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National Infant Immunization Week 2014

And now for something completely different (sort of).

Somehow, I totally forgot that the week of April 26 to May 3 is National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. In fact, it’s the 20th anniversary of the NIIW. If any medical intervention in existence deserves such a week, it’s vaccination. Unlike travesties such as Naturopathic Medicine Week (or, as I liked to call it, Quackery Week). Vaccines work, period. They’ve arguably saved more lives than virtually any other invention from the mind of humans. Yet the antivaccine movement continues to demonize them as the cause of autism, autoimmune diseases, sudden infant death syndrome, and pretty much any disease or condition that children suffer from.

So naturally, the band of cranks over at the antivaccine crank blog, Age of Autism (AoA), are not so happy about NIIW. One of them, at least, is downright ticked off. I’m referring to Cathy Jameson, whom we’ve met before here many times before. And this time around, she’s just as full of Dunning-Kruger arrogance of ignorance as she’s ever been. Maybe even more. I’ll show you what I mean:

Please note that I am exercising caution while using the term immunizations in this piece and will replace it with the word vaccine. While immunizations were designed with the hope of creating life-long immunity, immunity isn’t a sure thing. In fact, diseases these immunizations supposed prevent actually still exist, and according to the media, are coming back in droves causing major “outbreaks” in several area across the US. Oddly, with these increased “outbreaks”, instead of ceasing use of the immunizations associated with them, in the same news reports that state immunized individuals are spreading a so-called “vaccine-preventable” disease, it also says to run right out and get another immunization! With the first two doses and a booster obviously being ineffective, my guess is that the CDC hopes that a third, and even fourth, dose will hopefully do the trick.

So many fallacies, so little time. She clearly doesn’t understand basic math. It’s not the sheer number of children who come down with a vaccine-preventable disease in an outbreak that determines if a vaccine is working. It’s the attack rate; i.e., the risk of being infected and coming down with clinical illness in an outbreak is higher in the unvaccinated than it is in the vaccinated, because vaccines work. For example, unvaccinated/undervaccinated children have a 23-fold increased risk of acquiring pertussis in an outbreak than fully vaccinated children. Because so many more children are vaccinated than unvaccinated, numbers alone give a deceptive picture, in which the number of children who are vaccinated who catch the disease will seem substantial. But if you figure out the attack rate (number of cases of disease/total at risk population) for unvaccinated and vaccinated children, there’s where you get the 23-fold difference.

So, in fact, contrary to Jameson’s position, running right out and getting the immunization is indeed the smart thing to do.

Next up is the “toxins” gambit, where Jameson tries to inspire fear based on vaccine ingredients, demanding “full disclosure of certain ingredients still found in vaccines.” Of course, there already is full disclosure of all ingredients in vaccines. Certainly neither Jameson nor anyone else has demonstrated that there isn’t. If you want, you can even find the concentrations of the various components. It’s not as though they’re secret. None of this stops Jameson from proclaiming:

Some of the people who speak up and who speak out are parents of vaccine injured children. Others have been vaccine injured themselves, injured by the very vaccines the CDC plans to parade around this week. These people, who valiantly speak up about vaccines and vaccine safety, have one of the most valuable opinions on the matter, but I doubt that they will be asked to join the CDC and their vaccine celebrating festivities.

Except that the vast majority of these “vaccine-injured” children proclaimed so by Jameson are autistic, and we already know from numerous studies that there is no correlation between vaccines or mercury in the thimerosal that used to be in vaccines and autism. Vaccines don’t cause autism, no matter how much Jameson proclaims that they do. Nor does it stop her from listing a whole bunch of pseudoscientific posts from—where else?—AoA itself. To get an idea of how scientifically bankrupt everything she’s posting is, she includes the infamous Canary Party video asking Do Vaccines Cause Autism? narrated by the latest antivaccine celebrity idiot Rob Schneider (well, before Kristin Cavallari and Alicia Silverstone started spewing antivaccine nonsense publicly this year. Besides the Canary party, Jameson cites Barbara Loe Fisher’s antivaccine National Vaccine Information Center, lots of AoA posts, and even, one of the loonier antivaccine sites out there. Let’s just put it this way: Reliable information, there is not there. Not any.

