We are constantly being told that we can trust the medical research that is published in peer-reviewed journals. This is the ‘evidence’ for Evidence-Based Medicine. The gold standard of proof for safety and effectiveness of all currently used drugs, vaccines and surgical procedures. But most of this information is not backed by real evidence. And much of it is overly-influenced by the drug companies that produce and profit from the treatment in question.
Here, John Rappoport gives an excellent critique of how this sort of mass-deception is allowed to occur and why our regulators turn a blind eye to the terrible, almost overwhelming, toll this takes on our population.
INVENTING MEDICAL REALITY:
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”
Marcia Angell, MD
“The secret of acting is sincerity. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” — George Burns
In light of my recent release of THE MATRIX REVEALED, the information in this piece takes on special meaning. The faking of medical reality is, at bottom, an operation designed to bolster the power of the medical cartel, one of the most important forces on the planet.
What do doctors rely on? What do medical schools rely on? What do medical journals and mainstream medical reporters and drug companies and the FDA rely on?
The sanctity of published clinical trials of drugs. These trials determine whether the drugs are safe and effective. The drugs are tested on human volunteers. The results are tabulated. The trial is described in a paper that is printed by a medical journal.
This is science. This is rationality. This is the rock. Without these studies, the whole field of medical research would fall apart in utter chaos.
Image: What if Male Avengers Posed Like Female Avengers? by Coelasquid
The following is a critique written by John Stone, the UK Editor of Age of Autism. John has written about two very recent articles contained in a regular feature of the British Medical Journal called Head to Head. This section is supposed to provide a place where two opposing viewpoints can each have their say on a medical issue for the purpose of balance and fairness. Since there are two articles involved, we have chosen to forego the plunger / Einstein rating and just go ahead with the critique. You can read David Salisbury’s ‘against’ compulsory vaccinattion viewpoint by clicking here and Paul Offit’s ‘for’ compulsory vaccination viewpoint by clicking here. We give full attribution to the British Medical Journal for these pages and present them here for research and critiquing purposes only.
Mock battle of the Titans: Offit and Salisbury dispute over compulsory vaccination in British Medical Journal
There’s always been a small lobby for mandatory vaccination in the UK. The last time it was brought up as a high profile public issue in 2009 – driven by former British Medical Association president Sir Alexander Macara – it came to grief as 5 panellists on BBC TV’s Question Time declared that, though MMR was quite safe (of course as politicians and journalists, they had all carefully studied the science), they did not think it should be compulsory (perhaps also secretly reflecting, as well-informed citizens, on whether they really wanted their children or grandchildren to be forced to have it after all). The following year, a motion was defeated at the BMA in debate led by the GMC panel chairman at the Wakefield hearing, Surendra Kumar, who also of course sat on two licensing authority committees but had not disclosed that fact.
The ideological differences between the UK’s ‘immunisation’ supremo, David Salisbury, and the pope of vaccination, Paul Offit, are perhaps rather slight: Salisbury bought into Offit’s 10,000 vaccine doctrine http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/10/best-of-age-of-autism-paul-offit-and-the-milgram-experiment.html , and so their current head to head in BMJ is, of course, completely about tactics, and ensuring compliance over however many vaccines they want your child to have. As the exchange indicates Salisbury is fairly cautious about the politics of such a departure in the UK, as he might also be about the legal ramifications.
As the recent MMR case in Italy has shown, the main defence was not that MMR did not cause the injuries (including symptoms of autism) but that the parents, not the government were responsible as the vaccine was not mandatory http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/italy-court-holds-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism-ii-initial-english-summary/ . Such a move might also lead to scrutiny of the United States National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 and its consequences where, apart from anything else, billions of dollars have quietly been paid out in compensation. In contrast, compensation in the UK is derisory and is paid out on the whim of civil servants (most years now there are no payments at all).
Moreover, Salisbury’s greatest tool of compliance is the multivac (several vaccines given in one shot). Hence perhaps the kerfuffle over Andrew Wakefield’s suggestion for single vaccines instead of MMR in 1998. At the time, this was still an option for families on the UK programme. Wakefield’s call for single vaccines was the reason for their immediate withdrawal less than 6 months later.
In both 1998 and now – the multivac was the future, with the schedule gradually being ratcheted up, most often without any public discussion. The next instalment in the UK is likely to be a 6 in 1 vaccine which for the first time will include Hepatitis B administered in conjunction with a seventh vaccine – Meningitis C. The first of these shots will be given at two months of age.
Until now, and quite remarkably, our Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation have resisted the introduction of an infant Hepatitis B vaccine, presumably on the reasonable grounds that only in very distinct and identifiable cases were infants at risk from the disease. Now, it just looks as if it will be tacked on to a product that everyone is expected to have http://www.ovg.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/6COM.pdf . This replicates the situation in 1988 when giving a mumps vaccine to infants was against previous medical advice. One thing is clear, it was wrong to give Hep B before, so it is not clear why this product is now being developed in partnership with the NHS.
The other factor in the UK is that the possibility of suing the manufacturers if anything goes wrong is completely theoretical. While in principle it exists, it lies in the discretion of a highly politicised body, the Legal Services Commission, which even blocked a legal suit against Merck over Vioxx despite successful litigation in the US. The protection of the civil law is really only there for the very few people who can afford it.
