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Vaccine Injury Awareness Week 2018: Barbara Loe Fisher and Joe Mercola bring the antivaccine pseudoscience a month early

Here we go again. Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher make up a fake “Vaccine Injury Awareness Week” as an excuse to fundraise and spread antivax pseudoscience hither, thither, and yon. Same as it ever was. At least this year, they avoided the gratuitous Nazi references. It must have taken enormous restraint on their parts.

Well, it’s that time of year again. Flu season is upon us, and it’s time to get vaccinated. I got my flu vaccine yesterday. I asked for extra thimerosal, as I always do. Unfortunately, the nurse administering the vaccine didn’t get the joke, and the version of the flu vaccine I got was thimerosal-free anyway. It might be time to retire that particular line of humor, as I did jokes about becoming autistic the day after the vaccine, the latter of which, I now realize, were insensitive and not particularly funny. Unfortunately, given that most of the flu vaccines out there are thimerosal=free now and there hasn’t been any thimerosal in childhood vaccines other than the flu vaccine since around 2002, most health care professionals not directly involved with or interested in the antivaccine movement don’t get the joke any more. Be that as it may, for several years now, with the arrival of fall, unfortunately, also comes the arrival of another antivaccine campaign. Specifically, I’m talking about the yearly “awareness week” dreamt up by the grande dame of the antivaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher, and her current quack patron, Joe Mercola, who’s been dropping big donations to Fisher’s group, the Orwellian-named “National Vaccine Information Center” (NVIC) for several years now. Yes, it’s “Vaccine Injury Awareness Week”

I first noticed the silliness in 2010, when Fisher and Mercola proclaimed the first week in November to be “Vaccine Injury Awareness Week.” The next year, they were back. Not content with just a week this time, they declared October to be “Vaccine Injury Awareness Month.” Back then, antivaccine activists appeared to be trying to glom onto the prominence and popularity of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (which, by the way, usually brings out its own collection of quacks, which should provide me blogging material for next month) by co-opting it to their pseudoscientific cause of increasing the “awareness” that autism, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), shaken baby syndrome (a misdiagnosis for vaccine injury, if you believe antivaxers!), allergies, diabetes, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and a whole panoply of other conditions are in reality “vaccine injury.” (Amazing those vaccines are, aren’t they, that they can cause so many bad things, at least in antivaxers’ minds, such as they are!) I didn’t pay much attention to “Vaccine Injury Awareness Month” until three years later, when it once again penetrated my consciousness for some bit of nonsense or other (actually, a whole lot of nonsense.) In any event, in the past there was always a reason why antivaxers’ pathetic “demonstrations” at the CDC often took place in the month of October, and I’m sure there’s a similar reason why One Conversation, the panel “discussion” that antivaxers tried to trap me into attending as the token provaccine advocate, is also scheduled for July. (Unfortunately, they did manage to entice three others.) I also can’t help but note that Shelly Wynter, the host of the “panel,” emailed me the other day to try to entice me to call into his radio show. Given that it was a 6-10 AM time slot and my job has me doing things then, I ignored his request.

So what are Fisher and Mercola up to this year with “Vaccine Injury Awareness Week.” Well, the same ol’, same ol‘:

Barbara Loe Fisher is the cofounder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). In this interview, we talk about influenza and pertussis vaccine failures, the business of vaccination and how you can stay healthy this flu season. On the upside, no vaccine exemptions in any state were lost this year, which makes it the third year in a row that we’ve been able to protect exemptions that allow you to follow your conscience or religious beliefs when it comes to vaccination.

Unfortunately, the antivaccine movement does have some juice. I’ve written about it before, including specific examples in my own state, where my own state representative and senator both pander to antivaccine cranks like those who make up Michigan for Vaccine Choice with a pointless “informed consent” bill and a bill designed to gut the requirement that parents seeking vaccine exemptions for their children attend a state-mandated education session, and in Texas, where antivaxers wield real influence and thus far have successfully blocked all efforts to tighten the requirements for nonmedical “personal belief exemptions” to school vaccine mandates. Personally, I don’t think that preventing more states from making their vaccine exemption process more difficult or from eliminating nonmedical exemptions is anything to be proud of, but I’m funny that way.