Not that any of this stops Jameson from conspiracy mongering, because, you know, the CDC is obviously hiding all that information about vaccines being so horrible, the better to continue their nefarious plans to vaccinated every child who doesn’t have medical contraindications to be vaccinated and thus prevent harmful and potentially deadly infectious diseases from wreaking havoc among children. Those bastards! Those evil plotters! At least that’s what Jameson thinks. But first, she must proclaim:

The vaccine information we share here is meant to assist others because not enough has been done in that regard. Information is based on science as well as reality, the reality of a vaccine injury. Sharing this information and being more informed about vaccines is not a bad thing. Shouldn’t the pregnant woman who’s being told to get this vaccine and that know that neither vaccine has not previously been tested on pregnant women? Shouldn’t the teenager who’s gotten one HPV vaccine be told she doesn’t need to return for shot 2 and 3 in that series? Shouldn’t the parent who’s told by the school nurse that those “required vaccines” for school entry are merely recommendations and her children can in fact attend school without them?

I tell ya, Jameson owes me a new keyboard. I guess I should know better than to be drinking anything when I read anything from AoA. She says that “sharing this information and being more informed about vaccines is not a bad thing.” I’d agree with half of that, if that half weren’t also hopelessly deluded. Sharing the antivaccine information from AoA is definitely a bad thing in that it gives parents a false view of vaccination, presenting it as being far more risky and less effective than it actually is, in essence scaring them out of vaccinating. Becoming more informed about vaccines is a good thing, but that’s Jameson’s delusion. What she’s doing and becoming “more informed” about vaccines are related only by coincidence, if that. In fact, not even that. What Jameson posts is the opposite of science and the opposite of reliable information. It’s the misinformation that is intentionally used to lead parents into “misinformed consent” for not vaccinating.

Now here’s the conspiracy:

Those who withhold vaccine information and guard it as they do is troubling. Instead of keeping the negative side of vaccines a secret, everyone who is contemplating them should know as much as they can about them. I’d hope that they’d know each vaccine ingredients and how the body interacts with them. I’d expect they’d be told how to recognize a vaccine side effects and know what to do about them. I’d pray they’d realize that adverse reactions occur more often than is reported and they should be taken very seriously. Finally, I’d hope they’d investigate if vaccine choice (exemption) is an option and to exercise that right if needed.

Personally, I’d hope that Jameson would stop spewing antivaccine misinformation, but I’d hope in vain.

It is, after all, the very purpose of AoA and antivaccine blogs and groups like it. No matter how much they claim it’s about autism and helping autistic children, in the end, it’s always about the vaccines. Always. No matter how much they claim to be “vaccine safety advocates,” it’s always about demonizing vaccines as evil and harmful. Always. No matter how much they claim it’s about science, it isn’t.

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]

38 replies on “National Infant Immunization Week 2014”

Is it a coïncidence that National Infant Immunisation Week is at the end of Autism Awareness Month?

And for those who think immunisations don’t work, I would ask, how about small pocks that have disappeared, thanks to vaccines? Polio almost had disappeared if it wasn’t for current problems with vaccinations.

I can’t get my head around anti-vaccinationists. If people don’t vaccinate for religious reasons, I don’t understand it, but I might be able to live with it, because they don’t tell people vaccines don’t work and vaccines are bad. Alas, those who don’t vaccinate for religious reasons, are not imune to the arguments anti-vaccionists bring to the table.

And this time around, she’s just as full of Dunning-Kruger arrogance of ignorance as she’s ever been.

She apparently also hasn’t figured out that this didn’t occur in 2014:

“Now we’re hearing that over 100 people have contracted the disease. They’ve even pinpointed a ‘Measles Mary’ [link to Science Now] — the first person who of the ‘outbreak’.”

Oh, she understands basic maths alright – she’s had it explained to her often enough. She just hopes others don’t. She’s not making a mistake, she’s being deliberately misleading in order to spread fear and doubt. They all do it.

In fact, diseases these immunizations supposed prevent actually still exist, and according to the media, are coming back in droves causing major “outbreaks” in several area across the US.

Yes, there are outbreaks where dozens get the disease and the CDC struggles to contain them. There used to be epidemics where millions nationwide got the disease in a single year. There is a difference; dozens are not millions. She seems weak on numbers.

In fact, diseases these immunizations supposed prevent actually still exist

Ms. Jameson seems to be unaware that, except for smallpox, nobody has claimed that these diseases have been eliminated worldwide. Measles and polio still exist in parts of the Third World.