The moral perhaps is that while we are being leant on in the UK by the Department of Health and the National Health Service to vaccinate our children, the risk is all ours, and that’s the way the British government needs it to remain. I certainly won’t be voting for mandatory vaccination in BMJ’s present poll, but my motives will be somewhat different from those of David Salisbury.
Back in December of 2011, I was contacted by a producer at Catalyst, an ABC ‘science’ show, about being involved in a program they were planning on vaccination to air early in 2012 (I was told at the time that it would be about March). They wanted to speak with the parent of a child who had passed away as a result of a vaccine and I spoke with several but none of them were willing to deal with the ABC after watching some of their coverage of this issue. Neither was I. Time has shown that we all made the right choice!
The scientific definition of a catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of change (like an enzyme) by causing a chemical reaction without actually being changed itself.
Last night, ABC TV’s science program, Catalyst, featured an 11-minute segment on the vaccination issue called Danger Zones which demonstrates why calling this show ‘Catalyst’ was extremely appropriate. It shows that the media, the government and the medical community have not been changed in any way despite the large quantity of readily-available scientific information on the known dangers and ineffectiveness of vaccines.
Despite this lack of change on their part, they will hopefully be a ‘Catalyst’ for change through their complete and utter disregard for science, the truth and the tens of thousands of Australian families whose children have been permanently injured by a procedure they insist on calling safe for everyone.
Those dirty unvaccinated hippies
The premise of the program was that vaccination needs to be maintained at levels of 95% in order for diseases to die out, and the doctor / journalist who presented the show focussed on Byron Bay as an example of what can happen when people stop vaccinating. The implication is that because Byron Bay has a lower rate of vaccination then the rest of the country (a ‘fact’ that is thrown around quite often, depending upon what point is being made at the time. Sometimes it is Byron Bay; sometimes North Sydney; sometimes Perth), the rest of Australia is now in the 5th year of a record-breaking whooping cough epidemic.
These figures on the incidence of disease by local government area seem to be a closely-held secret. I have had many discussions with the Department of Health where I asked to be shown this data but they won’t provide it unless I tell them what I want to use it for. What are they afraid of? They seem to provide this data easily enough to media pundits but hold it back when speaking with anyone who they think might use it for purposes they don’t approve of – like being critical of policies which these same figures show are not working.
We do know, thanks to a year’s worth of correspondence back and forth between Greg Beattie and the Department of Health and Aging, that there is no evidence available to show the whooping cough vaccine has done anything to reduce the rate of infection in Australia during the current epidemic. When looking at the age groups which would have been most recently vaccinated – those aged between 0 and 4 years old – fully vaccinated children were far more likely to get the disease then the unvaccinated. Seventy-five percent of those who were diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough) were fully vaccinated; a further 14% were partially vaccinated and only 11% were unvaccinated (including an unknown percentage who were too young to be vaccinated).
Whooping cough is rife in every country where vaccines are administered and vaccination rates have never been higher. So the medical community – which has long had a reputation for spinning a failure into a success – has decided that instead of blaming an obviously ineffective vaccine, they will blame those who haven’t been vaccinated for the occurrence of disease in the supposedly protected population. Only those who are not thinking would believe that sort of garbage and yet, the majority of the medical community and their pals in the media seem to fit that bill perfectly.
What will it take to convince them?
The vaccine is failing. Don’t take my word for it. We currently have more cases of whooping cough per capita then at any time since 1953 when the vaccine was introduced for mass use in Australia. Let me say that again another way. In 1952 when we had no mass vaccination for whooping cough, the incidence was lower than it is today with close to 95% of children vaccinated.
The same situation is being seen in the US where a large study of the 2010 pertussis outbreak in North America showed that those most likely to get whooping cough were fully vaccinated children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old.
We have a real belief that the durability (of the vaccine) is not what was imagined,” said Dr. David Witt, an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, California, and senior author of the study. Witt had expected to see the illnesses center around unvaccinated kids, knowing they are more vulnerable to the disease.
“We started dissecting the data. What was very surprising was the majority of cases were in fully vaccinated children. That’s what started catching our attention,” said Witt. (http://blog.imva.info/medicine/whooping-cough-vaccine-failing)
The most recent estimates for ‘protection’ from whooping cough if you are vaccinated is three years. But immunity from infection lasts for between 30 and 80 years!
The vaccine is failing our children and the government and the media in conjunction with mainstream medical organisations are doing their best to point the finger of blame at the unvaccinated rather than accepting that it is the vaccination that is the cause of this outbreak and the fully vaccinated who are its victims.
Those dirty hippies!
There was no mention of the fact that the AVN is based on the Far North Coast of Australia during this show (though we are not in Byron Bay), but several montage scenes showing the AVN’s website, images of a seminar I had conducted in SA several years ago and the backs of people’s T-Shirts saying Investigate Before You Vaccinate (what a concept!) were prominent throughout this program.
The idea that a small group of unvaccinated people on the North Coast of NSW can infect the rest of the country even though they are fully vaccinated is one that would require a complete suspension of both thought and logic. Apparently, the ABC is able to do both those things – but is their audience?
