, 2014

DrZibnersThis guest post has been written by Dr. Lara  Zibners, in response to comments we’ve received on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page.

“How can I trust the vaccine recommendations that I get from my doctor?  After all, isn’t she the one making money off all of these shots?”

Have you ever heard this concern or something like it? How many parents do you know who are leery of a doctor’s vaccine recommendations because they think the doctor is simply motivated by profits?

The idea that pediatricians are colluding in some giant immunization scam that is designed to fund their fancy vacation homes and expensive watches is a concern for some.  But could it be true? Does your pediatrician look at your child, pinch those pudgy thighs and inject vaccines against life-threatening illnesses while dreaming of a new car?  It’s a pretty disgusting thought, isn’t it? The idea that your child’s doctor could have a financial incentive to encourage vaccination is an upsetting one. One that would understandably get your panties in a twist, right?

Well, my friends, relax. You can unwind your knickers because it’s simply not true.

Now, let me start by telling you that this is not a discussion of physician salaries as a whole. (Although I will point out that pediatricians are the 2nd lowest ranking physicians by salary in the United States.) Or whether they deserve a salary that averages in the low six figures. (Even though that’s after the usual investment of 40,000 hours of training and $300,000 in expenses). We’re not going into those topics today but instead we’re going to focus on one specific question: do pediatricians make money from immunizations?

And the answer is “No.” Despite what some people think, vaccines aren’t the cash cow everyone seems to think they are.

It’s estimated that it takes 35 office visits and costs around $2500 to fully vaccinate a child through age 18. But providing immunizations goes beyond just providing the vaccine. There are plenty of additional costs. These include direct costs such as vaccine purchase, storage, staff time to handle, oversee and administer the vaccine, as well as indirect costs such as insurance against vaccine loss.

And pediatric offices delivery the majority of immunizations. Eighty percent in fact. It’s a huge part of well-child and preventative care. Which makes them a daily topic in any pediatric practice. But what many people don’t realize is that vaccines are the second highest expense for a pediatric practice after employees. As in doctors, nurses, receptionists and that poor lady who has to deal with the insurance companies. Think about that.

But why are vaccines such a large expense for the pediatrician? Well, vaccines vary in cost (in one study between $4 and $30 per dose) and that figure can vary depending on the circumstances.  For instance, how complicated is it to produce a vaccine? How many years of research went into the vaccine? How much did it cost to develop? And how much money was spent on the various stages of clinical trials before the vaccine receives FDA approval for use? Because, yes people. It’s true. Pharmaceutical companies spend years developing and testing the vaccines they produce to ensure they are as safe and efficacious as possible. Not to mention there is a large investment that goes into the development of a new vaccine without any assurance that the vaccine will be ultimately approved or even recommended.  And as much as I’m sure companies would like to create and distribute vaccines for free because they know they save lives, they also have to cover their costs at the end of the day. That’s just life. And if a pediatrician wants to offer immunizations, she has to do her part too and buy them. Before she can give them. Cash up front.

So the money comes out upfront. And the vaccines are stored and inventoried and insured. And then you walk through the door with little Tommy, braced for his scheduled injections. You pass your insurance card through the little window and that’s it. Your doctor’s back in the black, right? Well, not exactly. Practices are reimbursed for the costs of the vaccines (and associated expenses) either through private insurance or through public insurance (think Medicaid or CHIP). But the insurance company has to be billed. Then someone has to process the claim. Cut the check. Put it in the mail. And so on. There is a real delay between purchasing vaccines and the insurance reimbursement for the delivery of the vaccine. While your doctor is still out-of-pocket.

Image courtesy of the Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes

Image courtesy of the “Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes” Facebook page.

So the payment finally arrives. But wait. The reimbursement often doesn’t cover the full cost of the vaccine, let alone the total cost of delivering that vaccine. The average reimbursement by public insurance is less than $10 and for private insurance, it’s only a bit higher. Maybe somewhere in the neighborhood of $17.

