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Andy Serwer: Giving RFK, Jr. an unopposed platform to spread antivaccine propaganda on Yahoo! Finance

Andy Serwer of Yahoo! Finance interviewed Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. It did not go well. Serwer allowed RFK, Jr. to spew his antivax propaganda largely unquestioned.

As I contemplated what to write today, my first thought was to follow up on yesterday’s post, in which I examined the latest video by the ever-intrepid antivaccine propagandist for whom no distortion is too distorted, no antivax trope is too much, and no pseudoscience is too over-the-top. As expected, it was very much a Del Bigtree joint, with cherry picked quotes from the World Health Organization’s Global Vaccine Safety Summit in December made to look as though major WHO players were “questioning vaccine safety.” (Spoilers: They weren’t.) The reason was a little dustup on Twitter, where Del claimed denied cherry picking the quotes from WHO officials and other scientists involved in vaccine safety and claimed that there was a lot more where that came from. Instead, late yesterday, a clueless PR flack sent me an email advertising an interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. by Andy Serwer on Yahoo! Finance Influencers. In it, Serwer starts out discussing climate science and politics with RFK, Jr., but a little past halfway in (at just past the 18 minute mark), things go south as Serwer asks RFK, Jr. about his antivaccine activism.

Here’s the video, complete with transcript, so that you can check it out as I discuss it. It’s a truly awful interview. Indeed, it’s worse than false balance about vaccines, a problem to which many a journalist fell prey back when I first started blogging. It’s no balance. It’s letting RFK, Jr. spew easily refuted antivaccine tropes, disinformation, and pseudoscience on behalf of his antivaccine nonprofit Children’s Health Defense. It might as well have been a commercial for RFK, Jr.’s activities. Oh, sure, Serwer does occasionally try to “challenge” RFK, Jr. on his antivaccine views, but he’s clearly no match for RFK, Jr.’s Gish gallop game.

Andrew Serwer screwed up inviting this antivaxxer on his show.

You can tell things won’t go well right from Serwer’s introduction:

Robert Kennedy, Jr., son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, has spent his life fighting for causes he holds dear, including controversial ones. For over three decades, Kennedy, Jr. served as an attorney for top environmental groups, going toe-to-toe in lawsuits against corporate giants. More recently, he’s questioned the safety of vaccines, eliciting rebukes from a consensus of mainstream scientists, and even from family members.

He’s here to talk about the 2020 presidential race, the future of the planet, argue with me about vaccines, and speak to the legacy of his family in the age of Trump.

Notice the false equivalence in which Serwer equates RFK, Jr.’s environmental advocacy, which of course sometimes caused controversy, to his antivaccine advocacy, both being portrayed as brave, as “fighting for causes he holds dear.” From my perspective, there’s a huge difference between being on the right side of controversial causes and being on the wrong side of science. I also can’t help but note the contrast. RFK, Jr. is on the right side of climate science, and I bet he would rightly reject the sorts of arguments he makes against vaccines if the same techniques were used to attack climate science and the scientific consensus that human activity is the dominant cause of rapid climate change. In fact, I know that he does reject the disinformation, tropes, distortions, and pseudoscience of climate science denialists—and rightly so.

Yet when the topic is vaccines, no pseudoscience is too bizarre, no logical fallacy too fallacious, no bad science too awful, no trope to ridiculous, for him not only to accept but to repeat and amplify. Heck, he even produces plenty of crappy science, pseudoscience, and deceptive arguments against vaccines himself (or at least his organization does). He issues bogus “challenges” of the sort that only the crankiest of cranks do.

Here’s where Serwer finally gets around to asking RFK, Jr. about vaccines:

ANDY SERWER: Let me switch and ask you about vaccines. I’m curious, how did you come to the position that vaccines were a problem?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: First of all, you started out by introducing me as anti-vaccine, which I’m not. People say I’m anti-vaccine because they don’t want to have the argument with me about how to improve vaccines. And I’m not anti-vaccine. I’m– I believe we should have safe vaccines, and I believe we should have robust science, and I believe that we should have independent regulators who are not financially tied to the companies that make our vaccines.

No, first of all, Serwer did not actually introduce RFK, Jr. as “antivaccine.” He didn’t use the word in his change of topic above, and he didn’t use it in his initial introduction to the interview. Note again what he said in his introduction, “More recently, he’s questioned the safety of vaccines, eliciting rebukes from a consensus of mainstream scientists, and even from family members.” No use of the word “antivaccine” there. As for his claim that people call him antivaccine because they “don’t want to have the argument with me about how to improve vaccines,” I laughed out loud; that is, before I scoffed. No, we call RFK, Jr. antivaccine because he is antivaccine—antivaccine as hell! If Serwer had been on the ball, he would have asked RFK, Jr. exactly what he thinks would “improve vaccines.”

Come to think of it, his claim that he’s “not antivaccine” but rather a vaccine safety advocate is an old antivaccine diversion that goes back at least to Jenny McCarthy, if not further back. He’s also very antivaccine. Indeed, he’s so antivaccine that he’s likened the vaccine program to the Holocaust on at least two occasions that I’m aware of. He’s so antivaccine that during the recent measles outbreak that was in the process of killing dozens of children in Samoa and sickening thousands, he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Samoa trying to argue that it was the MMR vaccine that had started the outbreak, not shockingly low MMR vaccine uptake. He’s so antivaccine that (to be fair Serwer did mention this) his family called him out on it last year. No, RFK Jr. is antivaccine AF. No, really. He is not a “vaccine skeptic.” He’s antivaccine.

Next up, RFK Jr. explains how he became a vaccine safety activist antivaccine:

ANDY SERWER: Well, how did you, wait, so how did you pick this issue though, that’s my question, of all the other issues out there?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: The reason I picked the issue– it kind of picked me– is that I, first of all, I was suing a bunch of coal burning power plants and cement kilns in 2004 for discharging mercury, poisoning all the fish in America. And people started coming up to me at that time, mainly women with children who had intellectual disabilities who were vaccine-injured. And they’d come up to me and say, if you’re really concerned about mercury exposures to children, you need to look at vaccines. And I didn’t want to do it. You know, my family’s been involved in the issues of intellectual disabilities for generations.


ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: It’s something I grew up with, I care deeply about, but I wanted to spend my time protecting water. One of these women came to me on Cape Cod at the end of 2004. She had a big pile of scientific studies, and she put them on my front stoop. And she was a psychologist from Minnesota. Her name was Dr. Sarah Bridges. Her son had been a perfectly healthy boy [? got ?] autism from a vaccine, the vaccine court had acknowledged that that was true and given them a $20 million settlement. And she put this pile on my front step and she said, I’m not leaving here until you read those. And I’m very accustomed to reading science. It’s part of my job. I’ve brought hundreds of lawsuits, they all involve scientific controversy. I started reading that science and I was immediately struck by the huge delta between what the actual science was saying and what the public health agencies were claiming.

You might remember that RFK, Jr. made his first big splash in the antivaccine movement in June 2005, when, to their eternal shame, Rolling Stone and both published his antivaccine conspiracyfest of an article, Deadly Immunity. It was basically a variant of the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, namely that “they” (the CDC) “know” that vaccines cause autism but are covering up the science that shows it. In the case of his article, his claim was that the mercury in the thimerosal preservative then used in several childhood vaccines was the cause of the “autism epidemic.” (We now know that the claim that mercury in vaccines causes autism has been well falsified.) Before that, he hadn’t shown any signs of being antivaccine, at least not publicly anyway. As for Sarah Bridges, no, the court didn’t quite rule that vaccines caused her son’s autism. Basically, her son Porter had a seizure when he was an infant after receiving the DPT vaccine and the family was compensated for encephalopathy. Porter was reportedly eventually diagnosed with mental retardation and autism spectrum disorder. Given that more recent data have shown no link between DPT vaccination and encephalopathy, it is actually unlikely that DPT caused Porter’s brain injury, although at the time doctors thought it did.

Once more, we confront the RFK, Jr.’s arrogance of ignorance. He thinks he can evaluate the science on a large, complex subject like vaccine adverse events and the epidemiology used to study vaccine safety by reading a pile of what were almost certainly cherry picked scientific studies used by Bridges to “prove” that vaccines cause autism. Once again, as he still does, he mistakes quantity of publications for quality of science. In fact, he does it again when Serwer falls into a rather obvious trap:

ANDY SERWER: But there is, Robert, a huge body of science that doesn’t support your position.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: Show it to me.


ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: Show it to me.

ANDY SERWER: I can, but I’m not going to do that right here.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: Show me one study.

ANDY SERWER: I’ll show you a lot of studies, but right now–


ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: –says that vaccinated children are healthier than unvaccinated children, then I will put that study on my website and I will quit my job.

A rookie mistake. Never say something like a “huge body of science” to an antivaxxer on the air unless you can actually list some of it off the top of your head and tell the antivaxxer why his interpretation of it is wrong. In any event, RFK, Jr. is truly clueless on science, but in a way that can fool most people because most people don’t understand how scientific consensuses are arrived at. In any event, Serwer brings up RFK, Jr.’s family’s rebuke of him:

I’ve already said to them what I’ve going to say to them, which I’ve written and is published on our website. What I say is people say there’s this huge body of science. What the science consists of is a handful, a tiny handful of epidemiological studies that were written by industry and by the CDC, which is part of the industry. And none of those studies do– all of them are fatally flawed, and I can go through each one with you. And none of those studies do what you would want a study, that you wanted to exculpate vaccines, actually do, which is to compare a vaccinated population to an unvaccinated population and look at the health outcomes.

The Institute of Medicine, which is the National Academy of Science, which is the ultimate arbiter of vaccine safety science, has repeatedly said to the CDC, you are claiming that you have studied this issue, particularly the issue between autism and vaccines; you have not. Oh, it’s not Robert Kennedy. It’s the Institute of Medicine, which is the highest authority, scientific authority in our government, has repeatedly said to the CDC, you have not done the studies necessary to make these claims that you are making.

No, what there is to support the antivaccine narrative is a moderate number of crappy studies with huge methodological flaws, some of which are fraudulent, several of which have been retracted, to which antivaxxers routinely point to support their false claims and pseudoscience. Moreover, the IOM didn’t say that, much less repeatedly. In actuality, it has repeatedly affirmed that vaccines do not cause autism and that they are safe. On the provaccine side, there are a number of very large, very well-designed studies that failed to find a link between vaccination and autism or any of the other conditions and diseases that antivaxxers blame on vaccines. RFK, Jr. wouldn’t recognized a fatal flaw in a study if it bit him on the posterior. How do I know that? He used to tout studies by the father-son team of antivaccine pseudoscientists, Mark and David Geier, whose studies were notable primarily for how execrably bad they were and how dishonest they were about the results. He cites terrible studies as though they were definitive. No, RFK, Jr. is not a good judge of vaccine science or epidemiological studies.

So let’s hear what RFK, Jr. considers to be a “safe” vaccine:

ANDY SERWER: Well, you’re partly anti-vaccine.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: No, I’m not. I’m against vaccine– I’m for vaccines, but I’m for safe vaccines.

ANDY SERWER: What’s a safe vaccine?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: A safe vaccine is a vaccine that has been tested against a placebo or against, or against a unvaccinated group, and that where that vaccine, where we can see from science, that vaccine is averting more harm than it’s causing. And that’s all we want. And if you show me that study, Andy, I will quit my job at the CHD, I will post that study on our website, and I will leave. Right now, not one of the 72 vaccines that is now mandated for our children has ever been safety tested.

OK, let me get this straight. RFK, Jr. claims to be “not antivaccine,” but he also thinks that no vaccine is safe because none has ever been safety tested. In other words, he thinks all current vaccines are either unsafe or not proven safe, which is unbelievably clueless. We’re talking black hole level dense clueless, such that every clue that he ever might have had is trapped behind its event horizon. Also, believing that there are no safe vaccines is the very definition of being antivaccine!

RFK, Jr. then elaborates:

ANDY SERWER: But how is that possible? Do you really believe, Robert, that out of all the 72 vaccines that you say are out there, that they’re all unsafe? Is that really– it doesn’t seem logical.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: I don’t think anybody can say that they’re safe because they’ve never been, they’ve never been safety tested. And the reason they’re not safety tested and the reason they have an exemption– every other medicine is tested against a placebo, usually for five years in double blind tests, which means you give a blue pill to 10,000 people, an identical blue pill to 10,000 similarly situated people, and then you look at health outcomes.

Every other medicine, every other medical device has to go through that test. The only one that is permanently exempt from that is vaccines. And the reason that, it’s an artifact of the CDC’s legacy is the Public Health Service, which was a quasi-military agency, which is why people at CDC have military ranks. The vaccine program which was initially implemented as a national security defense against biological attacks on our country.

So they– people who were running it wanted to be able to get a vaccine to market very quickly to deploy it to 100 million Americans without regulatory impediments. So they said, we’re not going to call it medicine, because then we’d have to test it. We’re going to call it biologics, and we’re exempted from testing. And that’s why no vaccine has ever been safety tested.

