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Harassment of doctors and grieving mothers: A feature, not a bug, of the antivaccine movement

Harassment of its opponents is a feature, not a bug, of the antivaccine movement, even if the victims are grieving mothers. The idea is to harass and intimidate their opponents into silence.

Antivaxers can be a nasty bunch. I’ve documented this time and time and time again, whether it be their violent rhetoric, their doxing and harassment of a 14-year-old boy for the “crime” of publishing pro-vaccine videos on Facebook, their encouraging attacks on pro-vaccine journalists, or their attacks on anyone who attempts to refute their misinformation. For example, I myself have hand antivaxers launch campaigns on more than one occasion to get me fired from my university job, one of which prompted my medical school dean to call me and ask me if I felt unsafe, and had >40 articles defaming me published by a certain website in a matter of a few months. That’s not counting the number of other articles written attacking me that now clog up Google searches on my name. Although it hasn’t been so bad for me lately (besides—thus far—only very rarely having had death threats directed at me, I suspect that antivaxers have finally figured out that I view their attacks as a badge of honor and that they don’t have any real leverage on me any more now that pretty much everyone knows who I am), it’s definitely gotten worse for others. The harassment is epic and sometimes very cruel, as two recent news stories demonstrate.

First, let’s look at the cruel, to which I was alerted by a CNN story yesterday about a sort of harassment that should never happen:

Not long ago, a 4-year-old boy died of the flu. His mother, under doctor’s orders, watched his two little brothers like a hawk, terrified they might get sick and die, too.

Grieving and frightened, just days after her son’s death she checked her Facebook page hoping to read messages of comfort from family and friends.

Instead, she found dozens of hateful comments: You’re a terrible mother. You killed your child. You deserved what happened to your son. This is all fake – your child doesn’t exist.

Bewildered and rattled, she closed her Facebook app.

A few days later she received a text message from someone named Ron. Expect more like this, Ron warned. Expect more.

The attacks were from those who oppose vaccination, and this mother, who lives in the Midwest, doesn’t want her name used for fear the attention would only encourage more messages.

Your first thought might be: How on earth could anyone be so cruel? This mother suffered the most devastating loss a parent can suffer, the loss of her child. Intentionally swooping in to launch a campaign of harassment against her in her moment of greatest emotional pain is cruel enough. However, there are a lot of cruel people online, including trolls who think it’s funny to do things like this. This was not just some random bunch of trolls, though. As mentioned above, this mother’s tormenters were antivaxers, and this tactic was quite deliberate. These monsters actually look for news stories about children who have died. When they learn of one, they do this:

Interviews with mothers who’ve lost children and with those who spy on anti-vaccination groups, reveal a tactic employed by anti-vaxers: When a child dies, members of the group sometimes encourage each other to go on that parent’s Facebook page. The anti-vaxers then post messages telling the parents they’re lying and their child never existed, or that the parent murdered them, or that vaccines killed the child, or some combination of all of those.

Nothing is considered too cruel. Just days after their children died, mothers say anti-vaxers on social media called them whores, the c-word and baby killers.

The mother in the Midwest, who wants to remain anonymous, isn’t alone.

Jill Promoli, who lives outside Toronto, lost her son to flu. She believes the anti-vaxers are trying to silence the very people who can make the strongest argument for vaccinations: those whose children died of vaccine-preventable illnesses.

This is exactly the point. These attacks are intentional and, if not organized, at least promoted by antivaxers, who encourage each other to attack parents in their moment of grief. Jill Promoli knows. She’s suffered the same loss. She’s gone one step further, though. She started a campaign named after her son, For Jude For Everyone, that promotes awareness of flu prevention and encourages, among other things, vaccination.

Indeed, if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that the parents who try to channel the grief from their loss into something productive, such as a campaign to promote vaccination, usually suffer the worst of it. The attacks on most parents of children who died usually subside relatively quickly. Having inflicted maximum pain, the antivaxers move on. However, parents who start campaigns to promote vaccination are perpetual targets, as long as their campaigns continue. At least, that’s been my unsystematic observation thus far.

The description in the CNN report of what Promoli and her family endured is heartbreaking. In May 2016 she put her two-year-old son Jude and his twin brother Thomas to bed. Jude had a low grade fever at the time but was laughing and behaving normally before his nap. When she went to check on him two hours later, he was dead.

Now, imagine for a moment the horror. Two hours ago, your son was laughing and singing when you put him in his crib. Sure, he had a low grade fever, but toddlers get those all the time and there was nothing to indicate that it was anything serious. When you go to wake him up, he won’t wake up, and you soon realize that he’s dead. Can you picture yourself in that situation? I can’t. I’ve tried, and I can’t. However horrible I imagine the experience, I’m quite sure that it’s a thousand time worse.

It gets worse. Ultimately, the autopsy showed that Jude had died of the flu. So Promoli channeled her grief into a campaign to raise awareness of how serious the flu is and to promote ways of preventing it, including vaccination. That’s when this happened:

Some anti-vaxers told her she’d murdered Jude and made up a story about the flu to cover up her crime. Others said vaccines had killed her son. Some called her the c-word.

The worst ones — the ones that would sometimes make her cry — were the posts that said she was advocating for flu shots so that other children would die from the shots and their parents would be miserable like she was.

“The first time it made me feel really sick because I couldn’t fathom how anybody could even come up with such a terrible claim,” Promoli said. “It caught me off guard in its cruelty. What kind of a person does this?”

What kind of person, indeed? And what kind of person does this same sort of thing to another parent, Serese Marotta, who lost her 5-year-old son to the flu in 2009? Marotta is now chief operating officer of Families Fighting Flu, a group that encourages flu awareness and prevention, including vaccination. In 2017, she posted a video on the eight anniversary of her son’s death. Her intent was to emphasize the importance of getting the flu vaccine.

The reaction by antivaxers was all too familiar:

“SLUT,” one person commented. “PHARMA WHORE.”

“May you rot in hell for all the damages you do!” a Facebook user wrote on another one of her posts.

She says a Facebook user in Australia sent her a death threat.

“She called me a lot of names I won’t repeat and used the go-to conspiracy theories about government and big pharma, and I responded, ‘I lost a child,’ and questioned where she was coming from, and she continued to attack me,” said Marotta, who lives in Syracuse, New York.

My only annoyance with CNN is that, although it included a screenshot of what I presume to be the Australian woman mentioned above, it blurred out the name of the woman heaping the abuse on Marotta. From my perspective, such people need to be named and shamed if possible—always.

CNN interviewed some antivaxers, and the results are, not surprisingly, a mixture of notpologies, denial, claims that they “don’t condone” such behavior. For instance, CNN checked in with a particularly odious antivaxer, Larry Cook, who founded Stop Mandatory Vaccination. His excuse? It’s just too much to shut such plotting to attack mothers of dead children down:

In an email to CNN, he wrote that members of his group make more than half a million comments on the group’s Facebook page each month.

“Any discussions about parents who lose their children after those children are vaccinated would be minor in number, and even smaller would be the number of members reaching out to parents in private message to share their concerns that vaccines may have played a role in a death,” Cook wrote.