In any case, there’s a brief video of Joe Mercola interviewing Barbara Loe Fisher included:

Notice how Mercola points out that you will be “deluged” with promotions to get the flu vaccine, as though this were a bad thing. It’s not. He’s also deluded or lying when he claims that there are “far more effective, less expensive, and less risky alternatives.” Not surprisingly, he then pivots to parrot the antivaccine lie that the flu is not a big deal, that it’s not a major public health problem, that it doesn’t result in the deaths of tens of thousands every year because of its complications, peddling the nonsense that there are no mortality data on influenza collected for adults. Yes, it is true that the total mortality due to influenza ends up being an estimate every year. That’s because most cases of the flu are never confirmed with serology testing and most deaths are due to complications from the flu, not the flu itself. Mark Crislip wrote up a nice explanation of the numbers ten years ago, where he discusses, quite frankly, the uncertainty in the estimate that around 36,000-56,000 people a year die of the flu in the US, a number roughly on par with the number of people who die in auto collisions. He also discussed the “assumptions” that Mercola disparages. Of course, Mercola would like to make the mortality figure as small as possible, because he wants to persuade you not to vaccinate; so he tries to make it sound as though the only influenza deaths that “count” are the ones in which the diagnosis was nailed down by serology. Dr. Crislip explains how in the real world we know better, and I like his analogy: “So we using a 2 megapixel camera to take a snapshot of influenza deaths, but the picture is going to be a reasonably accurate representation of the impact of the disease.” He also points out how, given that influenza causes a relatively small percentage in overall deaths during its season, no one outside of an epidemiologist would notice it.

Then there’s Barbara Loe Fisher:

What a lot of people don’t stop to think about in the midst of all this advertising is that vaccinologists developed vaccines. Vaccinology is the science of vaccines. Vaccinologists do not understand how vaccines cause immunity in the body. They don’t understand how an infection causes immunity in the body.

This is one of those statements that are sort of true, but lack enough detail to be intentionally deceptive. Yes, we don’t fully understand how diseases and vaccines cause immunity in the body. However, we do understand quite a bit, contrary to the impression Fisher leaves, which is that you know nothing, Jon Snow. (Sorry about that.) Of course, her purpose is to paint vaccine scientists and infectious disease doctors as a bunch of ignorant bumblers, as she goes on to say:

They’ve always had a problem with making vaccines that are effective and also safe, because they don’t understand the biological mechanisms for vaccine injury and death. This is especially true for influenza vaccine, because influenza virus mutates rapidly. It’s constantly changing.

Yes, the flu vaccine is a tough one. It’s very hard to make, and sometimes scientists guess wrong about the strains that will be circulating in any given year, leading to years when the vaccine isn’t very effective. There’s no doubt that a universal flu vaccine would be better, and that’s an area of active research. Indeed, the solution to the variable efficacy of flu vaccines every year is not to stop using flu vaccines, but to develop such a universal vaccine.

Also, it’s true that there have been occasional problems with vaccine safety, such as what happened in the Cutter incident, but the overall history of vaccines is of amazingly high levels of safety and, depending on the disease, efficacy that ranges from excellent (e.g., for the measles) to so-so (e.g., influenza).

It’s also true that most flu-like illnesses are not caused by the influenza virus, but Fisher and Mercola seem to think that vaccine scientists don’t realize that and take that into account in their estimates of flu deaths every year. It’s as though they hold vaccine scientists in such contempt and themselves in such brilliant esteem that they think they’re the only ones who try to take noninfluenza flu-like illness into account when estimating flu mortality statistics.

Particularly risible is this passage:

The bottom line here is — going way back to smallpox vaccine — they haven’t really stopped to do the science. The science is still in its infancy. It’s like they’re guessing when they make these vaccines, because they don’t have correlates to immunity,” Fisher says.

“They do not understand how the vaccines act in the body, at the cellular, molecular level,” Fisher says. “Now, some of this science is starting to be done. But these vaccines are being used by millions of people around the world without basic science knowledge.

People think [the vaccines] have been thoroughly tested. But they have not … They’re simply producing more and more vaccines without really understanding what they’re doing. This has been my take after 36 years of looking at the issue.”

