Too Many Too Soon? New Video Explores The Question

“Too many, too soon!” is the favored battle cry of the anti-vaccine crowd. Too many shots, too many antigens, too close together.”

AcademicEarth believes that everyone has the right to a world-class education, and recognizing the existing barriers in academia, they have continued their efforts to curate a collection of free online courses from the world’s top universities.

This video specifically looks at just one canard anti-vaccine parents cite as why they refuse to vaccinate, and why it’s misguided.

Created by AcademicEarth.org

Video from AcademicEarth: Too Many Too Soon?

Andrew Wakefield: Fraud – The Facts

Over on the “Stop the Australian Vaccination Network” (AVN) Facebook page, this got thrown up; a 15-page comic looking at the epic fraud by Andrew Wakefield, the money he gained from it, the money he stood to gain, and the implicit media and politicians who had their heads so far up their arses they literally had shit for brains.

Darryl Cunningham has put together a brilliantly illustrated book with an interesting use of real media in the comic that brings the comic down to earth – perhaps long enough for you to realize the sobering fact that children have died because of the personal greed of Andrew Wakefield and Richard Barr.

Perhaps long enough to realize that it didn’t just affect the children of the parents who were too scared to vaccinate because they believed the misinformation from Andrew Wakefield, Richard Barr, Jim Carrey, and Jenny McCarthey; it affects EVERYONE.

So, check out “The Facts in the Case of Dr. Andrew Wakefield“:

Darryl Cunningham Investigates

The final page really makes the same point as I, and others have been wanting for a long time:

Informed Journalism.

Reproductive Health in the Philippines

The Philippines has had the RH (Reproductive Health) Bill in the news for quite some time now. While the majority who read this will NOT be in the Philippines, you may at least have an understanding of the issues after reading this – But, for those who are in the Philippines, and for those that are against it – I implore you to at least read the document for yourself; take some time to think about it; read it again – and reconsider your stance.

RHBill.org put together their top 10 reasons for passing the bill (the full text here):

  1. Protect the health & lives of mothers
  2. Save babies
  3. Respond to the majority who want smaller families
  4. Promote equity for poor families
  5. Prevent induced abortions
  6. Support and deploy more public midwives, nurses and doctors
  7. Guarantee funding for & equal access to health facilities
  8. Give accurate & positive sexuality education to young people
  9. Reduce cancer deaths
  10. Save money that can be used for even more social spending

RH BillYou can read it (15th Congress – House Bill 4244 (full text, final consolidated RH bill, HB 4244) here, broken down in easy to manage sections.

While there is general agreement about its provisions on maternal and child health, there is great debate on its key proposal that the Filipino taxpayer and the private sector will fund and undertake widespread distribution of family planning devices such as birth control pills (BCPs) and IUDs, as the Philippines government continues to disseminate information on their use through all health care centers. (wikipedia)

The stated purpose of the RH Bill, according to the Explanatory Note, is that population of the Philippines makes it “the 12th most populous nation in the world today”, that the Filipino women’s fertility rate is “at the upper bracket of 206 countries.” It states that studies and surveys “show that the Filipinos are responsive to having smaller-sized families through free choice of family planning methods.” It also refers to studies which “show that rapid population growth exacerbates poverty while poverty spawns rapid population growth.” And so it aims for improved quality of life through a “consistent and coherent national population policy.” (wikipedia)

With reason, and rationality, the Philippines can advance towards being a prosperous nation; one that is sincere in its approach to the health and well-being of its citizens. But, it takes informed citizens to make good choices about what they support; hopefully this helps.

More can be found from FilipinoFreethinkers.org under the RH Bill Tag, which includes:

Lying for a Cause” – covering some of the vehement propaganda used to scare Filipinos in to voting against the RH Bill;

Fudging Numbers” – A look at the false representation of numbers by Anti-RH Groups ;

Accusation of black propaganda boomerangs on CBCP” – A look at an announcement that was posted on Facebook, asking pro-RH Catholics to avoid receiving Communion until they have confessed their sin of being pro-RH Catholics.