“I do not condone violent behavior or tone and encourage decorum during discussion,” Cook wrote, adding that anyone “who deliberately engage[s] in the politics of advocating for compulsory vaccination where children may be further damaged through government vaccine mandates can expect push back and resistance, alongside knowledgable discussions about vaccine risk in social media commentary.”

Ah, yes. I don’t condone such behavior, but I can “understand” how it would happen. That’s the lamest, most disingenuous dodge ever, but, then, Cook is an antivaxer. Also note how he only says he “doesn’t condone violent behavior or tone,” a signal that he probably doesn’t have a problem with antivaxers “reaching out” to harass the parents of children who died. Not surprisingly, he also launched into some prime whataboutism, pointing out that members of his group have been “targets of harassment campaigns.” You want to know the difference? Those of us who support science and children’s health will unequivocally condemn such behavior when we are made aware of it, which I do right now. We don’t respond with disingenuous “condemnations” that aren’t really, the way Cook does.

Of course, another antivax leader pulled out the defense beloved of conspiracy theorists everywhere, the “false flag operation” defense. I couldn’t tell for sure from the way the article was written whether it was Del Bigtree making this defense, but it looked as though it was and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was. Yes, according to this line of antivaccine “thought” there are pro-vaccine advocates out there starting harassment campaigns against antivaxers just to mke them look bad. Alex Jones and Mike Adams would be proud!

Then Del Bigtree destroyed another one of my irony meters, blowing it to smithereens and leaving nothing but pools of molten metal and insulation pathetically bubbling in the wreckage:

“I tell everybody that you should look at the person you’re talking to and those on the other side of this discussion and recognize that they care about children, too,” said Del Bigtree, chief executive officer of the Informed Consent Action Network.

That must be why Bigtree portrays those who support vaccines and vaccine mandates apocalyptic terms in which he talks about how he and his comrades need to die for liberty if necessary fighting us evil pro-vexers. Let me remind you what he once said:

If we do not fight now, then there will be nothing left to fight for. And I think that is where everyone in this room, I pray you realize how important you are in this historic moment. We will never be stronger than we are right now. We will never be healthier than we are right now. Our children are looking like this, a generation of children, as we’ve said on The Doctors television show this is the first generation of children that will not live to be as old as their parents. Are we going to stand…are we going to sit down and take it? Or are we going to stand up and say: This is a historic moment, that my forefathers, those from Jefferson all the way to Martin Luther King, the moments where people stood up and something inside of them said I’m going to stand for freedom and I’m going to stand for it now. That is in our DNA. It is pumping through me, and I pray that you feel it pumping through you, because we must look back. Our grandchildren will look back and thank us for having stood up one more time and been the generation that said, “We the People of the United States of America stood for freedom, stand for freedom. We will die for freedom today.

That sure doesn’t sound like something someone who thinks that those “on the other side of this discussion” actually “care about children too” would say. That’s not even counting other times when he’s likened SB 277, the California law that eliminated personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates, to fascism, asking “What were the Jewish people thinking when the Nazis took over?” Yes, calling those supporting laws designed to increase vaccine uptake Nazis is a great way of showing that you appreciate that those “on the other side of this discussion” actually “care about children too.”

That’s not all. Besides likening those promoting vaccination to Nazis during the Holocaust, Bigtree has also likened them to slave owners and slavery advocates before the Civil War (even explicitly saying that parents and children are being “enslaved”), and to whites in South Africa during apartheid, with he and his brave band of antivaccine activists being the Jews, the slaves, and the blacks, respectively, in those historical events. Unfortunately, when you compare those who disagree with you to Nazis, slave owners, and whites enforcing apartheid and those people happen to be pro-vaccine advocates looking for strategies to increase vaccine uptake, it’s hard not to conclude that you don’t really believe that those those “on the other side of this discussion” actually “care about children too,” all your high-sounding protestations otherwise notwithstanding.

Nor is this harassment of grieving mothers an accident. As Erin Costello, a former bartender and current stay-at-home mom in Utica, NY (and the “Ron” who texted the grieving mother at the beginning of the story to warn her to expect more antivax attacks) discovered by lurking in antivaccine Facebook pages, this sort of harassment is encouraged and often coordinated.

The other part of the article mentions others who have been harassed, whose names will be familiar to anyone who’s been a regular reader of this blog: Dorit Reiss, a professor at UC Hastings School of Law; Paul Offit, who needs no introduction; Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at the Baylor College of Medicine who wrote a book about his daughter called Vaccines did not Cause Rachel’s Autism; and, of course Sen. Richard Pan, the pediatrician-turned state senator in California who was one of the two architects of SB 277. I note that in November, I met both Drs. Hotez and Pan at a meeting where we were all on a panel about vaccine hesitancy and antivaxers. The organizers and hotel management were on high alert, expecting antivaxers to make trouble. Fortunately, only a couple showed up, and neither gained admission to the meeting.

Going beyond the CNN article, I noted this:

Yes, this happens all too frequently.

Also this:

Dr. Dana Corriel wrote on Facebook in September that the flu vaccine had arrived and encouraged patients to come to her office for a shot.

Within hours, the post was flooded with thousands of comments from people opposed to vaccines. Corriel initially decided to allow the postings to continue, hoping to use the moment to educate people about the importance of immunizations.

Bad idea:

But then she began to feel threatened. People she had never treated gave her one-star ratings online. Commenters called her a “pharma vaccine whore” and a “child killer,” according to screenshots shared with The Times. Someone looked up her office address in New York City and mailed her an anti-vaccine book.

“That was a little too close to home,” said Corriel, an internal medicine physician. “I held out for a few days, but I couldn’t take the attention and all the craziness and I deleted the post.”

Chad Hermann, communications director for Kids Plus Pediatrics, a Pittsburgh practice that faced one of these online attacks in 2017 and then began tracking them, described the attacks on his practice thusly:

In August 2017, Hermann posted a video on the Kids Plus Pediatrics Facebook page that touted the benefits of the vaccine that protects against the sexually transmitted disease HPV, which can cause cancer.

For three weeks, the comments on the video were all positive, he said. Then the video was shared in a closed Facebook group called Vaccine Choices — Fact VS Fiction, which has nearly 42,000 members.

Over the next six days, he said, the video drew more than 10,000 anti-vaccine comments. Negative reviews dropped the practice’s Google rating from 4.6 to less than one star, Hermann said.

“We’re in WW3,” said one anti-vaccine commenter, likening the immunization debate to a world war. “The militaries around the world need to get together and stop this insanity.”

Hermann said most of the commenters didn’t live in Pennsylvania, and some didn’t even live in the United States. The biggest concentrations were from California, the Florida Panhandle, Ohio, Texas and Oregon, Hermann said.

“They’re coordinating attacks and sending the troops,” Hermann said.