More like that would be her biased take after 36 years, during which she evolved from a vaccine safety advocate to a real antivaxer. This is an appeal to ignorance, in which she makes it sound as though vaccine scientists are a bunch of bumbling, ignorant idiots who are recklessly charging ahead with dangerous vaccines out of ideology, even though they don’t understand anything about immunity. It’s pure bullshit, and bullshit of a kind that really irritates me. Again, just because there are a lot of things we don’t understand about the immune system doesn’t mean we understand nothing (or even close to nothing) about how disease causes immunity, how vaccines work, and the like. Indeed, one of Mercola’s own examples shows how we’re trying to understand better how vaccines work:

On a side note, albeit an important one considering our topic, researchers recently made a very interesting discovery: With enough NK cells in your system, you will not contract influenza.9,10 As reported by Live Science,11 a specific gene called KLRD1 “could serve as a proxy for a person’s levels of natural killer cells.”

KLRD1 is a receptor gene found on the surface of NK cells, and the level of KLRD1 found in a person’s blood prior to exposure to the influenza virus was able to predict whether that individual would contract the flu with 86 percent accuracy.

That’s all very nice. We certainly do need better correlates of immunity, and maybe someday in the future, after enough science has been done, we’ll be able to test levels of some of these markers and tell people who are lucky enough to be immune to the flu that they don’t need the vaccine. In the meantime, the flu vaccine is the best we have.

Of course, Mercola is about nothing if not about selling his supplements and “natural remedies,” making his next pivot very predictable. After a tiresome section on adverse reactions, in which Mercola and Fisher invoke the dreaded “toxins gambit,” going on about the dreaded thimerosal, and “vaccines using chicken eggs or genetically engineered dog kidney or army worm cells; vaccines that contain squalene-type adjuvants, which have been associated with autoimmune disorders, and vaccines that are ‘high dose’ and contain four times the amount of antigen as the standard vaccine” (you know going on about things that let her falsely portray vaccines as “dirty” and “contaminated”), Mercola goes into “natural” mode, touting vitamin D supplements, exercise, and sleep. Of course, no one would argue that getting enough sleep and exercise is a bad thing, least of all me, but it’s not going to protect you from the flu. Nor is will eliminating sugars and processed foods from your diet. It’s all part of the alternative medicine world view that if you get sick it’s your own fault for not doing all the “right things” correctly.

Mercola and Fisher conclude with a bit about “informed consent” for Vaccine Awareness Week. Of course, I’ve written about this many times before, including during last year’s “Vaccine Awareness Week.” (I’ll give Fisher props for avoiding the gratuitous references to the Nazis, the Nuremberg trials, and eugenics. Well done! Nicely toned down from 11 on the Batshit Crazy-O-Meter!) What he and Fisher really mean is misinformed consent, in which consent (mainly refusal) is based on misinformation that vastly exaggerates the risks of vaccines and downplays the benefits. To Mercola and “Fisher,” “informed consent” is a diversion, something that sounds noble and just, designed to hide their true pseudoscientific antivaccine agenda. When their “informed consent” is taken in context with the actual information that they want to base it on, “informed consent” becomes a weapon to frighten parents into not vaccinating.

So Mercola and Fisher conclude with—what else?—a plea for cash:

From September 23 to 30, we launch Vaccine Awareness Week. With aggressive efforts by pharmaceutical companies, medical trade groups and government to restrict or eliminate all personal belief vaccine exemptions in the U.S., it is critical for you to act now to protect your legal right to make informed, voluntary vaccine choices.

Thankfully, the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) provides the public with independent, well-referenced information on vaccines and advocates for vaccine safety, and informed consent protections in the public health system. This educational charity’s mission is to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and to secure and defend your legal right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to vaccination.

There’s no doubt that Fisher is a true believer in the cult of antivax. Mercola might also be a believer, but he’s also far, far more about the cash, which is why it’s obvious to me that this whole “Vaccine Awareness Week” is nothing more than a promotional gimmick to try to gin up donations to the NVIC.

Same as it ever was.

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]

82 replies on “Vaccine Injury Awareness Week 2018: Barbara Loe Fisher and Joe Mercola bring the antivaccine pseudoscience a month early”

I get my shot free at work. October 31, and looking forward to it. When I don’t get the vaccine, I get the flu. When I get it, I don’t or get such a mild case it’s like a 2 day cold. Clearly I don’t have this NK marker.