Aljazeera features RH debates in the Philippines — again” – A brief look at Media Coverage of the RH Bill, and it’s 16 year delay; and

Women’s Day: 11 more women will die today” – A look at how Eleven women die each day from maternal complications; when most do not even want to get pregnant, and from those who do, certainly have no wish to die while giving life.

The Government is Lying about Vaccines again! .. or not.

A commenter on this mother-based website’s article noted that she didn’t care for information that comes from the Government, or from any of its arms.

It seems she won’t accept the data, not on the basis on the accuracy of the data – she doesn’t care if it’s right or wrong. Apparently, it’s automatically wrong BECAUSE it’s from the government:

Reduced symptoms & Increased Mortality Rate vs Reduced Mortality Rate: A hard choice, apparently

What I’d be interested in is just where she, and others like her are getting their “facts” from?

The concept is quite odd, given that Governments are generally the only one in a position to gather the rich data sets – and it’s often quite easy for someone to say “Government” and disassociate the idea of a collective from the vast number of people that work towards the running on a country – many of which would need to be implicated in such a conspiracy.

Most, if not all private institutions don’t have the capacity to gather statistical information as rich as the government can – so, on what reliable, statistically significant DATA is she acting upon? I suggest none.

It’s cynicism.

I suppose, like all conspiracy theorists – there are only two options available when they refuse to believe that others are correct. Either everyone is wrong, or everyone is lying. It’s often too far fetched for them to believe that they themselves could EVER be wrong – and it’s that kind of willful ignorance that gets people infected, and killed.

So, kudos to the parents who vaccinate! – It’s sensible, rational, and responsible.

Vaccinations, The Flu, and You.

Winter is on it’s way, and with it the encouragement for the public to get Flu Vaccinations. Many higher-risk public-sector workplaces are offering the service free to their staff, such as Public Transport Services and Hospitals.

Importantly, everyone should have a clear understanding of Herd Immunity. I found as video that demonstrated it well, although the introduction is a bit boring as it has more to do with the USA rather than Australia. The video can be found here at a previous post.

Sydney’s Northern Beaches recently experienced the effects of a reduction in Vaccination rates (The Manly Daily), which I wrote about at the time. It’s a topic that needs to be frequently covered, as anti-vaccination propaganda that gets passed around eventually finds someone who will take it as fact.

It’s worth nothing that some anti-vaccination websites promote “natural” immunisation methods .. such as simply allowing your children to get sick; sometimes herd immunity or germ theory was rejected all together, usually both, and more often than not they dismiss any documentation without reading it. Anti-science rhetoric is common.

Let’s look at some of the common themes of Anti-Vaccination Groups:

Ingredient Misinformation

Ingredients are generally the first “line of attack” for Anti-Vax proponents. The information they give ABOUT their claims is generally factually incorrect and is often recited verbatim without any fact-checking performed. It is because these concepts are so ingrained it is often difficult to demonstrate through evidence that their knowledge is incorrect.

Anti-Freeze – FALSE!

The “antifreeze” error comes from a misunderstanding of the ethylene chemical compounds – all that is ethylene is not antifreeze.

Formaldehyde – TRUE!

Vaccines utilize formaldehyde that is identical to the substance found naturally in our bodies as a metabolic byproduct of methanol. It is commonly excreted in our urine as waste or converted into formalin.

Formaldehyde in our bodies = H2CO (natural)
Formaldehyde in vaccines = H2CO (synthetic)

Formaldehyde has other uses and is changed to be used in conjunction with other synthetic chemical compounds. These compounds, solutions, gasses, or resins can be, and often are, toxic.

Formaldehyde in embalming fluid = H2CO+CH3OH+CH3CH2OH+solvents
Formaldehyde in plywood = H2CO+NH2CONH2+CH3OH+HCOOH+H2O

Thimerosal – Depends! (On which Vaccine)

Thimerosal is a preservative that is used in the manufacturing process of some vaccines and other medicines to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, which could otherwise cause illness or injury.

Most anti-vaxers will claim that the amount of mercury that used to be in vaccine exceeded EPA exposure guidelines. However, Thimerosal metabolises into ethylmercury, not methylmercury. The guidelines are specifically for methylmercury, as ethylmercury has a half-life of only a few days to about a week, thus is not considered dangerous enough to regulate. You will literally get more exposure to mercury from a 6oz tin of Tuna.