You can tell how woefully unprepared Andy Serwer was by his not even gently challenging RFK, Jr. on his claim that there are 72 vaccines. In fact, he didn’t even notice anything wrong! Elsewhere, he also accepted the claim that the CDC said that 39% of the cases of measles in the Disneyland outbreak were vaccine-strain. They were not. Nor are today’s generation of children the “sickest generation,” as RFK, Jr. likes to claim. Serwer shouldn’t have interviewed RFK, Jr. in the first place, but if he didn’t know these basic facts he should probably refrained from asking him about his antivaccine activism and stuck to climate change and politics.

Getting back to substance, there are not 72 vaccines on the childhood schedule. There are not even 72 doses of vaccine on the entire childhood vaccine schedule, but the claim that children receive 72 doses of vaccines (or even more doses) is a standard antivaccine trope. It’s also an inflated number. Look at the CDC schedule. Even if you take the combination vaccines and separate them, there are not even close to 72 vaccines. There are 13, 15 if you count vaccines not given to every child. Let Vincent Ianelli explain how antivaxxers get to 72. After noting that children get around 54 doses of vaccines by age 18, of which one third are from the recommended yearly flu vaccines. Then:

How do you get a number like 72?

You can boost your count to make it look scarier by counting the DTaP, MMR, and Tdap vaccines as three separate vaccines each, even though they aren’t available as individual vaccines anymore.

To boost the Vaccine Doses for Children a bit more, they add pregnancy doses too. They leave out all of the doses kids got in the 1960s to make it look scarier too… This trick of anti-vaccine math quickly turns these 8 shots into “24 doses.”

The number might be a little different today, as Dr. Ianelli did his calculation in 2018, but the principle is the same.

Am I being unfair? No! Remember, RFK, Jr. didn’t say 72 vaccine doses. He said 72 vaccines, which makes his misinformation even more egregiously wrong. This is an example of how the antivaccine narrative slips into this interview in even the the smallest ways. By not knowing that “72 vaccines” is an antivaccine trope, Serwer was unprepared to say: Wait a minute, that’s an inflated number, and here’s why. One key component of antivaccine propaganda is that children receive way too many vaccines (“too many too soon” and “vaccines overtax the immune system”), and by not knowing that Serwer just let RFK Jr. slip a little antivaccine messaging in there. The same was true when elsewhere Serwer also accepted the claim that the CDC admitted that 39% of the cases of measles in the Disneyland outbreak were from vaccine-strain measles virus. They were not. There were no cases due to vaccine strain measles. Nor are today’s generation of children the “sickest generation,” as RFK, Jr. likes to claim (and did repeat in this interview without using the specific term).

As you can see above, RFK, Jr. even trotted out the “no saline placebo” controls in clinical trials lie. That’s an antivaccine trope that’s risibly easy to shoot down. Moreover, depending upon the vaccine and trial, a saline placebo isn’t always the most appropriate control, which RFK, Jr. clearly doesn’t know. It’s also a myth that no studies compare health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Guess what? The studies that exist don’t show what RFK, Jr. and antivaxxers think such studies would show. If anything, they show that vaccinated children are healthier, although the conservative interpretation is that they definitely don’t show that vaccinated children are less healthy than unvaccinated children. Of course, taking into account incidence of vaccine-preventable disease, vaccinated children definitely are healthier because they get fewer infectious diseases.

I wonder if RFK, Jr. will publish any of the studies listed in this link on the Children’s Health Defense website and resign from CHD. Somehow, I doubt it.

The bottom line is that Andy Serwer and Yahoo! Finance screwed up—big time. The blame clearly goes on Serwer and whatever producer decided that it would be a good idea to interview RFK, Jr. Serwer shouldn’t have given RFK, Jr. a platform in the first place, but, once the decision was made to do so, he really should have familiarized himself with the antivaccine misinformation that RFK, Jr. routinely lays down. He clearly did not or chose not to push back very much against RFK, Jr.’s antivaccine propaganda. Even when he did try (weakly) to push back, he got his posterior handed to him by RFK, Jr. because he was clearly not familiar with the techniques of denialism or why the claims made by RFK, Jr., which could easily be predicted with a little research, are false. He failed his audience. No, actually, he just failed miserably and gave RFK, Jr. a platform for his antivaccine disinformation.

What’s really frustrating about RFK, Jr. is that he’s very good on climate science. He’s also a great example of how humans can compartmentalize. What’s even more frustrating is that, because of his antivaccine activism, RFK, Jr. is a perfect tool for climate science deniers to use to deny the climate science that says that human activity is causing catastrophic warming of the earth’s climate. They can point to his antivaccine nonsense and ask how one can believe him on climate science if he’s so wrong about the science of vaccines. He showed why on Yahoo! Finance, and Andy Serwer let him do it. Serwer should never have invited RFK, Jr. on his show.

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]

167 replies on “Andy Serwer: Giving RFK, Jr. an unopposed platform to spread antivaccine propaganda on Yahoo! Finance”

Well, Serwer got truly Gish-galloped. Hoofprints all over his face. Junior and reality are not on speaking terms these days. (I’m trying to be diplomatic here).

Meanwhile, in Canada:

I found this helped counter the feeling of despair I experienced reading about this trainwreck of an interview.

I noticed yesterday that Vishnu Arugula showed up in the comments and cited his own “work” published in a pay-to-publish rag. I guess he quit hanging around here because no one was impressed with his vanity publications.

What bothers me most is that anti-vaxxers’ histrionics and misquoted research affect the causal listener powerfully and very quickly lead to an impression before SBM advocates even open their mouths. It takes time and effort to understand the major important issues and most people won’t do that: Anti-vaxxers know that if they can create a fog of suspicion about dangerous effects and corporate/ governmental malfeasance, they’ll capture a certain segment of the population immediately

Woo-meisters and anti-vax proselytisers have the casual listener imagine themselves as victims of the Powerful Elite- corporations, the government, misogynists. That last one bothers me because usually these ring leaders mislead women into accepting poor science and worse reasoning- thus, relegating women to a position of subservient receptive “learning” not the empowerment they trumpet so loudly.

@ Denice Walter

“Woo-meisters and anti-vax proselytisers have the casual listener imagine themselves as victims of the Powerful Elite- corporations, the government, misogynists.”

Very true. But what is at stake is a notion of responsibility.

When you are not in a position of responsibility, but in a position where you are subject to authority in one way or another, you are faced with the following conundrum: when presented with scientific evidence, it is all too easy to play on the two following items: First, the fact that it is quite easy to poke holes in science because it cannot cover every aspect of a question under consideration. Second, the fact that you get to understand science as a “quest for truth”.

When you are in a position of responsibility, things change: First, you learn that you have to deal with incomplete evidence in nearly all matters of public policy where scientific evidence matters. Second, you understand that science is not only a “quest for truth” but also very importantly a “quest to avoid mismanagement”.

Depending on the side on which you stand, you have different perspectives, and the epistemological tools you tend to use, no matter how biased, are not exactly the same. And we keep hitting these misunderstandings with most “reasonable” antivaxxers.

One of the tricks that should be used is to push them into questioning themselves about what they would do were they in a position of power, which entails that notion of responsibility. As long as they do not engage in that mental game, they’ll be subject to same fallacies over and over again.

Of course, in order to get to that point, there are many hurdles. Crank magnetism and defiance of authority (and I’m clearly not out of the defiance of authority bias myself given my personal story…) clearly are some of them. But I really do believe that quite a number of people can be swayed from quite a number of cognitive biases once they accept playing the mental game of putting themselves in the shoes of someone who needs to exercice authority responsibly. (Though even that opens people to quite another can of worms that they’ll have trouble coming to grips with in the medium term).

Related – I feel that women seem to be more attracted to woo because it gives them a sense of power – misplaced power. They don’t have to worry about cancer because they can enema it away. They can reiki away pain. But in reality they it leaves them even more powerless.

I don’t know. I seem to run into just enough men who fall into the same trap. Some of them because they think is sounds “logical.” My dad was like. And I will always remember some young guy painting my house that our colon was full of years old meat residue.

The other day I was talking to a couple of other women about the woo we mothers are subjected to due to having autistic kids. It seemed that they figured out it was nonsense without much trouble, but were shocked at my knowledge (mostly because I took a full year of chemistry and some physics in college). I just told them it was accessible because there are some nice science books for the layman (laywoman) by folks like Deborah Blum and Sam Kean.

@ Chris

“I don’t know. I seem to run into just enough men who fall into the same trap.”

I believe there is an asymmetry in women’s and men’s relationship to medical care that makes comparisons quite unfair. Women need more access to healthcare for a number of reasons: gynecologists at a rather early age, for instance, and maternity imposes a few hospitalisations for child birth. Then there is child care, which does entail quite a number of interactions with doctors when it comes to their kids. Moreover, there is all the wellness or cosmetics industry, which, while not being healthcare per se, does entice women into forging a personal opinion on “natural” cosmetics vs. “chemical” cosmetics. Little stuff like that makes women, not intrinsically more receptive to woo, but more exposed to questions related to woo.

Given this context, it seems unfair to make men/women comparisons on this matter.

Most men I’ve known who were sensitive to woo (excluding vaccines and religious medical nonsense) came to it through questions related to meditation, or some ideological aspects such as left-wing rejection of money, agricultural political issues or anthroposophy. At least in my little Swiss corner of the world. For women, it seems that there are more deep-seated personal issues at stake.

What I know for sure is that if I had been female, what I’ve lived through would have made me utterly nuts and would have developed a relationship to healthcare that would have been much more dangerous than it is now: Vicarious trauma pushed my ex-wife into Ayurveda stuff and quite some woo. If she had been in my shoes, it would clearly had been much much worse, for her and her offspring.

I do not think comparisons between men and women on the topic of woo are fair game for either sex.

Whatever circulation Yahoo Finance has to promote this interview is dwarfed by the attention given on major media to RFKJ Jr.’s rejection by pro-vaccine members of his family.

Too bad though that any interviewer is unprepared to counter his garbage.

The tip about having a ready counter in any verbal exchange about good vaccine safety studies is useful. Offhand mine would be the most recent comprehensive IOM review of vaccine safety, the huge Hviid et al study showing no MMR-autism link,’s collection of vaxed/unvaxed studies and the excellent articles on Vaxopedia confirming the many vaccine trials that included placebo (a large number of which used the antivaxers’ Holy Grail, saline placebo).

Not that I have yet been drawn into face to face confrontation with a hardcore antivaxer, but it’s good to be prepared.

And how about Jain et al (2015):
unvaccinated and vaccinated younger siblings of kids with autism both have the same rate of autism – 7% and
unvaccinated and vaccinated younger siblings of kids without autism have the same rate – 1%.

I thought you would write about the New Jersey debacle today ?

I cannot get signed in with Google for some reason. It just spins and spins.

In short, RFK jr, Del and a crowd of protestors – many from elsewhere- flooded legislators with phone calls and loudly interfered with the legislature’s operations so that the senate was short a vote twice. The session ended but leaders are planning new attempts to overturn religious exemptions. I understand that this has occurred in the past-
One leader, Sue Collins, says she has been active for 25 years.

Meanwhile Del and RFK jr declare victory ( @ High Wire Talk; @ ChildrensHD) as they solicit funds from fans.
NJ has one of the easiest religious exemption laws to game: a parent needs to merely submit a letter saying that vaccination is against their religion.

Activists solicited assistance from Black people who are achingly familiar with discrimination and Orthodox Jews who may claim exemptions. Actually progressive representatives supported the bill more than Republicans who are more libertarian. The Usual Suspects tried to get their followers to get involved despite where they lived: Del, RFK jr, Tenpenny etc.are well known and from out of state.

The NYT article is maddeningly unclear on the details. It says the bill passed the lower Assembly house, but couldn’t clear the Senate after two Democrats withdrew their support. However, it doesn’t identify the Senators, or what reasons they offered for their positions. Instead the story says:

awmakers who supported the legislation may have made a political miscalculation when they introduced an amendment that excluded private schools to win the vote of a Republican needed to achieve a majority in the Senate. Instead, opponents, including an African-American Democratic assemblyman, argued that this amounted to segregation that would allow only the affluent a choice about vaccination.

However, that Assemblyman was opposed to the bill in the first place, and it passed the Assembly over his objection. So it’s unclear to me why the story went off in that direction. Fwiw, it’s also unclear to me just how much influence either Del or RFKJ had in this whole thing, though they clearly help rally their “base” to come out for public demos, and draw local news coverage…

The thought that RFKJ’s nuttery is an aid to climate crisis deniers would turn my stomach if my stomach wasn’t at maximum hyper-turnage already.


Don’t forget that Junior sucked up to Donald “Climate change is a Chinese hoax” Trump so he could get presidential support for his pet “Vaccine Safety Commission”. Just shows where his priorities lie.

And this is a carry over from last month when the anti-vaxxers packed the wrong hearing room fro a protest.

My impression is that New Jersey lacks a strong lead figure like Richard Pan to explain the need and muster support.

Argh. Sorry TBruce, I should have read the comments before posting.

Orac feel free to delete this and the parent.

I’m a bit disappointed in the CBC Marketplace “revelations” about antivaxers and their deceptive ways. Not a whole lot of new meat on the bone.

It’s nice however to see Lyons-Weiler’s personal enrichment tactics being made public.

I suspect that these revelations are news to a goodly number of viewers. Every bit helps.