I got mine Monday. I went in for my quarterly check up (Diabetic, so I go in for an executive panel and A1C every quarter), and they had the syringe waiting for me.

These days, it’s become much easier for me to spot their favorite buzzwords: “choice”, “freedom”, “informed consent”, “natural”, “toxins”, and the list goes on. It would be so funny if it weren’t for the fact that far too many people actually believe their drivel and make their health care decisions using this (mis)information.

We are already seeing influenza cases here (NJ) which is a bit unusual. We suspect that it will be a bad year for the flu, even worse than last year, which was pretty bad. The hospital where I work is beginning its vaccination program on Monday, and you can bet that I’ll be one of the first ones in line.

Oh, wonderful. And I get my flu vaccine in 2 weeks. Didn’t know NJ was seeing the flu this early. I’ll make sure my daughter (works in a hospital) has had hers, also.

Thanks for the heads-up. Wednesday (03 October) it’s down to Kaiser for me (and a close friend). If they aren’t giving the shots yet, then Walgreen’s or Safeway Pharmacy, and I don’t care about the $25. Small price to pay for not having to worry about being sick as a dog for two weeks.

BTW here’s something that works for motivating folks who are procrastinating or in bad economics: offer to pay for their shot and take them out to dinner after getting it. I’ve been doing this with a couple of close friends for years.

Orac writes,

…she evolved from a vaccine safety advocate to a real antivaxer.

MJD says,

Orac’s teachings continue to show that vaccine safety advocates are often helplessly sucked into the antivaccine black hole.

Q. What turns a vaccine safety advocate to a real antivaxer.

A. Respectful Insolence

A. Fisher was on enough federal committees to know very well that a claim that vaccines are not tested is untrue. She cannot claim ignorance.

B. We all got our flu shots Saturday.

“On the upside, no vaccine exemptions in any state were lost this year”

Bad fundraising strategy for NVIC. The best, proven way to get money from alt-med suckers is to scare the daylights out of them with fearmongering about how their “rights” are on the verge of being permanently lost (example: the supplement industry’s invoking of Codex to frighten supplement users into thinking they won’t be able to buy their favorite nostrums anymore, so send $$$ fast).

“Amazing those vaccines are, aren’t they, that they can cause so many bad things, at least in antivaxers’ minds, such as they are!”

You know that law that says the more conditions a supplement or treatment is claimed to be effective for, the less likely it is to work for any of them?* A corollary is that the more dire conditions vaccines (or fluoridation, or amalgam fillings, or GMOs, or aspartame) are said to cause, the less likely that any of them are real possibilities.

*of course, I invented this law (posted on another message board years ago) but do not intend to sue Orac for the lucrative rights to it.

I know. That’s why I was surprised how much she toned her rhetoric down from last year, when she was likening school vaccine mandates to the Nazis doing medical experiments on your children.

Looks like the second link is broken. “h” left off the “http”.
Related to the flu and flu vaccine, in the first decade of this millenium, I had a bad bout of flu. In bed for two days, sick for three whole weeks, lost 9 KG. I was a healthy adult in my mid-twenties and the flu still clobbered me.
I would love a universal flu vccine.

It’s odd how anti-vax sites all manage to exist as legitimate, registered charities despite dispensing misinformation. I would hope it’s all registered correctly. Age of Autism ( and its Dopplegangers, Canary Party and Health Choice) , TMR and NVIC have all solicited funds from supporters on their websites.

What’s really interesting though is how commercial sites ( Natural News**, PRN***, Mercola****) ALSO solicit funds even though they sell products ( and have made money): usually they say that buying stuff from them will benefit their own ( NN, PRN) or others’ ( Mercola) charities.

Isn’t there something funny about the latter situation? When you buy cars, clothes, electronics, food or appliances, are you asked to also support the company as a charity?
But then, look, who is doing this.