Every single person who was interviewed on the streets of Byron Bay was dressed like a hippie (OK, I have nothing against hippies having been one myself throughout high school and University) and it is obvious that the intention was to show that hippies are the ones who are not vaccinating and we all have to hate hippies while the ‘average’ Australian – personified by the many babies we see during this show screaming in their mother’s arms while needles were stuck into their body – were doing the right thing and keeping the community safe.
Vaccines not only protect you, they protect your community. And that’s why immunisation can be called altruistic.
The REAL intention of trying to differentiate between hippies (who supposedly haven’t been vaccinated) and middle-class Australians (who have) is to foment hatred and fear towards those who have made a decision that goes against the mainstream. They are the ones to blame for your child’s illness – not the vaccines you gave to your children, thinking they would stay safe though they then got the disease anyway. It isn’t your fault. It isn’t your doctor’s fault. It isn’t the government’s fault. It’s all the fault of those dirty hippies!
Of course, the Australian government’s own studies have shown time and time again that the average person who chooses not to vaccinate their children is older, from a higher socio-economic status and highly educated. We certainly find that to be the case amongst the membership of the AVN from our own surveys. Not hippies after all – just very well-informed and concerned parents. Go figure.
One thing that would be interesting to know is the rate of autism, asthma and juvenile diabetes in areas with low levels of vaccination as opposed to those with high vaccination complaince. I wonder if we will ever see Catalyst cover this story?
Anti-choice propaganda and nothing more
The fact is that shows such as this do nothing to advance the vaccination debate or to help parents make a decision that is right for their families. In fact, they do the exact opposite by relying on fear and propaganda and not using any information whatsoever. There was not one real statistic; not one medical journal study; not one truly informative piece of information given out in the entire program. Pretty surprising when you think that this is supposed to be a science program.
I take that back. There WAS one study shown and that was the 1998 case series by Andrew Wakefield et al that was retracted from the Lancet. The doctor / journalist sat on a rock by the sea holding up the paper with a big red “RETRACTED” stamped across the page. Due to the recent High Court (UK) victory by one of Wakefield’s co-authors, Dr John Walker-Smith, it is very possible that this retracted article may be reinstated at some point in the future. In addition, what is known is that there have been many published articles since 1998 which have verified and expanded upon Wakefield’s original hypothesis that vaccination may have some bearing on the development of autism and gut issues in children. But this unscientific and unbalanced report never looked at any of that.
The real victims
Almost immediately after the show ended, I was contacted by one of our members. This woman who I have known for many, many years and who has been kind enough to allow me to stay with her and her family in Sydney several time when I was down there on AVN business, has a grown son who was permanently brain damaged by his shots. I have never seen her get angry or impatient with anyone. Not until last night, that is. Here is her message to me:
Did you see Catalyst tonight? It was on vaccination and was nothing more than an advertisement for vaccines. It was disgusting and so one sided. I have just written to the ABC in disgust.
You see, it’s all fine and good for Robert Booy to say that vaccine reactions are rare:
But they’re minor and they go away quickly. Rare side effects are something in the order of one hundreds of thousands. An allergic reaction, for example.
but this mother knows better. Her son’s reaction hasn’t gone away in close to 25 years. Her family is one of the ‘rare’ unlucky ones. Or is it?
How many of you reading this now have a family member who was seriously affected by vaccines? In my own family, I can count over 10 people who have had serious and, in some cases, ongoing issues because of vaccination. And when I give a seminar and ask the audience to raise their hands if they know of someone who has been badly affected by vaccines, it is rare to see less than 80% of those in the room not raise their hands.
Is it really rare for people to react to vaccination or is it simply rare for that reaction to be acknowledged?
For those families who have gone through vaccine hell, last night’s program was more than propaganda – it was a sign of the lack of respect and recognition given to them in their day-to-day struggle with a situation that only happened because they were ‘altruistic’ and did what they were told was for the good of society. Now, society wants nothing to do with them. In fact, society wants to pretend they don’t exist.
It is supposed to be our ABC but apparently, the ABC belongs to the highest bidder. The real losers are the children of Australia, their families and the truth.
If you would like to write to Catalyst, you may do so using the information and form found here - http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/contact/default.htm
by Meryl Dorey
The following article was originally published on the Child Health Safety blog. We appreciate their kind permission to reprint this important information here.
Have you ever wondered why supposedly no one knows where “all the autism” is coming from? Here we set out a blatant example of a misdirection of research results taking the medical professions and the public down a blind alley.
In the case of the paper “Advancing Paternal Age and Autism” Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006;63:1026-1032 the authors had and published data which was and remains fundamental to proving the increase in autistic conditions since the expansion in the vaccine programmes in the mid to late 1980s is real and substantial.
For the best part of two decades health officials around the world have insisted untruthfully that the increases in autistic conditions since the 1980s are attributable to “better diagnosis” and “greater awareness”. They also used to insist that autistic conditions are caused by genetics [have "internal" causes] until it started to be established that the huge increases could not be accounted for on such a basis – because if it was all genetic then the numbers should have been the same all along over centuries.
What the data from “Advancing Paternal Age and Autism” showed and shows was that prior to the introduction of vaccines to Israel the figure for cases of childhood [ie typical or Kanner] autism was 8.4 in 10,0000 children and there were even fewer cases of Asperger’s syndrome so the increase in cases of Aspergers is even more dramatic and serious than even that of childhood autism cases.