The cry of no placebo/no true placebo/no saline placebo seems to have mostly arisen in just the past year or so, from people who have no idea how a placebo is supposed to work and who are ignorant of how widespread the use of placebos in vaccine trials actually is.

As for the argument that improper placebos are concealing vaccine harms, where are all the serious effects of placebos that one would expect if this was the case?

These people are just chanting memes they’ve read on antivax sites without bothering to learn when their mistakes are corrected.

It has actually been around for a while. I started to tell them if they are not satisfied by the several dozen studies done across this planet in the last couple decades, then to go do it themselves. Just to make sure it conforms to the Belmont Report (those pesky human study rules that prevent endangering children).

By the way this is what they really want, and yes, it is dangerous for several reasons:

@ sadmar:

The problem was in the Senate, a Democrat didn’t sign on so they were short one vote. In January, a Republican agreed to support the bill if an amendment allowing the exemption only for religious/ private schools and daycare but another Democrat disagreed. leaving them one short again.
Over the time period, I watched @ ChildrensHD ( RFK jr) where he listed legislators involved several times for his followers to call/ e-mail.. I think that they targeted younger, new members like Lagana and Gopal. Lots of pleas at their twitter: Similar @ HighWireTalk ( Del) the internet doesn’t forget.
A few reporters covered the whole mess in Trenton: @ DanielMunoz100; @ SusanKLIvio; @ Johnsb01

I find the NYTimes article frustrating because it completely ignores how hard it is to pass such bills and treats failure as something that never happened before. In reality, vaccines bills – good or bad – usually fail. It’s simply hard to pass bills in the states. This came incredibly close in spite of massive antivaccine efforts on a national level. That’s not reflected. There are things we need to do – first and foremost, prepare law makers and make them aware that this is a national, not local, effort – but the article missed much of the situation, I think.

@ Aarno,

I can’t think of one good reason Merck would have to publish an honest study.

I can think of two good reasons, off the top of my head:

1) A false study would be exposed by subsequent events.
2) A false study would leave the company exposed to lawsuits and criminal prosecution

I’m sure there are others. Maybe you should think harder (if that’s possible).

I can think of hundreds…including laws, regulations and oversight from organizations and agencies globally.

STFU Christine and stop spreading your ignorance.

Also, it is a company make up of people. People who have families, families that they would like to protect.

She should just stop lying.

Christine, I’d be careful about pointing fingers on the topic of honesty. You not only liked about Ari Ne’eman’s comments about wandering in relationship to Kevin and Avonte’s Law, you also lied about lying, when presented with direct proof. Care to explain why?

If you publish a false saferty study and people start dying you are in deep s*t. Monsanto has problem because it did not care does Roundup cause cancer or does it not (this is a court opinion),
So you are essentially saying that Merck faked all saline placebo tests ? Even Children’s Health Defense thinks otherwise. (Which, btw, shows what a liar Robert Kennedy Jr is.)

@ christine

So, you can’t think, thanks for finally admitting this. Why would they publish an “honest” study, perhaps because they are required to by law and over the past few years the FDA has upped its enforcement requirements. And whether you like it or not, whether you question their honesty or not, they did do a saline placebo controlled trial. Doesn’t matter what you attribute this to. Except for your delusions of grandeur, you aren’t the litmus test for vaccine research.

A good example of ‘vaccinated vs. unvaccinated’ situations has to do with the HPV vaccine — perhaps the most severely demonized vaccine there is. In many countries, HPV vaccine uptake is only some 50%. This means that we have two large, identical groups, with one group HPV-vaccinated, and the other group not. And because of persistent rumors about the HPV vaccine being harmful, quite a few studies have been done in several countries independently, comparing the health of these two groups,

And guess what? EVERY SINGLE STUDY comes up negative. There is no difference at all in health between HPV-vaccinated and HPV-unvaccinated girls AT ALL. But of course, not a single antivaccine activist will ever admit this result. They will still claim that no study has been done, and for all the rest keep repeating all those antivaccine myths, ad infinitum.

There is no difference at all in health between HPV-vaccinated and HPV-unvaccinated girls AT ALL.

Not quite accurate. The former group has a lower incidence rate of HPV-indcuced cancers.

Happy National Michigan Day to the blinky box and all my fellow Michiganders!

I’ll take s Faygo grape and some of those mint chocolates.

But they even have a vegan pasty for Joel!

12 NJ News has a Power and Politics podcast/ television report today ( see website)
Alex Zdan interviews featured players in the legislature ( 5-9 minutes ; 12-21 minutes) the Senate President, the senator sponsoring the religious exemption carve out and the assemblyman who objected on grounds of discrimination ( Mssrs Sweeney, O’Scanlon and Holley, respectively): they showed awareness of the SBM concerns, outsider intervention and how the religious exemption is often used as an anti-vax go to.

@ TBruce,

1) A false study would be exposed by subsequent events.
2) A false study would leave the company exposed to lawsuits and criminal prosecution

Bullshit. Firstly, the potential for an allegation of a false study regarding vaccines has been greatly diminished due to the liability being removed from personal injury claims. Normally, as claims mount; so would the suspicion of a flaw in the studies. This potential has been effectively removed by the NCVIA.

Prior to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) in 1986; the number of such lawsuits, the cost of liability insurance & the ‘unpredictable nature of such liability’ had forced some manufacturers to consider abandoning production of vaccines. What SHOULD happen … What normally WOULD happen … WON’T happen, regarding studies of vaccines by their manufacturers.

Otherwise & in absence of vaccines; Merck’s dishonesty in general has been ‘exposed by subsequent events’ repeatedly. Are they actually ever NOT embroiled in one allegation or another? I’m not thinking that ‘honesty’ is a top priority for Merck.

And finally. There actually already have been allegations of false studies regarding the HPV vaccines. They just won’t ever go anywhere because manufacturers have carte blanche from behind the skirt of the DHHS.

“This study design put the cart before the horse, asking investigators to decide which symptoms might be side effects, rather than tracking everything in the same way.”

Well now, study design is the problem behind many vaccine safety studies. Like the big-data studies that only counts medically diagnosed autism while autism prevalence is calculated in 8 year olds who need support services? What kind of crock is that? The ‘diagnosis of’ was already deemed to be flawed; missing a lot of kids who were autistic, so why is THAT used in the epidemiology?

Brian Deer has an article about Vioxx:
Actually, Merck’s own trials signaled cardiovascular problems, but it handwaved them away. It was allowed to do that, and that is the scandal, not faulty epidemiology.
Autism diagnosis is a classic. It is very bad, when autism vaccine link is studied, and very good when one speaks about autism epidemic, So I presume that you do not accept existence of autism epidemic, for starters.

“The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is an active surveillance system that
provides estimates of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children aged 8 years
whose parents or guardians reside within 11 ADDM sites in the United States (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado,
Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin).
“So whole USD is not included.

Christine, why do you refuse to explain why you lied? Why should anyone pay attention to your claims when you’re a proven liar?

@ Terrie,

Good God Almighty. I did not lie. Ne’emens hysterics helped defeat the first attempt of Kevin & Avonte’s Law.


You did lie. I never said you lied about his stance on the Law, I said you lied about his comments related to the law.

You said “[Ne’eman] said that autistic elopers were likely victims of abuse”

Ne’eman’s actual comment: “The challenge is that autistic people and others with disabilities “wander” for all sorts of reasons. Some of this wandering can be dangerous, especially for children.”

I can provide links if anyone want them. I didn’t call you a liar until you started claiming you never misrepresented his comments and twisted the issue to claim you only said he didn’t support the law. So, why should we believe anything you claim, when you’re a liar?

@ Christine – Bernadine Healy, MD, ” I don’t believe you should turn your back on any scientific hypothesis because you are afraid of what it might show”

Before it is offered up: The Danish study does not apply because the schedule is not the same as the U.S. schedule.

And yet you are afraid of all the studies that don’t say what you want them to say, like the all studies from the Vaccine Safety Datalink.

And funny how the Denmark studies are not valid even though their schedule is closer than the ones used in Guinnea-Bissau in the 1980s. A set of studies that Kincaid is quite fond of. Though it is baffling why you are all ignoring what measles has done, and is still doing in DR Congo and Samoa.

Not only are you guys sadistic child haters who love to see kids suffer from high fevers, pneumonia, seizures etc… especially if they are brown children.

@ Chris:

Funny, too, that anti-vax nay-sayers suddenly go silent ( are they afraid?) about what has happened recently on two fronts- politically and medically- as a result of increased measles spread in both Samoa and Washington state:
— authorities clamped down on rules, kids were vaccinated and
— measles decreased

In Samoa, the vaccination rate went from 30% to 90% very quickly and we don’t hear about more children dying
in Seattle, kids who were unvaccinated or had no records had to comply or leave school: this group decreased from over 7000 to about 500.
I’m sure that you have local news on this topic.

Why don’t they discuss that?

The other tale that I’ve heard for the last 10 years or so is that anti-vax sentiments are very common when all evidence shows that they are not. Whatever people may say in polls – like if they aren’t sure if vaccines cause autism or not- HOW THEY BEHAVE is another story. Parents overwhelmingly vaccinate their kids and we know that from a few different measures:
— in most places , measles and other viruses don’t spread like wildfire, they only do ( in the US, Canada, UK, AUS) in selected pockets of low vaccination rates that can be traced EASILY
— even in a state like NJ, where the religious exemption is merely writing a letter, only 2.6% of kids are involved.

If people were so terrified of vaccines and believed all of the hogwash emanating from RFK jr, Del, Andy etc, at lot more people would be taking that simple escape. They don’t
— even in states with the highest numbers, ( Oregon, Idaho) exemptions hover around 5%.
WHY not more?

People can homeschool, go Steinerian or fix records BUT if that were so, we’d see an increase in VPDs- we don’t. It only happens when there are reported low rates and/ or a visitor from places abroad with low vaccine rates.

I noticed the usual claims at Chris’s link that herd immunity is a myth and/or herd immunity cannot be produced by vaccination. Vaccines destroy real herd immunity! We demand studies to prove vaccines can produce herd immunity!

The same thing cropped up in the comments on the CBC website articles mentioned elsewhere. Same thing, every time – assertion. Not a single anti-vaxxer can respond when challenged to cite even one reliable published source to support their assertion. None can offer any sort of plausible explanation based in biology. All they ever offer is that the concept of herd immunity is not exactly the same as it was when the term was first coined.

@ doug:

Isn’t it interesting that measles often shows up first? I wonder why that is?**
but yet they rag on about there being no herd immunity etc

** rhetorical question, I know the answer

@ Natalie White,

Yet the CDC funded the Danish study to wave around here in the US.

I really, REALLY want to know WHY … A diagnosis of autism is the only criteria that counted in the Danish studies (funded by the CDC) …

When the CDC has already determined that determining prevalence by diagnosis leads to a gross underestimate of actual autism rates?

They even acknowledge that their own tracking system is still missing 12 out of every 177 cases.WHY are the epidemiological study methods not consistent with the prevalence tracking methods for autism?

Same thing as before: all states are not included.
So it is now CDC that funded Danish study ? I thought it was vaccine manufactures.

I’ve been snowshoeing all weekend so I’m too damn tired to go through those articles. Just noted that they’re from Slate, a pretty reliable webzine but not scientific literature. However, they were one of the original publishers of RFK jr’s piece-o’-crap (which they later expunged, to their credit).

Also, the article seems to deal with a suspected rare complication that was later shown to not be related to the HPV vaccine. So, much ado about nothing? More to come if I ever recover.

Anyway, I trust vaccine scientists to be honest. Random fanatics on the internet, not so much.

Bridges’ encephalopathy claims were also a table injury, so legally causation was presumed. She didn’t actually have to show the vaccine caused it. Just an encephalopathy in the timeframe.

@ Dorit,

You can be compensated based only on a table injury that occurs within the designated time frame & you DON’T have to be able to prove that a vaccine caused it?

Damn I’ve lost my link to search the case pdfs & Google is entirely unhelpful.

@ Christine

Yep, automatic compensation for a number of listed adverse events; but the Vaccine Court also hears cases that aren’t automatically compensated. In these cases, the Vaccine Court pays for the plaintiffs lawyers and witnesses, so this actually makes it easier for such cases to be heard. And the Court has compensated such cases. As usual, you really DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! ! !

@ Terrie,

From ASAN:

“Advocates of a “wandering” label make the case that its usage would enable insurance coverage for tracking devices, whose use for adults would restrict freedom of movement and make it harder for individuals to flee abusive situations.”

Harder to flee abusive situations? Abusive situations for people with autism are also going to include NEGLECT. An abusive caregiver isn’t going to give a rat’s ass if their charge flees, smh. Yeah they aren’t fleeing from danger; they are fleeing TO it:

"Nearly half of all children with autism spectrum disorder wander off from safe supervision at some point in their childhood or adolescence, reported Paul Lipkin, MD, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Far more than an inconvenience, wandering, also called elopement, puts these children at high risk for injury or victimization. In fact,
statistics from a survey by the National Autism Foundation suggest that nearly a third of autism-related wandering cases resulted in
death or serious enough injury to require medical attention."