Ms. Jameson also seems to be aware of these things called airplanes. They allow an unvaccinated traveller to visit distant countries, become infected with a vaccine preventable disease, and return home before he even knows he’s sick. You can travel from any sizable city in the world to any other sizable city in the world within 48 hours, often quite a bit less.

That’s why we still need vaccines for these diseases. We no longer vaccinate for smallpox, because the risk of catching that disease really has dropped to zero. But if there is a large enough population susceptible to polio or measles, you can get an outbreak, and will, if enough people travel to places where those diseases are still endemic.

@Eric – and if we could eradicate measles & mumps (for instance), we could stop giving the vaccine – which should be what the anti-vax folks would want, right?

Some of the people who speak up and who speak out are parents of vaccine injured children. Others have been vaccine injured themselves, injured by the very vaccines the CDC plans to parade around this week.

The question that Ms. jameson and other anti-vax proponents never seem able to address is exactly how they’ve factually established the injuries they’re attributing to vaccines actually ,b>were caused by immunization, on any basis other thana post hoc ergo procter hoc logical fallacy, seasoned liberally with a bit of “What else could it be?” and “Ohhh…toxins! Scary stuff!”.

The MMR vaccine is known to cause encephalopathy in roughly 1 out of every 1 million doses. Rotashield was withdrawn from the market because within a specific age range it appears to cause bowel intussusception in roughly 1 out of every 11,000 doses.

Surely if we can detect adverse events which occur this rarely, if vaccines caused autism often enough to drive a perceived autism ‘epidemic’ (CDC now estimates and incidence of ~1 in 68 live births) it would be breathtakingly obvious and we simply would not be having this argument.

Yet no approriately designed, large scale retrosepctive epidemiologic study has found any hint of a causal associationbetween vaccines and ASD’s whatsoever. There’s a reason for that, one thinks…

Jameson, or as she is known @ TMR, Mamacita, is amongst the most vocal of AoA’s/ TMR’s/ the Canary Party’s
inner circle and she’s also a principal in Blaxill’s latest venture: you may peruse her writing at those first two sites.

She has 5 children, the oldest of whom, at age 11, has non-verbal autism and a seizure disorder ( I get the impression that she has money for some reason). While she constantly recounts how much work caring for children involves, she also continuously writes up long, pyroclastic anger spewing vents like this one. Her child’s, and thus, her problems were caused by SBM so she is putting out notice: Watch out she’s coming for you, armed with rhetoric and hissy fits.

Meanwhile, back at the Mad Hatter meet and greet ( Autism Investigated): it seems that Barry, Brian and Jake have snared themselves a new congressman.

I just discovered a gem of a conspiracy earlier today:
@ PRN’s archive of Null-sense, yesterday’s show contains the following botch of reasoning abilities-
autism advocacy groups have been talked out of indicting vaccines as dangerous and are merely calling for safety because they have been supplied with financial support from nicely concealed front groups which represent further hidden interests guarded behind multiple ‘firewalls’ secretly tied to the government and pharmaceutical companies.
So I imagine, he’s on Jake’s side, not Mark’s.

‘Cause it’s National Infant Immunization Week
National Infant Immunization Week
When Paul Offit sounds off
And the antivaxers shriek

Be kind to idiots who
say measles is good for you
It’s only for the week so have no fear
In 2015 AoA could disappear

(apologies to Tom Lehrer)

Ms. Jameson also seems to be [un]aware of these things called airplanes.

Brazil is, particularly after last year’s Carnival importations of genotype D8.

Something else Jameson apparently isn’t aware of, incidentally, is that Vaccination Week isn’t a sinister propaganda invention of the CDC.

The question that Ms. jameson and other anti-vax proponents never seem able to address is exactly how they’ve factually established the injuries they’re attributing to vaccines actually ,b>were caused by immunization

They’ve arguably saved more lives than virtually any other invention from the mind of humans.

And a not-insubstantial amount of money.

“Modeling estimated that, among [U.S.] children born during 1994–2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes, at a net savings of $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs.”

I hope pediatricians have big posters on their walls showing pictures of infants and children in the throes of these preventable diseases. Show what diphtheria looks like, and polio and the other childhood diseases. It is such a great achievement that we can now prevent most of them from afflicting people. I just can’t understand the thought processes of the anit-vaxers. Of course vaccines aren’t 100% perfect and safe. What is? They just happen to be many many many many times safer than getting the actual disease. Of course they have side effects…… like a sore arm perhaps. Goodness gracious.