The data the authors obtained when compared to current data shows that not only has the incidence and prevalence of childhood autism increased dramatically but also that the incidence and prevalence of Asperger’s syndrome has been even more dramatic since the mid 1980s and dwarfs the increase in autism. The data was obtained using current diagnostic criteria so was and is comparable to current data for current cases. So what the data and results of this paper really show is that the allegation the increase in autistic conditions is “better diagnosis” and “greater awareness” is false. You can read more about this here:
The authors not only ignored what seems a very obvious finding from their data and results but also misdirected the medical profession and the public away from that finding and down an obscure and blind alley.
Medicine in general is the best example of misdirection of research efforts where commercial and conflicting interests – ie pure greed for making money – seem to ensure that research in many areas is directed down all the blindest of blind alleys and the obvious avenues are either ignored or the research is suppressed or prevented. The research funds are spent on research guaranteed not to find causes or cures, but at the very best only for drug treatments to be paid for over a lifetime of non cure treatments with drug adverse effects of the drugs aplenty.
There is a great deal of money to be made that way over many decades. “Genetic” research is a great general example where billions of US tax dollars have been spent and there is little to show for it – and especially where autistic conditions are concerned.
Good old medieval serfdom and feudalism never died they have just been refined and redefined. The majority, the 21st century “serfs”, pay their feudal “tithe” to their new feudal Lords in different ways. In the 21st Century this means paying with their health and sometimes their lives – not much change there then.
Instead of focussing on an important result the authors of “Advancing Paternal Age and Autism” made a very different and obscure claim. The claim was that fathers aged over 40 had a higher probability of having autistic children. The authors made that the focus of their paper. The claim was made on the basis of scant data. The paper was a statistical study [ie this was tobacco science not clinical investigations] and this claim was based on a very small sample with a poor confidence interval. Fathers aged over 40 involved in the sample accounted for 3 per cent of the children concerned and the confidence in the figures was very wide and thus of extremely low reliability.
Misdirection from studies like this one must obviously be holding back the uncovering of fundamental information regarding autistic conditions and supports and enables government health officials to continue to make over far too many years the kinds of false claims they have been making about the causes of autistic conditions.
The authors and the institutions for which they work need to explain themselves. Israeli parents who performed their military service deserve better than this – which looks like it is mostly by Americans exploiting their connections with Israel.
Here are the details of the institutions and of the authors:
- Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1230, New York, NY 10029 (Drs Reichenberg, Silverman, and Davidson),
- Seaver Center for Autism Research (Dr Silverman), Mount Sinai School of Medicine;
- Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (Drs Gross, Bresnahan, Harlap, Malaspina, and Susser);
- New York State Psychiatric Institute (Drs Gross, Bresnahan, Malaspina, and Susser), New York;
- Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, England (Dr Reichenberg);
- Department of Psychiatry, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer (Drs Weiser and Davidson);
- School of Social Work, Bar Ilan University, Ramat-Gan (Dr Rabinowitz);
- School of Social Work, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Dr Shulman);
- Medical Corps, Israel Defense Forces, Tel Aviv (Drs Lubin and Knobler), Israel.
The moderator apologises for a serious error. I uploaded an older version of this blog which did not include all information. This has now been fixed and again, I apologise to both Epiphany who wrote this blog post and to our readers for not having the correct information here from the word go. MD
I came across a blog the other day called ”Which button would you click?” In it is the typical pro-vaccine scenario of having to choose between pushing a button that kills 1 out of 1,000 children (the supposed rates of death by disease) while the other button kills 1 out of 1,000,000 children (the supposed rates of death by vaccine reactions). At the end of the scenario, the question is posed “which one would you click?”
The blogger’s response is “it’s a no brainer”, and in some ways, he is correct. It does take absolutely no brain power to follow the advice of most mainstream medical and scientific professionals, but it does take brain power to actually look at the historical data on mortality rates of supposed vaccine preventable diseases yourself and see whether vaccines really do save lives.
So let’s look at the first button, if we do not vaccinate will 1 out 1,000 children die?
“Experience of the last two centuries indicates that infectious deaths fell to a small fraction of their earlier level without medical intervention, and suggests that had none been available they would have continued to decline, if not so rapidly in some diseases.”
Professor Thomas McKeown in “The Role of Medicine”
If we look at the mortality rates in Australia pre-vaccine for most childhood diseases, you will see that there was already a 90-99% decline before most vaccines were introduced and the same decline in diseases like Typhoid and Scarlet Fever for which no vaccine was ever used in Australia. (please note: the following graphs are taken from the e=book, Fooling Ourselves on the Fundamental Value of Vaccines by Greg Beattie)
How is that possible you ask, if vaccines did not save us from disease what else could it possibly be?
“In the now developed countries, mortality due to tuberculosis, measles, whooping cough, typhoid fever, diarrhoeal diseases and many other infections began to fall long before the responsible microbial agents had been identified and before specific measures of control or treatment were known. This decline – much greater than anything achieved since through the use of vaccination and antimicrobial drugs – paralleled the improvement in general living conditions. Microbes and the diseases caused by them prosper, therefore, only in environmental conditions favourable to them.”