So 50% wander & over 30% of those have serious adverse outcomes. Kevin & Avonte’s Law could have saved lives but I understand the life of a child with severe autism is a very low priority for you.

Firstly, stop telling people what they are or are not thinking. It’s the hallmark of the fool.
Secondly, I read what Ne’eman wrote. There were very real problems with the way Kevin and Avonte’s Law was written.

@Julian, Agreed. Additionally, ASAN was hardly the only disability group to oppose the law, but pointing at them doesn’t further Christine’s worldview that the “neurodiversity movement” is in denial about the “realities of autism. You’ll also notice she never mentions that a different version of the law, that didn’t take funds away from other community programs, passed just fine. Because, again, that wouldn’t let her act like no one cares about her and her kid.

@ Julian says, “Firstly, stop telling people what they are or are not thinking. It’s the hallmark of the fool.”

Will you please remind Duhnice and my stalker, Chris, as they are both lacking in their extrapolation “skills”

She should learn what the term “stalking” means. I do not believe I have followed to any other blog when I remind her that she is endangering children with her lies.

That doesn’t say they said people wander mainly to escape abuse, which is what you claimed, and it’s not in relation to Kevin and Avonte’s Law, but a separate issue of wandering as a medical code. ASAN has long maintained it is a behavioral, not medical, issue. Additionally, you don’t seem to know much about abuse. Excessive control of movement is a type of abuse, and one of the reasons w, as a culture, decided institutionalization is so horrific.

Also, please learn to read the links in articles. Your “proof” of why tracking devices are needed is an article based on a presentation by Dr. Lipkin, talking about, among others, his paper on wandering behavior here:

While I don’t have access to the full paper, this line from the abstract jumped out at me. “Tracking devices were used infrequently and rated as having low effectiveness. Behavioral specialists were commonly used, rated as effective, and most often provided by insurance.”

@ christine

You are FULL OF S.. T. All life matters to me and many others who support vaccines. For you, if someone disagrees with your warped position, then, BLACK AND WHITE, they don’t care about children. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network did support for wandering ONLY. One can debate whether the other reasons being different are valid or not; but, for you, again you find some group who agrees with you, so your biase is confirmed and ASAN is evil. You also missed that the funding was not new funding; but taken from others. Basically, where I want funding for ALL who need it, rather than spending trillions of dollars to kill, maim, cripple, and impoverish people in the developing nations who were NEVER a threat to us, you would sacrifice one group for another. You are a TRUE HUMANITARIAN????

@ christine

You really just don’t quit. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act does not protect companies from lawsuits if they don’t adhere to accepted production, e.g., allowing contamination. It does contain a list of adverse events because NOTHING in this world is absolutely safe, so according to extensive research, despite what you choose to believe, vaccines confer far more benefit than risks. Benefits to the individual and benefits to society. If the act had NOT be passed, vaccines would cease to be produced and you would get your way, including thousands of dead and disabled children. In addition, lawsuits are iffy. Some win. Some lose. Even if one wins, often the lawyers take a large chunk and they can drag on for years. The NVIC automatically recognizes certain adverse events, pays generous amounts, even to cover lifetime needs, and, separately pays lawyer and witness fees. Before the rubella vaccine, what happened to the children and families where the kids were born with congenital rubella syndrome? Even the March of Dimes, covering polio victims was starting to receive less funds. You ignore that natural diseases caused a lot of harm and there was NO or little help for the children or families. With NVIC we prevent far more harm and take care of the rare serious adverse events. As I’ve written before, we don’t live in a perfect world and don’t sacrifice the good for the perfect. In this case the glass isn’t half full; but 98% full and you chose to fixate on the 2%.

As for the SLATE article. Even the editorial in the same issue stated: “The benefits of the HPV vaccine still outweigh any potential harms.The truth is that science can be imperfect, and evidence can be incomplete.” (Susan Matthews. Why is Slate Questioning Gardasil? December 17, 2017). But, as usual you find one article that confirms your pre-existing rigid belief system and that’s all you need. Well, I did a search of PubMed and found 1307 articles using “HPV AND Safety”. On, from 2018 by the Cochrane group, a respected network of experts who do reviews of all relevant research on a particular medical topic. This one found: “Occurrence of severe adverse events or adverse pregnancy outcomes was not significantly higher in recipients of HPV vaccines than in women included in the control arm.” (Arbyn M, Xu L. Efficacy and safety of prophylactic HPV vaccines. A Cochrane review of randomized trials. Expert Review of Vaccines;17(12): 1085-1091. Dec 2018.) One of the things you continuously ignore is that because vaccines are given to children, researchers around the world continuously monitor them. Researchers from different nations with different histories, different cultures, different political systems, different economic systems, different health care systems, different educational systems; yet the overwhelming research continues to find the risks from vaccines is exponentially less than the benefits. No one wants someone harmed from any medical intervention; but without the vaccines, many of the rare number harmed would have suffered from the natural diseases, ending up in as bad or worse shape.

You write: “The epidemiology methods (using diagnosis) are not consistent with the prevalence methods.” First, for someone who rejects epidemiology, especially given you don’t even understand the basics of epidemiology, a worthless statement. Of course, prevalence data will be different from diagnoses. Not just for ASD; but for EVERYTHING. Do you even understand the difference between prevalence and incidence??? In any subject, different methodologies will find different statistics. The question is, how does this affect decisions on interventions and how do the reconcile these differences. But, for you, if they don’t find exactly the same statistics to the fourth decimal point, then they are questionable. Try living in the real world.

As for the Danish study, they have a national health care system where each child with problems is referred to experts who, in turn, diagnose them. And as mentioned by another commenter, you accept their African studies; but not their in home studies. What a hypocrite. And you write: “They even acknowledge that their own tracking system is still missing 12 out of every 177 cases.” I would say getting 93% is EXCELLENT; but in your world of black and white, its either 100% or worthless.

I am working on a paper that will refute the existence of an autism epidemic. I’ve posted it before; but here goes again:

The following is just an outline of a longer paper I plan to write.

The late Autism researcher Lorna Wing (2005). wrote: “Nothing exists until it has a name.”

As an example, in 910 treatise, the Persian/Arab physician, Al-Razi, noticed that a disease, up to then considered one, actually was two separate diseases, smallpox and measles (Cliff, 1993, p.52). So, did smallpox or measles suddenly develop in the 10th Century?.

Contributing Factors to Diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders:

Leo Kanner’s 1943 article introduced the diagnosis of Autism and gave estimated statistics (based only on his own office practice); but in 1971, at a conference, he admitted that he rejected minorities and working class whites, believing it only a diagnosis for children of educated whites.

A number of journal articles and other reports, going back to early 1900s, used mental retardation and childhood schizophrenia diagnostic categories; but if I gave the listed symptoms without the source, they would definitely be categorized as Autism Spectrum Disorders.

A few described cases from various sources from the 19th Century and earlier would similarly be today diagnosed as ASD.

Psychiatry was a relatively new profession, only developing the last two decades of the 19th Century, so nearly impossible to know how people with problems would have been diagnosed earlier. Prior to World War II, there were few to no social services in the U.S., the age required for school attendance was lower and children with problems were either just kicked out, some finding menial jobs, some institutionalized.

After World War II, with the rise of America’s middle class and family politics, more attention was paid to children. After the 1957 Soviet launch of Sputnik, more funds and programs and emphasis on public education was developed and the minimal age for leaving school increased. Psychology became a popular degree in American universities and we began churning out psychologists, school counselors, and more psychiatrists and, of course, this led to more work needed for them.

Originally ASD was diagnosed by psychiatrists using various techniques; but gradually standardized diagnostic instruments were developed, allowing for easier and quicker diagnoses by others.

In 1986 the Federal government passed legislation for grants to local schools for special education, dealing with children with problems. In the early 1990s this was extended to include ASD. Studies have found as the number of cases of ASD increases, the number of cases diagnosed as mentally retarded or childhood schizophrenia have decreased, at least, partially a response to availability of funds.

What was originally classical autism cases, became Autism Spectrum Disorders. Asberger’s wasn’t added until 1994 and there are cases of men in their 70s who have been diagnosed with Asberger’s. ASD includes kids with a variety of different signs and symptoms; but with some in common.

As an example, in the 19th Century, high levels of white blood cells were originally thought to be signs of infectious disease; but then discovered to be cancer, so they were included in the category Cancer. Certainly doesn’t mean that cases of cancer were increasing, just another group was added. Blood cancers differ in many respects from solid tumor cancers; also have signs and symptoms in common.

Another example, imagine that medicine begins looking at respiratory diseases, first including just asthma and pneumonia, then later emphysema, chronic obstructive disease, cancer, etc. Imagine the government creates a separate institute with lots of funding and grants, both for research and education, ending up with more and more respiratory therapists, pulmonologists, and researchers and, of course, diagnosed cases.

Increased awareness/screening/surveillance.

Childhood mortality has been decreasing over the past century. Children who would have died at birth or early on, e.g., low birthweight, especially very low birthweight, and genetic disorders, now can live long lives; but often have physical, cognitive, and emotional problems.

A relationship has been found between ASD and children born to older parents, more mutations in eggs and sperm.

We live in the age of a therapeutic society. More and more people are being diagnosed with something. If this continues, no one will exist who doesn’t have some medical/psychiatric label (e.g., Brownless, 2007; Hadler, 2007; Payer, 1988, 1992; welch, 2011).

Since World War II over 85,000 new chemicals have been introduced into our environment with little to no oversight. Before then, despite overwhelming medical science, lead was added to gasoline. A mass of studies has found that HIGH levels of lead in the blood of fetus and children results in lowered intelligence, behavioral problems, etc. And studies have found some post-war chemicals “cause” ASD when fetus exposed. High levels, not the minuscule levels of various additives in vaccines. So, yes, one can attribute some increase in ASD to the environment, either interaction with genes or by itself; but this doesn’t change that the vast majority of cases can be explained by the above.

And ASD is based on behavioral observations which are not as reliable and valid as physical observations. We don’t diagnose ASD by blood tests, other labs, MRIs, etc.

I believe in community and wish a society where all human beings are treated with dignity and resources provided for them to obtain whatever potential they have, so I support evermore funding for children and adults labeled with ASD; but also cerebral palsy, Down’s Syndrome, etc. All lives are precious. And we can “easily” afford this if our governments didn’t continuously lie to us about threats from abroad, while acting on behalf of corporations (access to raw materials and selling of weapons), resulting in CIA, MI6, and military spending trillions of dollars, risking our loyal military, and killing, crippling and impoverishing people in developing nations who were NEVER a threat to us. Of course, by killing them, we become the enlistment stimulus for terrorist groups, which we then claim the need to defend against, a vicious circle. Trillions of dollars that could have benefited us and used for real foreign aid (Blum. 2003; Butler, 1935; Gaffney, 2019; Schlessinger, 2005).


Blum W (2003). Killing Hope: US Military & CIA Interventions since World War II. Available at:

Butler, Major General Smedley (1935). War Is A Racket. Available at:
[Butler is the most decorated Marine in history]

Brownlee S (2007). Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.

Cliff A, Haggett P, Smallman-Raynor M (1993). Measles: An Historical Geography of a Major Human Viral Disease. Blackwell.

Gaffney M (2018 Mar). Corporate Power and Expansive U.S. Military Policy. American Journal of Economics and Sociology; 77(2): 331-417. Available at:

Hadler NM (2007). The Last Well Person: How to Stay Well Despite the Health-Care System.

Harrison JA (2018 Nov 9). Wrong About Polio: A Review of Suzanne Humphries, MD and Roman Bystrianyk’s “Dissolving Illusions” Part 1. Science-Based Medicine. Available at: https://n1s1t23sxna2acyes3x4cz0hwpengine.…“Dissolving-Illusions”-long-version.pdf

Payer L (1988). Medicine & Culture: Varieties of Treatment in the United States, England, West Germany, and France.

Payer L (1992). Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, and Insurers are Making You Feel Sick.

Schlesinger SC, Kinzer S (2005). Bitter Fruit: The Untold story of the American Coup in Guatemala (revised version). Harvard University Press.

Welch HG, Schwartz LM, Woloshin S (2011). Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health.

Wing L (2005 Apr). Reflections on Opening Pandora’s Box. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders;
35(2): 197-203.

And finally Ne’eman. I wrote a long rebuttal, showing just how dishonest you are plus refuting other idiocies you claim on a previous exchange. Rather than reposting here, go to:

The last comment. Apparently, because it had a lot of links, there was a delay in posting it, so no one noticed it. I hope people will check it out now as I put in time and effort.

“You really just don’t quit.”

Then ignore that child endangering liar. She just wants the attention, stop feeding her.

@ Chris

You are absolutely right. We all should ignore her; but it’s difficult. I think I will work on a standard comment, for instance:

@ Christine

Myself and several others have refuted each and every one of your claims using logic, science, and common sense, often including links to studies/paper. Whereas you cherry-pick one or two papers, not only ignoring overwhelming large number of papers that refute your picks, you often misunderstand the papers you chose. You ignore that this isn’t a perfect world, seeing things in BLACK and WHITE, sacrificing the good for the perfect. Vaccines do have rare albeit serious adverse events; but compared to the exponentially greater risks from the vaccine-preventable diseases and that if someone has a genetic predisposition that increases their risk of the severe vaccine-related adverse event, then the odds are high they would end up the same or worse if exposed to the actual wild-type microbe. In addition, you are a hypocrite, citing Danish epidemiological studies in Africa; but rejecting their epidemiological studies in Denmark. The only conclusion is that you are either extremely stupid and/or delusional and/or a liar, together with delusions of grandeur, that is, you are absolutely right and all of us, literally thousands upon thousands of researchers around the world are wrong. In other words, you are a very sick individual.