In addition, Thimerosal has not be used in the MMR vaccine since 2002 and was removed due to political pressure as part of a recommendation, not a regulation. Despite the removal of thimerosal from vaccines, resulting in exposure levels lower than anytime in the past, autism rates have not declined, suggesting that there is no connection between thimerosal and autism.

Baby Foetuses – False!

This was simply scare-campaigning and not true in the slightest.

Aluminium – True!

Vaccines contain aluminum in a salt form. Anti-vaxers claim this is toxic, and some will cite that 4ppm will cause blood to coagulate. However, individuals are not exposed to such amounts of aluminum in a single vaccination visit. Below are the vaccines containing aluminum, with the corresponding parts per million (ppm) for an infant (~251 mL of blood in the body) and an 80lb. child (~4000 mL of blood); note the two numbers for DTaP represent extreme ranges of aluminum content.:

ppm (w/v) = (weight in grams of sample/volume of sample in mL) * 106
Vaccine ppm in infant ppm in child age received (in months)
DTaP (170mcg) .677 .043 2, 4, 6, w/ final ~4-6 yrs
DTaP(625mcg) 2.490 .156
Hep A .996 .063 12 w/ final ~6 mo. later
Hep B .996 .063 birth, 1 or 2, final at 6+
HiB .896 .056 2, 4
HPV .896 .056 11 or 12 yrs., then 2, 6 mo.
Pediatrix 3.386 .213 2, 4, 6 (in lieu of DTaP, IPV and Hep B)
Pentacel 1.315 .083 2, 4, 6, 15-18 (in lieu of DTaP, IPV and HiB)
Pneumococcus .498 .031 2, 4, 6, 12-15

Safety and Effectiveness

Measles, United States 1950-2001

After false claims about ingredients, the argument often falls towards Safety and Effectiveness. Essentially stemming from a lack of knowledge in statistics – specifically, gathering, analysis, and interpretation.

Statistically, the information from numerous data-sets demonstrates that vaccines are, in fact, effective in reducing the incidence rate of infection.

Improved socioeconomic conditions have undoubtedly had an indirect impact on disease. Better nutrition, the development of antibiotics and other treatments have increased survival rates among the sick; less crowded living conditions have reduced disease transmission; and lower birth rates have decreased the number of susceptible household contacts — all factors accounted for.

The only suspected issues Vaccines occur if a child has a rare, hereditary, mitochondrial disorder that pre-disposes them to a reaction – and even for this, the supporting information is not currently conclusive, nor strong. There is a test available that checks for this disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Interestingly, the published speculation about a link between Vaccines and Autism was made specifically about the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine; this information was lated investigated and found to have been manufactured by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues.

The Paper was initially published in the respected medical journal The Lancet but later retracted after an investigation found Dr. Wakefield had several ethics breaches, including failure to disclose financial compensation from a lawyer representing families claiming MMR cause their children’s autism, failure to disclose financial interests in patents for MMR alternatives, failure to include data which contradicted his conclusions, use of contaminated samples to support his conclusions.

On May 24, 2010, the General Medical Council issued a determination that Wakefield was found guilty of professional misconduct and should be erased from the Medical Register in the U.K. (meaning that his license to practice medicine in the U.K. has been revoked).

And again, to date, no rigorous, controlled study has shown a causal link between vaccines and autism.

Vaccines are injected into the bloodstream  – False!

This claim stems from a lack of knowledge about anatomy, specifically – the lymphatic system. Vaccines are either injected subcutaneously, injected intramuscularly, given by mouth, or squirted up the nose.

Since subcutaneous and intramuscular vaccines are injected directly into the body, and antigens and other components are taken into the bloodstream via the lymphatic system (in order to spur antibody production through hyperstimulation of the Th2/humoral response) without passing through our ordinary immune defences.

At this point, no vaccines are recommended for injection into your bloodstream via the intravenous method. The CDC Pinkbook includes a Vaccine Administration section (Appendix D Page 5), which demonstrates the correct route of administration for each vaccine.

