Yesterday, I dealt with a false narrative about vaccines. Today I deal with false balance about vaccines. Given the ongoing measles outbreaks in the US that have produced more cases of measles than we’ve seen in a generation, I haven’t been able to get away from the one form of pseudoscience contributing to the decline in vaccine uptake and herd immunity responsible for the outbreaks, as much as I’d like to mix my topics up. (C’est la vie, at least for the moment.) Meet Genevieve Reaume, a reporter for KATU, the Portland, OR ABC affiliate, and her story The Vaccination Debate: Oregon doctors debate the efficacy and safety of vaccines. It’s an example of false balance to a level that I haven’t seen in a long time. Whether Genevieve Reaume or her producer chose the frame used to present the “vaccine debate” story and is thus primarily responsible for this travesty, I don’t know, but it’s bad.
Before I discuss Genevieve Reaume’s story, let’s just go back to the origin of this blog. Back in the day, particularly around 10-13 years ago. A common topic of my blogging back then was false balance in reporting about autism and/or vaccines. It seemed back then that every story about autism had to include one or more quotes by parents who thought that vaccines had caused their child’s autism. Similarly, it seemed that every story about vaccines also had to include one or more quotes from antivaxers or parents who thought that vaccines had caused their child’s autism. Many of these stories were quite risible, with antivaccine “luminaries” such as Andrew Wakefield, Jenny McCarthy, J. B. Handley, and other familiar people showing up all over the media, particularly during April, which is Autism Awareness Month. Indeed, I used to joke ruefully about how I dreaded the last couple of days of March because I could count on the beginning of an onslaught of credulous stories about antivaccine misinformation and the claim that vaccines cause autism to begin. Then, Andrew Wakefield was disgraced. He had his medical license taken away by the UK. Brian Deer showed very convincingly that Wakefield had committed scientific fraud. Suddenly (or so it seemed), the media started to get it, and the frequency of false balance declined markedly. True, this could be confirmation bias on my part, as I’m unaware of any quantitative studies to support my impression, but I’m not the only science advocate who got that impression.
Now, it seems that we might be going back to those days. Of course, it might just be that, with all the ongoing measles outbreaks going on, courtesy of the antivaccine movement, there are a lot more stories about measles and vaccines out there being done by more journalists, many of whom have never done such a story before and are more prone to false balance. Either way, it seems as though I’m seeing more false balance. This brings me back to Genevieve Reaume’s story, broadcast on Monday:
You know this story is going to be the very epitome of false balance when while introducing the segment the anchor states, “Genevieve, this Spotlight on America piece focuses on both sides of the vaccine debate.” Reaume then responds by bragging about the hours of interviews she did and how this “debate” is all about the data. Then, behind her, is a large graphic with the words “The Vaccine Debate.” Here’s a hint: If Reaume had really learned from the data, she would know that, as far as the science and medicine go, there really isn’t a “debate” about whether vaccines cause autism and all the other health issues attributed to vaccines by antivaxers. She then launches straight into the introduction of Michelle Herman, who thinks that vaccines nearly killed her son:
Her son is fine now, but that doesn’t stop Reaume from letting Herman parrot an oft-parroted antivaccine trope about the Vaccine Court asking how, if vaccines are safe and effective, the Vaccine Court has paid out $4 billion in compensation for “vaccine injury.” This is a trope that pro-vaccine advocates have debunked more times than I care to remember. For instance, Liz Ditz debunked it. Our reptilian friend Skeptical Raptor debunked it. I’ve discussed it a number of times. I’ve discussed how the Vaccine Court, by design, makes it easier to win and obtain compensation than regular federal courts, with so called “table injuries” being automatically compensated, and how it has a tendency to allow complainants to use even scientifically dubious “theories” of how vaccines caused the injury for which they are claiming compensation, all while paying complainants’ legal fees, win or lose.
I like how Liz Ditz illustrated how, as large as $4 billion sounds, the amount of compensation paid through the Vaccine Court is really not that much:
The table on pages 8-9 lists awards by fiscal year. However, for the purposes of a bird’s eye view, it’s acceptable to aggregating these together.
At this scale, it looks like the NVICP, although not perfect, is working well enough. Vaccine injuries are very, very rare: less than one per million doses of vaccines distributed. The $0.75/vaccine surcharge is easily more than the average cost of awards per vaccine; the average payout is not huge, given how serious many of the conditions are, but is not stingy either.
- Total number of vaccines distributed, 1/1/2006-12/31/2014 = 2,532,428,541
- Total number of vaccine injury awards, FY 2006 – FY 2014 = 2,140
- Total amount of vaccine injury awards, FY 2006-FY 2014 = $1,306,003,930.68
- Vaccine injury awards per million doses of vaccines distributed, FY 2006-FY 2014 = 0.85
- Total amount of vaccine injury awards divided by total number of vaccines distributed, FY 2006-FY 2014 = $0.52
- Total amount of vaccine injury awards divided by the total number of vaccine injury awards, FY 2006 – FY 2014 = $610,282.21
Now, I will give Genevieve Reaume credit for noting that in 70% of the cases compensated by the Vaccine Court for “injury” by MMR, for 70% it could not be definitively demonstrated that the MMR vaccine caused the injury. It’s also good that she included a real expert, Dr. Anna Meyers. It’s not so great how she phrased it:
Sadly, for whatever reason, the producers and Genevieve Reaume decided to follow this up with an interview with Dr. Paul Thomas:
So basically, only three people appear in on-camera interviews in this piece, each for roughly the same total amount of screen time, if you count Reaume’s paraphrasing Mrs. Herman’s objections to the MMR vaccine and Vaccine Court. Two of them are antivaccine. Indeed, there’s a reason I like to refer to Dr. Paul Thomas as a rising star in the antivaccine movement.
Dr. Thomas, of course, claims to be running a study based on his own practice and “trying to get his data published,” something he’s been saying for quite a while now and something I’ve been calling BS on for as long as I’ve known about it, especially after I found out that his “research” partner is almost certainly antivaccine crank James Lyon-Weiler. His claim is:
We have real-world data showing that the unvaxed population is having a lot less autism, and we’ll get the data to the world. We’re gonna get this published.” Dr. Thomas says.
Here are the statistics Dr. Thomas gave KATU. He says of the 3,344 patients who were born into Integrative Pediatrics between June 2008 and February 2019, 715 were fully unvaccinated. He says of those, only one child had autism. Based on those numbers he says his rate of autism in unvaccinated children is 1/715. He adds, of the other 2,629 kids who were partially vaccinated, only six had autism. With that, he concludes his autism rate in partially vaccinated kids is 1/438. He says this is much better than the CDC’s rate of autism, which is 1/59.
Basically, he has basically no patients who are fully vaccinated according to the CDC schedule, hence his comparison to the CDC’s published estimate of autism prevalence. Basically, his numbers are meaningless without a whole lot of other information, such as the age distribution of his patient population and the inclusion of a number of confounding factors. There are many problems that have been the subject of discussion in the comments by my readers and me before. For instance, pediatrician Dr. Chris Hickle noted:
This current attempt by Thomas is a rather twisted extension of a completely non-peer-reviewed “study” Thomas put into Appendix E of his book “The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health-from Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years”. He describes three groups of children:
Group 1: Following Dr. Paul’s Vaccine-Friendly Plan: These children were either born into my practice or establishedcare by the two-month well baby visit. They did not get the birth or infant hepatitis B vaccine. If they got the hepatitis A vaccine, it was after age two. If they got the MMR and chicken pox vaccines, it was at or after age three. There were 1,098 children in Group 1.
Group 2: Unvaccinated: Because of parental choice, these children had no vaccines. There were 238 children in Group 2.
Group 3: Other/ Most Vaccinated: Though there was some individual variability, many children in Group 3 were vaccinated according to the CDC guidelines. There were 894 children in Group 3.
Thomas then reports no cases of autism in Groups 1 and 2 and 15 cases in Group 3 and states:
We would have expected to have approximately seventeen cases of autism in Group 3, and there were fifteen autism/ ASD diagnoses, which mirrors the national average. This data demonstrates with a high level of statistical significance that the Vaccine-Friendly Plan— as well as not vaccinating at all— was associated with less autism/ ASD.
So many holes in the “study” left open it’s not even funny. He does say this “study” is based on 2230 children in his practice from June 2008 (when they first opened) through Feb 2015 and that he was in the process of “compiling the data for a retrospective study approved by the Western Institute Review Board.”
It’s even worse than this. As has been pointed out, Epi Ren, an epidemiologist who is a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), having graduated from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, has looked at Dr. Thomas’ most recent numbers reported in the antivaccine crankosphere in March and found them…wanting:
Okay, so back to the 1 in 715 compared to 6 in 2,640. Are those two proportions (0.0014) and (0.0023) different enough to show that there is an association between vaccines and autism/ASD, or are they just different out of pure chance? What is the p-value of the comparison of these two proportions?…
To answer those questions, we do a statistical test called “Fisher’s Exact Test” because the proportions are so small (“the values of the expected cells are too small”). (PLEASE NOTE: If I had access to the entire dataset, I could do a logistic regression, a more “robust” statistical analysis that takes into consideration all of the other variables presented by the patients, like age, gender, socioeconomics, number of vaccines given, etc.)