For others, since you won’t, I recommend the following books to start off with:

Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science”
Lauren Sompayrac’s “How the Immune System Works (6th Edition)”

p.s. as someone who doesn’t care, I am approaching 100 blood donations, volunteering at a food bank, years ago, volunteered at soup kitchens, etc and I support the Biblical “turning swords into plowshares.” The literally trillions of dollars spent killing, maiming, crippling, and impoverishing people in developing countries who NEVER were a threat to us; but furthered the interests of American corporations, could be spend on our infrastructure and programs supporting all Americans with “disabilities”, both the individual and the families. Yep, ISIS is a threat; but we created them by our dual war crime of attacking Iraq for non-existent weapons of mass destruction and blowing up their electrical power stations and water treatment plants leading to an estimated 200,000 civilian deaths from, among other things, waterborne diseases.

Lauren Sompayrac’s “How the Immune System Works (6th Edition)”

Chris, what do you think if I just save the above and post once in every comment exchange after one of Orac’s articles? Perhaps, including links to previous exchanges that dealt with the above.

@ Chris, the stalker, says, “This is why we should not engage with this person who is a proven liar anymore.” Then stop! BUT YOU CAN’T!

I’ll say it again, I DO NOT enjoy children or their families suffering/dying. Measles can be deadly. I GET IT! You keep using Samoa as an example. The two inept “healthscare professionals” lost the trust of the community with their negligence. The months long investigation with the vaccination hiatus into the matter also sowed the seeds of distrust. You have used this tactic to smear at every opportunity. Those “nurses” did way more damage than anyone on this side of the world.

There are risks to vaccinating, regardless of how much you and the others deny/minimize it. Injuries are: Not recognized, declared a normal reaction, denied, or written off as coincidence. Many healthscare professionals are not familiar with VAERS. Doctors and nurses are not trained to recognize vaccine injuries. Under reporting is a problem. Parents know their children. I believe them when they see changes in their children after vaccination.

You and the pack need to change your strategies. Identifying those “in the herd” <<<insulting, who may be susceptible to injury is a good first step. They are the minority, but they exist and need to be known regardless of you and the packs dismissal.

First learn the definition of “stalker”, I have only been commenting on this blog since it was called “Oracknows.”

“I’ll say it again, I DO NOT enjoy children or their families suffering/dying. Measles can be deadly. ”

Cut the BS. You will be considered a sadistic child hater because you are endangering children with your lies and smearing of scientists. Now if you want to not be considered a danger to children everywhere then post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the diseases.

Get over yourself and stop posting lies.

@ Chris, my stalker, writes, “post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the diseases” They havent been done because the eggheads don’t want to find out. Dr. Healy explained this in the interview with Sharyl Atkinson. Here is the link if you missed it the first time.

You’re assuming – like you do – most healthscare professionals read the VIS. They don’t. Healthscare professionals are not trained to recognize vaccine injuries beyond local site irritation. Some are unaware that they, as healthscare providers, are not liable for the injury and deny there is even an episode.

Heidi Larson the anthropologist who presented at the WHO Vaccine Safety Summit stated there is a lot of obfuscation at the CDC regarding vaccines and vaccine safety.

You really seem to have a problem with reading comprehension and vocabulary definitions. If you not like me responding to you on this blog, then stop making ignorant comments. I am not running around teh internets looking for you.

I am sorry but YouTube videos is not a PubMed indexed study, especially if it is of a conspiracy theory.

Also, the Vaccine Information Sheets are given to the person or parent of the person getting the vaccine. It is up to you to read it, because it has the information you claim is “hidden.” It your own fault if you stuffed it into a bag and ignored it.

Also, you are now either lying what Dr. Larson said, are just too ignorant to understand what she really said.

Now, stop lying, or at least learn to read. Your ignorance is hurting and killing kids. And Bigtree, Kennedy, Wakefield and Lyons-Weiler are making big bucks with $10,000 speaking fees spreading the ignorance that kills kids:

“The two inept “healthscare professionals” lost the trust of the community with their negligence.”

They were prosecuted and are in jail. What you miss is the deliberate use of sadistic child haters like Wakefield, Kennedy and other idiots who took that opportunity to lie more, and causing the vaccine rate to go down.

Stop lying, because those lies cause kids to die.

@ Natalie White

First, by law since 1986 every time a vaccine is given a Vaccine Information Statement must be given as well, either to the adult receiving the vaccine or the parent. These statements include mild adverse events and RARE serious adverse events AND explain VAERS, including how to submit, either by e-mail, online, phone, etc. And VAERS is only one of several adverse event monitoring systems. The Vaccine Safety Datalink gives “real-time data” for over 2 million people. It is linked to HMO databases which include age, gender, comorbidities, vaccine, vaccine lot number, date, etc. And there are other projects. In fact, vaccines are probably the absolute by far most surveilled medical product on the planet. And, whereas, if serious adverse events are found with drugs the FDA only has power to ask for a voluntary recall. Any problem with vaccines and FDA has authority to stop use immediately. And there are teams who monitor VAERS for any severe adverse events and even a couple will lead to researching it. Despite what people believe, yep, minor adverse events only 1% submitted to VAERS; but other studies have found much higher numbers for serious adverse events.

So, if a doctor, nurse, or vaccine-recipient is unaware of VAERS, they are the exception NOT the rule.

CDC. Vaccine Safety at:

I did a PubMed search of “Vaccine AND Safety” and found almost 20,000 studies. Then added, e.g., Placebo and still found thousands of studies. In addition, the Institute of Medicine has conducted dozens of reviews of various aspects of vaccines, reviews that often have reference lists of several thousand studies. And there have been numerous reviews and meta-analysis.


I just “love” the lie that those who give vaccines are unaware of VAERS…. because they are on the Vaccine Information Sheets that are given with every vaccine! I got them when I got my last Tdap (dog bite) and influenza vaccine.

That is one of many lies used by Natalie and others that endanger child health.

@ Joel – There is a susceptible minority that is not able to handle the recommended vaccination schedule. You and the others need to identify those patients.


There is a susceptible minority that is not able to handle the recommended vaccination schedule.

This antivaccine trope is getting very old, very fast. If this “minority” existed, how do you think they’d handle a full blown infection, given that these subject the body to more antigens than are in the entire vaccine schedule?

@ Chris, Joel, Terrie, Science Mom, Julian, other regulars:

Orac has created a place where people can discuss SBM but scoffers repeatedly misuse his hospitality because they engage with us, spewing their nonsensical ideas which may actually be reinforcement of them
— in one way, this might be positive because it reveals what alties believe and allows us to correct them BUT
— as Orac says ( speaking about more traditional venues) “debating” them may rise to the false notion that they are equals.

So what’s a sceptic to do? Let the BS flow unchallenged? Or respond to it as if it had value however little?
Well, we’ve already done both. Still they persist.

I have a challenge for frequent flyers who come to RI to dispute reality:
Orac provides a safe place for your venting and theory building (often the same thing) and the regulars endure your insults for free. There is no charge. I know that many of our regulars when teaching, counselling or writing, were paid for instructing the less fortunate educationally. Here they go unpaid for their time and effort.

Why don’t our critics take their challenges to universities where they can argue with instructors/ professors/ students?
They may have to pay to be in a class but many universities allow you to sit in, take one course only, etc. BUT if their ideas are so great, they’ll be recognised and rewarded handsomely.

Why don’t any of these brave mavericks speak up publicly? For, if university interaction is too challenging ( or expensive) why not seek out public debate in newspapers’ opinion pages or letters to periodicals? John Stone has a history of being “published” in revered journals. Why not them? Do they think that they might threaten the establishment?
Relate your ideas in the real world rather than from the anonymity of the internet. See if anyone accepts you.

If those options are too difficult (universities, newspapers and periodicals are all tools of the establishment!)
Why not see if you can drum up support from anti-vaxxers and alt med proselytisers?
Here is a list:
Age of Autism; Thinking Moms Revolution; Autism Investigated, The Bolen Report. The Vaccine Machine Facebook, Children’s Health Defense, Crazy Mothers
Natural News and are always looking for brave maverick writers to create articles or comment on shows ( call-in lines)

@ Denice Walter

I do not know where I fit in your mind (skeptic / woo advocate), which is of little importance to me anyway, but here’s my answer:

“So what’s a sceptic to do? Let the BS flow unchallenged?”

Never. That’s too dangerous.

“Or respond to it as if it had value however little? Well, we’ve already done both. Still they persist.”

And they will persist for a very long time. But the issue isn’t there.

“I have a challenge for frequent flyers who come to RI to dispute reality: Orac provides a safe place for your venting and theory building (often the same thing) and the regulars endure your insults for free. There is no charge. I know that many of our regulars when teaching, counselling or writing, were paid for instructing the less fortunate educationally. Here they go unpaid for their time and effort.”

Which is also their own choice.

“Why don’t our critics take their challenges to universities where they can argue with instructors/ professors/ students?”

Oh yes! Very good idea! Why don’t we do that? I’ve got quite a lot of well-known names I’d like to demolish publicly. I already mentioned Christophe Lançon, for one, in a reply to Chris, about his epidemiological constant of medical irrelevance. But I’m fed up discussing these issues one on one with a rather asymmetric recourse to physical violence when I try to argue Munchausen by proxy. Been there, done it, seen it. Public confrontation, without threat of physical violence from medical professionals, would be a fantastic idea! Thank you for bringing it up!

“They may have to pay to be in a class but many universities allow you to sit in, take one course only, etc. BUT if their ideas are so great, they’ll be recognised and rewarded handsomely.”

Hum. No. There are facts that people do not care about. Doesn’t go much further than that. And no, I will not agree with psychoanalytic brainwashing as many courses over clinical psychology tend to be like that in France. Listening to medical bullshit is fun, but only up to a point if you’re not allowed to open your mouth, which is a documented reality in this domain in France.

“Why don’t any of these brave mavericks speak up publicly?”

Why do rape or incest victims tend not to speak up publicly?

“For, if university interaction is too challenging”

OK. Here’s acronyms Athaic, being French, may recognize: ENS+X+UR. Not frightened of university interaction. At all.

“Do they think that they might threaten the establishment?”

With Munchausen by proxy, there’s a chance that many kinds of discourse are not exactly welcome.

“Relate your ideas in the real world rather than from the anonymity of the internet. See if anyone accepts you.”

Yeah, right. Are you telling me to have yet another chat with a doctor? Here’s another suggestion for you: Take a trip to where I live. Then I’ll show you what happens when you try making a few phone calls and try showing a few documents to police, doctors, and mostly anyone. It’s huge fun. You won’t regret it.

But I’ve also got sociological literature pertaining to the difficulty of making sociological studies on and in the medical world, to try to study things from other angles. Getting access to patients in a sociological context and not a medical one, for instance, stuff like that. Fascinating stuff. Bottom line: some attitudes of the medical world clearly are anti-science when they forbid access to data, such as patients, to other scientific disciplines.

I hope the message is clear.

@ F68.10:

No no no no no: I think that you actually are a sceptic and have legitimate criticisms based on your experience- I know that you have suffered greatly although I am not entirely clear about the details but I hear you.

I am offhandedly referring ONLY to our anti-vax commenters who can’t learn from regulars who cite valid research about vaccination and autism- data, figures, significant results- .
These scoffers are tolerated because regulars want opportunities to present SB information however I think Orac’s site is being mis-used by anti-vax proponents to consolidate their own idees fixes and learn how to preach better
So I merely ask if they might gain leeway elsewhere? Would professors and students at a U tolerate them? Do newspapers/ journals print their commentary? Would anti-vaxxers allow them space at blogs?
A few woo outlets ( listed above) invite followers to write articles, do investigations or create internet radio shows-
so why not? They may become the next celebrity chef.. I mean, woo-meister!

-btw- a few of them have tried AoA and not got far..

@ F68.10, Denice,

“For, if university interaction is too challenging”
OK. Here’s acronyms Athaic, being French, may recognize: ENS+X+UR. Not frightened of university interaction

Oï. Not sure about UR, but I recognize the others. For French people of my generation or older, they acronyms are sorta imprinted in our blood.
If these are the schools you went through, chapeau bas, c’est un beau parcours.

Lot’s to unpack, here. As a regular university wash-out, I may have a few of the usual love/hate prejudices toward les Grandes Ecoles

(for non-France readers: just picture the usual engineer/PhD divide. Now in France, we have engineering schools, universities, AND a smattering of elite upper-education schools, les Grandes Ecoles…)

Denice, the scoffers will continue their behaviour, because this is not about the facts and reality to them, but about their beliefs. We are almost never going to change their beliefs, because they are too invested in the beliefs to accept they might be wrong. My responses here are not for the scoffers, but for those who are unsure and might fall into believing the scoffers.