The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand. Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy is one of the largest and most respected compounding pharmacies in the country. They use only the finest quality chemicals and equipment to prepare our patients’ compounded medications and nutritional supplements. Customizing medication and nutritional supplements for our customers allows them to achieve their unique health goals.

Seeing this at the end of Dachel’s screed made me do a double-take then laugh maniacally.

@Milwaukee girl #16–The posters (Merck made a good one) showing many of these diseases did help remind parents of why we vaccinate. Lately, however, I’ve been getting some of the most moronic excuses for not vaccinating, including (1) people arguing that the germ theory of disease is wrong, (2) that there are “too many, too soon” (the kids were almost teens–how much longer is “too soon?”) and (3) there is no real proof that vaccines work.

Honestly, as I see more people getting more clueless about vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases, I’m starting to wonder if anything can change their minds. How in the heck do you debate complete and utter irrationality?

@ Chris HIckie:

I have a little more hope:
I’d divide them into ( at least) two groups:
– those who fear vaccines because they’ve been misled
– those who are motivated to believe for emotional reasons

You can *talk* to the first group if you can present the correct information and give them insight into why someone would want to mislead them ( i.e what we do all the time @ RI): people can- and have- changed their minds.

That’s why I think it’s important to understand both the misinformation ( as well as the real information) and the people who purvey it. What feeds the contrarian belief? Why do people drift so far from common sense? What’s in it for them?

The second group is heavily invested into belief and probably more difficult to move to reasonable ground. I like James Laidler’s tale of his ‘conversion’ – he saw with his own eyes that the forbidden food had no effect- BUT most autism parents who buy into biomed et al are not James Laidler- his education and intelligence might have innoculated him against staying in the deep end.

It may be important to point out anti-vaxxers’ COIs- and they have many: they sell products, services and books AS WELL AS a philosophy; they garner a measure of fame or create a career for themselves because of their position AND it makes some feel better about having a child with ASD- plus they get a chance to be a martyr or a hero- which is more exciting than a caretaker.

And re “complete and utter irrationality”- I think that that’s only a fraction of anti-vaxxers- not everyone can keep up with Jameson..I am cautious about using the word ‘delusion’ though… I think these people are more in control than that.

Superb comment at AoA from Linda, the village EMF crank, though:

“And this is all, no doubt, to fight back against the upcoming much publicized release of ‘Bought’ and the recently released ‘Just a Trace’.”

Chris: I hate to say it, but maybe you should lie. Tell your patients that vaccines have gone off the market. Heck, maybe we should start lobbying for a five-year moratorium on all vaccines in certain counties, or plague days at Disney World and other amusement parks where only people from certain counties can come in- all other days, they’re out of luck.
Or simply lobby for a rescinding of the kiddie credit; unless vaccine records are produced, no children can be claimed as dependents. We need to stop arguing and start penalizing.

Yup, the old dragon is on the payroll…sponsored by a vitamin/supplement factory. And, they call us *pharma shills*?

Vaccine cultists are so cute when they celebrate their little vaccine weeks or months


Or the time that you said to a mother whose child died from the flu that it was “just the flu”?

From Cathy Jameson:

In fact, diseases these immunizations supposed prevent actually still exist, and according to the media, are coming back in droves causing major “outbreaks” in several area across the US.

It’s so infuriating.
First they campaign for delaying or fully withholding vaccination, and now they complain the diseases are still around.

Why don’t they start campaigning against the use of bulletproof armor for military personnel? Soldiers still get wounded by bullets and shrapnel, so it’s evidence these armors are useless.
Worse, I’m told these armors were made of asbestos back in the 70s. They told us the asbestos has been removed, but I’m sure they still put it in armor. Anyway, I’m sure this “kevlar” stuff is made of petrol and antifreeze.

Side note. It’s not just in the US which are experiencing outbreaks, honey. Please do some effort to notice you are not alone on Earth.

@Helianthus: too damn true, sadly. Vietnam is suffering a measles outbreak. 112 dead so far.

Well, well, this is interesting:

Schecter is writing his second book on parenting that will deal in part with vaccinations.

Wondering why you can’t find Bob’s “first book” in the library? Well you might, since both titles were “soon to be published” in 2008.

Yes, he’s passing himself off with fake credentials.

So he’s basically replaced fluoride with vaccines. Why am I not surprised?

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