To sum it up, even when an office is paid for delivery of an immunization, nearly half of reimbursements don’t cover the cost to the practice. And if the vaccine reimbursement doesn’t pay for the vaccine itself, it certainly doesn’t cover ultimate cost to the pediatrician, let alone for the receptionist, the nurse, the computerized charting system, Highlights magazine (remember that?!), sterilizing systems for the toys, or food for the tropical fish tank that keeps your kids from going bananas while waiting to be seen. Vaccines are not the pediatrician’s cash cow. Hopefully you’re beginning to understand that now.

So why do general pediatricians continue to give vaccines? For those of us who have dedicated our lives to ensuring the health and safety of children, it’s not about the money. It’s the genuine belief that immunizations are one of the most important ways to protect individual patients and society as a whole. It’s an undisputed fact that giving vaccines is a financial disincentive for pediatricians. Nearly 10% of pediatricians have seriously considered no longer providing vaccines because of the economic strain involved. Which is scary. If your child’s doctor doesn’t give immunizations, it’s going to be quite a bit more difficult and inconvenient for you to get your little one vaccinated, isn’t it?

Image courtesy of the "Stop the Anti-Science Movement" Facebook page.

Image courtesy of the “Stop the Anti-Science Movement” Facebook page.

As for me, I’m not even a general pediatrician. I am an ER pediatrician. Which means I’m paid a salary. If one cute 3 year-old patient with a Lego in his nose shows up between 7am and lunchtime, I’m paid the exact same as I would be if an outbreak of measles brings the patient volume to a level fondly known as “heaving,” without a room to spare and a line stretching out the front door. Of course, I’m not the only pediatrician who is paid this way. Many doctors who work in hospitals or clinics are also salaried employees. Far fewer physicians are in private practice now than in the past. And like me,  they’re paid exactly the same whether we order a vaccine or not.

In my current position I don’t give routine vaccines. I give emergency room vaccines. Like a tetanus booster to a child who has a nasty wound.  A little one who was sleeping in a room where a bat was found will get rabies prevention. Occasionally, I’ll give a dose of varicella vaccine to a kid who is just shy of her 1 year well-visit, who has a sister with  leukemia, and has been exposed to chicken pox.  But when I do administer vaccines it’s the hospital that purchases the supply, bills the insurance, and recovers the money (if there is anyone to bill). I don’t get paid one tiny little extra penny more.

But I assure you I still care if a kid is up-to-date on their vaccines. Because in my line of work, it’s the baby battling whooping cough, who turns blue and stops breathing, that make me so passionate about vaccines. Or the encephalopathic kid with measles that is having seizures and needs a ventilator to breathe. It’s the vicious stink of Rotavirus that creeps down the halls. Or the child with group A streptococcal sepsis secondary to chicken pox who needs blood pressure support and an ICU bed.

But please, rest assured, it’s most definitely not the money.

Dr. Lara Zibners is board certified in both general pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine.  As the author of the award-winning book “If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay,” and a hilarious blog, Dr. Zibners has been an avid and very public supporter of vaccination.

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62 responses to “Are Doctors’ Vaccine Recommendations Motivated By Profits?”

  1. Melody RN says:

    Thank you for this great post. I’ve been reading lately that many pediatricians have had to stop providing vaccines in theirs office because of the increased costs. They know send the patients to health clinics which adds another step/burden for parents looking to vaccinate their children. This is shame and will have a negative effect in the long run if insurance companies don’t start working together with doctors.

  2. Jessica Driscoll says:

    “But please, rest assured, it’s most definitely not the money.”

    Agreed, not for the Pediatricians or those administering the vaccines as the article explains, but it is about the money for Big Pharma.

  3. Lawrence says:

    @Jessica – so, once again you have a problem with a company making money?

    You have an extremely passive-aggressive way of posting……

    @Melody – seeing those costs, I understand why Pediatricians can have difficulty – I don’t believe there are “generic” versions of vaccines, are there?

  4. Melody RN says:

    Jessica, pharmaceutical companies are not gaining much by producing vaccines. The bulk of their revenue comes from other medications and services. In fact many compancies have abandoned producing vaccines due to the lack of profit

  5. Chris says:

    Ms. Driscoll: ” but it is about the money for Big Pharma.”