First, the p-value is 1, meaning that it is certain that vaccination status is not associated with autism/ASD status. At the bottom is the Odds Ratio of 1.63. This tells us that, based on this sample alone, those who are vaccinated have 63% higher odds of being diagnosed with autism/ASD. But then look at the 95% confidence interval above that: 0.197 to 74.895.
The 95% confidence interval says: “We are 95% confident that the true odds ratio in the population from where this sample was drawn is between 0.197 and 74.895.” In other words, there is a good chance that those who are vaccinated have between 80% less odds of autism/ASD and 7489% more odds of autism/ASD.” As you can see, it’s impossible to know based on these numbers what the true association is. There is even a good chance that the odds are the same between the two groups, not less nor more.
So we conclude that there is no association.
Same as it ever was with dubious studies by clueless antivaxers. I also predict that, even if Epi Ren had the whole dataset and could do more sophisticated analyses, the answer would be the same: No association.
Stepping back to broader questions of overall research design, I haven’t been able to find where Thomas checks for potential confounding factors or describes how his autism cases were diagnosed and whether they were screened for autism. For instance, if there’s a large component of children who are home-schooled or who go to unconventional schools like Waldorf schools in his practice, it’s quite possible that less severe cases of autism in these children could be missed because they probably wouldn’t undergo the same routine screening that children in public school do.
Similarly, if you don’t look you won’t find. If Dr. Thomas himself in his unconventional woo-infused practice doesn’t do the standard screening for autism that conventional pediatricians do, of course he’s going to miss cases. Indeed, I can imagine him doing “selective evaluation” in which he looks more closely for autism in his vaccinated patients than he does in his unvaccinated patients. Most likely, if he’s doing this he isn’t it intentionally, but he is human and his biases could easily affect how closely he looks for autism in his unvaccinated patients, whether he realizes it or not. (This sort of selective observation and analysis is why blinding is so important in randomized, double-blind clinical trials.) It’s human nature to see what one wants to see and disregard the rest. In other words, his study is an unreliable retrospective study that could easily have unaccounted-for bias. Did Genevieve Reaume consider these issues? It doesn’t really look like it.
As for denying that he is antivaccine (as nearly all antivaxers do), Dr. Thomas did say this in response to Genevieve Reaume’s questioning:
When KATU asked Dr. Paul if he thought doctors who follow the CDC vaccination schedule were putting patients at risk he answered by saying the U.S. wasn’t seeing this chronic disease a few decades ago: “It came out of nowhere. Fifty-four percent of kids are graduating high school on chronic medication. Something is different, and I’m not saying it’s just the vaccines. It’s toxins, toxins, toxins.”
That’s what we in the biz call the “toxins” gambit. It’s nonsense, and Thomas’ “it’s not just the vaccines” is unconvincing. He’s an antivaxer, his denials notwithstanding. It’s primarily the vaccines to him. At the doses in vaccines, none of the rest of the ingredients are “toxic. Indeed, Thomas is well known in the Portland area for dissuading parents from vaccinating:
Dr. Jay Rosenbloom, a pediatrician with Pediatric Associates of the Northwest, says he regularly sees parents who previously went to Thomas. “They want to protect their kids from these diseases, and he tries to pressure them out of it,” Rosenbloom says. “The problem comes with people who close their minds to true cause and effect and create their own reality.”
It also really didn’t help when Reaume asked Dr. Myers if she views Dr. Thomas as a threat, to which Dr. Myers answered yes. Basically, by providing him that sound bite, Reaume couldn’t have provided better advertising for Dr. Thomas if he’d paid for it. Antivaccine doctors like Dr. Thomas love to view themselves as a threat to the status quo, and Reaume gave him validation as such. You have to be careful answering questions like this, and it was clear that Reaume’s question caught Dr. Myers by surprise, as you can see if you watch the segment.
This story by Genevieve Reaume was one of the worst examples of false balance that I’ve seen in a while. (One can’t help but wonder if the fact that KATU is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, a station known for “must-run” segments promoting right wing propaganda and for Fox News-like reporting, has anything to do with it.) Unfortunately, after being criticized extensively on Twitter, she still seems not to understand:
I know it’s difficult for some journalists to grasp, but there are issues where there are not two sides to the story. This is one. Worse, the traditional structure of antivax claim followed by scientist or doctor refuting claim can actually reinforce the claim. When it comes to conspiracy theory-based movements like the antivax movement, facts don’t matter, and presenting antivaccine pseudoscience side-by-side with science does falsely elevate the pseudoscience, no matter how much refutation to antivax pseudoscience is included. This is information warfare, and it’s asymmetric warfare. Antivaxers don’t have the credibility of mainstream medicine; so they exploit the tendency of journalists to “tell both sides” even when there are not, scientifically speaking, two sides to tell. In this, Genevieve Reaume and her producer facilitated their efforts, serving unintentionally as a useful idiots.
144 replies on “False balance on vaccines in Portland, courtesy of KATU and Genevieve Reaume”
A. I’m looking forward to her next story about the astronomy debate, with interviews with the head of her local flat earth society. Because balance.
B. On Dr. Thomas’ numbers, I really liked Dr. Rene Najera’s takedown, which reflects your points.
Ha! I forgot about Rene’s post and it didn’t show up in a Google search. Perhaps I can boost it; so I linked to it and added a citation from it to the post.
Well, to some extent, flat-earthers are more amenable to “rational” debate than antivaxxers are. Flat-earthers are really trying (very hard) to make their arguments as cogent and convincing to real scientists. Therefore, there exists very courteous, polite and “thoughtful” debates between pro-science people and flat-earthers.
They’re not the hysterical bunch radical antivaxxers are.
So, yeah, I have more hope for rationality making it in a debate with flat-earthers than a debate with radical antivaxxers.
I really have more esteem for flat-earthers.
Sorry, couldn’t resist…
I just love their enthusiasm. As Sharon Hill said:
“In my book, I point out that paranormal investigators are scientist-wannabes, enthusiasts that understand that science has cultural authority and so they attempt to use it to their advantage. Because they don’t have scientific training, they utterly fail at it. In the film, Cal State physicist Lamar Glover is shown giving a presentation in a science meetup talk where he points out exactly this idea. He considers flat-earthers those would-be scientists that “fell through the cracks””
In fact, I really do believe flat-earthers are some of most pro-science people on Earth. That’s commendable. Really. The only problem is that: They. Just. Don’t. Get. It!
I’m thinking that Shapley–Curtis could be revisited.
Like all anti-vaxxers who want to cite “research” Thomas is a cherry picker. He has one set of “data” from his practice that he put in his anti-vaccine book and then he has this newer set of “data” he gives to Ms. Reaume that he has been promoting since March. Quite bluntly, Thomas makes stuff up. In his latest set of “data” he claims he hired some “Dr. Graven” to “deep dive” his practice (https://youtu.be/ZNl18BBC4Fs) but neither I nor Dr. Najera (cited above in Dorit’s post) have been able to find this mythical physician Thomas names. Thomas also can’t seem to figure out what percentage of his practice is fully vaccinated. He says none of his 15,000 patients are to Ms. Reaume, but in a March 20, 2019 Willamette Weekly article he claims 14,000 of his 15,000 are not fully vaccinated. Sadly, Reaume’s news story only serves to promote Thomas, which is the last thing Oregon needs on the heels of HB3063 being scrapped.
I found some background on Dr Michael Graven, as detailed in this disqus comment:
I think your estimation of how any potential interaction between them went down may be accurate. Although I am more inclined to believe that Thomas has made the whole thing up and perhaps Mawson’s name will be associated with this mess if it ever sees the light of day.
Pretty obvious to me that Sinclair is trying to do today what Fox News and NewsMax did in the past re:vaccines.
She gives Dr Thomas free advertising. Will Sinclair spread this around its many outlets? ( I haven’t been able to find any locally / satellite tv but I do get RT) Thomas is a fave at AoA.
Those I survey bemoan how mainstream media is in the pocket of Pharma because more liberal or moderate outlets don’t run anti-vax anymore just like social media, Wikipedia etc.
In other anti-vax news…
( @ KimRossi1111) whilst arguing a reality based tweet from Phil:
” Vax inj is like rape 50 years ago. Blame the victim. Stay quiet. The govt paid out $4B since ’86…”
Occasionally my MIL asks me why I don’t watch the local news. This is why: because it’s full of bad reporting, over-dramatic intros and just general blither.
I’ll read the paper, thankyouverymuch, where it’s easier to avoid the flim-flam.
My local NBC station (WJAR) aired this story in RI. It is also owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Their content is usually good, but occasionally they shoehorn in Sinclair affiliate content like this and it’s just jarring. In this case, annoying.
My first thought seeing it was to send a link to Orac for some sorely needed insolence. Unfortunately, it wasn’t necessary because it apparently has aired coast to coast.