Dr Moises Behar said in his report to the World Health.
I have actually asked a vaccine advocate in an online debate before, “What evidence do you have to show what percentage of lives saved historically comes from vaccines, and what percentage of lives saved are from improved living conditions?”. Funnily enough, they had no answer.
Over and over again, we are told that vaccines save lives and unvaccinated people are putting everyone’s lives at risk, but where is the evidence of this? Now when I say evidence, I don’t mean estimated lives saved based on estimates of vaccine coverage, efficacy, and the population, I mean actual numbers of real people who have been saved from death because of being vaccinated. The answer – is that there is no evidence, you cannot actually prove that vaccines save lives. You can only prove that it causes the body to produce antibodies to the vaccine virus and bacterial particles, so if vaccines are not proven to save lives, then is it really a “no brainer” to push that second button?
Now let’s look at the second button, do only 1 out 1,000,000 children die from adverse vaccine reactions?
“ The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) states, “VAERS data are limited by underreporting and unknown sensitivity of the reporting system, making it difficult to compare adverse event rates following vaccination reported to VAERS with those from complications following natural disease”
“ Since follow-up is not conducted, it may be argued that some reports may not be attributed to or associated with vaccination and therefore the true rate of adverse events is essentially unknown. Nevertheless, adverse reactions reported in VAERS have typically been shown to be only 5% or 10% of the true rates.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR); Prevention of Varicella Updated Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices. May 28, 1999; 48 (RR06): 1-5
So if the true rate of adverse events is essentially unknown, how can doctors in all honesty say that the rate is 1 in 1,000,000? Maybe it is just me, but I would think having a true rate of adverse reactions would be a priority, especially when parents are being pushed harder and harder to vaccinate their children and themselves everyday by the government, medical and scientific organisations and the media.
To further demonstrate the supposed catastrophic results that can occur when vaccination rates decline, this blog includes a graph purporting to show that pertussis rates and deaths went up in Japan when the vaccination coverage declined. What this graph does not include though is that the original reasons for stopping the use of this vaccine was concerns due to 37 infant deaths linked with the DTP vaccine itself! The fact is, pertussis is a cyclical disease that tends to peak every 2 to 5 years. One very interesting thing to come from this period of time is that when Japan started vaccinating again, they changed the age of vaccination to 2 years old. As a result, something startling happened! Japan jumped from 17th to first place for lowest infant mortality in the world!
This was also seen in England in 1975, when the media reported a link between brain damage and vaccination. Parents stopped vaccinating and the overall infant mortality rate plummeted, but when vaccination rates started increasing again, MacFarlane in 1982 noted;
“The postneonatal mortality fell markedly in 1976, the year in which a sharp decline in perinatal mortality rate began. Between 1976 and 1979, however, neither the late nor the postneonatal mortality rates fell any further. Indeed, the postneonatal mortality rate increased slightly among babies born in 1977″.
A much more telling pertussis graph to include would have to be the one for the whooping cough epidemic here in Australia. It started with over 4,000 cases in 2007; 14,000 cases in 2008; 29,000 cases in 2009; 34,000 cases in 2010; and 38,000 cases in 2011. So obviously, going on the previous graph, there must be low vaccination rates, right? No wait…the vaccination coverage rates for infants under two is 94.9% and the under 5yr rate is 90.7%. It certainly doesn’t seem like high vaccination rates equal, less whooping cough now does it? ( http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/provider/patients/acir/statistics.jsp#N1002D)
We have button number 1 where there is no concrete evidence that vaccines have saved lives. Instead, we are left with fears based on historical rates of disease incidence and death. We don’t even have any evidence that, were we to stop vaccinating, diseases would return to the rates we had before living conditions were improved, let alone to seeing 1 in 1,000 die.
With button number 2, the true rates of adverse reactions are essentially unknown. At the very best, a maximum of between 1 and 10% of reactions are reported. (Personal communication with Dr John McEwen, formerly of ADRAC) So the 1 in 1,000,000 figure for children dying from vaccine reactions is, once again, just a guess.
So where does this leave us?
Where all concerned parents should be: looking at ALL the information available, weighing the pros and cons and hoping that we make the best possible choice for our families. Whatever that choice may be, it should always be in the hands of the person or persons taking the risk.
The following is a critique of the article, The Clinician’s Guide to the Anti-Vaccinationists’ Galaxy from the journal, Human Immunology. This article is still in press and has not yet been published though it is ready for publication once the journal has formatted and done their final copy-editing. We give full attribution to Human Immunology and post this article here for research and critiquing purposes only. The author of this critique is HPS and we will be seeing much more of this person on the REAL Australian Sceptics blog in the coming months.
Another day – another attempt by some doctors to justify the mandating of vaccines. They can’t win on arguments so instead, they resort to force. This paper is kind of weird in the sense that it wants to give doctors an easily-referenced guide to combating the concerns of parents. Apparently, the authors seem to feel they will blow all away with their brilliance and irrefutable logic while at the same time, claiming that ultimately, mandating vaccines is the way to go.
Now the first point to note is at the end of the article where we find out that the authors, Poland and Jacobson, are not exactly disinterested observers. They both work for Merck amongst other vaccine-related activities.