** Consumer Wellness
*** Progressive Voices; its CEO also runs the Nutrition Institute of America and Veterans’ Village
**** listed at the bottom of

“amazingly high levels of safety”

Vaccinologists are clueless about how vaccines work, fail or hurt the body. Vaccines are developed through trial and error. They DON’T expect it to be safe. Safety does not happen by chance. Second law of thermodynamics. Hence the “amazement”. So when you see “amazingly high levels of safety”, anyone with a little common sense would know you are missing something big. You are failing to account for numerous vaccine-induced diseases. That is why they seem safe when they actually are not.

Influenza vaccines seem to be modifying influenza disease into a dangerous dengue-like disease

Like last year, this year’s vaccine also contains three of the same strains as the previous year. So the vaccine is likely to be less effective and cause more severe influenza. All of those who got the flu vaccine may want to stock up on antihistamines. It is not just flu season. The vaccines turn it into flu allergy season by making you allergic to the influenza virus itself.

Safety does not happen by chance. Second law of thermodynamics.

Tell everyone about the grand canonical ensemble, vinucube. Or seek professional help, whatever.

I see you’re still self citing letters to the editor as if they were evidence of anything.

Piss off, vinu.

As Narad mentioned before, second law of thermodynamics is a physical law, it does not apply to society. And flu vaccine does not make anybody allergic to flu, it makes them immune to flu (read some basic immunology).

To the contrary, the data have revealed that even if the primary efficacy of the influenza vaccine is low (i.e. reducing the incidence of influenza), the severity is often reduced. It’s better than nothing.

You misspelled John Snow. While it’s true he knew nothing about bacteria, he knew a thing or two about maps.

I will venture that Orac is correct ( all praise Orac) and I cite Wikipedia which will make woo-meisters SHUDDER and quake in their over-priced but unattractive boots.

Orac and his friends still have not learned that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.

Like your dimwitted AI project? Maybe MJD could help you get that rolling again.

Another mechanism of vaccine induced autism and vaccine induced type 1 diabetes: Wheat protein containing vaccine induced glutamate receptor antibodies.
Explains the “gluten-free” part of the “gluten-free, casein-free” diet that helps in ASD.

Most cases of type 1 diabetes are caused by molecular mimicry to non-target proteins in vaccines

The role of glutamate and its receptors in autism and the use of glutamate receptor antagonists in treatment

Dude, you are missing something. Before you can provide a mechanism of how vaccines cause autism, you must prove that autism is actually associated with vaccines. The latter part has not been done, in fact the several large epidemiological studies in several countries covering hundreds of thousands of subjects show no association between vaccines and autism.

Yet, there are actual real studies by real researchers that have found causes for over half of the cases of autism (hint: it is not vaccines):

Explains the “gluten-free” part of the “gluten-free, casein-free” diet that helps in ASD.

I take it that you are unfamiliar with the concept of begging the question, or still unfamiliar.

Explains the “gluten-free” part of the “gluten-free, casein-free” diet that helps in ASD.

Except the diet has been thoroughly looked at, and it does nothing whatsoever for ASD.
You are not only arguing by assertion, you are arguing falsities.

You still does not realise how rare receptors are. Remember that purification of folate receptor required 10 kg of tissue ? A vaccine vial cannot contain this amount of material.
You seem not to know difference between diabetes type 1 and 2. I am shocked, shocked. Here is a paper about vaccination and diabetes 1:
As I said before, a glass of milk have billion times more milk proteins than a vaccine shot, based on your own data. So milk drinking nations should have a terrible autism epidemic. However, highest autism incidence is in Japan, not a heavy milk drinking country.

Anybody who claims influenza isn’t a worry should Google “flu pandemic 1918”. Oh and that was well before influenza vaccines, so you know no nasty “vaccine injury” to worry about.

While a new virus can spread well in a population, it does not
necessarily have to be virulent. So why the heavy death toll during the
1918 pandemic flu?

People who have never been infected by helminths will lack specific IgE
to those helminths.

People who have been infected recently will have a “low intensity”
infection with an IgE dominated aggressive response. As the infection
progresses, they will switch to an IgG4 dominated high IgG4/IgE ratio
state where the immune response is scaled back. This is to avoid damage
to the host due to an aggressive immune response. They will be protected
against anaphylaxis by the high IgG4/IgE ratio.