I can’t wait for Paul Thomas’ “data” to get published although I suspect that may not come to fruition because it’s better for him to convince the flock of his findings rather than risk scrutiny from the scientific community and get exposed for the hack he is. Ms. Reaume appears to be rather impressed with herself that she just exposed some controversy. How cute, just like Ben Whatshisname from Atlanta who briefly allied himself with the anti-vaxxers when the Thompson kerfuffle emerged. Even when she’s done embarrassing herself on a professional level, I doubt she’ll issue any corrections or retractions.
About that 50%/ 54% of kids figure being chronically ill/ or on meds often cited by anti-vaxxers:
Right here, now, this fellow and I – over 50- he has had asthma intermittently over his life / I am allergic to odd things/ oak leaves, mold in dirt, certain foods, meds. He never was on asthma rxs ( except emergencies) until the past several years. Also intermittently – he goes on an off dependent upon symptoms.
I have never been on rx meds for allergies other than a few times briefly when I also had upper respiratory issues. Only OTC .
If we were kids now perhaps we would both be on meds.
About that high percentage of kids with conditions.
Back in 2011, a commenter at Respectful Insolence, was wringing her hands over “one in six American children are now considered developmentally disabled”, and was implying the high number was new and was caused by vaccination.
“Developmentally Disabled” sounds horrible and scary, doesn’t it? Like a child who will never learn, or never live independently in adulthood?
The facts are otherwise.
The source of the “one in six” is a paper in Pediatrics, Boyle et al. (2011) Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, 1997–2008 Pediatrics. 2011 Jun;127(6):1034-42. Epub 2011 May 23. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2989)
I discuss this at length here:
This quote is niggling at me. Perhaps not fabricated but massaged in a manner that anti-vaxxers are wont to do. Orac listed some potential biases by Thomas and in addition, he doesn’t say anything about children who migrated to his practice after their birth nor those that left perhaps because of substandard care for potentially developmentally-delayed/disabled children. There are of course, so many variables that Thomas has left out that will greatly impact the external validity of his data-set. I strongly suspect that these “data” will remain unpublished, better for them to take on mythological proportions among his sad rump of disciples and claim censorship by “the man” rather than get pilloried by us meanie-pants “shill” scientists.
Here’s something that’s more than niggling from the March 20th Willamette Weekly article:
Why, this sure looks like Paul Thomas was creating his own vaxxed vs unvaxxed experiment groups using infants in his own practice without proper informed consent….you know, the type of stuff medical board complaints are made of.
That certainly does warrant a closer look. Ms. Klass shouldn’t just “think” the Oregon Medical Board should investigate Thomas, Ms. Klass should lodge a complaint if she hasn’t done so already.
Also from the article you cited Dr. Hickie. This is not a physician I would let near my pets let alone my children; further evidence that a degree is no insulation from arrogant ignorance.
That child with tetanus also seems likely another of Thomas’ unvaxxed patients, given Thomas signed him out of the hospital as it sounds like no one else would. Thomas has that same sick pride shown by Sears when an unvaxxed patient of Sears caused a measles outbreak in San Diego County in 2008. Geez, over 11 years of these horrible anti-vax physicians and look how much worse things are becoming.
(Thomas denies this ever happened. “I wouldn’t have said it,” Thomas says. “No way. This is a misunderstanding.”)
“Listen to the parents” doesn’t apply in these situations.
It niggled me too, but for a different reason. If he had missed just one case of ASD in his unvaccinated group, that would destroy his claim completely. (But, I may have missed something because no one else has yet pointed this out).
Amongst the things niggling at me is the date range: born into Integrative Pediatrics between June 2008 and February 2019. When the press release came out in May 2019, some of those patients were no more than 3 months old. (We don’t know the shape of the age distribution, and probably never will, for obvious reasons.) How many neonates and infants are screened for autism, even in a conventional practice? How does his current characterisation of his dataset compare to his previous descriptions?
It doesn’t bother me enough to look it up from his book(s)… but it does strongly remind me of a particular undergrad’s paper that was based on fabricated data.
Certainly among the numerous problems with these data kfunk. There is also self selection of his population, I would hazard a guess at least some parents with ASD children aren’t going to go to his practice.
Ok, three of you have used “niggling” now. Is there a joke here I should be let in on?
This is why it’s niggling: If they’re “born into” his Pediatrics practice, the parents were already anti-vaccine. Those “born into” patients have an older sibling. Under the US insurance policies I’ve had, pediatricians don’t deliver babies – OB-GYNs do (or Family Practice docs).
My older child did not have a pediatrician until after being born, but my younger child did.
It’s a self-selected group.
Like the mom quote above in the article linked by Dr Hickie – had my pediatrican suggested skipping vaccines for my first child back in the mid-2000’s I would have fled and found a different doctor.
It’s amazing how many people feel that “balance” and “both sides” arguments should apply to science. Science is brutally unfair and undemocratic, by design. That’s the only way it can work.
No false balance here:
For your listening pleasure ( on second thought…)
Gary Null featured RFK jr today ( see prn.fm garynullshow; 20 minutes in- end) all anti-vax, all the time, anti-hpv vax mostly.
A veritable festival of misinformation.
Towards the end, Kennedy mentioned that it was the Democrats who are trying to take away exemptions and how anti-vaxxers are being treated unfairly etc
( the show will be available later in the afternoon on prn.fm)
@Orac “It also really didn’t help when Reaume asked Dr. Myers if she views Dr. Thomas as a threat, to which Dr. Myers answered yes. Basically, by providing him that sound bite, Reaume couldn’t have provided better advertising for Dr. Thomas if he’d paid for it. Antivaccine doctors like Dr. Thomas love to view themselves as a threat to the status quo, and Reaume gave him validation as such.”
I’m confident that vaccine thought leaders like Paul Offit, Peter Hotez, and Greg Poland would answer the threat question with “Yes!”. Vaccine hesitancy (aided by anti-vaccine docs like Dr Paul) is also on the WHO’s current list of threats to public health. Since when is it an error to, insolently or not, call like it is?
We all know that science denialists such as Dr Bob and Andy Wakefield among others claim that they’re being repressed despite ample evidence to the contrary. It’s the default, conspiracy-oriented response when they get caught out. It’s part of denialism. I disagree that when we as responsible MDs state unequivocally that there are risks/threats that accompany failing to vaccinate that it validates the cry from the denialists “help, help, I’m being repressed” (by actual facts, of course).
If Dr Myers is chastised for answering an that question with a factual and unequivocally correct response, what are people like she (and me) supposed to do when answering such a question Orac?
Thomas already ate up that threat question with a May 13 FB post to his Integrative Pediatrics page:
The answer I would have given to Reaume (if she actually asked such a loosely worded question like that) is: “I’m deeply worried about the anti-vaccine activities by Thomas to purposefully scare parents out of vaccinating, thereby lowering vaccination rates and causing more measles outbreaks like the one that just happened around Thomas’s practice. Thomas is a threat to children’s health and public health.”
I agree with your wording and have used similar rationales when responding the same question.
My point is that we need more reasonable doctors (such as Dr Myers appears to be) answering the question as directly as she did in public (with or without a lengthier rationale such as yours [or mine]) irrespective of how Dr Paul, or Bob, or Andy want to spin it.
At some point I’ve seen it described as the Galileo Complex or Galileo Syndrome: whether it’s vaccine denial or HIV-linked-to-AIDS denial the result is the same: the denier is being persecuted by those that point out the risk/threat posed by their pseudoscience. One of the advantages to scientific methods is that eventually Galileo was proven correct. Andy and Dr Bob have had over 2 decades to validate their claims and failed (just as Dr Paul certainly will).
Denier’s claims to being persecuted is unencumbered by the thought process; it’s as reflexive as the response to a patellar tap…
That’s close to what I would have said, and it doesn’t surprise me that Dr. Thomas is already running with it. Part of my point is she was unprepared for the question, when it’s a question any science advocate should be prepared for. The point is that the answer to this question requires a bit of nuance and communications savvy. One thing I wish I’d had is someone to track me to do an interview like that. The idea is that we shouldn’t have to learn these little lessons the hard way, as I once did work cancer messaging during a radio interview.
One thing that I find bemusing is your utilisation of paediatricians in the USA.
Here in Aus GP’s handle the vast majority of children’s medical care and paediatricians are usually only visited if the child has an illness/condition that is outside the GP’s comfort zone. My point is the US system gives a lot of power to a (relatively) small group of physicians, so people like Dr Thomas get to influence a larger pool of parents than (I would guess) any one paediatrician here.
PS I first realised this watching “The Brady Bunch” as a child when I thought it was cool that the TV kids got to see a special doctor and I only got our boring GP.
Yes, that is the situation in Australia, and its a good one that reduces overall health care costs without sacrificing quality. You need a referral from a GP to see a specialist otherwise there is no government subsidy. And most specialists refuse to see patients without a referral from their GP, because they rely on the GP to ensure their overall general health care is being dealt with. It is generally agreed that health care in Australia is twice as good for half the cost compared to the USA.