    Do tell us about the relative costs between preventing a disease with a vaccine and treating it. Tell us why it would be better for a child to get measles with about a one in ten chance of becoming hospitalized for either pneumonia or encephalitis (which was about the rate in the recent outbreak in Wales), than to get two MMR vaccines. Provide an actual verifiable economic analysis much like this:
    An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States

    and this:
    Pediatric hospital admissions for measles. Lessons from the 1990 epidemic.

  6. Jessica Driscoll says:

    Melody,the top five manufacturers aren’t doing too shabby. And the future looks very bright.

  7. Chris says:

    Ms. Driscoll, that is not a financial comparison of the relative costs between preventing or treating measles. Please provide those relative costs.

    Why is treating kids in hospitals for measles better than preventing them with two MMR doses? Provide actual verifiable economic analyses.

  8. Lawrence says:

    @Jessica – again, you seem somewhat taken aback that these large, multi-billion dollar companies, make a profit….but good for them, because profits means they have the ability to do more research and development.

  9. Heather Vee says:

    Thanks for the links to those resources, Chris. I vaccinate my kids and keep up with my boosters because I know vaccines are good protection (Who wants sick kids? Or a sick mom?), but it is also interesting to look at vaccination from an economic standpoint.

    And I agree that a compant making profits is important; if pharmaceutical companies made no profit, they wouldn’t have the motive or the means to improve current vaccines or develop new vaccines.

  10. Chris says:

    Thank you, Ms. Vee. Here is another economic study on the full American pediatric schedule:
    Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009

    I know from experience that the actual diseases are costly both monetarily and emotionally. My kids are all in the twenties, so they had some of the diseases before certain vaccines. One of kids had a seizure from one of those and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Then a few years later all three had chicken pox, including the six month old baby… that was a horrible month.

  11. Dina says:

    Very few children with measles need to go to the hospital: it would have been extremely unusual for a child with measles to be hospitalized in the days before the vaccine when 99% of children got it by the time they were grown, it was considered a routine, universal childhood disease, and no one worried about it. The figures being published now on disability or death caused by measles are usually greatly exaggerated, and not helpful to the discussion. It’s better to get natural measles as a child to get permanent immunity and the ability to protect future infants in the first year, when it can be most dangerous (in rare cases). It trains the immune system to become competent in its functions. And those people who have had it create a certain degree of herd immunity.

  12. Dina says:

    I have no problem with big pharma companies making as much money as they can from their products, as long as the public is fully informed and realizes that the medical establishment has many vested interests in promoting their products. And as long as vaccines are a completely optional choice for everyone.

  13. Lawrence says:

    @dina – it wasn’t that people “weren’t worried about it,” but that they couldn’t do anything about it….when the Measles Vaccine was released, families were lining up around the block to get it – so obviously they were concerned.

    Also, you do realize that Measles can be eradicated, right? How about that, companies making a vaccine for a disease that can be eliminated from the planet (i.e. ending the need for the vaccine entirely)….

  14. Chris says:

    Dina/Liz (aka the continually banned Ms. Parker): “Very few children with measles need to go to the hospital: it would have been extremely unusual for a child with measles to be hospitalized in the days before the vaccine when 99% of children got it by the time they were grown, it was considered a routine, universal childhood disease, and no one worried about it.”

    So what? That was fifty years ago when there were hundreds of deaths from measles. I am using recent numbers from the Wales outbreak:

    Public Health Wales received 1,202 notifications from the Health Board areas of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, Hywel Dda and Powys in South West and Mid Wales, with 88 hospital admissions and one death.

    That is 88/1202 * 100% = 7.3% hospitalized.

    And France:

    Although few measles cases were reported in France during 2006 and 2007, suggesting the country might have been close to eliminating the disease, a dramatic outbreak of >20,000 cases occurred during 2008–2011. Adolescents and young adults accounted for more than half of cases; median patient age increased from 12 to 16 years during the outbreak. The highest incidence rate was observed in children <1 year of age, reaching 135 cases/100,000 infants during the last epidemic wave. Almost 5,000 patients were hospitalized, including 1,023 for severe pneumonia and 27 for encephalitis/myelitis; 10 patients died.