I take a multi-faceted approach to the scoffers. I bat away the BS, but deliberately treat some of the worst offenders with disdain while doing so. I am more likely to take time with the more occasional scoffers, except for the ones that have nothing coherent to say. However, I do choose not to spend all day here. When there is a new bit of BS that is worthy of dissection, I am quite happy to delve into the literature and eviscerate it.

Completely ignoring the BS is not an option. As I have discovered elsewhere, it just encourages the scoffers to dump more and those reading might take it as representing reality.

I think it is better to keep the scoffers on the back foot, attempting to square their last circle rather than allowing them free reign. In many ways, it is better that they are here, where they get to confront reality, rather than somewhere else doing harm. I doubt any readers of this blog will take anything that Natalie White or Christine Kincaid write as real without checking it twice. That, in my view, is a good thing.

@ Chris Preston:

I agree almost entirely with you. We should keep in mind that there are many lurkers who never speak up or only do so after long periods of time.

The scoffers’ method is similar to that of woo-meisters which claims to be backed by research but when you look closely, its relevance disappears: shoddy research, misquoted research, studies that don’t apply, opinion pieces. But here’s what bothers me:
the casual reader/ listener doesn’t put in the time necessary to deconstruct the BS or read SB material which is intricate and sometimes difficult. Woo-meisters / anti-vax leaders were masters of the sound bite ( or placard sign). They’ve managed to make many people unsure about vaccines. Last night, Chris posted a Canadian video wherein a reporter shows what anti-vaxxers say behind closed doors ( somewhere on this thread) and there is also a demonstration of how decision making can be affected by situational dimensions.
BUT then a group of anti-vaxxers dressed as V say, ” NO studies of vaccines” or radio host says, ” No vaccine is safe and effective” and the slightly-involved prick up their ears.

Denice, I see my role as trying to neutralize the scoffers. I don’t expect to be completely, or even mostly successful, but if someone turns away from falling for the anti-vax rhetoric because of something I have written, then that is success.

I think the Canadian expose will certainly certainly help. It won’t convince any of the rusted on supporters of Wakefield, Kennedy or Bigtree, but it does expose them for what they are and that might help convince some waverers that this trio is not really interested in vaccine safety, because it is all about their egos and keeping the dollars rolling in.

Stop the AVN was very successful in Australia through a combination of a strong social media presence, the continued exposure of the shonky activities of the anti-vaxxers, strong statements about the nature of the research from people who had expertise, and lobbying of governments and government agencies to take action when breaches of rules occurred. I know replicating this will be much harder in the US, but we have to keep going.

If that means we have to put up with anti-vaxxers lobbing here and play continual whack-a-mole, so be it. It is easy to get depressed about how easily the woo-meisters sway their supporters, but as I see it we should be trying to ensure the woo-meisters do not grow their supporter base.

Speaking of Munchausen by proxy, I just started reading a book about Lacey Spears, who was convicted of killing her 5-year-old son in 2015.

According to the book, Spears was a “holistic evangelist” who sent her son to a Waldorf school, and preached against Western medicine and vaccination.

@ Dangerous Bacon

“According to the book, Spears was a “holistic evangelist” who sent her son to a Waldorf school, and preached against Western medicine and vaccination.”

Honestly, anything, scientific or not, can end up within the event horizon of that black hole of deception and self-deception. And I may be politically incorrect on all accounts, but that woman is both a murderer and simultaneously a poor poor girl. I do not like the way such cases are handled. At all. Though there aren’t currently many options available, sadly; even if there is objectively progress on that matter. A double-edged kind of progress.

Let’s drop the conversation on Spears, please…

Evidence presented in Spears’ case indicates that she tortured her young son over a period of years before killing him at the age of 5. It’s the worst case of Munchausen’s by proxy I’ve ever heard of.

“Poor poor girl” indeed.

@ Dangerous Bacon

Look, I really do not want to argue too much on this. Yes, she tortured her kid. Yes, the evidence is appalling. But, it’s nevertheless true (at least that’s my position) that in many such cases, these moms are also (and not only) victims of themselves. Too long to argue in a comment: These situations really have many twists and turns, and are not black and white; and I do not mean that in neither a good nor a disculpatory sense.

But if you think it’s the worst case, I believe you do not understand the dynamics of such torture well enough. The kid was tortured for a few years, is now dead, and therefore does not suffer any more, as harsh as that may be to hear. Other situations bring much longer torture, and the kid doesn’t die. In which situation would you prefer to be? At which cost to yourself are you willing to keep on living? Think twice about it.

Spears is the most textbook case of such behaviour. But I’d dispute it’s the “worst”.

@ F68.10

that woman is both a murderer and simultaneously a poor poor girl.

That’s an usual hallmark in a tragedy.

I found out, and I need to keep reminding myself, that real-life ‘monsters’ are rarely that I call “Hollywood villains”, people collecting evil traits without a single redeemable quality or a life history explaining how they descended into monstrous acts.
That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be stopped and eventually imprisoned/punished, but, as i said, I think I need not forget that they are humans. Or were, once.

active fan mode –
That’s one reason I love the sci-fi stories from Lois McMaster Bujold. Her villain protagonists are very often ordinary people (for a given value of ordinary) who, once, took a bad decision for whatever reason, and then keep going through bad and worse decisions. The protagonists – and the readers – end up pitying them more than hating them.
But again, those are fiction stories.

@ Athaic

“That’s an usual hallmark in a tragedy.”

My point, precisely.

UR refers to the Union Rationaliste, of which I was a member at the time of Jean-Pierre Kahane’s presidency.

And I’m very much critical of this system of Grandes Écoles on many points. The Shangai classification report ended up being a much needed electroconvulsive therapy in this world of self-complacency. It seems that some lessons have been learned however, which is a good thing, but not yet enough.

Put me at the top of the french research political system, and I swear I’ll torture many people until french research really gets on top of the game.

@ Denice Walter

“No no no no no: I think that you actually are a sceptic and have legitimate criticisms based on your experience- I know that you have suffered greatly although I am not entirely clear about the details but I hear you.”

Message received.

“So I merely ask if they might gain leeway elsewhere?”

No, they wouldn’t. But I believe that Orac’s blog is one of the few places on the medical internet where you can vent a few things, and argue, with opposition. To me, it’s invaluable. And Joel Harrison is doing a fantastatic job. I’d be really sad if such a place didn’t exist. (And I’m amazed that Orac is tolerating my rants…)

I agree on all points, Denice’s and yours.
(as for Orac’s tolerance, he is a very lenient box of Plexiglas)

One of the reasons I keep coming back here, on a blog maintained by an US surgeon, is that I can not find a similar place in the French blogosphere. Maybe I just didn’t search well enough.
Another reason is, of course, for the lutefisk recipes.

@Christine Kincaid
National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act:
“Provides that a manufacturer may be held liable where: (1) such manufacturer engaged in the fraudulent or
intentional withholding of information; or (2) such manufacturer failed to exercise due care.
Permits punitive damages in such civil actions under certain circumstances.”

@ Aarno,

Yes but the vaccine court is careful to adhere to only awarding 1 case for every 1 Million doses. No matter how many cases are filed per any given year they will not deviate from the narrative.

Due to this there will never be the public for an inquiry.

Yes but the vaccine court is careful to adhere to only awarding 1 case for every 1 Million doses.

Are you accusing the Court and Special Masters of being dishonest? Are you claiming that settlements are awarded based only on quotas, not on the merits of the case?
If so, show your proof. Show proof that valid cases were rejected.

Yes Christine Kincaid is doing just that. Then, Christine seemingly cares little about what she says, so long as she does not have to confront the uncomfortable reality that her whole belief system is wrong.

She will of course have no evidence that the Special Masters are operating on a quota basis, but that will because of a massive conspiracy.

@ christine

As usual, you are full of s..t. The Vaccine Court looks at each case individually, except when a number of cases, e.g., autism, come together. The fact that the wins come to an average of 1 per million means that only an average of 1 per million vaccines caused a severe adverse event. If one looks at the Court going back to its establishment in 1986, the number per million does very; but over the almost 34 years, yep, the average is 1 per million.

And, as I’ve asked you several times, without any vaccines, what help did families get for their disabled or dead kids? In 1965 over 10,000 infants were born with congenital rubella syndrome (one of more of deafness, blindness, seizure disorders, and mental retardation, plus some with microcephaly, shrunken brain with short life-span). You don’t give a damn about them. Without the vaccine we would have had a number of such epidemics.

Go to hell.

@ Julian,

“This antivaccine trope is getting very old, very fast. If this “minority” existed, how do you think they’d handle a full blown infection, given that these subject the body to more antigens than are in the entire vaccine schedule?”

That’s a very good question. Could it involve the adjuvants? An infection from exposure to a wild virus being less severe than a ‘vaccine-enhaced infection’?

“In the 1960s, a candidate formaldehye-inactivated RSV vaccine was found to enhance RSV infection in some children who experienced infection with wild-type RSV after immunization with this candidate RSV vaccine. Subsequent studies in animal models have suggested that the vaccine-enhanced infection may have been associated with the generation of low-avidity antibodies and an imbalanced TH2 response”

I don’t know. I just don’t know enough but somebody, somewhere should.

@ Julian again (sorry),

From same link above:

“Initial observations from the adversomics studies that we have reviewed suggest that persons with particular HLA types may have increased rates of vaccine adverse events. As has been suggested in the case of Pandemrix vaccination and narcolepsy, there may be particular vaccine epitopes that bind particular HLA molecules and trigger a more exuberant inflammatory response, resulting in increased local and systemic adverse reactions, or recognize “self,” resulting in idiosyncratic adverse reactions.”

@ christine

You write: ““Initial observations from the adversomics studies that we have reviewed suggest that persons with particular HLA types may have increased rates of vaccine adverse events.”

You really are disgusting. I already covered this, including “may” is not confirmation, that a number of studies of HLA and vaccines have been carried out and more to come, plus, according to even Poland, only a subset of HLA types “may” suffer a severe adverse vaccine reaction; but, given the risks from the actual diseases, until we can develop inexpensive valid tests, the benefits from vaccines far outweigh the risks. You STUPIDLY ignore this. If all people of a certain HLA type were to not get vaccinated, far more would be at risk; but you don’t care. Even if vaccines saved 1,000 lives, if five suffered severe adverse events, then those five are more important than the 1,000.

A citation you did not make:
M.S.Schinkelshoek R.Fronczek E.M.C.Kooy-Winkelaar J.Petersen H.H.Reid A.van der Heide J.W.Drijfhout
J.Rossjohn G.J.Lammers F.Koning
H1N1 hemagglutinin-specific HLA-DQ6-restricted CD4+ T cells can be readily detected in narcolepsy type 1 patients and healthy controls
Journal of Neuroimmunology
Volume 332, 15 July 2019, Pages 167-175
And there is no crossreaction

Christine, you have this very irritating tendency to change the question to one that you like better. The question was not about infection after vaccination, it was about infection instead of vaccination. For instance, in Minnesota, a baby recently died of whooping cough, a disease you have basically hand waved away as “treatable with modern, US medicine.” Would you tell those parents that vaccines are more dangerous than the illness they prevent?

@ christine

You write: “Could it involve the adjuvants? An infection from exposure to a wild virus being less severe than a ‘vaccine-enhaced infection’?”

STUPID, STUPID, STUPID. Adjuvants are used with killed vaccines mainly and some attenuated vaccines. In the killed case, absolutely impossible to cause the disease. Basically the same with attenuated vaccines where the antigens are changed so they can’t spread. The reason one uses adjuvants is exactly because the amount of antigen is so little that immune cells that signal an invasion may not. And, for instance, aluminum as an adjuvant is the third most ubiquitous substance on the planet. Infants get more from breast milk, formula, water, air, food, etc. than the minute amounts in vaccines.

The fact that you display your continued ignorance of how our immune systems work and, thus, vaccines, and you misinterpret Polands article is really quite tiresome.

@ Joel,

Please clarify because I thought that a vaccine’s ability to provoke immunity is related to the antigen, or adjuvant , or a COMBINATION of the vaccine antigen & adjuvant.

And that it could also depend on the recipients genetics, because some people will respond better to the same antigen OR adjuvant than others.

So couldn’t the recipients genetics explain why some people’s inflammatory response is worse to the same atigen OR adjuvant than others?

Or are you saying that everybody responds to an adjuvant the same way?

Christine: “I just don’t know enough but somebody, somewhere should.”

That’s the whole point of myriad answers to your confused queries and misstatements on RI.

@ christine

No, I’m not saying the everyone responds to either the adjuvant or antigen the same; but now you switched, You wrote: “An infection from exposure to a wild virus being less severe than a ‘vaccine-enhaced infection’? Do you know the difference between an infection and an inflammation? One can’t get an infection from a killed microbe. I have to check; but the MMR does NOT contain an adjuvant.