Medicare has been single-handedly responsible for keeping it this way since it was first introduced in 1983 by the Bob Hawke Labor government. It has proven so popular that even when our conservative Liberal Party has been in power they have been unable to touch it. Bob Hawke died on Thursday at the age of 89 on the eve of our general election which will almost certainly see the Labor Party regain power – on a platform of real action on climate change, a fairer distribution of wealth, and a further broadening of the Medicare system.
That’s the way my ObamaCare works, although there are different ways to instantiate the benefit — “straight” Medicaid (in the states that accepted the money) is more like regular insurance, with copays and so forth, whereas I have the HMO version. Not a penny out of my pocket, which is a good thing because I don’t have one in the first place.
BillyJoe you jinxed the election!
You obviously never worked in a hospital – first rule NEVER say “ gosh it’s been quite today” because if you do you will have a patient arrest within the next five minutes.
And Bob Hawk he was also an avowed atheist, union leader, Rhodes scholar and onetime holder of the Oxford university record for sculling a yard of beer (1.4 litres in 11 seconds seconds).
Oh he also successfully negotiated with the unions to let Frank Sinatra out of the country after he had insulted the honour of a female journalist and the unions vowed not to let his plane off the ground. We were a bit more Bolshie back in the 70’s.
It has EVERYTHING to do with it.
Orac notes in the first ¶ that KATU is an ABC affiliate. This can only confuse readers as it’s typically irrelevant to local news shows. (Basically, it just indicates what set of national early morning and prime time programs they show). What matters is station ownership, and indeed Sinclair is arguably worse than Fox News, since Rupert’s gang (Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson, F&Friends…) is mainly branding itself as ‘commentary ‘, while the ‘straight’ news guys like Shep Smith play it pretty legit. And anyway, everybody knows what the Fox brand means. OTOH, the local news is packaged as ‘straight’ and I doubt many viewers know who owns their stations or what Sinclair’s politics are.
I highly doubt Genevieve Reaume and her producers are “useful idiots.” I’d wager dollars to donuts the assignment for the story came from higher in management, and is directly tied to the story Orac wrote about on Tuesday:
This isn’t ‘false balance’. It’s straight up right wing co spiracy theory propaganda in sheep’s clothing.
A while ago, I looked up where these stations were located ( it’s still there: Wikipedia stations owned or operated by Sinclair) ad they seem to be in redder areas ( with some exceptions- RI, both Portlands, DC) SO none very near you or me as far as I can tell.
I’m finding the task of identifying real Sinclair O&O’s to be maddening, and not just because of the Deerfield Media angle. I don’t know that I have the energy to start poking around at the FCC site just now. Hell, I’ve been meaning to get on them about WHPK’s reduced service hours for months.
^ It’s more than I can take.
It’s further muddled by the fact that no all Sinclair stations have news programs. There’s on in my area, but it’s a CW-affiliate channel, and the closest it gets to news is TMZ’s tv show.
Thanks for the shout-out, Orac.
One thing I’d like to point out that my blog post analyzing the awards through National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) was written in 2016.
On March 21, 2017, NVICP published a revised “Vaccine Injury Table”. Most notably, for every vaccine, “Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration” (SIRVA) was added. The “Time period for first symptom or manifestation of onset or of significant aggravation after vaccine administration” is less than, or equal to, 48 hours.
I have read that SIRVA claims now account for a preponderance of claims, but I haven’t seen an authoritative source for those claims. I wonder if there’s an analysis or breakdown of NVICP claims that is available to qualified researchers (I’m not one, just a blogger).
A reminder — SIRVA isn’t a “vaccine injury” but essentially, a needle-stick injury.
A contemporary analysis of the data, specifically enumerating SIRVA vs. other claims, would be very useful.
Oh, the other thing. Never forget that the anti-vaxxers — oops, they hate that term — members of the Society for the Promotion of Vaccine-Preventable Disease and members of the Autism Is Too A Vaccine Injury Committee hate and revile the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program because of the outcome of the Omnibus Autism Proceeding (OAP 1999-2010):
To these people, the OAP outcomes proves that NVICP is fatally flawed.
Do you need to be reminded why the NVICP was started in the first place? Weren’t vaccine makers losing too much money with all the vaccine injury/death lawsuits? Didn’t congress agree to have the taxpayer take on the financial burden of injuries/deaths? Where is the incentive for pharmaceutical companies to make a liability free product that is now mandated to the public? A corporation must make profits, it’s an agreement to the shareholders. How can you call yourselves advocates for health? The disconnect and lack of empathy exhibited is truly astounding.
A. The final impetus for NVICP was, in fact, lawsuits, most of them, we know, unfounded, that were leading to manufacturers leaving the market. The idea of a no-fault program was around for decades, but it was that crisis which led to NVICP. To remind you, antivaccine Organizations supported it because getting compensated in real courts was so hard.
A good overview of the history and if NVICP is Anna Kirkland’s wonderful book Ion Vaccine Court from 2016.
Here’s another recent discussion. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/05/vaccine-safety-program/589354/
B. Describing vaccines as “liability free” is highly misleading. For most claims, you can go to courts after going through the program.
C. The idea that tort liability is the only – or a particularly good way – to hold a company accountable is highly misleading. For vaccines, there are extensive oversight mechanisms, and a vaccine with problems can be taken off the market, a vaccine that doesn’t perform as well in-recommended, with severe consequences (not flu most or Merck’s shingles vaccine for recent examples).
Prof Reiss has already ripped your JAQ-off as the obvious sack of lies it is, so I’ll not repeat that.
But “disconnect and lack of empathy”? ORLY?
Where is antivaxxers’ empathy for the millions of adults and children injured and killed each year by vaccine-preventable diseases? Either show us how all you antivax advocates take responsibility for the consequences of your words and actions, or GTFO.
Where did you get your law degree? I’d like to call the school and tell them they should take it back.
Today I deal with false balance about vaccines.
It’s clear that KATU 2 sympathizes with vaccine-hesitant behavior based on the image Orac provides at the beginning of this post. In the upper left hand corner of the image it states, “KATU 2 On Your Side.” A balanced slogan from KATU 2 might read, “KATU 2 Bothsidesisms.”
With Sinclair in the mix, this is getting more politicized by the day. Seems to me there are two ways forward:
1) Make a deliberate media push to de-politicize it. Call this the “We Agree!” campaign.
A series of ads on TV, radio, and adapted to “social media,” wherein you have an assortment of polar opposites saying things such as:
“My name is (name), Democratic Senator from (state).”
“And I’m (name), Republican Senator from (state).” (Reverse the order of these at random.)
“We don’t agree on much.”
“But there’s one thing we do agree on:”
(Both together like a chorus) “Parents, get your kids vaccinated on schedule.”
Then they take turns, a half-sentence or a full sentence at a time, going over the usual points: antivax stuff has been thoroughly discredited, it’s fraud, it’s dangerous to public health, recent outbreaks prove it, and something along the lines of “you’ll feel much better when your kids are immunized against these dangerous diseases.” (The latter is an appeal to emotion, because “plain facts” often don’t work unless connected to emotions.)
End: “We agree!” (shake hands, fade out).
2) Politicize the h*ll out of it.
Go on full attack mode. I needn’t go into details here, we all know how that works.
Which track to pursue depends on which is more likely to succeed: not only short-term, but more importantly long-term in getting national policies enacted into law.
I’m inclined to try (1) first, and only go for (2) if we can’t get elected officials from one party or the other onboard for the “We Agree” ad campaign.
How to: Crowd-fund it. Raise the $$ to shoot the video (simple production values: any hallway in the US Senate offices) and get it placed where it’ll be likely seen by parents. It’s possible that a major ad agency could offer an hour or two of pro-bono consulting as to the best venues and time-slots for that.
I heard that anti-vaxxers/ woo-believers are “speaking their truth* because it’s you-know the Right Thing to DO;
hilariously, someone who frequents a gym nearby hears older people ( beyond the age usually associated with being parents of small children most subject to vaccination) “educating” those working out about the evils of vaccines and Big Pharma-
and often citing people like Andy or Null IN PUBLIC .Picture this.
Fortunately, I don’t go there. I told him that you can’t argue with them because their minds are already made up ( and probably the consistency of jelly at this point)
I don’t know what’s worse bragging about your vacation/ home/ grandchildren on the internet or “teaching” “science” at a gym although repeating rightie news stories about the evilz of NY, NJ and CA are up there as well. ( Crime, corruption and poo in the streets)
“… you can’t argue with them because their minds are already made up ( and probably the consistency of jelly at this point)”
Funny you should mention that – I’ve been noticing the same. There has been several articles on the CBC website over the past few weeks about (relatively small) measles outbreaks in various cities in Canada. There has been no attempt by reporters to present the “other side” of vaccination/ In the comments for some have been those whinging about lack of “balance,” pretty consistently put down with comments pointing out that the evidence comes down very heavily on the side favoring vaccination. The anti-vaxxers in the comments are a pathetic lot with absolutely predictable and unsupportable, responses (curiously the chiropractor seems to have dropped out recently after having been called out as being a chiropractor, which left him “not best pleased” as they say in angleterre)..