Of course, they are entitled to make their case irrespective of whether they have a vested interest or not. Nonetheless, given these interests, one would hope that they wouldn’t make the mistake of filling this piece with smears, insults or attempts to persuade people using themselves as some sort of authority.
First claim: Vaccines saved many millions of lives.
Now as far as I can tell, this cannot be backed up with any evidence. The site, Vaccines Did Not Save Us – 2 Centuries of Official Statistics, seems to debunk this notion as well as any other. If vaccines saved lives, it is hard to find evidence for this in the actual data. Most ‘data’ that demonstrates any life-saving ‘miracleness’ is in the form of projections that take assumptions about how many lives a doctor thinks that, for instance, the measles vaccine will save and multiplies that by the number of measles vaccines handed out. Now some might think that was a ridiculous thing to offer up as evidence given that the authors could come up with any number they like, but presumably that must be our ‘anti-vaccinationist’ brains not being able to understand science like these authors can.
Second notion – the eradication of smallpox.
I have to ask. How did the World Health Organisation (WHO) know that the smallpox virus was eradicated? How could they have known something that no mere mortal possibly could? Did they test every human on the planet to make sure that none of them were ‘asymptomatic carriers’? Did they test every rock, tree, piece of dirt, etc to ensure it wasn’t hiding there? How did they know it was gone? Since smallpox was declared to be eradicated, there have been sporadic outbreaks which local doctors have put down to smallpox. Then, when the WHO or similar organisations come in, they simply wave their hands and say “Well it couldn’t have been smallpox, could it? It doesn’t exist anymore.” So it seems to be just a self-fulfilling prophecy.
On a related note, did anybody worry about fatal chickenpox 250 years ago? Samuel Johnson’s dictionary suggests that no such condition had ever been reported. It would seem then that the concern for fatal/severe chickenpox is a more modern thing. In particular, and I suspect not coincidentally, after the introduction of the smallpox vaccine. Too many people who had been vaccinated still getting the pox and still dying from it. Some of the reputable medical textbooks at the time actually instructed doctors to use vaccination status when making their diagnosis. Still, that is probably just me not understanding enough about the scientific method and the peer-review process and thinking that there might be an investigator bias in these things. We all know that investigator bias doesn’t exist at all.
So the whole smallpox eradication looks pretty shaky. Of course, Poland and Jacobsen would counter by saying that they are caused by different viruses – but even if that’s true, how could doctors have known which disease was caused by which virus in 1800? I’m pretty sure that electron tunnelling microscopes weren’t in significant use back then. And how often do we test pox victims for the smallpox virus today? Or even in the mid 1970s?
Third point – the efficacy of vaccines
Their next point about the general efficacy of vaccines is similar to the smallpox one. And my retort is the same. In epidemiology the ‘double’ in randomised double blind placebo controlled trial is not there to help the phrase roll off the tongue better. Epidemiological evidence is always subject to bias if the doctors know you have received a particular treatment. This renders it nigh on worthless for trying to prove that the treatment works unless this bias is either quantified retrospectively or controlled for in the original trial (ie with a ‘double’ blinding).
I could list all the so-called vaccine success stories subject to this bias but I will just put polio out as an example. How many cases of crippling/paralysis that had no trauma-related cause in the Western world were under the banner of something other than polio before the vaccine? Virtually none it would seem. Later on, children with crippling/paralysis could have Guillian Barré, non-polio enteroviruses, coxsackie and a plethora of other conditions. Many of these labels didn’t even exist before the vaccine or were thought not to cause paralysis and yet today, they make up virtually all of the acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases. (AFP is a sort of ‘basket’ into which all diseases which are clinically indistinguishable from paralytic polio are gathered together.) This would be fine of course if AFP cases as a whole had fallen significantly. Alas, no such luck as the following paragraph will illustrate.
India is slated as soon to be ‘polio-free’. But what does this mean? Well if you look at the World Health Organisation’s website for India, you will see that even though AFP has risen in the past 16 years (since they have been counting), almost all of these cases have been dumped into the non-polio type. Apparently that makes it alright. You see, doctors couldn’t find a particular protein in the stools of these individuals so they declared them not to have polio (there were zero non-polio AFP cases in 1996 and 16 per 100,000 in 2011).
Now you might think that most parents wouldn’t really care too much about proteins in stools when they have a paralysed child to concern themselves with, but again, that is coming from an ‘anti-vaccinationist’ who doesn’t understand the glories of peer-review and the scientific method. If I did understand those things like our great doctors, I would understand that paralysis is no big deal. It’s the little protein in the stool that matters.
Next point – The Super-Bowl effect
The next point the authors make is some anecdotes (I thought ‘real scientists’ didn’t use them?) about some people getting rashes after a Super Bowl game. It seems reasonable that the entire country would be in a blind panic over such serious phenomena. I mean some of those people might have missed a couple of days work. Catastrophic. Not like those lucky souls in India who are paralysed but who have had the incredible stroke of good fortune to have been found not to have had the polio virus in their stools.
The authors acknowledge that there are real side effects to vaccines but of course, they are extremely rare. What do these scientists tell themselves at night? That hundreds of thousands of parents all around the world all got their children vaccinated and then subsequently decided to become part of a vast global conspiracy to bring down vaccinations for no apparent reason?