Yes, different people react differently to adjuvants; but the risk is almost non-existent that such a reaction could be serious (numerous studies have been conducted on aluminum as an adjuvant). And, once again, you ignore that it is currently impossible to test everyone for every possible genetic predisposition. We give around 2 million children a year vaccines. Such tests currently, if they existed which they don’t, would cost hundreds of dollars, perhaps, more. The result is, perhaps a dozen or fewer cases will tragically react poorly. However, if we didn’t vaccinate the 2 million, thousands would be hurt, some even die from the vaccine-preventable disease. And if some parents decide to err on the side of caution, others will, and then we gradually lose herd immunity, exposing kids who can’t be vaccinated. And those with a genetic predisposition may well succumb to the actual disease.

As I’ve said over and over; but you just refuse to understand: We Don’t Live in a Perfect World. You would, perhaps, spare a few at the cost of the many.

Once more, get a copy of Lauren Sompayrac’s “How the Immune System Works (6th Edition). It is the absolute best intro to immunology I’ve read and I’ve actually read three undergraduate introductory texts, all 800 pages or more. Sompayrac’s is only 150 pages.

Instead of continuing to show your ignorance and asking me or others to explain, get the damn book!

@ Natalie White

You write: “Natalie White JANUARY 19, 2020 AT 10:16 AM
@ Christine – Bernadine Healy, MD, ” I don’t believe you should turn your back on any scientific hypothesis because you are afraid of what it might show”

Before it is offered up: The Danish study does not apply because the schedule is not the same as the U.S. schedule.”

First, the YouTube you refer to is from 2008. A lot of research has been carried out since then on the various
“scientific hypotheses”. Second, what an absurd statement that the Danish study doesn’t apply because of a different schedule. Which Danish study? The ones looking at MMR? On what basis do you claim that a different schedule, actually not so different, would change whether MMR is related to ASD, for instance, or not. If the vaccine is given prior to a certain age in both nations??? This is your claim, not Healy’s.

@ Joel – There are a few regular commenters, okay one is my stalker, who jump to conclusions. Whenever I mention injury, they assume I am referring to autism. So, I was referring to the Danish study regarding vaccination and autism. Thank you for asking for clarification.

You and the pack are happy with the greater good. As for the rest of ’em? Oh well, collateral damage…a sacrifice. Too many parents see changes in their children especially after a catch-up vaccination appointment although sometimes it is just one jab. Yes, what you call anecdotal evidence is called a past medical history in the healthscare business. For some reason, however, vaccines are often overlooked and not even considered….part of the post marketing, under-reporting problem. The minority due to genetic differences etc..who may be injured by the current schedule recommendations need to be identified. Is research being done to identify these patients before vaccinating and putting them at risk? My guess, probably not.

“The minority due to genetic differences etc..who may be injured by the current schedule recommendations need to be identified.”

Please contact the Simons Foundation which is conducting a huge genetic to explain your concerns and tell them what to do! Because they are obviously (in your eyes) too incompetent to find those kids who would be harmed more from a vaccine than the disease.

Then get me those PubMed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the diseases. Hey, you can start here:

And please do not use words that you do not know the definition of. It makes you look silly. But it gives me great pleasure that I have actually annoyed you. Keep at it, because it makes me laugh.

“huge genetic ” should be “huge genetic study”

Seriously, if you can you should participate in this study.

@ Natalie

I really get tired of this. Post-marketing studies are far better than you imagine. First, VAERS only gets about 1% reports of mild adverse events, e.g., sore arm, mild fever; but studies have found it gets much higher reports of serious adverse events. And there are teams who monitor VAERS, even a very few serious events elicit an investigation. In addition, the Vaccine Safety Datalink is a real-time CDC link to HMOs with a total of over 2 million patients. The data includes demographics, vaccine, lot number, and any visits to emergency or even family physician. And there are other post-marketing projects as well.

I have also discussed previously that there exist a number of genetic disorders, e.g. Rett Syndrome that at a certain age a child begins regressing. And infants parrot words without using them properly; but then when one expects language, fail. Having noticed the previous parroting of words, parents often think the child is regressing, not the case. Finally, is Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. Videos, 8mm films, of kids prior to getting a vaccine have shown clear indications of autism-like behaviors; but parents remember the vaccine at the age when differences in behaviors more distinct.

And there are categories of kids who either are not given vaccines, given at a later date, etc. Check out the CDC Vaccine Information Statements.

And there is ongoing research around the world both to find categories more prone to serious adverse reactions and to improve vaccines. No one is ignoring this; but, yes the greater good is important. If we had discontinued oral polio vaccine because it caused 6 – 12 cases per year, we would have ended up with thousands and some of them would have been among the 6 – 12.

There are parents who believe their child has been possessed and actually have held exorcisms. Should we believe them? Just because someone believes something doesn’t make it true. And two random events, in this case vaccines and ASD do occur by chance. In a world with literally seven billion people, in a world where at a certain stage of a child’s development one would begin to notice differences, in a world where vaccines are given around this time, then random chance does occur. A fascinating book is: David J. Hand “The Improbability Principle. He gives tons of examples where what people believe are rare events are actually not. Lightening does strike often twice in the same place.

As far as I’m concerned you and Christine are equally despicable. Everyone I know takes every adverse event, at least serious ones, seriously; but… I’ve already explained above.

You think you are right, so we must be callous. Bullshit.

So what is your evidence that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the actual diseases? Just post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers.

Please no videos nor random anecdotes.

And remember there are at least several post marketing programs that show if a vaccine causes harm. There is a reason that the OPV was replaced by the IPV, that Rotashield was replaced by to other vaccins,that the DTP was replaced by the DTaP and the Tdap was added, and that we no longer use the smallpox vaccine.

@Natalie White You should really specify the vaccine injury. After that, one can check research done

@ Chris

The OPV caused 6 – 12 cases of polio per year; but prevented literally 10s of thousands. The original Salk Vaccine was only 90% effective against serotypes 2 and 3, and 70% effective against serotype 1. The oral was about 99% effective against all three. In the late 1980s an improved version of the Salk Vaccine was effective about as good as the oral polio vaccine. At first kids were given the new killed vaccine, followed by the oral; but then just the killed. However, until a few years ago the oral was still used in developing countries because the killed required several shots and the difficulty of sterilizing needles. Rotashield was taken off the market in 1999 because it caused a few cases of intussusception. I am among those who think this was a mistake because the natural virus caused far more cases of intussusception and 30 – 50 deaths per year, plus 50,000 hospitalized kids. In the six years until the new rotavirus vaccine came on the market, that means 180 – 300 deaths, 300,000 hospitalizations, and many more cases of intussusception than would have been caused by the vaccine, Keep in mind that the vast majority of cases of intussusception were treatable with surgery, though there were a very few deaths. As for the DTP, I won’t go into the details, except that initial reports of severe adverse events on follow-up studies were found to be actually fewer. And, until the P vaccine, hospitalizations for pertussis and deaths were far greater than any adverse events from the whole cell vaccine. In addition, the whole cell vaccine conferred usually a higher level and longer duration of protection.

However anyone, not Christine and her ilk, with an open mind look at it, even the discontinued versions of vaccines conferred far greater benefit than risks.

For starters
Anders Hviid, M.Sc., Michael Stellfeld, M.D., Jan Wohlfahrt, M.Sc., and Mads Melbye, M.D., Ph.D.
Childhood Vaccination and Type 1 Diabetes
April 1, 2004
N Engl J Med 2004; 350:1398-1404
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa032665

For allergies and infections
Deutsches Ärzteblatt International
Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents
Findings of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS)

For encephalopathy
Roma Schmitz, Dr. oec. troph., Christina Poethko-Müller, Dr. med., […], and Martin Schlaud, MSc, PD Dr. med.
Cherry JD. ‘Pertussis Vaccine Encephalopathy’: It Is Time to Recognize It as the Myth That It Is.
JAMA. 1990;263(12):1679–1680. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440120101046

@ Natalie White

Yep, it is a number game. Seatbelts reduce deaths and serious injuries by 50%; but a very few have been killed by them and a number have had bladder and kidney injuries. So, should we eliminate requirement to wear seatbelts? They have saved 100s of thousands of lives. And I wouldn’t trust anything the National Vaccine Information Center states. I could go chapter and verse through their dishonesty, twisting of facts, etc. And I have read most of the Institute of Medicines vaccine safety reports, many by the Cochrane Collaboration, and other meta-analyses and reviews. And I understand the basics of microbiology (name in acknowledgements for proof-reading and editorial suggestions in two books), immunology, vaccinology, epidemiology, biostatistics, and social/behavioral science research methodology. Do you?

I could go through any and all things we do. We chlorinate water which saves 10s of thousands of lives from waterborne infections; yet, there is some research it might cause 1 case of cancer per million. Should we stop chlorinating water and end up with health of developing nations? I live in the real world where reasonable people don’t sacrifice the good for the perfect.

Again, yep, it is a number game. Ignoring you and others exaggerations of vaccine-attributable serious adverse injuries, while each and every human being life and welfare is valuable, in the real world, one has to make a choice, e.g., 6 – 12 cases of polio from oral vaccine or 10s of thousands without it, plus, some of the 6 – 12 may well have gotten polio without the vaccine.

You, Christine and others are really tiresome. If we had NEVER developed vaccines, the next epidemic of smallpox and you would be cringing in a corner scared to death and the next outbreak of Hemophilus or polio.

@ Natalie White

I just looked at the NIVC report you linked to. Yep, it lists severe adverse events that can be linked to vaccines; but doesn’t give the probability, that is, how many per million, for instance, and that some of them are treatable. And doesn’t discuss that a number of these cases if no vaccine existed may well have ended up as bad or worse. As with you and others, if one case per million occurs of a severe adverse event, then doesn’t matter how many saved and there was no way at the time to know in advance it would happen to that specific individual. Take smallpox, yep, 1 – 2 deaths per million vaccinated. But, smallpox epidemics killed from 25 – 50%, so 1-2 deaths from vaccine vs 250,000 or more deaths per million. And given how highly contagious smallpox is, those 1 – 2 deaths may well have ended up dead anyway. NVIC lists measles vaccine as causing deaths. Not that I recall; but I do know that even after advent of antibiotics that, prior to vaccine, U.S. experienced up to 500 deaths per year from measles and an equal number of disabled kids. I’ll have to check on deaths. If so, extremely extremely rare.

So, yep, it’s a number game, literally 10s to 100s of thousands vs a handful. And in developing nations measles kills 100s of thousands every year; but this is lower by far than prior to vaccine.

By the way, the fact that IOM reports honestly give severe adverse reactions to vaccines is just one more proof that antivaccinationist claims that we claim vaccines are 100% safe and that adverse events aren’t considered is ONE BIG LIE.

@ Natalie

So, it’s a numbers game…

Many things in life are.
If you cannot abide the thought of having to choose between losing a few or losing plenty, never, ever be an officer from any army. Or worse, a physician in a catastrophe zone in charge of the triage of wounded people.

I have the half-serious position that, on the individual level, it’s not illogical for a single adult living a sheltered life to forgo vaccination. He is taking some risks (notably with tetanus), but he could be lucky and avoid all bugs. And he is an adult, so his body, his choice.
At the level of the country, that’s a complete different view. Medical history from around the world is pretty clear about it: before vaccination, and whenever vaccine coverage decreases, people get seriously sick and some die. Certainly more than where adequate vaccine coverage is maintained.
(should I say ‘Samoa’? we can also talk about Ukraine, or Japan)

No way you cut it, if each flu season 3% of the population in the country get bedridden for a week or two because of the flu virus, when each flu season the country’s population has to deal with the consequences of having 3% of their compatriots disappearing from public life for a time – lost days of work or study, disrupted business, etc.
Individually, 3% doesn’t look like much. you can go through your whole life without ever needing someone precisely, by poor luck, on the day they got down with the flu. But someone operating at the level of a city or a country? Forget it, they will be impacted.
People having to manage and run health services will more than certainly be impacted. The defining point of an outbreak of an infectious disease is that plenty of people become sick at or near the same time, in addition to the usual day-to-day happenstances of little and big ills. You don’t want to go to the hospital for a broken leg and discover that all the beds are taken by pneumonia cases from flu.
So for someone whose job is to organise the healthcare of a population, the only logical position is to make available, if not out-rightly pushing for anything proven at preventing infectious diseases. Any other choice will be wishful thinking or plain incompetence.

Someone who has a family and/or see plenty of people falls somewhere in-between these two levels.
Of course, one factor to consider is that he is playing not just with his own health, but also with the health of his children.

And as i told you before, if you have a better idea, we are listening. If it is feasible, oh wonders of wonders, we may even agree with you.

Now provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that show those numbers. Not something that has gone through the very biased filter by those who do not understand the science. Especially when the author is not listed.

How come you do not understand a simple thing that those who have an agenda and do not have the qualifications will write things that are wrong. That is why the crucial bit of the relative risk of the vaccines versus the diseases is totally missing! Perhaps that is why they did not list the author. I know if I submitted a paper like that to any of my science/math teachers/professors I would have given a failing grade.

So, yes, you are also getting a failing grade for lack of reading comprehension and math incompetence.

Here are some numbers for you to ponder:

And some studies, this is the stuff that is real data and evidence:

JAMA. 2000 Dec 27;284(24):3145-50.
Individual and community risks of measles and pertussis associated with personal exemptions to immunization.

Pediatrics. 2001 Dec;108(6):E112
Childhood vaccinations, vaccination timing, and risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus.

