Antivaccine nonsense Medicine

If this blog goes silent tomorrow…

…you’ll know why.

I got my flu shot today! Yes, it had thimerosal and everything. Give me mercury, baby!

And, guess what? When our hospital gets its supply of H1N1 vaccine later this month, I’ll be getting that one, too.

Take that, Doug Bremner! Oh, and you too, Bill Maher!

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

44 replies on “If this blog goes silent tomorrow…”

I’m a psych nurse and we had to get them for work. I gladly did, with no adverse effects. And, like you, when the H1N1 vaccine hits our hospital, I shall get one then. And I do this quite well informed, in no small part thanks to this blog.
So there!

No, your blog won’t go silent.
You will, however, type pages and pages about the license plate numbers of the cars passing by your window.

Yea, I hated that the media jumped to conclusions that may adversely affect millions of people. The scientists who headed the study are to blame though. Unnamed journal of submission, unsure of undergoing peer-review, unsure of legitimacy of study design and interpretation….of what the heck lets call the press before the paper makes it through the process.

As long the H1N1 shot won’t give the same side-effects the Swine Flu shot did back in the 70’s. That left me sick as a dog for three days! And no, I didn’t had a choice: miltary orders.

I hope to get my seasonal flu shot this weekend courtesy of Walgreens! Huzzah! Bring on teh mercury-induced brain-damage! Yee-haw!

I have to wait until next week to get a flu shot at CVS…

I do not understand why some folks who take colloidal silver are against vaccines
That stuff turns people blue.

I haven’t gotten flu shots in the past 10 years.
not that I’m against Vaccines, i’m just too poor to make a special trip to pay for getting one.

Synesthesia: It’s an ideological opposition to capitalism. It is not, however, “socialism,” either in its formal definition as an economic system involving collective ownership of the means of production, or its vernacular American definition as “cooties.” Rather it’s a yearning for a rosy-eyed vision of pre-capitalist, pre-Enlightenment arrangements, much like the yearnings their right-wing counterparts have for the days when “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best” supposedly represented reality (in reality, several of the actors on those shows expressed worries that they were portraying an unattainable ideal that some misguided people might take seriously).

I had my free seasonal flu shot on Wednesday (thank you NHS) and will be recalled by my GP for the H1N1 shot in about a month – I have asthma. I’ve been having the seasonal shot for years and the worst side affect I’ve had has been a slightly sore arm for 24 hours.
Flu, however, will trigger asthma and my infected lungs will fill with green gunk and I’ll be lucky to avoid 2 or 3 courses of antibiotics as bronchitis is sure to follow as will weeks of misery. The last time I had flu I was extremely ill.
As far as I’m concerned there’s no controversy and the idiots who are anti vaccine are welcome to the flu and all its side affects.

Way ahead of ya! Got mine the Monday of the previous week.
*taps fingers*
(Waiting for Sid Offit to show up in this thread with inane and insane remarks…)

Damn all you getting your shots now!

My CVS is having a clinic on October 10 (that’ll be fun – midday on a Saturday); my Stop & Shop pharmacy, not until October 21. (And unfortunately CVS would cost me $30; S&S only $20).

Unless Huffpo and Jenny McCarthy scare a lot of people off, I suspect both might have a long wait.

You rock Orac

I’m a really vocal pro-vax nazi like you (heh heh) and I love to get on anti vax blogs and forums to stir up sh!t. Those dumb *ssholes have got no idea. They are conspiricy freaks who think big pharma only care about making money. Stupid idiots. They laugh at me and call me naiive, but I always post links to this blog to shut them up.

I dont care about reading them studies. I trust our goverment and pharma companies to do the right thing. They only want to help us. Orac is right and if he gets the flu shot, then I will too. I dont give a sh!t about the mercury in them.

Keep up the great work Orac. Your my hero and I’ll keep spreading your blog around everywhere.


# 14, Kitty: You rule!!!

I am in the exact same situation. During the past 16 or so years I missed the flu shot three times, in 1998, 2003 and 2005. I was sick as a dog those times; however, in none of the other years did I catch the flu. Now this isn’t a scientific study yet :-)) just an n of 1 but I am pretty sure that I’ll be getting my flu shots this year and every year.

And Orac: thanks for all the great material you’re publishing here. I always know where to turn when one of my relatives or friends starts going CAMmy.

T.Bruce said:
“No, your blog won’t go silent.
You will, however, type pages and pages about the license plate numbers of the cars passing by your window.”

Or he might write lots of angry rants about ableist stereotyping of autistic people.

Got mine 09/22/09 and will get the H1N1 vaccine next week or thereabouts.
The sore arm is a badge of sanity, I say. (I do get a pretty sore arm from vaccination but that’s me; spouse got his vaccine Tuesday and has nothing to show for it, no sore arm or anything.)

Speaking of vaccinations, you’ll probably hear this story soon, but we’ve just had an incident in the UK of a 13 year old girl dying on the same day as her HPV vaccination. Was all over the media; turned out that she had a severe tumor of the heart and lungs (no more details)

No doubt this will pop up as a ‘vaccine death’ for the next couple of decades in posts by anti-vaccination wingnuts. And, of course, the media was all over the story before any post mortem, thus making sure that most people’s take away message was vaccine reaction=death. Given the likely effect on vaccine takeup and the incidence of cervical cancer, I suspect the death toll from this reporting to reach the low 3 figures. Go media.

Got my seasonal shot on 9/22. Still no signs of ill effects. How long’s it supposed to take for autism to develop after a thimerosal-containing vaccine?