At least that is what I assume these ‘scientists’ must think. After all, vaccinations are the only product whereby people ignore the stories of those who actually had experiences of them when ascertaining their safety. Imagine if thousands of people walked into the Toyota headquarters and explained that when they pressed the brakes on their Camrys nothing happened and, in response, the Toyota executives came out with a bunch of graphs and ‘experts’ who told them that it was all in their imagination and that they had no intention of recalling and double-checking their cars.
We might also be people who are innumerate (which presumably includes people who think that the double in double blind trial actually means something), or have low cognitive skills. This is quite strange really given that in the Western world, those who question vaccinations are almost invariably among the more educated and better paid, but never mind.
Still we all reject the ‘scientific method’ and the peer-reviewed literature. But what about peer-review literature that calls into question vaccine safety or efficacy? Well all peer-review is equal but some peer-review is more equal than others I guess.
Is there a scientific method to their madness?
And just what is the ‘scientific method’. We hear about this a lot but no one ever really categorically defines what binds say medicine with astrophysics. The randomised double-blind placebo controlled trial (RDBPCT) is considered the gold standard of epidemiology but I can’t imagine how such a technique would be of any use in understanding how stars form. But what do I know? I think peer-review is nothing more than a euphemism for appealing to authority and its main purpose is to protect academic guilds from clandestine thoughts. Now that’s ‘otherworldly and alien’ for you.
And is statistical evidence the best we have in medicine anyway? For those who have studied some economics, you would know that the concept of ‘revealed preference’ has primacy in determining human beliefs. If I say I want to live an ascetic existence in order to win popularity but surround myself with precious jewels and iPods, then fair to say I don’t want an ascetic existence at all. My behaviour is the guide to my true beliefs – not my words. Nothing particularly revolutionary about this and most reasonable people would simply think that was a statement of the bleeding obvious (most sound economics is).
Put your money where your beliefs are
So how about this for true beliefs? Babies are smaller than adults, so their ability to withstand doses of various substances without harm would be significantly less.
Given this, any adult who claims the infant vaccine schedule is extremely safe should, assuming their words matched their true beliefs, have absolutely no qualms about taking a weight-adjusted dose of the infant schedule. And yet to this day, not one doctor, nurse, or any other vaccine-supporting individual has been prepared to put their money where their mouths are and actually do this. Now this simple fact tells us more than a million epidemiological studies. Indeed it simply isn’t possible for any statistical study to trump this fact. If vaccines were safe, its supporters wouldn’t think twice before doing this presumably simple challenge. But they never, ever do.
You see statistical studies are easy to rig. I can rig them to make vaccines look extremely dangerous. Vaccine supporters can rig them to make them look incredibly safe. That is the nature of statistics. An RDBPCT is hardest of all to rig, and yet, they still are. One of the more common methods is to use a non-inert substance instead of a placebo (so the new vaccine is being compared to something that most people wouldn’t assume was safe). Indeed, every single vaccine you have ever been given has been tested in this – what can only be described as fraudulent – manner.
Much harder to rig the results of taking the entire weight adjusted infant schedule.
So I won’t go too much into specifics of the safety aspect because, as I say, ‘scientists’ will come up with a bunch of cherry-picked data and I could do the same. But tellingly, they won’t put their money where their mouths are.
The authors try and make out that vaccines are incredibly safe because the number of antigens are much less than they used to be. Firstly, all that tells us is that in terms of the antigens, newer vaccines are presumably safer than previous vaccines but not necessarily safe. Secondly, last I checked, antigens weren’t the only component of a vaccine. The reason that there are less antigens is because it is cheaper to produce vaccines with less antigen but more aluminium (which increases the immune response). Now, replacing antigens with aluminium may in fact be safer but for the authors not to admit that this is the reason that there is less antigen now illustrates the deception at the heart of this paper.
They mention the pre-licensure studies as proving that everything is fine. Now remember what I said a couple of paragraphs ago about using a non-inert placebo? Well this is where this whole thing comes into play. They will give one cohort the new vaccine and another cohort another substance, be it the old vaccine, a completely different vaccine or, in some cases just aluminium (Merck’s study of Gardasil, for example). So, let us say the previous DTP vaccine resulted in the deaths of 10 out of every 10,000 recipients and the new one results in 9 out of every 10,000 recipients. Based on their definition of safety, the new vaccine will be declared safe! Indeed, the headlines will talk about it reducing mortality compared to a placebo!
Of course, what the newspapers or doctors will never volunteer is that the placebo wasn’t what you thought it was – ie a completely inert injection (such as saline). Instead, it was something that you would never consider to be inert. The information isn’t hidden – you can read the study – but of course only a fraction of people ever do that. They just trust that their doctors will have done so and more importantly to internalise that information in a manner that isn’t self-serving.
It’s there in black and white
What’s interesting though, is that the pharmaceutical company will write up in their package insert every single adverse event that happens in both cohorts. Because the health bureaucrats will approve the vaccine on the basis that it doesn’t do significantly more damage than the ‘placebo’, both they and the doctors will assure you that the chances of any of these adverse events are miniscule because they consider the relative chances to be the difference between the vaccine and the placebo. Since the placebo itself could have caused problems, this is nothing more than speculation – deception, actually. So the package inserts will often look scary for these vaccines but the doctors will assure you that the risks are tiny. They are wrong. The package leaflets written up by the pharmaceutical companies are in fact the only place to get any honest information on the possible side-effects of the vaccine.