People who have been treated with anti-helminth treatment and have
eliminated the helminths, will have IgG4 ramp down. They will again
switch to an aggressive IgE mediated immune response state.

A few years before 1918, anti-helminth treatments like Thymol became
available. It is therefore possible that large sections of the
population had aggressive IgE responses to helminth epitopes, following
anti-helminth treatments.

If a new influenza virus with high homology to those helminth epitopes
were introduced into such a population, a pandemic with a heavy death
toll can be expected. There are descriptions of people dying within
hours of first symptoms, during the 1918 pandemic flu. This suggests an
anaphylactic, cytokine storm, component.

If a new influenza virus with high homology to those helminth epitopes
were introduced into such a population, a pandemic with a heavy death
toll can be expected.

Seek. Professional. Help.

I can’t speek to the chemistry involved in your answer, that’s way beyond me.
My argument is simple. If you believe that vaccines are so bad for the population you must, also, accept the possibility of such pandemics occurring again. This is a simple truth. No (or very limited) vaccines means that we accept the morbidity and mortality from preventable diseases, not just flu but many, many more. We are already seeing multi drug resistant TB, one of the great killers of centuries past.

Shelly, he is invoking helmiths. They are literally parasitic worms!

Influenza is caused by viruses that change every year. TB is caused by a bacteria, a very nasty one at that (it reproduces very slowly which is why it is hard kill with antibiotics, which attack reproduction).

Which all makes him invoking parasitic worms laugh worthy.

Oh dear. So WORMS were responsible for the death of 50 million people in the 1918 pandemic? Oh Lordy me I think I just fell down a rabbit hole.

I think a world where worms can kill 50 million men, women and children in a year is far, far worse one than the one we are actually living in. At least we don’t have to worry about the imminent ascension of Cthulhu.

Obvious cut and past is obvious.

Copy-pasted from an earlier Vinurant at Quora, of which he evidently felt too proud to leave in decent obscurity.
For added hilarity, the Quora version begins by referring readers to another Vinurant in the BMJ Crank Letters section, about how influenza is evolving into Dengue fever (because vaccines).

Oh, that is just precious!

I have had both dengue and influenza. There is a reason dengue is called “bone break fever.” I would not wish it on anyone.

OT but I know that Orac and his minions like to laugh….

Helen Buyniski, a citizen journalist at PRN continues their long running “expose” of sceptics, SBM and Wikipedia and actually says something reality-based today when she describes Dr DG as being someone

” who appears to take great joy in verbosely mocking alternative medicine practitioners” ( in the paragraph about Chopra)

Too bad the rest of the articles rely upon fantasy, diversion, omission and alternate facts which they grind out like ( tainted vegan) sausages on a near weekly schedule.

Maybe the Germans in WWI came up with a secret immuno-weapon involving casein-fed helminths coated in latex, dropped over enemy lines.

Of course, no one would argue that getting enough sleep and exercise is a bad thing, least of all me

For values of “enough” that are asymptotically close to zero.

Of course we don’t know “everything’ about the immune system; but we don’t “everything” about our bodies; but, does that mean we should abandon all medicine until the day we know “everything?” The slippery slope logic of antivaccinationists. Among other things, we know how B-cells and T-cells don’t recognize whole microbes; but only the tiny fragments called antigenic determinants/epitopes and this is the basis of vaccinology, how to alert the immune system to particular antigenic determinants so that it is ready for a major onslaught. No different from how our immune system works when confronted by a wild-type fully virulent microbe, preparing us for a second attack; but with vaccines we reduce the risk, sometimes completely avoid, from the suffering, hospitalizations, disabilities, and deaths from the first episode. And on and on it goes. Compared to many medical interventions, our level of knowledge of how vaccines work is among the best. And with smallpox, an extremely distinct disease, easily recognized, one can follow the WHO vaccination campaign from country to country as it disappeared, including some of the absolute poorest countries on Earth. Nothing else happened that could explain this, not increases in nutrition, hygiene, etc.