That’s exactly what they’re doing. They also flood various doctor rating websites claiming to be patients and leaving really negative reviews. I’ve had that happen to me a number of times as well. One time I remember in particular mentioned that I seemed to be more interested in my blog than in her. I knew right away that that was a fake review because I never discuss my blogs when seeing patients unless the patient mentions it first, which is rarely, and even then I’m reluctant to say much about it because the focus needs to be on the patient and I feel a bit funny talking about my blogs in the context of a patient visit.

Hermann and Dr. Todd Wolynn, the pediatrician for whom he works, have spoken at conferences to encourage doctors to stay strong. and are working on a pro bono project to help physicians called “Shots Heard Round the World.” It provides tips on how to ban commenters, disable Facebook ratings, and call in reinforcements; i.e., science advocates. I hope the project is a success.

All of this is why, whenever I see antivaxers complaining about “suppression” of their speech by nefarious fascistic “provaxers,” I laugh derisively. After all, what is the purpose of engaging in harassment campaigns against grieving mothers of dead children, doctors who write pro-vaccine editorials, doctors who defend vaccination against antivax misinformation, and pediatricians and other doctors who encourage vaccination on their social media pages, but to intimidate them into silence? It’s a feature, not a bug, and it is planned and coordinated.

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]

159 replies on “Harassment of doctors and grieving mothers: A feature, not a bug, of the antivaccine movement”

I suspect until we are able to see that doctors stop ignoring vaccine injured kids and their parents, denying that vaccine injured kids exist and their parents are not lying, you may continue to see this type of behavior from some parents who feel betrayed by the medical establishment.

We cannot deny or confirm that a specific kid was injured or not. However, we can factually see in epidemiological studies whether or not vaccines cause autism statistically. And we haven’t seen it. Ipso facto, most parents of “vaccine injured” children are delusional. (By the way, doing delusional is not always tantamount to being a liar.)

This is a statement about a group and not about a specific individual parent. However, this should make them pause for concern: if so many such parents are delusional, it is more than likely that children who are really injured by vaccines (not autism, please…) will get lost among the noise made by other delusional parents. That’s a really hefty price to pay for public hysteria…

And harassment is not OK.

Well you have to call out delusions when they are delusions. Not doing so is irresponsible.

Right and so this will continue until there is a clear winner and a clear loser.

You cannot win against the medical establishment. Trust me. I tried.

You will be the clear loser, I hate to tell you.

A hymn for David:

Perfect example, measles is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Millions will get it, hundreds will die
What do I care if I skip a vaccine

Heir of rubella, now ASD
Why can’t they sue the VICP?
How can I cope with my own foolish pride?
Hide in the herd, I”m free for the ride.


Ipso facto, most parents of “vaccine injured” children are delusional.

I seem to recall that the commentariat went for “deluded” last time around.

Right and so this will continue until there is a clear winner and a clear loser.

It’s occurring because there is a “clear winner,” Ball.

Until Organised Antivaxx stops preying on “vaccine victims” and using them for profit and gain, I don’t see this behaviour stopping. Well, perhaps with a big enough outbreak – there is no education as effective as the disease.

But surely you know that parents recollections are more valid than mathematics? Not to mention the people who think we should include autism diagnoses up to seven years after vaccination as caused by vaccination.

There are times where severely transgressing public moral or legal rules is the right thing to do.

This is not one of them.

David Ball, do you think children should be protected against tetanus?

Yes or No?

Do you mean artificially protected with a product that has many other risk factors of its own other than tetanus? Maybe some children/parent would consider those risks given the potential for tetanus infection. Most children I would say they should be protected through natural methods of exposure. Its in their best interest to build their immune systems naturally. Just like everything else in life. If you cheat there will be consequences later.

“Its in their best interest to build their immune systems naturally.”

How do you know???

I do agree that medicine sometimes overreaches, but I do not see that in this case.

So you really a sadistic child hater. I can’t say “lying”, but totally cruel and sadistic. You must have really enjoyed reading about a six year old boy spending several weeks in the hospital due to tetanus.

Wow. Just wow.

Haven’t been able to find videos of tetanus crisis on the Internet. Found this.

Two points: (1) natural immunization to tetanus is weaker than the vaccine’s immunization. (2) with urban lifestyle, less opportunities to acquire natural immunity than with a rural lifestyle (where natural immunization rates are already low…)

Yes, tetanus. Natural exposure vs. artificial exposure.

So everybody’s supposed to go live in the woods like bunny rabbits and hope for shit and spores? You’re cute when backed into a corner, to the extent that bleeding, prolapsed hemorrhoids can be cute.

Most children I would say they should be protected through natural methods of exposure. Its in their best interest to build their immune systems naturally.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Catching a disease to get immunity to it is like burning something to fireproof it.
Even today, the diseases we vaccinate against can kill, or cause negative sequelae like lung damage (Pertussis and Tuberculosis), sterility (Mumps), brain damage (Measles), organ damage (diphtheria), cancer (Hepatitis B and HPV), miscarriages (Rubella) or paralysis (Poliomyelitis). You want people to forego a medical procedure that has a rate of bad side effects under 1 in a million and has sent disease rates into freefall to gain “natural immunity” and risk those sequelae.

@David Ball:

Who said anything about catching a disease?

You did, when you mentioned “natural exposure”. That’s just a euphemism for catching a disease.

If only it were the antivax parents and zealots who were the ones who got lockjaw, not their children.

Right, the cruel personal attacks on grieving parents are the fault of doctors advocating for vaccination with facts instead of rumors and false suppositions. Not the scumbags who send those messages.
Reminds me of a certain Australian senator, who blamed the New Zealand mosque massacre on immigration of Muslim people, not the scumbag who shot and killed 50 people.

Should we expect any better from an antivax fanatic?

While you deny actual disease injury:


And don’t forget the Oregon boy who spent weeks in an ICU due to tetanus.

Only a sadistic child hater would think that should be the normal. Mr. Ball, why do you hate children and science?

So, it’s okay to torture the parents of dead children if you think the medical establishment has been mean to you?

Of course! The best way to prove you’re not deluded is to make up vicious lies about mourning parents! Just ask the “David Ball.”

Meanwhile, real parents of autistic children like Matt Carey and Peter Hotez fight for children’s health by exposing lies – which makes the haters very, very angry. SAD!

Why does anyone here even bother arguing with scum like “David Ball”? He and his ilk are ghouls who get off on people debating with them about their deadly idiocy. If Orac won’t ban them, like he recently did with “Greg”, the least we can do is not engage them. I guarantee that they will stop infesting this site if the rest of us stop giving them the attention that their twisted selves crave.

I am not arguing with him. I am asking him questions about why he thinks kids should get sick. Plus calling him a lying sadistic child hater.

If he is offensive enough, I will pull out the trolling song.

But your point is well taken. He is more of an “insult and runaway” troll. He has only recently engaged in dialog. But that “dialog” has been pathetic. It is like he is out of his depth and does not have a clue. He is a perfect chew toy.

He and his ilk are ghouls who get off on people debating with them about their deadly idiocy.

Tish, tosh. Ball is generally of the persistent hit-and-run variety. What was it, three scattershot? I imagine a fainting couch was involved in this this gusher.