    5000/20000 * 100% = 25% hospitalized.

    Now what is better, preventing or treating measles?

    Support your claims with actual evidence. As a former lawyer you were not allowed to present “stories from the internet” in court, so they are not accepted here.

  15. Lawrence says:

    Again, what is missed here, is that – in a perfect world, these vaccines ultimately would become unnecessary…the diseases would be eradicated & the companies would cease making any money on those vaccines.

    No one, nowadays, is making money selling a Smallpox vaccine (with a few exceptions – after 9/11 & the panic around bioterrorism).

    Someday, no one will be making money off of the Polio vaccine or Measles or Mumps – these are all diseases that we can eradicate from the planet….so think about that when you talk about profitable vaccines – because ultimately, disease eradication puts these businesses, out of business (in a way)….so the only people helping these companies maintain their profit margins and make even more money, are the anti-vax individuals who are encouraging the spread of these same vaccine-preventable diseases.

  16. Liz says:

    The one death in Wales from measles was in an adult male with severe asthma. The hundreds of deaths you refer to in the U.S. were sixty years ago, and out of a total of four million cases a year. Everyone should be free to decide whether or not to get the measles vaccine or take their chance with natural measles. I’d rather take our chances with natural measles. No, wait, I phrased that wrong. I had measles when I was six, so I could never get it again regardless. I know how to care for a measles patient so as to minimize the risk to close to zero. I have no advice on how to minimize the risk from the measles vaccine or the MMR.

  17. Lawrence says:

    @Liz – so, blaming the victim? If he hadn’t gotten measles, he wouldn’t have died.

    Also, even getting “natural measles” is no guarantee of immunity….if your titers aren’t sufficient, you could be infected again.

    And you don’t have to “minimize” the risk from the vaccine, since it is so much safer (by several magnitudes) than getting the disease. You have a greater chance of getting struck by lightning than suffering a severe reaction from the MMR.

    And Ms. Parker – please go away.

  18. Chris says:

    Liz/Dina (the often banned Ms. Parker): “The one death in Wales from measles was in an adult male with severe asthma.”

    He died from measles pneumonia. He would be alive if he had not had measles. Do not excuse that death because he was “defective.”

    “The hundreds of deaths you refer to in the U.S. were sixty years ago, and out of a total of four million cases a year”

    Then there was a vaccine and the deaths were reduced. Measles is dangerous and anyone who says different is lying.

    “I’d rather take our chances with natural measles.”

    Then you are very foolish. Ms. Parker please get professional help and stop posting your foolish lies here.

  19. Dina says:

    Not blaming the victim. It’s just a fact that adults tend to have more serious cases of measles than children, and that immunocompromised people tend to have more complications and a higher mortality rate than previously healthy people. Everyone can do with these facts what they like. If someone is immunocompromised, maybe they should get the MMR. On the other hand, it’s possible that they might have a higher rate of reaction than healthy people, but since so many healthy people have horrendous reactions, it would be unfair to try to force anyone to take it if they don’t want it.

    The MMR is dangerous, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Whle it doesn’t have obvious side effects in most people, the large percentage who does react often does so so severely that, again, it’s not fair to try to force anone to get it.

  20. Gray Falcon says:

    Dina, if measles can kill some people, why not get the MMR to protect them? Are you simply incapable of caring for anyone but yourself?

  21. Lawrence says:

    @Dina – the only liar here is you….the MMR is an extremely safe vaccine that has been used for well over 25 years….as for side effects:

    Versus the side effects for Measles:

    Notice the part where 38% of children who were infected needed to be hospitalized?

    You really are delusional, aren’t you?

  22. Chris says:

    Lawrence: “.the MMR is an extremely safe vaccine that has been used for well over 25 years…”

    Slight correction: “over 40 years”

    Dina/Liz (Ms. Parking, showing why she keeps getting banned): “The MMR is dangerous, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.”

    Please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that prove the MMR is as or more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella.