Conspiracy Theories

By the time Anti-Vax proponents get to this stage they have already exhausted their Ingredient & Efficacy arguments; arguments that are subsequently used  time and time again, despite being proven to be false. Usually, it is clear by this point that they have these beliefs because they have been personally affected by some infection, serious disease, or death and are looking for Agency. (Something/someone to blame).

Generally, it starts with the allegation that “Big Pharma” is poisoning your children, or you. The “evidence” cited is often not evidence at all, rather it is rife with innuendo and references to “consumerism”, or “corporate america”.  The claim involves everyone from manufacturers, governments, regulators, and health professionals.

Most challenges are met with ad hominem attacks of “You’re a Big Pharma Shill”, or claims you’re part cover-up of the information.

Ironic, given the names of some of these “informed choice” advocates. One, calling themselves the “Australian Vaccination Network” or AVN was ordered by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission to clearly identify themselves as Anti-Vaccination based on the information that the AVN was:

  • provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
  • contains information that is incorrect and misleading
  • quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.

I am willing to make it clear that there are justified concerns with Big Pharma. However, the allegation of a deliberate attack on the public isn’t supported by anything; most importantly, the statistics. It is purely a tactic – a Red Herring – something to take the argument towards how “terrible and greedy” pharmaceutical companies are, as if that was enough to proven that vaccines were dangerous.

Regardless of the conspiracies, the statistics demonstrate vaccinations work.

Additionally, Anna Kata in the Department of Anthropology of McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario released a paper, A postmodern Pandora’s box: Anti-vaccination misinformation on the Internet set out to examine and analyze antivaccination websites. In which she analysed information contained in Eight-Antivaccination sites, selected through Google searches that were used to identify the highest-ranked anti-vaccine sites using typical search strategies.

Her paper can be found here: http://resources.cpha.ca/CCIAP/data/1700e.pdf

 

More Links:

Wakefield Supports Vaccines

“My opinion, again, is that the monovalent, the single vaccines, measles, mumps and rubella, are likely in this context to be safer than the polyvalent vaccine.”

– Andrew Wakefield, Twenty Twenty Television

I found the quote to be quite a far way away from what is preached by the no-vaccination lobby group like the Australian Vaccination Network (Anti-Vaccination Network), who still refuses to place this health warning issued by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC):

More on the Australian Vaccination Network Warning:

http://www.hccc.nsw.gov.au/Publications/Media-Releases/PUBLIC-WARNING-/default.aspx

PUBLIC WARNING ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK (AVN)

26 July 2010

by the Health Care Complaints Commission under section 94A of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 

The Health Care Complaints Commission has investigated two complaints about the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), a non-profit organisation registered in New South Wales that provides information about vaccination. The complaints alleged that the AVN provides incorrect and misleading information about vaccination.

The Commission’s investigation of the complaints focussed on the material presented by the AVN on its website http://www.avn.org.au.

The Commission’s investigation established that the AVN website:

 

  • provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
  • contains information that is incorrect and misleading
  • quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.

On this basis, the Commission recommended to the AVN that it should include a statement in a prominent position on its website to the following effect:

 

  • The AVN’s purpose is to provide information against vaccination, in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere.
  • The information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice.
  • The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.

The Commission recognises that it is important for there to be debate on the issue of vaccination. However, the AVN provides information that is inaccurate and misleading.

The AVN’s failure to include a notice on its website of the nature recommended by the Commission may result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate, and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.

Further Information

For further information, contact Mr Kim Swan, the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7483 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

Manly Daily: Parents lashed over whooping cough outbreak

Walking out of my apartment this morning I noticed on the front page of The Manly Daily, my local paper, a young child with his mother gently looking after him while he lay on his bed. I already had an idea of what it may be; “Thanks for Nothing” the headline read.

There it was in the first paragraph “Vaccination”.

An only version of the article can be found here: http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/parents-lashed-over-whooping-cough-outbreak/ – Currently, you can still make comment as the article is new; I encourage it.