“Right and so this will continue until there is a clear winner and a clear loser.”

This isn’t a competition. We aren’t opposing “teams.” Denying what the data from studies have shown to be true doesn’t make someone the competition, it makes them our (by “our” I mean of all humans) weak spot. This is kind of the problem though with science deniers. They’re the only ones looking at this like it’s a game and they play it like it’s “Fantasy Football.” They aren’t the ones jumping in and doing all the work. Instead, they pick and choose which public figures are on their team and try and make a profit or a name for themselves off of other people’s stats.

Larry Cook not only allowed these, he initiated more than one attack on mothers that post stories of children harmed by preventable diseases (I’m not as confident about mothers who lost children). He does it by posting a comment on the mother’s timeline, then copying the comment to his group – Stop Mandatory Vaccines – with a link to the post and words that criticize it. He doesn’t say “go get her”, but it’s pretty clear that if he is not implying it, he can at least except it.

His answer is extremely disingenuous.

We will die for freedom today.

For certain values of “today,” I take it.

Can we all just have a good laugh at this quote here?
““We’re in WW3,” said one anti-vaccine commenter, likening the immunization debate to a world war. “The militaries around the world need to get together and stop this insanity.””

As though militaries aren’t one the forefront of making sure everyone in the military is vaccinated. As though most soldiers before WWII (WWI?) didn’t die of infectious diseases rather than actual military engagement.

That’s just some staggering ignorance right there.

Depressing post but well written, Orac. It’s time to make the CDC recommended vaccines mandatory and free. Should there be a corporate flat tax for community immunity in the United States? Yes!

“Someone looked up her office address in New York City and mailed her an anti-vaccine book.”

As a physician who experienced this (after writing a pro-immunization letter to the editor of my local newspaper) I didn’t find it especially alarming, though I felt just the slightest bit queasy opening the package. It did give me an opportunity to write a scorching online review of the antivax book.

On the other hand, antivaxers writing phony negative practice reviews on doctor rating sites and hurling invective in Facebook comments are engaging in truly reprehensible and sleazy behavior.

Meanwhile: “Gov. Matt Bevin said in a radio interview Tuesday that he deliberately exposed all nine of his children to chickenpox so they would catch the disease and become immune.

“Every single one of my kids had the chickenpox,” Bevin said in an interview with WKCT, a Bowling Green talk radio station. “They got the chickenpox on purpose because we found a neighbor that had it and I went and made sure every one of my kids was exposed to it, and they got it. They had it as children. They were miserable for a few days, and they all turned out fine.

In the interview, Bevin also suggested that the government stay out of mandating vaccines.””

Hopefully the shingles vaccine will be even better, and his children have the sense to receive it, and will not end up hating their by then probably dead father.

Am beginning to think about a mechanism, where say vaccines are not mandatory, but that immunizations are free to all, but there would be a administration charge ( processing fee ) of some significant dollars for those that opt out.

The sense and the luck to receive it. I’ve been trying to find someplace in my county with the Shingrix vaccine in stock for at least 6 months, with no luck. And a much younger friend of mine had shingles twice before she was 30 — her doctor told her there’s no point in her getting the vaccine when she reaches the minimum recommended age.

On the way to the library today I listened to the most recent This American Life episode:

Apparently the antivaccine bunch like David Ball and the ones who harass parents of children who died from actual diseases are very similar to the ones who harass parents whose children have been gunned down at school.

Also, Jon Ronson has a very good report on Alex Jones. Who was one of the persons Ronson interacted with for his book Them.

That does not surprise me in the least, these people, if you’ll excuse me, are utter scum. They remind me of the religious nutjob family who used to (maybe still do) protest soldier funerals with their hateful placards.

Though why Facebook, Amazon, YouTube and other platforms give taciturn approval to them is more a mystery

Ah, the Westboro Baptist Church. They still try to do that crap. Thankfully there are people that are willing to meet them head on and diffuse their protests peacefully.

You can’t reason with such people. You can’t win an argument when the other team sticks their fingers in their ears and hums every time you say something. Oh you may be 100% correct in what you are saying but these people don’t care, they have found an place where they can let all that is twisted and wrong inside themselves out to play with no consequences to themselves and they don’t care that they hurt others. The people they target aren’t real to them just names and internet addresses.

To introduce a little light onto this sad, sad topic here is Monty Python prefiguring internet “discussions” long before the internet was a thing. Enjoy:

MJD: It’s time to make the CDC recommended vaccines mandatory and free. Should there be a corporate flat tax for community immunity in the United States? Yes!

What exactly is your game, here? Everyone here knows you hate vaccines and also have a weird latex fetish. So why are you pretending to support vaccines now?

I have to admit, universal health insurance would be nice. But it’s never gonna happen in the US, unless we lose a few states.

Yes, I know I shouldn’t feed the troll, but I am kinda morbidly curious as to his ‘change.’ And the only thing more annoying than an anti-vaxxer is one that continually talks out of both sides of their mouth.

PGP writes,

Yes, I know I shouldn’t feed the troll, but I am kinda morbidly curious as to his ‘change.’

MJD says,

Q. How is a “vaccine safety advocate” like a tree.

A. Both branch out for the betterment of the individual and community.

How is a “vaccine safety advocate” like a tree

Interesting analogy, but not for the reasons you believe..

The only reason a tree – or any plant – is branching out is for utterly selfish purposes: namely, to steal the spotlight – I mean, the sunlight – from anyone around.

Q. How is a “vaccine safety advocate” like a tree.

We’re happy when they leave.

@ MJD:

I wouldn’t so openly display analogies if I were you because there are some people here who can evaluate how these creations relate to your other abilities and you might not like what they think.
It might be better to say what you mean straight rather than decorate with verbal frippery.

TBruce (minion #2) writes,

We’re happy when they leave.

MJD says,

A brilliant response, using just five (5) words, showing the highest-quality respectful insolence.

@ PGP:

Hello! I’m glad to see you back. I think that you always had something to offer, are a really FIERCE sceptic and supporter of SBM even though I may not agree with you on certain issues or on style. So what? I am not the final arbiter. You illustrate that sceptics do not walk in lockstep.

During your absence some issues arose that seemed right up your alley, discussed here and in the general commons. I think you know what I mean. I’m sure you have lots to say about #MeToo, incels. Trumpism and the state of Minnesota.

What brought you back? Was it Greg’s persistent inept reasoning? Or MJD’s ?

“You illustrate that sceptics do not walk in lockstep.”

Yes and no. While I’m more or less happy that PGP usually supports the political side I view as correct, a) she does not really seem to offer good reasons, b) she tends to say needlessly hateful things about people, needless even if those people are doing wrong, and most importantly c) assumes those that disagree with her are mindless hateful zombies and nothing else.

With regard to PGP, she typically seems to be basically the same as our Mr. (slime)Ball, just with a different tribe. The above reply to the tedious fool is an exception, with points worth making.