  23. Chris says:

    Aaargh: not “Ms. Parking” but Ms. Parker.

  24. Michael says:

    If money is not the main goal and vaccines are mandated to children and not adults,why isn’t the Federal government providing free health care for 18 and under,after all,,that is the main goal correct,the well being of the children

  25. Lawrence says:

    @Michael – perhaps you should ask the Republicans. The United States and North Korea are two of the very small number of countries that don’t provide Universl Health Care….we are in good company, aren’t we?

    • Michael says:

      why ask the republicans?Was it not the democrats that passed the ACA without the republicans with a 60 – 39 vote,with not one republican vote entered for aye or nay?

  26. Lawrence says:

    @Michael – this political discussion, suffice it to say, is well off- topic.

    • Michael says:

      no it is not off topic,,,the article is about whether vaccines are motivated by profit,federal government receives a minimum $0.75 exised tax on every dose,clearly someone is profiting even if one does not believe a doctor is not included

  27. Lawrence says:

    @Michael – the tax covers the National Vaccine Compensation Program. No one profits from it….it helps compensate those who suffer from the very rare serious vaccine reactions.

    • Michael says:

      so your saying that was the fix for not allowing an individual to sue a doctors or pharmaceutical companies?No wonder the tax-payer is against that program,good to know

  28. Lawrence says:

    @Michael – you are dense, aren’t you? What would you rather have? A non-adversarial, independent Vaccine Court where table injuries are compensated for, without the need for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees & decades in litigation vs. an adversarial system where families are bankrupted by corporate lawyers…..

    Doctors can still be sued for malpractice & companies can still be sued (and held liable) if there is a problem during the manufacturing process….sorry, you are just incredibly dense since even these simple facts escape your ability to comprehend them.

    • Michael says:

      And your a total A**Hole aren’t you? I ask a question,Table injuries were put in place because noone can prove that vaccines do not cause injuries or even death,and it is not a matter of what “I” want,it is a matter of what the government wants,,they want to FORCE a product because THEY say it is good when it is NOT a one size fits all product,again,,why is it ONLY children that are mandated?Just because YOU believe it is proper,what makes you RIGHT?I am sick of people like you,We are suppose to be living in a free America,not a dictatorship,when are people like you going to understand that it does not matter what you think ,it is not going to change the fact that you will never eradicate a virus totally,viruses exist for a reason and you say I’m the dense one,,please

  29. Lawrence says:

    Vaccine sales represent about .3% of total pharmaceutical sales worldwide….so for those that think they are big money-makers for anyone, those people are delusional.

  30. Lawrence says:

    @Michael – thanks for the insult, I’ll take it as a compliment.

    No one is “forced” the vaccinate, but even the Supreme Court has recognized that Public Health trumps individual rights (for over 100 years now). If you don’t vaccinate, then you need to accept that certain restrictions may apply to you – like having your unvaccinated children barred from schools for up to 21 days after the declaration of a disease outbreak.

    And disease eradication is a good thing. Smallpox killed, on its own, more people than all of our wars combined (throughout all of human history). Nature is a b*tch & doesn’t care about you or I – diseases maim & kill every single day & they don’t care who you are or where you live.

    Also, we eradicated Smallpox – so yes, we can eradicate a virus, if we really, really want to.

    If we can eradicate diseases like Polio, Measles & Mumps, for instance, then we would never have to vaccinate for them again – isn’t that what you want?

    And children are mandated because they are the most vulnerable – heck, measles still kills upwards of 120,000 children per year worldwide – doesn’t sound too benign to me.

  31. Lawrence says:

    @Michael – and it isn’t just “children.” US Military personnel are required to vaccinate….and vaccinate against a whole host of diseases that we regular folks never have to worry about. Also, health care professionals, including the folks at the CDC, are required to get vaccinated against very exotic diseases as well….

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that we also eradicated Rinderpest, which was a cattle-borne virus related to Measles, so yes, it can most certainly be done.