I have been considering ways to make profit from this. The anti-vaxxers have all the substance of marshmallows yet are completely impenetrable. There must be some way to capitalize on this by producing body armor with the same properties. Kevlar can’t hold a candle such a combination.
Doctor sparyed Roundup all around the hospital and I got a new cancer!
— fully malignant?!
— fully malignant!!
Thanks for answering Dorit although one could argue your opinion is skewed as you are a holder of GSK shares. You have skin in the game along with Paul Offit. Regarding NVICP, DPT lawsuits were financially taking a toll on the vaccine makers. When they informed congress they could no longer afford to make vaccines because of all the litigation, congress freaked out. Of course, back in 1986, the vaccination schedule was a fraction of what it is today. You act as if MERCK and the rest of them have a corporate conscience and really want to do the right thing. Isn’t MERCK presently under litigation for fraudulent claims about mumps efficacy? Isn’t MERCK the only maker of the MMR? You are a a proponent for tort liability when it comes to the un or partially vaccinated. However, tort liability doesn’t apply to pharma? After spending years in vaccine court, only to be denied, many don’t have the resources to keep going. Hmmm? Intentional? MERCKs rap sheet says it all. The public is required to trust these guys? The ONLY maker of MMR? The game is skewed. The general public is set up to lose. https://www.corp-research.org/merck
Your arguments are disingenuous and specious.
What you omitted was that later research revealed that the adverse events were not related to the DPT at all.
Yes it does. Vaccine makers can still be sued for faults in the manufacturing process.
Horse. Freaking. Apples.
Lawyers fees are paid by the Vaccine Court, even for unsuccessful applicants. Expert Witness fees are also paid, ads long as they are not unreasonable.
Let us look at the Omnibus Autism Proceedings. In 2009, the Test Cases of Michelle Cedillo, Yates Hazelhurst and Colten Snyder were ruled on by the Special Masters. All three lost badly. All three were appealed with the same result. The Hazelhurst and Cedillo families appealed again, and lost again.
Even if you lose in Vaccine Court, you are not out of pocket too much and can take the matter further.
That entry didn’t even rise to the level of being specious.
It’s not only a set of incorrect claims, it’s a set of claims that don’t really fit together.
The fact that there was concern about litigation, spurring Congress to act – as my earlier comment pointed out – is not related to a change in the vaccine schedule. Nobody talked about Merck having positive motives, and the mumps lawsuit – in which fact finding has not ended, and which will not really change what we know about MMR, since it doesn’t depend on Merck – is unrelated to any of the above issues. It’s also a bit in tension with the claim that manufacturers cannot be sued. Julian already answered the mistake about lack of resources to sue, and the comment including the mistake also acknowledges that people can sue. After going through a no-fault program that’s easier than the courts: it’s hardly a wrong to provide an easier forum.
The suggestion that people who reject expert opinion and decide not to vaccinate and not protect their chidren should face consequences when their actions harm others is also a bit off-topic. But if we are discussing that, remember that the rare cases of vaccines harms are compensated; harms from non-vaccination do not have provision. I am fine with imposing a fee on all people who don’t vaccinate and don’t protect their chidren (aside from those with valid medical exemptions) and creating a no-fault program to compensate the victims of the anti-vaccine movement instead of tort liability, if you prefer that.
And how is it relevant that the vaccine schedule had less vaccines in 1986, when manufacturers faced lawsuits (most of which lost, and as you point out, most of which we now know were without basis) related to DTP? Risk is not determined by number of vaccines alone. OPV, for example, caused 6-10 cases of paralysis a year, and DTP had more moderate and scary reactions than DTaP. Arguably, the schedule now has less risks.
I notice that you also could not resist the shill gambit. I’m afraid that’s not a good substitute for accurate facts.
You know who is set up to lose? My patients–infants, children and adolescents–if anti-vaxxers like you drive vaccine makers out of the US. Your ignorance of these horrible diseases vaccines prevent very well is sad.
Hey Chris, would you take your car to a repair shop that had a rap sheet like MERCK? I think NOT! I wish anti-vaxxers had the power to drive MERCK outta’ here. They are a criminal corporation.
Not liking Merck is a pretty bad excuse to fight against protecting children from diseases.
Hey NATALIE, is there any particular reason you have decided that Merck should be set in full caps? It has a certain… crank flavor to it.
Hey Natalie, would you take car repair advice from a mechanic that had been publicly stripped of their license to work on cars like Andrew Wakefield? I think NOT! I wish those of us on the spectrum had the power to send WAKEFIELD to jail! He is a bad man.
Why would you take your car to a repair shop? Surely you can research cars on the internet and fix it yourself?
@Natalie White: Your impassioned outrage at Merck’s Dodgy Motors might’ve sounded a tad more convincing were you not already pulling 80mph through the middle of a school zone in a brake-less deathtrap straight outta Honest Andy’s Chop Shop. As it is you ain’t fooling anyone here but your own fool self, so kindly piss off and go roll your coal elsewhere.
Perhaps Genevieve could reflect on how much money Merck and other vaccine makers (and their investors!)
could make if they stopped manufacturing vaccines, and instead profited from selling massive amounts of antibiotics and other drugs to treat the millions of new cases of vaccine-preventable diseases that would occur annually in the U.S. alone.
Biologics go through a much quicker approval process than regular drugs, but you already know this, don’t you? When truth is told and a nerve is struck, here comes the onslaught of insults and gas lighting. You are NOT advocates for health, you are sycophants for the criminal corporation called MERCK and the rest of them. Along with Dorit and Offit, I would guess most of you, Narad and Gorski, have skin in the game with healthy stock portfolios – rubbing your hands in anticipation. I remain hopeful some of you will grow a conscience. Good day and good health.
No, biologicals do not go through a quicker approval process.
They seem hung up on the fact that biological are subject to the Public Health Service Act. In reality, FDA applies the regulatins that apply to other drugs to biologics approval, and the Public Health Service Act adds additional requirements, like building licensing and batch testing. Biologics have more regulation and more testing than other products, not less.
Yes, like I suspect, most of you are shareholders in the pHARMa game. What a sad lot – prOFFIT over health. Maybe one day you’ll be able to look at yourselves in the mirror.
Jump to unfounded conclusions much, NATALIE? Back when I had money to invest, I was fond of the Royce funds, mostly small- and micro-cap stocks. Developing a myriad of vaccines to poison you with, I’m sure, but I didn’t really bother much with the annual reports.
Not a pharma shareholder here, I also live in a country where vaccines don’t cost me a penny. Your pathetic attempts at “witty” word play not withstanding it would appear that your understanding of basic economics and history, law oh and civil behavior is definitely lacking.
Dorit has already covered why the NVICP isn’t some great scam to prevent those who believe they have been injured from vaccinations from suing the manufacturers. Of course you chose to put your fingers in your ears and shout “lalalalalala I’M NOT LISTENING!!” because you dislike part of her stock portfolio, but that doesn’t make any of what she is saying any less true.
You’ve either missed or chosen to conveniently skip over the fact that the NVICP payouts are funded by a tax on the vaccines sold by the pharmaceutical companies in the first place – it doesn’t just come out of the US Gov money bin. And as Orac points out the math suggests that it is more than paying for itself.
Treating many vaccine preventable diseases and their potential complications makes pharmaceutical companies more money than the vaccines do – so on your “logic” you are the more likely one to be in the employ of those dastardly corporations because by frightening people off from getting vaccines you encourage all those nice profit-generating outbreaks to happen!
Of course you no doubt would argue that it’s more insidious than them “just” wanting the profit from the vaccines but instead it’s about intentionally making the public unhealthier so that they can feast on their wallets for <life. Except that doesn’t make any sense either – because all you anti-vaxxers keep on claiming that vaccines give people autism! For which there is no pharmaceutical treatment – man, these Pharma guys, they really screwed the pooch if their big evil plan was to give people a condition that they can’t make any money off!
You know who does make money off autism? Yep – it’s the anti-vaxxers. With all their biomed this and homeopathy that, MMS, chelation, chemical castration and book after tedious book and pleas for donations. So if we’re going to do an All the President’s Men here and “follow the money”, well it’s certainly not leading to “Big Pharma” – it’s leading to the anti-vaxxer luminaries. All the way back to the original shameful episode with that odious pustule Wakefield it’s always been the anti-vaxxers who profit from the myth that vaccines cause autism.
So come on then, just how much is Big Anti-Vaxx paying you to spread your lies? How can you look yourself in the mirror knowing that nice, shiny mirror was paid for not just with the suffering of adults and children who caught vaccine preventable diseases needlessly but with the screams of autistic children who had bleach forcibly pumped up their rectums. The lives of those who died from a resurgent measles, or were just plain chelated to death.
And if they aren’t cutting you in on a slice of all that delicious moolah they are raking in maybe you want to take a minute to think about how Andrew Wakefraud is sitting in his mansion in Texas and laughing at you and your ilk and how gullible you are. Or how Dr “Bob” Sears can make hundreds of thousands of dollars selling his (anti)Vaccine Book and then when he gets in trouble he can just withdraw some cash from his ATM (sorry, I mean supporters) and use that to pay his legal fees.