@ RJ:

I know she’s not there yet but she’s rather young and may still be able to learn. I think that she holds Orac as a good source and role model – she can benefit from him and others here. If we want to teach/ affect alties who are WAY off from SBM shouldn’t we try – and be patient with- someone who is already a sceptic in many ways?

It’s more about social/ political/ demographic issues that she may need assistance than with general SBM.
Notice that although she went overboard, she brought up important issues here long ago that are reflected in the current atmosphere of #MeToo, incels, men’s rights, rape culture etc.

I can’t find the words to express how awful these parents must feel to have lost their children and then to be so cruelly attacked. I am glad that outlets like CNN are shining some light on these heinous activities perpetuated by anti-vaxxers. The anti-vaxxers will get attention all right, just not the kind they want.

If pro-vaxxers would react in the same fashion as anti-vaxxers, they would compare not vaccinating your child with sending it outside, to play in the snow without properly being dressed, or even sending it into a shooting without a bulletproof vest.
And no, I’m not comfortable with these comparisons, just as I’m not comfortable with comparing vaccinations with rape, pedophilia or the holocaust.

We don’t harrass people who are not vaccinating their child. We even don’t harrass the parents of Ezekiel, who died of an vaccine-preventable disease.

Alas I don’t speak French, but it is something I never heard about and I live in Europe. I suppose what is mentioned is an exeption and not a rule.

It’s the rule in the sense that it’s the law. Whether or not it’s consistently applied is not something I could vouch for. However you do find other cases.

They were initially threatened with another child abuse law (medical neglect) that could go up to 2 years prison and 30000 euros fine. Finally, the case was requalified under the law that mentioned 6 months prison and 3750 euros fine, that’s specific to vaccination.

I didn’t know that. Are those rules in conjunction with the EU or purely national?
Drama queens is correct!

I suppose these rules are purely national. And because I don’t read French it is pretty hard for me to comment on it. I still suppose this would be special cases, because if everyone in France, who wouldn’t vaccinate their children, would be prosecuted, I think there would be more fuzz about it. Part of the yellow vests (Gilettes Jaunes) movement is also against vaccinations.

Parts of my own country (The Netherlands) have large groups that don’t vaccinate. It is part of religious freedom.

I must say you have a long and admirable tradition of religious freedom in the Netherlands.

@ Renate:

And the Dutch tradition of tolerance, religious freedom and enterprise continues to be represented in New World areas originally settled by the Dutch in what recent writers ( ” 11 Nations”) have re-named “New Amsterdam” ( from the old “Nieu Amsterdam”) – we also have “blue laws”, are solidly “blue” ( liberal) and have great ancient stone houses still standing.

And the Dutch tradition of tolerance

I thought the Pilgrims were driven out of the Netherlands to the New World after having fled England for the Netherlands.

@ Narad:

Well, at least they were better than the English.

And look what we’ve got now!
New Netherlands!** NY, NJ :
Liberal-topia! Multi-cuturalism! Gender-freedom! Universities! Craft beer! Nearly legal pot! Expensive stuff! Money!

BUT SRSLY: where else IS there? ( Other than SF?)

** the Eleven Nations idea/ map is interesting

I have long held the view that the Dutch achieved tolerance in the homeland by sending all the intolerant right wingers to the New World. This comes from having lived in an area with a fairly high number of Dutch immigrants who cling to their conservative views and intolerant religion. When I hear a story of some new player upon the public stage of religious intolerance or extreme social conservatism, I generally expect a Dutch name to go with it. Sometimes I’m wrong. The infamous Jim Keegsra was the prototypical case for me..

Mr. Ball:

Cancer is natural. Great White Sharks are natural. Rabies is natural. Killers, all.

One of my favorite memes depicts an early human: “Drank clean water from streams. Ate free range meat. Breathed clean air. Dead at 35.”

Nature is a violent, bloodthirsty horror show. It is out to kill us all. Why don’t you and others like you understand this?

JeffM: Because he lives in artificial isolation from nature, secure in his cocoon of technology, and thus able to laugh at the dangers that his ancestors built technology (such as vaccines) to protect from. Put him in the woods for a few hours without artificial supports, and he’d be whining a different song.

Most of the ‘nature’ that US residents, particularly the reasonably affluent anti-vaxxers, experience is tamed nature. Parks, maintained woodlands, nature where the most dangerous flora and fauna have been curtailed.

It’s easy for anyone, including anti-vaxxers, to get ‘out into nature’ here in the San Francisco Bay Area – and it’s a de-fanged nature.

@ Roadstergal:

There’s a similar phenomenon here since the 1970s-80s? where city folk with money wanted to “go back to the land” and live closer to nature. Some of the loons I survey advocate ‘homesteading’. Get a goat or a horse. Grow your own crops.

Right. So a lawyer and her husband, a banker, start an organic farm upstate or live on partially wooded acreage near Woodstock. Just like it was 1872, before toxins polluted the land and the soil died.
But it isn’t because they rely upon technology and don’t need to support themselves through farming.. There are a few wineries which are more concerned with presenting entertainment and cuisine on weekends than with making wine. Also breweries, distilleries, cider orchards.

I think that, like parts of the Bay Area, natural often involves weed.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that

Yep, farm life. Natural vs. artificial with a host of other side effects……

There are positive health sides to farm life. Not disputed. But…not everyone lives in a farm. Some people just live in shitholes and we have to think about them too.

(And still I’d advise to get immunized).

Like I said parents would need to decide, if they want to chance that they may or may not ever contact tetanus vs something artificial that you most certainly will come in conctact with that has many other risks. Like these –

You’re just frightening yourself by looking at all that’s artificial. Your fears do not hold water.

Whether or not vaccines should be compulsory is in the end a moral issue (on which I’m pretty sure you won’t have the upper hand). That being said, recognizing that it in the end is a moral issue does not exonerate anyone from misrepresenting or denying the science.

Because science, in the end, is the only thing holding back physicians from doing what they want in the name of what’s good for you. You should fear more than anything else physicians who would claim to do good while simultaneously confusing their own imagination with science. These would be deadly individuals.

Dear Sadistic Torturing Child Hater Who Lives Under a Rock Bridge: Tripedia was discontinued eight years ago:

In the future stick to PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers not on the Dwoskin payroll who understand the significance of those highlighted “scary words” that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the disease.

Let me repeat: Tripedia is no longer on the market.

Mr. Ball, you are a sick sadistic child torturing troll. This is what you get for telling us that children should get “natural immunity” for tetanus.

Do what ever you want with your kids. If you think thats whats best for them, be my guest. I was asked a question about tetanus and I answered with what the way I handle it. Luckily in this country you can still live your own life and make your own choices that don’t mimic mine. Sadly the medical establishment and some folks like you want to have their way with my body. Thats a no-can-do for me.

And if and when children you do not protect get tetanus, and suffer horrendously in the hospital for a long time, assuming they survive, you can demand that the state and others foot the bill for your free choice to fail to protect them, like the Oregon couple did.

Exactly. Those who do not vaccinate are a financial drain of their community, along with being parasites on the immunity provided by their responsible neighbors who vaccinate.