As for the Cutter Incident, it happened in 1955. So, first, they ignore the history of medicine. What about the Massengill incident in 1938 where they marketed the new sulfanomide (antimicrobial) as a berry-flavored liquid, dissolving it in ethylene glycol, antifreeze? Hundreds died. Would antivaccinationists now want to ban all sulfonamides? How about toxic uremic syndrome caused by e-coli contaminated hamburger? Should we ban hamburger? The Cutter Incident says nothing about the polio vaccine. What is says is that any product not produced according to some standard can be harmful and the result was a strong increase in FDA regulations and oversight. And despite the tragedy of the Cutter Incident which resulted in 204 cases of paralysis and 10 deaths, that year, with the vaccine campaign continuing after the Cutter vaccine was pulled, the total number of cases of polio paralysis decreased by several thousand compared to previous years

I repeat a quote from Barbara Loe Fisher that I included in an article posted on SBM:

“Vaccination is a medical procedure that has been elevated to a sacrosanct status by those in control of the medical-model based health care system for the past two centuries. Vaccination is now being proclaimed as the most important scientific discovery and public health intervention in the history of medicine.

Using religious symbols and crusading language, medical scientists describe vaccination as the Holy Grail. Vaccines, they say, are going to eradicate all causes of sickness and death from the earth and anyone who doubts that is an ignorant fool.

In the 21st century, if you refuse to believe that vaccination is a moral and civic duty and dare to question vaccine safety or advocate for the legal right to decline one or more government recommended vaccines, you are in danger of being branded an anti-science heretic, a traitor and a threat to the public health. You are viewed as a person of interest who deserves to be humiliated, silenced and punished for your dissent. (Fisher, 2014).”

Really? Scientists are saying vaccines will wipe out “all causes of sickness and death”? Does this even sound rational?

As for Vinu Aruguham, guess he crawled out from under his rock. An example of someone who cherry picks information, either because he really doesn’t understand or is just delusional. Just not worth my time responding. For those interested in the immune system, a good start is a delightful little book:

Lauren Sompayrac’s (2016). How the Immune System Works (5th Edition).

@ Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH:

Unfortunately, many anti-vaxxers/ woo-meisters without education in the workings of the immune system may be drawn to it as a potential basis for spinning tales about its “link” to autism precisely because they have so little SB information: it can be a blank slate on which to draw their fantasies. Teresa Conrick is one of these inventers ( AoA). In fact today that site features links to both RFK jr’s latest musings ( with his newly renamed organisation) and the Autism Education Summit ( oddly written up two days before it begins) where so-called immunological therapies abound.

I always think that the quality of woo theories illustrates the initiator’s level of understanding.
You may enjoy their posturings.

Vinu: So why the heavy death toll during the
1918 pandemic flu?

Dude, I did a paper on this. First of all, the primitive state of medical care combined with a heavily.stressed and mobile population was a huge factor. Think soldiers returning from home and refugees. If World War 1 hadn’t occurred, it’s possible the 1918 flu would have been a particularly bad local blip.

Secondly, this particular virus could turn the human immune system against itself, and a nasty strain of pnuemonia usually followed a case of flu. Also, a few cities didn’t set up prompt quarantines, contributing to more deaths. That’s the nutshell explanation, since I don’t want to write a dissertation, but there you go, no worms required.

@ politicalguineapig85

Actually many of the deaths were from acute respiratory distress syndrome. Quite simply, the 1918 flu elicited an overreaction of the immune system, acute respiratory distress syndrome. When Vinu asks why such a heavy death toll from the 1918 pandemic, not much different from asking, for instance, why hollow point bullets kill more than other bullets, after all, they are all bullets. Every strain of every microbe has subtile differences that can elicit different effects. Yes, the state of medical care was primitive at the time; but even today, to save people from Hanta Virus Pulmonary syndrome (acute respiratory distress syndrome) we need ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) that keeps the patient alive until their own immune system revs up. Well, we didn’t have ECMO in 1918. And they foolishly allowed Liberty Bond rallies in parts of the country which spread the disease; but it would have been impossible to stop its spread of troop ships and in the trenches of World War I.

I guess that anti-vaxxers are out and about:

outside the supermarket, one of the most visible “free flu vaccine” signs was covered in thick white paint to cover it up. It was right on the street where you turned in so I guess whoever did it wanted to get away quickly. There were however ten more signs closer to the store.

Well of course a CDC shill would say that.

Never trust the CDC, unless you’re linking to their list of Vaccine Toxins.