Of course, we get the usual bandwagon of anti-vaxxers spreading false information, such as Viera Scheibner, and The Millenium Project at http://www,ratbags.com covers her quite well.

A whooping cough outbreak at a northern beaches school has prompted one concerned father to take aim at parents for not ensuring their children are vaccinated against the contagious disease.

Newport’s Zac Newbold, 6, has missed two weeks’ school after contracting whooping cough, leaving him bedridden and constantly coughing and vomiting.

Zac’s father, Justin, says his son was vaccinated prior to contracting the disease. The NSW health department advises that immunisation reduces the risk of infection but immunity fades over time.

But Mr Newbold is concerned his son became infected because many other parents aren’t ensuring their children are vaccinated.

A newsletter sent out by the school on Monday states that seven classes – in addition to Zac’s – had students who are infected with the disease.

“Parents are definitely not being vigilant enough with this,” Mr Newbold said.

“People seem to have this attitude around the northern beaches that they think everybody here is fit and healthy so nothing can go wrong. It’s total rubbish.”

Mr Newbold said some parents on the northern beaches need to “pull their head out” and stop acting like they’re living in “a separate world”.

Mr Newbold said the school had done its best in sending out warnings about the disease.

Zac’s mother, Cathy Moore, fears other youngsters could be worse off than her son if they catch the disease without being vaccinated.

“All kids should be vaccinated. It could have been a lot worse for Zac … one night we thought we would have to rush him to the hospital because he was going very blue in the face and had a lot of thick phlegm,’’ she said.

Dr Nick Wood, a paediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and senior lecturer in paediatrics and child health at The University of Sydney, said a vaccine (and subsequent booster follow-ups) were usually effective but never a guarantee in preventing infection.

Dr Wood said people on the northern beaches were just as vulnerable to whooping cough here as anywhere else in Sydney.

“Even if they’re living the beach lifestyle they’re just as vulnerable as anywhere else because it’s an airborne disease, you can’t really escape it,” Dr Wood said.

Mr Wood recommends parents immediately see a doctor if their child shows signs of an annoying cough.

Interesting, was the first comment was from someone still purporting their child had specifically had their autism induced by a vaccine (yet there is never any evidence of this), and as such, this article made her “boil”.

I decided I would leave a comment, and I may decide to pass it in for the Opinion Page.

It must be difficult for parents who read comments like Annette’s to stop and wonder “what if” — Thankfully, they don’t need to as there is a body of evidence that suggests that Vaccines do not cause Autism. (That wonderful piece of wisdom was spread by the fraudulent Andrew Wakefield).
Post hoc ergo propter hoc – “After this, therefore because of this” is the attribution of an event to an earlier incident based on nothing more than speculation, not information. It is a fallacy born out of ignorance and a denial exacerbated by those who deny the evidence.
While there is certainly varying opinions, no one has access to their own personal set of facts. There is not a “debate” about vaccines, rather, there is a body of evidence that shows vaccines to be a overwhelmingly effective, and safe method of preventing serious infection, and mitigating the effects of an infection.
Vaccination SHOULD be compulsory, however, I will not advocate that everyone “MUST” be vaccinated; there are certainly those with hereditary genetic conditions causing immuno-response suppression; vaccinations, at least following a normal schedule, is not appropriate for those people.

Vaccines work; and the body of evidence demonstrates no correlation with vaccinations and autism.

That’s the facts.

“NaturalParenting.com.au” – Vaccines, Homeopathy, and Lies

Over at NaturalParenting we can see an article that brings together nicely both false balance and outright lying.

NaturalParenting believes there is some type of debate regarding the efficacy of Vaccines, ignoring the fact that such diseases as smallpox, whooping cough, and polio having been largely eradicated except in areas where widespread vaccination has not been taken up.

Erroneously, NP attributes equal, or higher value to the information released by Homeopaths and CAM publications, than that of objective science-based medical journal; while providing “evidence” from these publications is a conflict of interest it is not this that discredits them – it is that ONLY in these publications do statistically significantly positive results occur.