Except that does not work for tetanus, which is in the environment.

Mr. Ball, you are not in a good position to comment on the rest of us who understand the science, the economics and actually feel that children should not suffer.

Except for the fact that you cannot prove your vaccines prevent immunity to anything.

…you cannot prove your vaccines prevent immunity to anything.

Very poor choice of words. I assume you meant that “vaccines cause immunity”. And you’re wrong.
1) Smallpox and Rinderpest were driven into extinction by vaccination, and we can prove that.
2) Every time a vaccine against a disease that was hitherto not vaccinated against is introduced, a pattern occurred. The disease in question went into freefall after a few years. Not only that, but since vaccines are introduced in different countries at different times, we can see this effect across different countries as vaccines are introduced onto schedules.
3) When vaccination programs break down or people stop vaccinating, the diseases come storming back. After the Soviet Union disintegrated, there were massive diphtheria outbreaks in the former Soviet states. Syria had a polio outbreak during the civil war. In all of the recent outbreaks in the US, a disproportionate number of infected people were unvaccinated.
There are none so blind as those who will not see, so I expect you to once again deny the evidence.

1) Smallpox and Rinderpest were driven into extinction by vaccination, and we can prove that.

Go ahead and prove it. I’ll wait.


Thanks to the development of the Plowright vaccine, the world stands on the verge of total elimination of rinderpest. FAO officials report that the disease now persists only in parts of the Sudan, Somalia and Pakistan. Assuming that other areas do not become infected, FAO further predicts that it may cost as little as US$3 million to eradicate the virus completely.

That was shortly before Rinderpest was driven extinct.

Rinderpest is a disease caused by a virus so as such there is no antibiotic available to treat disease once established. The only measure that works involves vaccination of animals to induce a protective antibody response, so that they become immune to later infection or in fact administration of serum from recovered animals.

Dear Sadistic Child Hater:
It is very difficult to get natural immunity to tetanus, even if you survive it. Narad post a study:

You obviously do not understand that 30% immunity is not good. Plus the fact tetanus actually kills, with over one in ten will a very painful death:

Lock jaw is not a joke.

You are now considered a Sadistic Child Torturing Troll, go back under your bridge:

Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Though the threads are swollen
Keep them comments trollin’,

Cherry pick!
(Head em’ up!)
Move goalposts!
(Move ’em on!)
More insults!
(Head em’ up!)
Make stuff up!
(Paste ’em in!)
Change topics!
(Cut em’ out!)
Whine some more!
Paste ’em in,
Keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
Though they’re disaprovin’
Keep them comments trollin”,
Don’t try to understand ’em
Just rope, laugh, and ignore ’em
Soon we’ll be discussin’ right without ’em

In all my years, I’ve never heard about one case of tetanus or lock jaw you mention.

Then you are living under a rock, and an example of why anecdotes are data. And do not know how to click on the links I provided you, especially this case:

Did you even bother to click on the CDC report at all? It is an example why your experience is not data.

Ignoring that Oregon child, and the baby who had a stroke due to chicken pox (given you that link multiple times) is why you are a Sadistic Torturing Child Hater.

In all my years, I’ve never heard about one case of tetanus or lock jaw you mention.

Hmmm, I wonder why? Think it might have something to do with almost everyone getting the tetanus vaccine in childhood?

Nice own goal, dude.

“Hmmm, I wonder why? Think it might have something to do with almost everyone getting the tetanus vaccine in childhood?

Nice own goal, dude.”


Not anecdote, actual data. From one of the CDC PInk Book appendices:
Now for tetanus:
2000_____35____ 5____1950____486____336
2001_____37____ 5____1951____506____394
2002_____25____ 5____1952____484____360
2003_____20____ 4____1953____506____337
2004_____34____ NA___1954____524____332
2005_____27____ NA___1955____462____265
2006_____41____ NA___1956____468____246
Total___219____19 or more___3436___2270

Check it out yourself, oh sadistic child torturer:

Since you do not know how to click on a link, here is the pertinent paragraph:

A marked decrease in mortality from tetanus occurred from the early 1900s to the late 1940s. In the late 1940s, tetanus toxoid was introduced into routine childhood immunization and tetanus became nationally notifiable. At that time, 500-600 cases (approximately 0.4 cases per 100,000 population) were reported per year.

And the graph:

Now pony up that PubMed indexed study by reputable qualified researchers not on the Dwoskin payroll that the DTaP vaccines presently used the USA cause more harm than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

Not only is Mr. Ball a sadistic child hater, but he is dumber than the rock he lives under.

That fool does not know how to click a link, nor understand how medical statistics work.

Yep, farm life.

Sure thing. I’ll note that it took quite a while for the callers to correctly identify Arnold Ziffel in last Sunday’s Minds over Matter from KALW.

The medical establishment was here when you were born. The medical establishment will be here when you die. It’s not that want to have their way with your body, It’s that they WILL have their way with your body. It’s indeed only a question of time till something happens to you.

Live a happy life. While it lasts. With a bit of luck you’ll avoid the medical establishment with a sudden brutal death, hopefully for you.

(And yes, my pseudonym is a testimony to the fact that I indeed am a very sick puppy. Google it.)

My mom was a proper Michigan farm girl. We were all fully vaccinated, because nobody has the time or patience for someone to have to avoid dirt and rusty metal because they’re vulnerable to tetanus, or to take time off to be sick if it could be avoided. Only a city slicker would think farmers have any tolerance for ‘natural immunity’ if the alternative is available.

Ooooh! We have a gambler here. A Sadistic Child Hater who gambles with his kids’ health.

Let’s see what those numbers you are depending on! Are you good at the slot machine, or are the chances the house will win? Just produce the PubMed indexed studies from reputable qualified researchers not on the Dwoskin payroll that show the present American DTaP vaccines (which does not include Tripedia) cause more harm than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

Yeah, all three diseases. Show us why it is better to get immunity to all three diseases than that vaccine. Oh, something you should know, even after coughing your lungs out for two months with pertussis, you can get it again after just five years. So much for that “perfect immunity”:
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 May;24(5 Suppl):S58-61.
Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination.

Subscribing so naively to direct realism puts you in the same league as flat earthers.

That type of denial is so common in child abuse cases, whatever their nature. Weirdly, I’m not comfortable with sentencing offenders, as I do not believe it serves a clear purpose other than punitive atonement. Believing that such laws achieve anything at preventing child abuse seems to me like a huge fallacy where everyone ends up being a loser. Pyrrhic victory.

Though in the case of that family, the safety of the remaining children was in jeopardy. At least a minimum would be to remove them from the parents.

Even after jail time, the father is still dangerous.

“Even after jail time, the father is still dangerous.”

Which makes my point about the futility of prison.

“At least a minimum would be to remove them from the parents.”

Very likely, yes. Though I’d hate to evaluate this decision on gut feelings only. My opinion concerning these type of decisions is that the science is rather weak, or rather that it’s subject to highly motivated reasoning. Child abuse is a very complex topic.