Their spiel on Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) can be understood in that light now. If you look at package inserts for vaccines, GBS will crop up regularly. That’s because it happens in the pre-licensure studies. If it happens to both cohorts then it will be dismissed as ‘background’ levels (and won’t affect its approval) but will still be written up in the inserts as a possible contraindication or condition that should prevent you from taking the vaccine.
Now you should be starting to get an idea of the extraordinary deception that vaccine ‘science’ requires. When they say no link has been found, you can rest assured that no link was looked for. More than that, they had to cover their eyes in order not to see all the elephants in the room.
All they had to do was ask the parents for their stories and they would have had hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions of pieces of evidence. But they never do. Remember -many ‘scientists’ only use data that can be easily rigged. Imagine if there was a report written by a government body which detailed thousands of case studies of parents observing their children’s health falling apart after vaccines. If it were any other consumer item, this is exactly what would have been done.
Shonky use of statistics
I note that the paper’s reference on flu deaths caused by A/H1N1 used just the upper range number of 2 million years of life even though the study had a lower range of one sixth that. You would think that lower figures deserve mentioning but I have a sneaking suspicion that the authors don’t put the references there in the hope that everybody will chase them all up. Now you might say that 300,000 person years is still significant, but you have to understand the inconsistent and convenient use of methodologies here.
The authors of the referred study (Viboud et al) did not use actual lab confirmed numbers of A/H1N1 influenza to get their mortality data but an assumption that a certain percentage of pneumonia/influenza mortality must have been due to A/H1N1 (so-called Swine Flu) in the US. The inconsistency arises when you understand what has happened with the polio vs AFP data. Today, you can’t have polio unless it is lab confirmed whereas in the past, the diagnosis was made on clinical grounds (in other words, by using symptoms). This change in criteria makes the vaccine look more effective.
Here, Viboud et al are saying that we should ignore lab confirmed results and just make estimates as to how many people had A/H1N1. Again, this is done to make the vaccine look good – or to show that its implementation was worthwhile. Poland and Jacbosen took this paper’s wild speculation and assumed that the top range must be the correct one and put it out there as though it was an established fact rather than some epidemiologist’s self-serving fantasy.
Again, it is this sort of thing that is pervasive in the pro-vaccination camp. They regularly come up with speculative projections and then try to pass them off as established numbers.
“Public health officials hail routine vaccination as one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th century , but anti-vaccinationists have successfully campaigned to block legislation for school and day-care mandates and other public health interventions designed to increase vaccination uptake.”
This statement reflects that it is these authors who are on another planet. Firstly, why would ‘anti-vaccinationists’ care about the opinions of public health officials when it came to vaccines? Isn’t questioning public health officials kind of a corollary – desired or not – of questioning vaccines?
Secondly, there are many people who absolutely love vaccines yet who still oppose school and day-care mandates. Or at least they say they do.
It obviously comes as a total surprise to our illustrious authors that there are some people who think they should have the right to decide what gets injected into their bodies.
Anyway, what mandatory vaccine spiel would be complete without hurling abuse at Andrew Wakefield as though most people who question vaccines do so because of him? I can’t speak for others who question vaccines, but I have only a cursory knowledge of what Wakefield did and had never even heard of him before I made up my mind. Indeed, believe it or not, I had never even heard of the connection between vaccines and autism.
But what his story shows me is that when doctors tell me that they would happily admit to their mistakes if, indeed, it turned out that vaccines weren’t as great as they are made out to be, that is a complete lie.
The way Wakefield has been treated for doing no more than raising questions proves that doctors are far more concerned with protecting themselves than protecting patients. That is the moral to his story as far as I am concerned. I am not saying his science is flawed – it wouldn’t take much to be a million times better than an industry that compares its poisons to other poisons and then declares them to be safe – but it had nothing to do with my decisions. It does however demonstrate that vaccines are a sacred cow. A religion – not a scientific process.
“By being informed about the charges brought forward by anti-vaccine proponents, especially those of a quasi-immunological nature, clinicians can assist in providing data-driven information to health providers and the public, assist in research where data gaps are apparent, and provide data for the scientific basis for accepting or refuting claims of vaccine safety and function. The only rational way in which to proceed in devising individual and public health policy in regards to the use of vaccines requires high quality studies and resulting data, interpreted carefully and based on the scientific method.”
I personally would have thought this would require providing data that shows the real world efficacy of vaccines and wasn’t subject to the investigator bias.
It would also require the testing of these vaccines against actual placebos rather than non-inert substances.
But frankly, too much use of statistical mumbo-jumbo is how we got into this position of unyielding sides in the first place. So personally, I would prefer the time-honoured tradition of putting your money where your mouth is.
So some people (and I can think of no better candidates than the authors) need to take a weight adjusted dose of the infant schedule. Better yet, weight-adjust it and then multiply it by 5 times to show that absolutely no child – no matter how fragile – could possibly be harmed by these wonderful concoctions.