Are Merck et al charities? Nope. Are they saints? Nope. They’ve done some bad things – and rightly they should be punished when they cross the line (as they have been in the past). But doesn’t make everything they do wrong – and when it comes to their record on vaccines? It sure as hell beats the record of St. Andy, Bob Sears, AoA, The Geiers, etc.
IIRC, the Trust Fund balance is over a billion dollars, and the government has been borrowing against it.
Natalie, do you have a 401(k)? Or any mutual funds? Because then you too, most likely, own a bit of Merk. And GSK, and BMS, and Pfizer and maybe even Monsanto.
Let’s move on to some more serious discussion than the very tired “shill” gambit.
I too live in a country where childhood vaccines are free. I hold no shares directly and all the shares I hold indirectly I have no say over their purchase or sale.
The shill argument is a lazy argument employed by those that have no evidence to support their claims. Invariably, as soon as I see a shill claim I know there is no point reading further.
Not liking MERCK! Sad retort. They are a criminal enterprise. Did you look at the rap sheet? C’mon!
Then don’t buy their products. That seems pretty simple to me.
A fundamental reality of a free market is products that cause more harm than good tend to die a natural death…except, of course, vaccines. The bar is not set particularly high in the medical industry: Even other pharmaceutical products, which cause over 100,000 deaths per year when FDA-approved and properly prescribed and administered, have no problem surviving and thriving in the US market, with liability intact.
That the number of recommended vaccines has tripled since liability protection was granted to manufacturers is a no-brainer from a business perspective, and the number will continue to increase, to the maximum extent the market will tolerate it.
No matter how often and how loudly the vaccine industry and its ‘partners’ in government and media scream “the science is settled!”, and zealously attack all the many voices of science and reason that disagree, it will never make it true. The best they can do is simulate the appearance of truth. Fortunately, more and more people are beginning to realize it. That’s why marketing efforts to force and coerce vaccine consumption are escalating: It’s a panic reaction.
Vaccines do not cause more harm than good. Therefore, the rest of your argument is specious.
Nice try, but you’re just speculating, since vaccine manufacturers have been protected from liability for over 30 years.
There is world-wide data showing vaccines risks are small and their benefits large. Including from countries where liability protections don’t exist. Even if you – for some strange reason – believed that there can be no scientific evidence without the option of a court procedure in the background, your claim wouldn’t hold.
No I am not speculating. 500,000 a year catching measles with 400 deaths per year in the US prior to the introduction of measles vaccine. Less than 1000 per year catching measles and about 1 death per year afterwards.
No one has caught smallpox or died from smallpox in more than 40 years.
Vaccine manufacturers are not protected from liability. They are protected from design defect claims in the US by the vaccine court, but not other liability claims. They are not protected at all in many other jurisdictions.
Would you like another turn?
Doritmi, why have you not pointed out the fundamental error in the conclusion that “Vaccine injuries are very, very rare: less than one per million doses of vaccines distributed”, based on the number of successful awards in the VICP? You know what the error is, of course: claims are not filed in the VICP for all vaccine injuries, not by a long shot, any more than reports are filed in VAERS for every adverse event, or a malpractice case is filed for every instance of malpractice.
You also have not pointed out that many vaccines require multiple doses, which means the risk of staying up-to-date on the MMR, for example, are 4 times higher. Nor have you considered that the number of vaccine doses ‘distributed’ does not mean the number of doses ‘administered.’ Nor have you considered that when a vaccine like the MMR fails to protect against measles, which is does on a regular basis, the unfortunate recipient of that failed vaccine has incurred BOTH the risks of vaccination and the risks of measles. http://www.virginiastoner.com/writing/2018/10/13/when-1-in-a-million-really-means-1-in-100-and-other-vaccine-chicanery
You’re good at dancing with words, there’s no doubt about that. But I have yet to hear a sound explanation for why ordinary product liability for vaccines would be substantially less fair than it is for other products, such a pharmaceutical drugs.
Chris Preston, nice try again, but there were about 3.5 MILLION cases of measles every year before the vaccine–about 90% of cases were never reported, because it was so mild, no one visited a doctor. Of those 3.5 million measles cases, 400 died, or .01%. In other words, it was a benign illness that conferred benefits such as lifelong immunity for the vast majority of people who caught it.
“Before measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, an average of 400,000 measles cases were reported each year in the United States. However, because virtually all children acquired measles, the number of cases probably approached 3.5 million per year.” —Measles, Mumps, and Rubella — Vaccine Use and Strategies for Elimination of Measles, Rubella, and Congenital Rubella Syndrome and Control of Mumps: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, May 22, 1998 / 47(RR-8);1-57
In other words, you are advising the vast majority, who would have recovered fully from a mild case of measles, to subject themselves and their children to the risks of vaccination. Moreover, the vaccine will fail for some of them, so you are advising them to incur not only the risks of measles, but the risks of the vaccine as well. Advice is a very dangerous thing to give.
I’d also suggest you look into smallpox. It was not eradicated by any vaccine, and in fact, many areas with the highest vaccination rate also had the highest rate of smallpox cases and deaths.
Citation needed for your numbers. And the only way that could be possible is if most people caught the measles.
Begging for the ability to edit my comments.
And the only way that could be possible is if most people caught the measles multiple times.
No, 3.5 million was about the U.S. birth cohort, and pretty much everyone got the measles. Ginny and her boyfriend think this is happy-happy clappity-clap shit.
NWO Reporter “I’d also suggest you look into smallpox. It was not eradicated by any vaccine, and in fact, many areas with the highest vaccination rate also had the highest rate of smallpox cases and deaths.”
Aaannnddd we’re done here. Pack it all up and go home, your cat, dog, parakeet or dining room table has more reality-based arguments.
See, I was all ready to explain to NWO that the measles causes immune suppression and damages existing immune memory (so all those things you had developed immunity to before you got the measles? Now you’re vulnerable to them again.) but I see that NWO exists in another universe entirely.
NWO fool: “I’d also suggest you look into smallpox. It was not eradicated by any vaccine, and in fact, many areas with the highest vaccination rate also had the highest rate of smallpox cases and deaths.”
Dear god, I’ve had bowel movements with more intelligence than you.
The last stage of smallpox elimination used TARGETED vaccination, you fucking tool. Once blanket vaccination eliminated endemic smallpox, they switched to an active reporting system to mop up the last of it. Whenever an isolated outbreak occurred, it was quickly contained by vaccinating everyone in the area. With no-one else nearby to spread to, each outbreak died out. Rinse and repeat, till no further outbreaks occur. Elimination achievement unlocked.
Look up ing vaccination strategy. And then go look up Cause and Effect, ’cos you clearly don’t understand which way round they go.
Can’t win for losing, Ginny.
^ Unless Big Macs and cigarettes, say, don’t count for some reason. You’re dumber than Rappoport.
I notice you provided no evidence to support your claims, just those claims.
Which pharmaceutical products?
Julian Frost, here’s your evidence. And I trust you don’t need a reminder of the shocking Vioxx fiasco, Merck’s miracle drug estimated to have killed over 50,000 people alone. https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/files/hl_200012.pdf
That’s not evidence. That is an opinion piece from December 2000.
From the opening paragraph:
Estimated by whom?
You got nothin’.
Julian Frost, if you think the Journal of the American Medical Association published ‘nothing’, then it should be easy for you to refute the numbers with a source you like better. Do that, instead of fantasizing your snark carries any weight.
Your shitrain of hoary tropes is duly noted, Ginny. It’s a shame that rofecoxib was pulled from the market. Selective COX-2 inhibitors are very useful when dispensed properly.
So the “risk” is stochastic, Ginny? You should stay away from numbers; you might hurt yourself.
I’m waiting, Ginny; have you looked up the word ‘stochastic’ yet?
[<a href="https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23979"Ring vaccination]
@ Narad “Developing a myriad of vaccines to poison you with, I’m sure” recognizing you have a problem is the first step! Now can you convince the rest of the white coats? Regarding MERCK, I type in all caps because that is their biz logo. Does make it “pop” off the page. Your attempts at humor are chuckle worthy. Is it time for your refill of methylphenidate? Make sure you keep taking your blood pressure meds too.
Which is moronic and a well-known editorial barbarism. Do you also write “CHASE” for the bank?
@ Dorit.. Wow, you are busy. I see you everywhere. Volunteering must be exhausting and those GSK shares have absolutely nothing to do with it! Now that there’s a crack in the ice, mandating Gardasil for school is the next step in wealth building. Your students will definitely learn the art of spin. You are a master of rhetoric but doesn’t every good attorney know how to argue? Now keep trying to convince the masses, MERCK and the rest of ’em want to do what is best for the general public. Regardless of their track record, when it comes to vaccines, they do the right thing. Ignore the fact MERCK knowingly kills people, ie…the Vioxx debacle. Same company, MERCK, makes the only MMR and it is mandated. I’m pretty confident most of you in this echo chamber are sicko-phants for pHARMa. I smell you and you stink.