Sometimes it takes jail time and the deaths of several children over decades for some to learn. My stepmother was a proponent of prayer for healing. I could never abide that since I lived in a region where there was quite a bit of publicity about a town where there so many tiny graves in its cemetery:

I have a child with multiple medical issues, and have spent many a night with him in a hospital. Fortunately he is much better, especially after open heart surgery. So I am not terribly fond of those who are medically negligent.

I also was not fond of my stepmother praising some invisible sky friend for improvements of my kid’s health.

Whether we are fond or not of such or such type of abuse has unfortunately little to do with whether CPS and the judicial system’s decisions are right or wrong. I learned it the hard way.

An update on the Stephans: A couple of weeks ago the CBC reported that the court had refused (what was apparently – not entirely clear) motions to have some evidence excluded. David was quite miffed that he was unsuccessful in his attempts to make headway on his claims of collusion and coverup by the RCMP and the Alberta Children’s Hospital. The motions were heard by Associate Chief Justice Rooke of Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. My suspicion is that this was another attempt by the Stephans to have the charges stayed. Had they been successful in getting the evidence excluded, it might have weakened the Crown’s position to the point where the charges would have to be stayed. I must admit to being amused to see the Stephans run into Rooke J. for a second time. I don’t know enough about procedure to know if this sort of application prior to start of the new trial is a common thing. I would have thought the application would have been heard as a voir dire after the start of the trial.

I believe the retrial is to start on June 3. I looks like it will be in Lethbridge where the original trial was held so I won’t be attending.

:-/ Oh, good grief.

The love that man had for his son versus his ego is positively homeopathic. Essentially a zero divided by multiple trillions.

dirt and rusty metal

It’s any puncture wound, with some cases with a “nidus” in, say, one’s temple and no detectable wound by the time the tetanospasmin makes its way upstairs.

And according to at least two cites I gave, tetanus can be transmitted through an insect bite.

@ Doug

Re: the Stephens:

his claims of collusion and coverup by the RCMP and the Alberta Children’s Hospital

Again with the claims that his son died only because of some fault from the first responders/hospital?
That may be what I found most galling about these parents, intellectually speaking.

On one hand, ‘western’ medicine is evil and useless and everything will be fine with garlic oil and their little hypervitamined pills. Oh, and let’s just live in the middle of nowhere, a good hour from any clinic.
OTOH, when the situation goes pear-shaped, with a sick child going into respiratory arrest, suddenly these evil health providers should be on the case, like, 10 minutes ago, and magically restore the child back into full health by snapping fingers.
For them, the universe is revolving around them.

@ D Ball

Chris thinks life is risk free. Wonder where he lives?

Strawman, Chris never said this. And projection, you are the one telling us that building immunity ‘the natural way’ is risk-free.
And oh boy, when you decide to be wrong, you go wrong all the way, even in your questions.

As a microbiologist, I will add: your idiocies about dealing with tetanus the natural way showed to everybody with a modicum of knowledge that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
Next, Mr Ball will advice us on eating food tainted by a close cousin of Clostridium tetani, C. botulinum, the one which gave us Botox. Good for building your immunity!

Obvious troll is obvious.

Mr. Ball, so you understand why I keep asking for studies that show vaccines case more harm than the vaccines? It is about relative risk.

Let me put in a way you just might understand: is it safer for you to walk across a busy interstate freeway instead of walking across the overpass bridge?

Chris, your analogy is not really comparable to vaccine theory. Give me a dangerous situation along with a solution that once done can never be reversed.

Athaic ,

Read above, Chris did imply that I was a gambling man. Insinuating that I am talking risks? IMO Yes.

Also, you don’t believe immunity can exists for tetanus or you just don’t think it can be obtained naturally and only though a man made artificial method is obtainable?

“Give me a dangerous situation along with a solution that once done can never be reversed.”

Here you go, David.

More proof you are dumber than the rock you live under when it comes to medical statistics. You cannot do the statistics on an individual, but you need to look at the large numbers.

It is obvious you barely have a high school education. If you did graduate you skipped all the math past 8th grade because you did not have to do it anymore… along with taking no science. Go back to under your rock, troll.

Though there is one thing I can point out just for my amusement to see how you will avoid providing anything close to reality. The following is the US Census Data on measles incidence during the 20th century. Please tell us why the rate of measles incidence dropped 90% between 1960 and 1970. Do not change the subject.

Please do not mention any other disease, this is about measles — do not change the subject

Please do not mention deaths or mortality, this is about incidence — do not change the subject

Please do not mention any other decade unless there is an at least 90% drop, and never goes up again — do not change the subject

Please do not mention any other country since this data is only from the United States of America, plus England and Wales are not American states — do not change the subject

Please do provide verifiable documentation to support your answers in the form of PubMed indexed papers by reputable qualified researchers.

Now here is that data:

Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
1912 . . . 310.0
1920 . . . 480.5
1925 . . . 194.3
1930 . . . 340.8
1935 . . . 584.6
1940 . . . 220.7
1945 . . . 110.2
1950 . . . 210.1
1955 . . . 337.9
1960 . . . 245.4
1965 . . . 135.1
1970 . . . . 23.2
1975 . . . . 11.3
1980 . . . . . 5.9
1985 . . . . . 1.2
1990 . . . . .11.2
1991 . . . . . .3.8
1992 . . . . . .0.9
1993 . . . . . .0.1
1994 . . . . . .0.4
1995 . . . . . .0.1
1996 . . . . . .0.2
1997 . . . . . . 0.1

you don’t believe immunity can exists for tetanus or you just don’t think it can be obtained naturally and only though a man made artificial method is obtainable?

For any curious passerby:

I don’t believe it, I just listened to my teachers and read scientific literature about it.
For the curious in a hurry, Wikipedia has some good explanations and pretty pictures.

The tetanus toxin, in its form found in natural infections, is infamous for not triggering a proper response from humane immune systems. Mostly because it doesn’t take much of it to kill people. Second deadliest neurotoxin in the whole world, just after botox. People surviving a C. tetani infection seldom have seen enough of the toxin to develop a robust immunity against it, they can definitively catch it again.
The people not surviving the infection, obviously, won’t ever have a chance to develop immunity to the tetanus toxin.

Actually, some antivaxer published a book on this very topic some years ago. See, if natural infection cannot result in immunity, how can the vaccine do it? Well, precisely because we are using a man-made artificial method (made by humans. Artificially. In artificial conditions. I suspect humans were involved).
In other words, we cheat fate.