Oh, and the other night I ate some salmon, so I probably got more mercury there than I did from the shot.

@Andrew Dodds

Actually, I’ve been taking a look around at a few different antivax sites to see if that story popped up. Age of Autism, NVIC/Vaccine Awakening, Natural News – none of them has anything on that incident. The only place I found it mentioned was on the blog for the Australian Vaccination Network, where Meryl Dorey engaged in her typical conspiracy fear mongering craziness. I posted a comment on one of her posts, but it never made it through.

In a subsequent post, she mentioned she got a lot of e-mails telling her to retract her erroneous conclusion, but she won’t, because clearly the tumor angle was just a convenient coverup for the real cause.


both Dr Bob and Babycenter discussed it, as did (German speaking forum) and Bert Ehgartner (insolence passim) claimed there that the girl could have lived another 1 to 10 years if the vaccine had not triggered her death.

Okay, for sure I’m heading to Walgreens for my shot this weekend (I get one free through work but I’ll be out of town that day). I hope I get a chance to get the H1N1 vax because we’ve already had a few cases on my campus.

Ugh, we’ve had a death on our campus and more cases than anyone is tracking anymore. I spend my free moments at work compulsively calling clinic locations to see if they have any seasonal vax left for my 21 mo old son or me, and when they’re getting swine flu vax!

Got you all beat, got my flu shot on Monday, while I was getting my first dose of Chemo.

Fuck cancer
Fuck the anti-vaxers

I feel pretty damn good today, I’m going to take a short bike ride and buy myself a nice breakfast as soon as I post this.

Your almost constant attention to this blog with daily discussions (explination with great detail I might point out) despite being a busy doctor indicate some level autistic tendencies already.
Perhaps some standardized assessment testing is in order? Oh hell, its to late anyway, ya gone and done got another one of them crap vaccines (as Jenny McCarthy would say).


Thanks for the update. I was trying to think of the major anti-vax places. Dr. Bob totally slipped my mind, though he’s a bit more fringe (not quite as blatant as the others I listed). The other two I didn’t know about.


Add smiley face or wink to end of last comment by Uncle Dave Oct. 2, 2009, at 10:26 AM


My wife is currently dealing with a cold and cannot get the shot until she feels well. Getting that free flu shot is not all the easy for some. As an elementary teacher you would think it would be a given to administer them in the places where there are virtually hundreds of little petri dishes literally running around sneezing and spitting on each other? I get free vaccinations through my employer.
Will have to go to Walgreens with the rest of the masses I guess?

Uncle Dave,

a cold is not a contraindication to vaccination (depends whether she runs a fever).
Yes, free vaccinations through employer – I asked mine and they said that would be infrastructually too difficult (mhh, but the many employees who were out cold with the flu last winter were no strain on the infrastructure?! GRIPE!).

I got my seasonal flu AND the pneumo vax a couple of weeks ago. Unless I’ve been resurrected as a zombie, I think I survived it OK.

The usual fever and sore arm I get from any vaccination, but that’s all.

catherina said,

“..but the many employees who were out cold with the flu last winter were no strain on the infrastructure?! ”

EXACTLY!!! Go figure…

Got my flu shot about two weeks ago, though my university can’t seem to get their fricking act together to order enough vaccine so I can actually vaccinate my patients. This happens every year and drives me up the wall. When the H1N1 finally comes in, I’m getting that one.

When my little one goes sees his doctor in 3 weeks for his 1 year well-child, he’s looking at a possible 8 injections (DTaP, Hib, Prevnar, MMR, varicella, Flu #1 then 6 weeks later flu #2, H1N1 #1 then 6 weeks later #2, and Hep A #1 as we live in an endemic state with #2 about 6 months later). Over the next three months, he’s getting them all. Why? Because I’m a mean mommy and he’s going to get protected against every disease that I can protect him against. My only concessions are I won’t give him more than four injections in one visit and I’m going to see if his doctor will agree to giving him an extra polio so I can decrease his total number of shots by one.

As I tell my older patients, it could be worse. Then could be a baby. Bwahahahahahahaha….

gaiainc, I seriously think you are awesome.

After my daughter was born she got the HepB. Because of that I made sure my boys (who were older) got the HepB.

Unfortunately none of my children could benefit from the varicella vaccine, because they all got chickenpox a year before the vaccine was available in the USA.

But they all have the HepA vaccine now, and just last week we all got a flu vaccine. I definitely made sure that my son who moved into a college dorm last month had the flu, and evey other vaccine available (like meningococcal disease). I also made sure he visits once a week to watch the Friday night offerings from the SyFy channel (presently Stargate Universe and Sanctuary) that I record on our DVR.

I got my seasonal flu shot at my doctor’s office on 9/14. I also got measured and found out I’m half an inch shorter than I used to be. Conclusion: Vaccines make you shrink! Further evidence: Babies, who get the most immunizations, are the shortest people on the planet. Children, who get fewer but still a lot, are shorter than adults, who get the fewest. What more proof do you need?

No, your blog won’t go silent.
You will, however, type pages and pages about the license plate numbers of the cars passing by your window.

Actually, isn’t that what I already do now? How would you know the difference?

You get a window? I’m jealous. They won’t even give me something to help hold my tin foil hat in place. I feel so vulnerable.

Dang, I need to do that ASAP. I’m asthmatic and get ridiculously sick every flu season. Know what? I’m going to call the doc’s office about the vaccination RIGHT away.

Thanks for reminding me 🙂

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