Stop that! Your spittle is spraying all over my screen.
Oh look, the Anti-Vaxxer shill is back!
Did the check from St Andy arrive yet? Or are you still spouting your tedious, badly written garbage for Big Anti-Vaxx for free?
While you’re waiting on whether that sweet, sweet, Anti-Vaxx moolah will arrive today or not. How about you riddle me this?
If we accept the (frankly absurd) notion that Dorit makes the comments she does on the basis of her GSK shares as you seem to believe why would she spend the effort to make comments on MMR or Gardasil? Both of which, are manufactured by Merck? A competitor of GSK.
I’ve only had enough mathematics courses to be dangerous, but have read your links and notice that the person making the claims never increases the denominator, using 3.1 million doses per year as the baseline. Since childhood vaccines are spread out over 18 years, that’s 55.8 million doses during that time period that should be considered. In addition, she makes the unjustified assumption that the vast majority of adverse effects aren’t reported, inflating the numerator. The wild guess that adverse effects might be much higher than claimed is really without basis in fact. Were severe adverse effects as common as claimed, it would be easily seen. The fact that some children have medical problems doesn’t mean vaccines are to blame for all of them, or even some of them. And if you would bother to read about the research behind the Rotavirus vaccine, you’d see that vaccines are tracked after testing, which picked up a rare problem caused by the vaccine, which was then changed so the complication would not recur. In fact, every element in her analysis is based on guesses that inflate the numerator or reduce the denominator, even where those changes are unjustifiable.
And for your information, I do not own any stocks in pharmaceutical companies other than some in groups of funds, each of which is pretty small and doesn’t leave me enough money to ignore any problems they cause. In fact, if you were honest, you’d realize that your speculations are not fact-based, and don’t justify any vilification of vaccines. Facts and evidence are necessary to persuade others that your beliefs are justified; otherwise they are just personal beliefs based on faith, and not worthy of consideration.
Your citizen.org link is from 2000. Mistakes made by medical personnel cannot justify making false claims about vaccine safety and efficacy. People who are hospitalized and taking medication are ill, and the cause of death can be difficult to quantify. Figures in that report are dubious and subject to criticism. Did you read any of those critiques before simply accepting the report as true? If so, the criticisms you hurl at others definitely apply to you. While insisting that people at this website have closed minds, you also are closing your mind to any possibility that vaccine benefits greatly exceed potential harms.
The initial signal of Pandemrix’s leading to narcolepsy in DQB1*06:02 recipients was very faint, IIRC, but still picked up.
(1) A lawyer is an attorney only when representing someone. (2) Professor Reiss is not a lawyer. (3) Your attempts at rhetorical sniggering are painfully sad. (4) Just fuck the fuck off. Were you bred to be a jackass, or did you have to do self-study?
(2) Professor Reiss is not a lawyer.<<<<Yep, she’s a professor at UC Hastings School of Law. She knows how to argue. (3) Your attempts at rhetorical sniggering are painfully sad.<<<< I’m entertained by it. (4) Just fuck the fuck off. Were you bred to be a jackass, or did you have to do self-study? <<<< Boring and predictable – swearing and insults. Yawn.
Mirrors are your friends, Babycakes.
Ginny wrote: “Of those 3.5 million measles cases, 400 died, or .01%. In other words, it was a benign illness that conferred benefits such as lifelong immunity for the vast majority of people who caught it.”
Oh, if only if life could be a Brady Bunch rerun! Unfortunately, measles is more dangerous now than it was for Marsha.
“During 1988 through 1990, California experienced its worst measles epidemic in more than a decade, with 16,400 reported cases, 3,390 hospital admissions, and 75 deaths. [Dales LG et al. Measles epidemic from failure to immunize. West J Med 1993; 159:455-464).] In 1990, 1 in 311 US measles cases resulted in death: 89 deaths among the 27,672 US cases [Current Trends Measles – United States, 1990. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. June 07, 1991 / 40(22);369-372.] Note that the 1 in 219 and 1 in 311 death rates are actually higher than “.01%.”
Here’s more: “Because estimates of case risks rely on data for severity generated during a pre-vaccine era they underestimate negative outcomes in the modern post-vaccine epidemiological landscape. Physicians and parents should understand when making decisions about their children’s health and safety that remaining unvaccinated in a predominantly vaccine-protected community exposes their children to the most severe possible outcomes for many preventable diseases.” Fefferman NH, Naumova EN. Dangers of vaccine refusal near the herd immunity threshold: a modelling study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2015 Aug;15(8):922-6.]
Further, NWO’s numbers fail to account for the increase in overall mortality after the measles, due to general and memory immune suppression by the measles virus. So be vaccinating against the measles, deaths from other infectious diseases are prevented as well. I don’t have a citation off the top of my head, but I think that This Podcast Will Kill You had citations on overall mortality and measles vaccination.
“I don’t have a citation off the top of my head, but I think that This Podcast Will Kill You had citations on overall mortality and measles vaccination.”
Here you go:
Mina MJ. Measles, immune suppression and vaccination: direct and indirect nonspecific vaccine benefits. J Infect. 2017 Jun;74 Suppl 1:S10-S17.
Mina MJ et al. Long-term measles-induced immunomodulation increases overall childhood infectious disease mortality. Science. 2015 May 8;348(6235):694-9.
Thank you kindly, brian!
I’ll have to add them to my pile of not-exactly-work-related papers to read. 🙂
It would be possible to support this dubious line of research with large-scale, long-term studies comparing ALL-CAUSE morbidity and mortality of FULLY vaccinated vs. FULLY unvaccinated children–if there were any such studies. There aren’t. The CDC refuses to conduct or fund them.
The CDC claims such studies would be unethical, as they would deprive people of vaccines they claim have proven benefits. But it’s a specious reason, because there are plenty of voluntarily fully-unvaccinated people to participate in such studies, who would be fully-unvaccinated with or without the study. And moreover, all study subjects would be free to drop out at any time if they change their minds–that’s standard in any research study.
The real reason the CDC will not conduct such studies is because they know what the results would be–the death knell of the vaccine paradigm, that even their expert fudging would not be able to cover up.
NWO, the problem with your proposed study (which at least isn’t as unethical as the usual suggestion) is that the fully unvaccinated population doesn’t reflect the general population of the US, or the world. The reason is that fully unvaccinated people fall into two general categories:
1) People with serious and severe medical conditions that preclude vaccination. The people are generally very sick and are likely to die younger than the general population. (You would not want these people in your study because it was make the unvaccinated people look sicker than the general population.)
2) People who don’t engage with SBM/EBM in the same way as the general population. People who self-select (or select their children) out of the vaccinated population are very different from the general population in so many ways that you’d never be able to see any vaccine-related signal among all the other reasons that their reported health metrics would be different.
So there’s no point in doing the study because with either population (or even both) the results would be meaningless.
G-d, it’s like an 8-track. No, there are not enough unvaccinated kids to get anywhere close to detecting a signal at the current prevalence. You’re going to have to calculate it yourself, because I just have a tablet at the moment and you’re not worth the effort. Plug in alpha, power, and signal into any decent sample-size calculator, and you’ll have the number.
Maybe someone could find Prometheus’s post on this at archive-dot-org; I have to get cleaned up and make a rendezvous.
JustaTech, thanks for mentioning This Podcast Will Kill You. I hadn’t heard of it before but now I’m fascinated listening to it.
Brian, I am using the pre-vaccine death numbers provided by vaccine cheerleader Chris Preston above. If his numbers are correct (it is a commonly cited number), and your numbers are correct, that means you are saying that within three decades after the vaccine was introduced, measles had become astronomically more deadly than it was prior to the vaccine. Perhaps as high as 3-4%, up from .01% prior to the vaccine. Why? Measles mortality had steadily declined more than 90% over the decades leading up to the vaccine, even though almost everyone got it.
Of course, your numbers assume there were no unreported measles cases in 1990 (90% of cases were not reported prior to the vaccine). But even if 90% of cases went unreported in 1990, the death rate still increased 300-400%, to .03-.04%. Again, why? Would that be due to poorer treatment, or the vaccine; or a generally weaker population? Or something else?
Ginny, I suppose that you didn’t try to understand the Fefferman and Naumova paper. Parents who choose to avoid vaccinating their children put them at risk.
@moto “If we accept the (frankly absurd) notion that Dorit makes the comments she does on the basis of her GSK shares as you seem to believe why would she spend the effort to make comments on MMR or Gardasil? Both of which, are manufactured by Merck? A competitor of GSK.” Regardless of which “team” she has stock in, she advocates for less exemptions and more governmental control over personal medical choices…ie….more vaccination. GSK has plenty of vaccines for the schedule, more vaccines administered, more money. She’s written multiple papers. This one lists her GSK stock in the financial disclosure. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/142/5/e20182009
Oh look.. you’re squirming around to move those goalposts. Yes Dorit has GSK stock and as you yourself have shown she discloses that on papers when it’s appropriate to do so. Do you understand how owning regular stock and financial and Potential Conflict of Interest disclosures work?