As my teachers explained it, the tetanus toxin is actually made of two molecules, one being the transporter, responsible for delivering its payload into nerve cells; and the other one, the payload, is the part responsible for the neurotoxic effects. Kinda like a B-52 delivering a city-buster nuke.
It’s sort of tricky to hit a bomber on the run, before it delivers its payload. You don’t have much time. And once the neurotoxic part has been released, it’s kinda too late. Especially since the toxin’s first step in its delivery is to enter inside nerve cells, and at this point it cannot be found anymore by the immune system. It’s not like viruses who leave tell-tale signs at the surface of the cells they infect, here the tetanus toxin goes in full-stealth mode. The airplane transformed itself into a submarine and is now escaping radar.
Fancy that, a living being is using a poison to get the upper hand over other organisms, and it’s making sure its poison cannot be easily counteracted by the other organisms’ defenses. Almost like evolution is a thing, and we are not on top.
Oh, and targeting the payload doesn’t work. The transporter will still do its best to deliver it into a cell. You want your immune cells to target the transporter, while the payload is still attached to it.
As I said, tricky.
Now, if you were to somehow disable the toxin, so neither the delivering part nor the neurotoxic part are active anymore… Maybe the organism you inject this disabled toxin into will now have plenty of time for some target practice and learn to catch the real toxin.

Athaic, that’s a fantastic description of how the tetanus toxin works, and how the vaccine works. Thank you very much!

@ JustaTech

You are most welcome.
I think it’s obvious these are topics which fascinate me. I’ll admit, I had to cheat and check on a few articles online to be sure I was not saying too many dumb things. Also, for a start, I had good biology teachers in high school and university.
To paraphrase Isaac Newton, we are all standing on the shoulders of giants.

I’ll go ahead and repeat something I learned from the scientific community. “Correlation does not equal causation”. You can look it up.

So why did measles drop 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970? It is an extremely infectious virus, so something had to break the chain of transmission. What was it.

Provide your answer with supporting verifiable documentation.

So we have no grounds for believing that the ‘David Ball’ posts all com from the same person, right?

“…even smaller would be the number of members reaching out to parents in private message to share their concerns that vaccines may have played a role in a death,” Cook wrote.

“Reaching out” is something you do to sympathise and show support. Cook is rebranding “harassment / stalking” as “reaching out” because he’s a skeezy bullshitting wormtongue.

DW: I missed the commenters, really. Though it’s kinda fun giving the old punching bags a workout. Although Greg…wow, dude, just wow. Speaking of incels, case study right there. (I mean, he did claim to have a daughter, but given all his other lies and that he supports rapists..I really wonder. I hope his kid, if she exists turns out all right.)

MJD: Just out of curiosity, why do you always resort to (bad) analogies? Have you considered exploring the wonderful world of metaphor, ever? Or reading a novel to see how the professionals do it?

And you’re not a ‘vaccine safety advocate.’ As far as I can see, you don’t think any vaccine is safe, and therefore they should be taken off the market until they’re perfect, blithely ignoring that the risk to the general populace would skyrocket if that happened. So, yeah, you’re in the anti-vax bin with the rest of the liars.

PGP (minion #497) writes,

Or reading a novel to see how the professionals do it?

MJD says,

While you were away, and dormant in auto-moderation, I wrote a book about at least one very special woman who used vaccines to save needy children’s lives.

Understand PGP, “vaccine safety advocates” dispense constructive criticism in an effort to sustain vaccine continuous improvement. Let’s be RI friends PGP, ok?

MJD: Yeah, I heard the plug for the ‘book’ already. I repeat, read a novel sometime by an author that’s not you. Heck, read some fanfiction sometime. I could find twenty better amateurs at a speed that’d blow your mind. And you didn’t answer my question about whether you’ve heard of metaphors.

I admit, I’m bemused by your project, since you don’t support vaccines, aren’t very feminist, and this is the first time you’ve mentioned that you’re a Christian. Probably to attempt to score extra points or cozy up to the honchos and honchettes at Age of Autism.

Also, I wasn’t ‘dormant’ or in internet jail, I was just away. I have a life, and this year, that’s involved a lot of traveling. You should try getting outside sometime- spring is the best season. (Though ten feet above the sidewalk is no place for an eagle, and I’m already dreading the 3 AM serenades. There’s no reasoning with robins.)

There’s constructive criticism, and then there’s masturbating. You have consistently chosen the latter. It’s seriously fine if you have a fetish, but there are places on the internet for that which aren’t this forum.

I believe you’ve offered to be ‘friends’ once before. I’m not that hard up, dude.

Julian: Ha, ha! I mean, I hope he’s okay, but..serves him right. God, I still remember the time I had chicken pox. Put me off oatmeal for a long time.

Now if that one Fox dude would get salmonella, or some really nasty bug, my week would be complete. (I don’t remember which Fox guy, but he said on air that he hadn’t washed his hands in ten years and didn’t believe in germs.)

Also $94 for a book? I’ve never paid that much for a book in my life. Even the two most expensive books I have (full color plates, 200+ pages) I didn’t pay for.

That price is routine for college textbooks. But it’s hard to imagine any college professor choosing to teach a course based on mjd’s ramblings.

There’s just no THERE there.

Squirrelite: I forgot about college textbooks. God, they’re so expensive. I usually buy used books, or wait until they’re in paperback. If I absolutely can’t wait, that’s what birthdays and Christmas are for. Although recently, I managed to score a new hardcover book for $8 during a sale.

I’m guessing MJD doesn’t actually want anyone to read his ‘book.’

Of course I would never suggest torrenting expensive books, and I certainly never obtained any Russian or Polish textbooks in this manner.

I used to get Russian textbooks (translated) and Marx books for very, very cheap at left-wing bookstores. The USSR subsidized their dissemination. I still have some excellent maths and physics books that set me back like $5. Those were the days.

A friend of my parents worked as a sales rep for a textbook publisher for a while and absolutely inundated my dad (a business professor) with text books. (I love books, but if there’s a greater waste of paper than business books I’ve yet to see it.)

Thankfully I don’t think he was every swayed into using one of her books, mostly because he was still helping me pay for my college textbooks and listening to me wail about having to buy a book brand-new because the professors had changed the book again.

One of the physics professors went the other way and wrote his own textbook which he self-published and sold to us at cost. And didn’t update all the time, so you could sell/give it to the next year’s students.

There is a simpler explanation that MJD has not provided. Print 50, sell 3, covers the cost of printing.

Look on Amazon books (USA) under author ” Michael J. Dochniak” and the answer becomes obvious. With three of the titles with only one left in stock, with lots of used on offer, indicates three can be found.

Ross Miles: Yeah, but to what market? MJD is very invested in being anti-vaccine, so why write a book about evangelical nurses, unless he’s trying to break into the faith healing nuttery squad? Never mind, answered my own question, evangelicals will buy anything. Though, I think MJD should try Trump fluffing instead.

Orac spends $80 dollars a year and thousands of hours to teach and entertain with Respectful Insolence. I’d like to write his biography.

Title: The Death of Placebo through Respectful Insolence

@ Orac,

Can I write your story? I’d be a fascinating read.

I’ve noticed that Mr. Ball has never addressed the actual topic of the post. So, do you think it’s OK to harassing parents whose children died of diseases we skeptics irrationally believe could be prevented by vaccine? I yes, be prepared to defend your view; if no, please urge others to stop. It’s not very nice you know; if you think vaccines are such a threat as to justify these actions, please own it.

If it matters, I think you are angry and deluded, not actually a child hater. I hope your children don’t get tetanus, sincerely. If they do, by the way, I won’t needle or harass you. You’re welcome.

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