Indeed. Lets inject every single person with a nostrum based on medical technology from the 19th century directly into their tissues, regardless of their current health status. What could go wrong? Maybe a bleeding and some leeches could be added for a complete 19th century medical trifecta!

And so little knowledge of medical history.

Dear Arzt, vaccines are no longer created on actual cows. It has been updated quite a bit.

Anaesthesia and asepsis were also developed in the 19th century. Let’s get rid of them too!

Thanks for the correction, Dr. Harrison. Although I’d quibble with the idea that the Liberty Bond rallies were such a large factor. And you’re ignoring civilian transports, which were a huge problem in port cities.

No, the Liberty Bond rallies weren’t a large factor; but an example of how the government initially responded to the pandemic and they certainly didn’t help. And I left out the crowded troop transports and basic training camps. However, one looks at it, Vinu is just delusional.

OT: Mike Adams has launched a CT sliming Christine Blasey Ford (Google her if you’ve been living under a rock, and don’t know who she is.) . Because, of course he would. From the NYT:

Mike Adams, a far-right blogger who is known for his promotion of pseudoscientific conspiracy theories, wrote on the website Natural News that “Blasey is a paid researcher for an abortion pill company with a lot to lose if Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Dr. Blasey did, in fact, work as the director of biostatistics for Corcept Therapeutics [maker of Korlym aka mifepristone, which] can, in fact, be prescribed in combination with another drug, misoprostol, to terminate pregnancies.

But Korlym… was developed to treat Cushing’s syndrome, a rare, potentially deadly condition that causes the body to produce excess cortisol. It is not promoted for use in medically induced abortions, and it is far more expensive than the usual drugs used in those procedures.

In addition, there is no evidence that Dr. Blasey ever researched the drug’s use in terminating pregnancies, or has anything to gain financially from court rulings on abortions.

This claim has been picked up “on right-wing websites like Gateway Pundit and World News Daily.”

Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion group, called Dr. Blasey an “abortion pimp.”… The unfounded theory about Dr. Blasey’s ties to an “abortion pill” provider is still traveling on Facebook. Gateway Pundit’s post has been shared nearly 20,000 times on Facebook, according to its website.

Right. Hasn’t Mike been fun lately?

I occasionally try to watch through an entire video but EVEN I have to quit.
I wonder if studies of demographics ( and I’m sure that they use them) on NN – as well as PRN- suggest that their audiences are NOT turned off by right wing BS. They used to be equal opportunity woo, appealing to hippies, yuppies and righties equally.
Adams supports Trump; Null quotes Tucker Carlson and RT.
Much more politics than woo it seems.

Adams supports Trump; Null quotes Tucker Carlson and RT.
Much more politics than woo it seems.

If you’re targetting Mormons in an affinity fraud, you spout LDS shibboleths. If you’re targetting gullible fearful / angry magical-thinking numpties, your patter is more about QAnon and Trump and Deep State.

I imagine that Republican-party professional fundraisers will sell mailing-lists of proven suckers.

You have a right to poison yourself and your minor children with vaccines; I reserve the right not to. If that bothers you so much, you have the problem, not me.

You are claiming that your rights override those of your children. There are laws in many countries (perhaps in yours, too) to protect children from parents such as you.

Please thank your responsible neighbors who protect children by vaccinating your families. You are literally a parasite on your community’s immunity to many disabling diseases.

You have a right to poison yourself and your minor children with vaccines; I reserve the right not to.

Well, they’re chattel, right? No problem. Do you eat vaccine-poisoned meat?

You have a right to poison yourself and your minor children with vaccines; I reserve the right not to.

What could go wrong? (It appears that two families have posed a major problem in the DRC Ebola outbreak.)

^More specifically:

[Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe, MD] also urged the media to stop stigmatizing the Beni population, noting that the city’s population has been very cooperative with response teams and that cases of resistance in Beni have been limited to one or two families that are linked to the spread of the virus to Butembo and Tchomia.

Cia “measles is good for you” Parker will doubtlessly be alarmed that a MERS-CoV vaccine (among other) is under development by Big pHARMa and the corrupt Oxford University. I mean, the camel-vectored disease doubtlessly prevents cancer or rhinitis or something.

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