Do you understand how minuscule a difference it would make to the value of Dorit’s shares even if every vaccine on the CDC children’s schedule that GSK make were to be mandated to every child overnight?
I don’t know how many shares she has but for a fun little rabbit hole trip lets look at some sketchy, back-of-a-fag-packet numbers:
If every GSK vaccine on the CDC schedule for 0-15 months were to be made mandatory (and assuming the CDC chose GSK as the supplier wherever they had a vaccine available) then that would generate around $2.2 Billion of income for GSK a year (based on 2018 birth rates and vaccine prices). That’s income mind you not profit.
Wow.. that sounds like a lot of money! And yes it is.. to you and me. But GSK’s income in 2018 was $39 Billion – so adding $2.2 Billion to that is an increase of just 5.6% and of course it’s not adding $2.2 Billion because they are already selling a good chunk of that – if just 80% of the kids born in 2018 were fully up to date (and the other 20% had nothing at all) then you’re only looking at an increase of $0.44 Billion, which changes the math… to a truly staggering increase in income of..er… 1%
And of course this was income remember, not profit. The net income for 2018 was actually more like $5.123 Billion (and while that’s not the same thing as profit it’ll do well enough for here), increase that by 1% and you get about $5.18 Billion.
So that $0.44 Billion extra gross income has to go pretty far – by the time you’ve gotten past costs and it’s been diluted down to a per share basis it’s going to be pretty damn small. As I say I don’t know how many shares Dorit has but given GSK has issued around about 5 million shares even if she owns say a thousand shares she’s not going to see much of that extra income, or in monetary terms it’s basically the square root of f-all.
So basically your shill arguments against Dorit don’t hold up – shock of the day. So you can run around screaming about “stinks” and whatnot all you like. It’s still (as I said before) frankly absurd.
PS: Has your monthly check from Big Anti-Vaxx arrived yet?
@moto – How am I moving goal posts? You asked me about Dorit and I answered. It’s called “conflict of interest”. Your extrapolations prove nothing except your talent for creative math. Reminds me of some of the magical math used in “clinical studies”. Roll a turd in sugar, wrap it in a nice box, it’s still a turd….Big Anti-Vaxx check? Shows your disconnect and lack of awareness of the financial burden families face when a child is injured. Funny you have elevated me to some kind of professional blogger, like Dorit, Grassroots here, but I’ll take it as a compliment. Thank you! Now get back to work and do some more of your fancy math. I’m sure you are paid very well for it.
My friend Skeptical Raptor has done the math and concluded that if we owned 10,000 shares – we own 9,000 – and if my advocacy had a substantial impact on GSK prices (which is unlikely) it would net us $100 a year (so it actually is about $90). I donate more than that in a month to pro-vaccine non-profits.
I guess I’m bad at shilling.
By “creative math” and “magical math” I take it you mean “math that I don’t understand or doesn’t support my arguments”.
Would you care to present your own math to show this supposed financial incentive you claim motivates Dorit’s posts and comments on the topic of vaccines? Or is math something you don’t believe in and should only be mentioned in scare quotes?
Except that’s not true is it? People who receive vaccine injuries (in the US) are compensated by NVICP as described in the very article this comment thread is on.
Unless of course you’re talking about autism.. which isn’t a vaccine injury. As countless studies have shown over and over again. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t receive financial support of course – but it shouldn’t come from NVICP because (once again) it’s not a vaccine injury. As for my supposed “disconnect”, well if we are talking about autism well I find that hilarious bordering on the offensive. I AM autistic therefore I literally couldn’t be more connected to it. And I know all about the financial burdens of autism – because I have to pay for all of the support and therapy etc for my own condition out of my own pocket thank-you-very-much.
As for where the money should come from, well as I pointed out earlier in the thread how about it comes out of the pockets of those who have been profiteering from the vaccines-cause-autism myth for years? The man who started it all Andrew Wakefield comes to mind – you know, the scum-sucking fraudster who made it all up to line his own pockets? It’s a bit far for me to travel personally but if you want that “Big Anti-Vaxxer” check I mentioned maybe you could swing by his mansion in Texas, should be easy enough to find – just follow the smell of brimstone and moral decay.
Wakefield, RFK Jr, Dr “Bob” Sears, or Dr “Paul” Thomas should definitely be cutting you a check because “Grassroots” or not your continued peddling of vaccine FUD and lies and personal attacks against the people who actually give a damn about the health of children both autistic and neuro-typical is certainly doing work for them and their ilk.
You don’t use Disquis? Are your articles archived?
I highly recommend checking out the namelink if one has a spare moment (and it won’t take much more than that for any but completists).
What. Did. I. Just. Read. ?!?!
@ Dorit and Moto…. Dorit is in it for the long game, I’m not so short-sided. Here’s some simple math for you: MORE MANDATES + LESS EXEMPTIONS = MORE VACCINES SOLD = MORE $$$$$. How hard is that math? Can you put it into one of your official looking, fancy formulas. This is really too easy. Now don’t you have more important things to do than quibble with me? Seriously get back to work.
Right.. I’ve got my big boy calculator out, sharpened my pencil, put my concentrating face on and I’m gonna see if I can handle your math…
blockquote>MORE MANDATES + LESS EXEMPTIONS = MORE VACCINES SOLD = MORE $$$$$.</blockquote
Oh. Well as shown by both my rough math and the rather more detailed info that Dorit posted that “MORE $$$$$” equates to a tiny, tiny amount of money.
Even if that “LESS EXEMPTIONS” became “ZERO EXEMPTIONS” it would barely move the needle.
It doesn’t even equate to much more than that (in relative terms) at the level of GSK as a whole let alone someone with a measly 9,000 shares (no offence Dorit but I don’t think they even notice your existence at a financial level)
Wow.. that math really wasn’t that hard. Darn, I sharpened the pencil for nothing!
Feel free to contact my boss and tell him that you think I’m slacking off – since we are one and the same person I’m pretty confident he’ll tell you to shove your attempts at telling me what to do somewhere really uncomfortable (like the back of a Volkswagen).
@Moto….Whatever you need to tell yourself to get you through the day. Maybe you’re experiencing some cognitive dissonance? Bottom line, there is a conflict of interest that’s why it is mentioned in the article. Good day and good health.
Yep and that conflict is tiny and not the character assassinating silver bullet that you and all the other Anti Vaxxers seem to think it is. Nor does it change a single scientific fact regarding vaccine safety.
Since we’re on the topic of financial conflicts of interest would you care to weigh in on those of Andrew Wakefield? The ones he didn’t disclose and led to him falsifying data to try and support his fictional vaccines cause autism narrative? I can provide some numbers if you like but, spoiler alert they are rather big.
Ah, I see, Natalie is in league with Big Home Delivery.
No, no, let me explain!
If there aren’t vaccines, then communicable disease will come back, yes?
And before vaccines the way that societies dealt with communicable diseases was quarantine.
Back in the day, if you were quarantined, your family would bring you food. But now most people live a long way from their family.
So quarantined people will have to have their food delivered.
Thus boosting the home delivery market.
Ta-da, my logic is impeccable!
Maybe I’m just weary, but the bra-ket version is eluding me.
@ Narad – Not done with me yet? I have to admit you’re more engaging than Tweedledee (Justatech) and Tweedledum (moto) and definitely more fun than the rager (has) been. Narad is an interesting name…….. “Dev Rishi Narad or Narad Muni is the son of Brahma and a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He is known for gossiping and knows all the news from around the universe. He is also known for creating fights among people by spicing up facts. Rather, he is believed to be the first journalist on earth.”
Natale White: “’I’m pretty confident most of you in this echo chamber are sicko-phants for pHARMa. I smell you and you stink.”
Natalie White: “Boring and predictable – swearing and insults. Yawn.”
Poor Natalie. A bit more self-awareness and she wouldn’t be boring herself to sleep. 🙁
[…] False balance on vaccines in Portland, courtesy of KATU and Genevieve Reaume May 17, 2019 […]
@ has been – MERCK Dodgy Motors? Used car sales analogy will work.,,,make light of the criminal enterprise that has a monopoly on the MMR. I’d like to think you’re better at science than humor, but I could be wrong. Your tone reminds me of an angry, brain-damaged Eagles fan. Rage much? Make sure you take your B/P meds.
[…] False balance on vaccines in Portland, courtesy of KATU and Genevieve Reaume May 17, 2019 […]
Hi guys, I just posted to my blog regarding the Texas couple who allegedly beat their baby to death. You may be interested. diestra.home.blog
Blaming vaccines for the death of ten week old preemie by the father who caused 96 fractures is not a good thing. You seem to be supporting child abuse by a parent, and medical neglect by demonizing vaccines.
Holy hell. That you would claim that a baby beaten to death by its parents actually did of vaccines is beyond vile and despicable.
Ms. Podlesak, you are a terrible human being. The child’s grandmother was worried about the baby because the father had issues, especially with drug use. Please ask your deity for both forgiveness and guidance.
And for an education about reality.
Oh I see: parents don’t beat their babies to death: vaccines beat babies to death.
And that includes almost a hundred fractures. Sure, right.