    • Michael says:

      hmmmmm,children don’t have a choice,there are repercussions to the parents if a child is not vaccinated,,everything else you stated is a choice of ones free will if they want to have that type of job,just like any other requirement for a job,why don’t we lock our borders and vaccinate everyone that wants in?of that’s right,unethical,good day I’m done talking

  32. Lawrence says:

    I’ll put this out there & that’s all I have to say about people like Michael – if you don’t have the sense to look at all of the research and understand that vaccines are both safe, effective and have saved millions upon millions of lives, than that says more about the state of critical thinking in this country than anything else.

  33. Chris says:

    “there are repercussions to the parents if a child is not vaccinated,,”

    Yes, one repercussion is that the child gets sick with a vaccine preventable disease and perhaps end up in the hospital.

    Sometimes I think Michael is being paid by Big Pharma to make those who don’t vaccinate sound clueless.

    • Michael says:

      No Chris,,I’m not on payroll like you are,,,,,from experience,our children were took away from us by CPS when our pediatrician reported us for not letting them give our last child her Hep B when born.he felt we were harming her by not vaxing when we stated we were not vaccinating her at all for anything, we had problems with our first daughter after one of her vaccines and decided not to vax the last born,we left the hospital against medical advice,a week later CPS took our children for neglect,during the time the state had them,,THEY inoculated them against our will,why?because we could not prove out religion was deep enough for an exempt,,,their argument was the other 2 were doing just fine considering even though our middle child got meningitis after receiving her DTaP,now don’t tell me that one is not FORCED to do vaccines,for 10 yrs my ex had to prove to the county and to the school system my kids were vaccinated,,If she didn’t,they were to take them again

  34. Chris says:

    Uh, huh. Anything you say Pharma Shill. Go for it. Show how everyone who hates vaccines is a blithering idiot.

    This has got to be the worst tactic by any pharmaceutical public relations drone.

  35. jgc56 says:

    ‘so your saying that was the fix for not allowing an individual to sue a doctors or pharmaceutical companies?”
    No, it was a fix for a different problem; the fact that pharmaceutical companies were abandoning developing and ,anufacturing vaccines because of the costs of litigating lawsuits claiming vaccine injuries.

    “I ask a question,Table injuries were put in place because noone can prove that vaccines do not cause injuries or even death”
    No, just the opposite: table injuries were put in place because there in fact extremely rare but known serious adverse events associated with vaccination (such as encephalopathy), with the NVICP being created as a no-fault system.

    “it is not going to change the fact that you will never eradicate a virus totally”
    Which pf course is why se still see outbreaks of smallpox every few years. Oh, wait…

    “hmmmmm,children don’t have a choice,there are repercussions to the parents if a child is not vaccinated”
    Yes–did you have a point? Do you have some strange idea that choices-especially those which would place third parties at an increased risk of harm–shouldn’t have consequences?

  36. Dina says:

    Why do you think people before the vaccine were worried about measles? All children were expected to get it, and 99% of them did. A very tiny fraction of one percent had permanent damage or were killed by the disease, all the rest got well and went back to school. Then as now, most people had a lot of things to worry about, and didn’t have time to sit around worrying about a minute chance that their child could be one of the tiny number who might be severely and permanently affected by the disease. Now everyone’s more worried that the vaccine might cause autism or other severe conditions in their children.

  37. Lawrence says:

    @Dina – wow, you have a very distorted view of history, don’t you?

    And this:

    Show how much of a liar you are…..

  38. Lawrence says:

    @Dina – and “everyone” is a very small group of deluded anti-vaxers.

  39. Lawrence says:

    @Dina – measles is still a major cause of childhood blindness, in those areas with low-vaccine uptake:

    And there were whole chains of schools in the United States dedicated to those who suffered from childhood blindness due to vaccine-preventable diseases….interestingly enough, all of those schools have closed – unnecessary now because of vaccines.

  40. Chris says:

    Dina/Liz (aka the often banned Ms. Parker), please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers showing that the MMR vaccine causes more harm than measles.

    When you were a lawyer you would never have gotten away with just argument from blatant insertion in court. There is no reason why we should just accept your fact free claims.

  41. jgc56 says:

    “Why do you think people before the vaccine were worried about measles?”