Why? Sometimes its because they are largely without good controls against bias, sometimes it’s the use of flawed logic, they often use small sample sizes, and sometimes it’s because they make unfounded or erroneous extrapolations. It generally comes down to poor methodology – and this is why we have actual scientists (not Homeopaths) and researchers (not training homeopaths) who conduct blinded studies so bias is removed; and even then the studies results need to be replicated by others; usually with stricter controls.

Giving credibility to Homeopathy Journals to report on the efficacy of Homeopathy is akin to accepting a UFO Magazine will be giving an unbiased account of sighting as evidence of Alien visitation.

Getting back to NP, they’ve decided to go the way of being a Germ Theory Deniers – Ignoring centuries of observable, predictable, replicated experiments, trials, and research proving this. It is just absurd.

They’ve also decided to ignore how vaccines are given, lying to Mothers looking for good information and telling them that their child’s vaccines will be administered directly in to the bloodstream. Additionally, NaturalParenting isn’t even aware of the mechanism of Vaccination; stating that Vaccines don’t allow a child’s body to build antibodies. — That’s EXACTLY what vaccines DO – Stimulate the production of anti-bodies!

NaturalParenting goes on to talk about “toxins”, such as mercury (ignoring that vaccines use a non-bio-accumulating Ethyl Mercury; and was replaced in 2002 for a better preservative), formaldehyde (ignoring the body produces far higher quantities within us), and fetuses (which is outright bullshit).

More evidence of Vaccination Ignorance comes when NP says that people vaccination still get the disease vaccinated for. Vaccines do not STOP children from getting diseases, they help children fight it off when they DO get it. It’s like putting some money away for a rainy day. It may never come; but if it does, without it – you could be screwed. Or in this case, possibly dead.

So why all the Anti-Vaccination? Well, of course, NaturalParenting says you can go the Homeopathic Way! And hey, the Author is a Homeopath, so it’s not as if she’s got anything to sell.

Given that the only links given are pushers of misinformation, including that of the AVN, to say NaturalParenting is pro-choice is naive.

It is websites like this that causes heartache; administering sugar pills to people for the prevention of serious, and potentially deadly diseases is not just dangerous – but ethically abhorrent.

To Brian Wilshire Re: Wakefield and the MMR Vaccine

Hi Brian,

Further to last night about MMR and Wakefield, this was featured last night on ABC:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJZAVxjMf1E&

In the Wikipedia Article about Dr. Andrew Wakefield:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wakefield

I bring attention to one of the final paragraphs:

“Wakefield claims that Deer is a “hit man who was brought in to take [him] down” and that other scientists have simply taken Deer at his word. While on Anderson Cooper 360°, claiming he hadn’t read the BMJ articles yet, he denied their validity and denied that Deer had interviewed the families of the children in the study. He also urged viewers to read his book, Callous Disregard, which he claimed would explain why he was being targeted, to which Anderson Cooper replied: “But, sir, if you’re lying, then your book is also a lie. If your study is a lie, your book is a lie.”[84]

Deer responded to Wakefield’s charge that he was a “hit man” by challenging Wakefield to sue him for libel:

“If it is true that Andrew Wakefield is not guilty as charged, he has the remedy of bringing a libel action against myself, the Sunday Times of London, against the medical journal here, and he would be the richest man in America.”[85]

He also noted that Wakefield has previously sued him and lost.[53][85]

The biggest problem with the claim that MMR is a cause of Autism is that there is no evidence of such, and – as Dr. Rachie pointed out, 13 years of investigation hasn’t found it.

That’s 13 years of research WASTED.

The Lancet would have published the paper due to the implications of the claimed findings by Wakefield; after being discredited as a poor example of ethical research, the Lancet retracted the paper – and rightly so.

Regardless of Wakefield’s financial findings, his paper was wrong because it was intentionally flawed. It wasn’t wrong because of a conspiracy, not because of politics, not because of his personal motives or intended incentives, but because repeated attempts by researchers worldwide show time after time that his research was both ethically immoral and methodically erroneous.

Thanks for the extra time given on the radio with my alternate view [from your programs] 🙂

Brian Wilshire is a Radio Host for the Macquarie Network’s 2GB873 (Sydney) & MTR1377 (Melbourne).