    Because it was a common. serious, and potentially fatal infection disease.

    “All children were expected to get it, and 99% of them did.”

    Prior to vaccination, yes. Following vaccination, almost no one is expected to get it. The US actually achevied the eradification of measles in 2000, and remained measles free until reduced vaccination compliance rsulted in outbreaks in 2008.

    “A very tiny fraction of one percent had permanent damage or were killed by the disease, all the rest got well and went back to school.”

    That tiny fraction of one percent is a very large number of people, permanently disabled or dead, when you recall (as you state yourself) ALL children were expected to get it. During the 1964 to 1965 the 1964-1965 rubella (German measles) epidemic, for example, there were 12.5 million cases of rubella resulting in 20,000 infants born with congenital rubella syndrome, or whom 11,600 were deaf, 3,580 were blind, and 1,800 were mentally retarded as a result of the infection.

    Given that there’s absolutely NO evidence whatsoever suggesting the risks associated with receiving an MMR vaccination exceed the risks associated with remaining vulnerable to infection, by what rational argument should we NOT as a public health policy take effective steps to prevent 10’s of thousands of people from becoming permanently disabled by routine MMR immunization?

    Note also that by focusing on the numbers of people disabled or killed you’re understanding the severity of these illnesses: in addition to those disabled or killed we’re talking about a much greater number of those infected who will survive but require hospitalization, as well as those who get it and suffer a serious infectious disease without requiring hospitalization.

    “Now everyone’s more worried that the vaccine might cause autism or other severe conditions in their children.”

    Those worries–the fear that the vaccine might cause autism or other severe conditions–are however baseless: the possible existence of a causal association between MMR vaccination and autism spectrum disorders, etc., has been shown to be false as the result of a bit more than a decade of very large epidemiologic studies by multple independent reasearchers and agencies in multiple nations.


  42. Nutty says:

    You do realize the CDC was busted recently in regards to the MMR vaccine and a study which showed African american boys were more susceptible to get Autism? Right? How can you trust anybody? And now you know there are much bigger risks for Autism and other issues then we have been told. We have been manipulated and lied too.

  43. jgc56 says:

    Nutty, you do realize that teh CDC was NOT busted recently, and that the study in question (Hooker’s) has been retracted with the following explanation offered by the journal editors: “The Editor and Publisher regretfully retract the article as there were undeclared competing interests on the part of the author which compromised the peer review process. Furthermore, post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings. We apologise to all affected parties for the inconvenience caused.” ?

    For a explanation of how Hooker’s methods and statistical analysis fail completely, see

  44. Lawrence says:

    @Nutty – not so much:

    I know who I trust, and it isn’t a couple of quack “researchers” who wouldn’t know real science if it came up and bit them….oh, and the whole thing about that particular paper being officially retracted and all…..

  45. Nutty says:

    What a bunch of crock. You guys really are brain washed aren’t you?

    You trust these guys?$4888m-for-massive-bribery-network-/316390/

  46. Lawrence says:

    @nutty – perhaps you should stop trying so hard to live up to your name…..

    It is painfully obvious that neither Hooker nor Wakefield understand statistics, nor does what they say jive with the evidence they provide.

    Someone is brainwashed here, and it might just be you.

  47. Chris says:

    Nutty: “a study which showed African american boys were more susceptible to get Autism?”

    You mean this one that was retracted:

  48. jgc56 says:

    If we were discussing large corporations engaging in unethical business practices, your link would be on topic. It does nothing, however, to support a claim that the risks associated by routine vaccination exceed the risks associated with remaining vulnerable to infectious disease, that routine vaccination and autism spectrum disorders are linked in any population (African American males or otherwise) and it doesn’t support any claim that a whistle-blower ‘busted’ the CDC.

    So one must ask–did you have a point?

  49. Chris says:

    Besides which is more costly: preventing or treating diseases?

    If you have data that removing all vaccines would save families money please present it. It needs to be of the quality of this economic study: An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States

  50. […] Are Doctors’ Vaccine Recommendations Motivated By Profits? […]

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