J Infect Dis. 2005 Nov 15;192(10):1686-93.
Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis: more cases of this fatal disease are prevented by measles immunization than was previously recognized.

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.
Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.

Pediatrics. 2007 Nov;120(5):e1269-77.
Is childhood vaccination associated with asthma? A meta-analysis of observational studies.

Int J Epidemiol. 2007 Dec;36(6):1334-48.
Review of the effect of measles vaccination on the epidemiology of SSPE.

Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Dec 15;168(12):1389-96.
Geographic clustering of nonmedical exemptions to school immunization requirements and associations with geographic clustering of pertussis.

Pediatrics. 2009 Jun;123(6):1446-51.
Parental refusal of pertussis vaccination is associated with an increased risk of pertussis infection in children.

Pediatrics. 2010 Aug;126(2):263-9.
Lack of association between acellular pertussis vaccine and seizures in early childhood.

Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

J Infect. 2017;74 Suppl 1:S10–S17. doi:10.1016/S0163-4453(17)30185-8
Measles, immune suppression and vaccination: direct and indirect nonspecific vaccine benefits.

Science. 2019;366(6465):599–606. doi:10.1126/science.aay6485
Measles virus infection diminishes preexisting antibodies that offer protection from other pathogens.

@ Chris

Nice list. I had half of them. Next time I’m at university library will scan in the rest to add to my collection.

Natalie, this is what I requested, I just highlighted one word: “So what is your evidence that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the actual diseases? Just post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers.”

It seems you are having problems with understanding the word “more.” Please have someone explain that to you.

Also, have them tell you how to find a paper where the author is actually listed with their credentials cleared noted. No more anonymous pieces, thank you.

@ Joel, Aarno, Athaic, Chris, others:

Why is it that anti-vaxxers, when citing research, manage to miss the bulk of studies relevant to the topic of interest?

Just looking for topics about autism/ causation, I’ve found a great number of studies/ researchers who concentrate exclusively on genetics and pre-natal development**. Why do dyed-in-the-wool partisans like Wright and Rossi bemoan the frequency of studies of genetics and early indicators, like gaze? And look instead to the microbiome and auto-immunity?

” Wishful thinking or incompetence?” Probably both. They don’t know how to do a literature search because, like the guy searching for his lost keys under the streetlight not where he probably lost them, they seek the easier path. which gives them the answers they already believe in. So AoA today again presents Exleyl.

So, to deconstruct their inabilities, we can highlight exactly what is missing.

** Peter Hotez ( @ Peter Hotez) does a nice comparison about how the pre-natal sets up later consequences. He shows genetics/ prenatal beginnings, later appearance of ASD and schizophrenia.

I might add height: genetics set out the plan, development starts prenatally and even though the environment can affect the outcome to a degree, it takes long time to reach adult height.

Actually, I tried hard to not list any papers on autism like this one:
PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.

That is because Natalie whined that it was not just autism. Fortunately the Vaccine Safety Datalink has been useful for answering many of the questions Natalie and her anti-science friends ask. A couple of those are for autoimmune disorders, a wide classification that is never clarified by the anti-science.

@ Denise

They don’t necessarily miss the bulk of studies, just, in their paranoid deluded minds, the bulk of studies are carried out by researchers part of the world-wide conspiracy to profit the pharmaceutical industry. Since world-wide sales of vaccines only 2% of their profits, rather stupid. Also, everything sells for a profit, so not evidence if beneficial, harmless, or harmful. They just don’t get this.

Yep, Exley again. He no longer is eligible for UK government grants. Has had several papers retracted. And hobnobs with Wakefield. And the current study has NO comparison group. He is an inorganic chemist.

Why is it that anti-vaxxers, when citing research, manage to miss the bulk of studies relevant to the topic of interest?

Because the bulk of the studies do not agree with their existing point of view. Therefore, these studies have to be dismissed as corrupt, irrelevant or just ignored. Instead they gravitate to papers by the likes of Shaw, Exley, Mawson, Hooper et al. in bottom-feeding predatory journals and wonder why real scientists engage in eye-rolling at this point.

Actually, most anti-vaxxers don’t seem to understand how to read the scientific literature at all and just parrot what their leaders say. Even to the point of making claims about what studies found that are diametrically opposite to what is in the paper.

There is no need to go further than maintaining your belief system, so that it doesn’t come crashing down around you being a powerful incentive in understanding the behaviour of anti-vaxxers.

Perhaps our resident pathologists can help on this:

I am curious about exactly how brain specimens are collected, prepared and preserved. Given the abundance of aluminum around, from dust in the air and on surfaces to aluminum trays and weighing boats, to aluminum compounds in tap water, I see huge opportunity to contaminate specimens unless the entire process is being done with great care to avoid it. All preservative solutions would need to be prepared with distilled water and all containers would need to be carefully cleaned and rinsed. I use pathology specimen containers around the house. They certainly aren’t ready-for-use if there in need for avoiding trace amounts of contaminants
All preparations such as sections would need similar care. Those “exam” gloves out of the dispenser on the wall just will not do.

So for the pathologists: What is your view on the likelihood that all steps from harvesting to final processing is done with great care to avoid aluminum contamination?

My reply was supposed to be to Chris’s remarks on the discrepancies in Exley’s aluminum findings, below.

“So AoA today again presents Exley”

There’s a recent Exley paper on “Aluminum and Amyloid-β in Familial Alzheimer’s Disease” ( Is that why he’s at AoA:

The paper finds that brain levels of Al in fAD are elevated (this time in a Colombian sample), i.e. that having amyloid plaques in your brain increase your likelihood of accumulating Al there. Which [Fritz Zwicky voice] ve haf known for 30 years [/Zwicky]. Exley concludes, nevertheless, that the aluminium is an essential part of the etiology (i.e. if those Colombians with the fAD mutation had just sheltered themselves from Al in their environments then their brains would never have turned to plaque), citing his own previous papers to prove the universal acceptance of this theory.

Exley’s new paper is indeed being discussed at AoA.

Because of course a finding of Al in amyloid plaques in dementia cases means that the Al adjuvants in vaccines causes autism.

I notice once again with Exley’s methodology that Al content of the same brain tissue can vary by more than 10-fold with repeat measurements. This does not fill me with confidence about the accuracy of the method.

More specifically “a finding of Al in amyloid plaques in genetically-caused dementia cases means that the Al adjuvants in vaccines causes autism.”.

How is the AoA coping with Lukiw’s finding of no Al / autism link? By ignoring it completely, same as Exley does? (I suspect that Lukiw will not be receiving invitations to future Keele Aluminium Meetings).

Exley knows all the clickbait churnalism sites that can be relied upon to regurge any press-release with a pre-written headline, so this happened:

AoA never fails in providing grist for our collective mills and fuel for our respective fires…

Today, editor Kim Rossi spotlights Dr Nicole Baldwin** who created a SB TikTok about vaccines that might appeal to younger viewers. Then she went and blocked anti-vaxxers ( because she’s smart)..
AFTER revealing how vaccine supporters attacked her in the past ( including Skecdoc) Rossi goes on to refer to Dr B’s video as “grooming” children: this term is often used to describe how potential child abusers sidle up to youngsters in a friendly manner in order to manipulate them and prepare them for sexual and other abuse..

SO…. according to AoA, teaching kids SB information about vaccines puts you into a category that could have you wind up in jail even scorned and attacked by hardened criminals.

AoA’s editor claims a degree from an elite university but is not-so-great at abstract skills like analogies/ metaphors frequently needing to resort to Harry Potter-isms to make her points

No, I didn’t make that up: no one’s that creative..

** Dr B received ( and reported) death treats etc,

“Why is it that anti-vaxxers, when citing research, manage to miss the bulk of studies relevant to the topic of interest?”

Because, apart from cases where they’re simply unaware of them or dismiss them on the grounds they’re Pharma-contaminated, they’re dishonest cherry-pickers.

I am reading a 1953 John MacDonald novel, “Cancel All Our Vows”, in which the following passage appears:

“Where are the kids?”
“They went off on their bikes to the pool. They took a lunch.”
Fletcher frowned at her. “Damn it, I thought we agreed they wouldn’t go in the public pool. Polio season is starting. It seems to me that you could at least…”
“Honey, it’s just too hot and I’m too tired to squabble about this. They teased and teased. I would have taken them out to the pool at the club, but you had the car. They promised to be careful.”

Fear of polio was part of being a parent in those days.

I wonder though how being “careful” figured into the equation. How were the kids supposed to be careful about the pool’s water supply, or make sure no one, um, pooped in the pool?

@ Dangerous Bacon

I lived it. My mother wouldn’t let me go to municipal pool nor movies during polio season. Salk Vaccine. Was in first cohort to get it. Changed my life. Started swimming lessons at YMCA, etc.

@ Natalie White


“However, as EpiWonk [unfortunately this website no longer exists] points out, unlike virtually all of the other directors of the NIH, Dr. Healy is not and never was a scientific superstar. In fact, she has no scientific accomplishments of note and has been a career administrator. EpiWonk described her credentials
quite well:

President George H. W. Bush set an unfortunate precedent in 1991 when he appointed Bernadine Healy as Director of the NIH. The appointment was purely political, based on Healy’s lifetime support of the Republican
Party. Although many feminists were overjoyed at the time, Dr. Healy was hardly a scientist. She was a career administrator.

I was living in Ohio in 1994, the year she challenged Mike DeWine for the Republican nomination to run for the Senate. Suffice it to say, I was not impressed. Neither were most Ohioans. She later went on to become
President of the American Red Cross, but only lasted in the job a couple of years. In the aftermath of 9/11, she came under heavy criticism for using 9/11 to raise money for a “Liberty Fund,” with only a small fraction of the
money actually going to the victims’ families and was forced to resign. She was also an advisor to The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), an organization later shown to have been funded by the Philip Morris corporation in order to attack scientific research that went against the interests of tobacco companies and other corporations.

I mention all of the above not as the primary criticisms of Bernadine Healy. I only mention them because the antivaccine movement, happy to have what they perceive as a heavy hitter on their side, touts Dr. Healy’s credentials at every turn, citing them and her support of many of their positions as evidence that they are not cranks.” [Orac (2009 Apr 15). Bernadine Healy: Flirting with the anti-vaccine movement. Respectful Insolence. Available at:

See also: Left Brain Right Brain (2009 Sep 1). Dr. Bernadine Healy talks about vaccines and autism…or does she? Available at:

Note, she was involved in some research and instrumental in development of women’s health initiative and in recruiting team for Human Genome Project. I did a search of PubMed to see if she had any research publications. All I could find was article after article in U.S. News and World Report. So, not clear if the above mentioned two projects involved her taking the initiative or simply “jumping on the bandwagon” and taking “credit” for what others had been working on.

In any case, as I wrote earlier, her interviews were from over 10 years ago and the above makes it questionable just how credible she was about research.

Hey F check your email, I just almost got mowed down by a car and also survived a bus accident; I’m in a hospital and the name is in the email. It’s a conflict between the trans community and the Russian diaspora/mafia. Please help!

@Natalie White Please comment this:
Hviid A, Hansen JV, Frisch M, et al.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccination and Autism: A Nationwide Cohort Study.
Ann Intern Med. 2019;170:513–520. [Epub ahead of print 5 March 2019].
This study did evaluate childhood vaccines. They reduce autism rate, though, to be fair, result is only borderline significant. And, no, Denmark’s vaccination schedule is not that different..

Only children with good medical records were included. You cannot do a statistical study withour.
In cohort analysis, some cohorts are obviously shorter than others. There are statistical methods to handle this problem.

3 Hooker claims children having genetic autism, diagnosed after 1 year, should have been removed from the study. Perhaps, but the question was do vaccines cause autism.

4 Hooker says that oldest child getting Merck vaccine in the study was 6 years old and this is too early
for autism diagnosis. This is patent nonsense.

5 “In an analysis taking the second MMR dose into account, there was no evidence of a dose-response
(increase in aHR per dose, 0.90 [CI, 0.85 to 0.95]).”
Actually second MMR reduces autism rate.

6 Person-year is rather transparent term. How would it overestimate earlier vaccinations?

7 “When sibling history of autism was treated as a time-varying covariate, MMR vaccination was also not
associated with autism among children with autistic siblings (aHR, 1.15 [CI, 0.71 to 1.87]).”
This is not statistically significant, because the range includes 1, and easily so.

8 Statens serum institute is not for profit vaccine manufacturer. Its name translates as National Serum Institute. It researches new vaccines and has a state mandate.

Sorry, Brian Hooker has shown he knows next to nothing about epidemiology. He is also ignorant about how to do statistics correctly. His criticisms are likely to be no better founded than those of the bloke down the pub.

No way to read it. The title was “Encephalitis after Vaccination in United States. A Report from the CDC/FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.”
In other words, an event was reported to VAERS.
Pretty weak tea.

I’m pretty sure the full text is at the bottom — it appears to be a conference poster presentation.

@ Julian Frost:

It’s funny how anti-vaxxers present material like that or Hooker’s work but don’t respond at all to some of the studies I cite which show early indicators of ASDs or when Chris posts genetic research.
In fact, Katie Wright ( twitter) so despises this “waste of money” that she often leads me to interesting new research like today.
they show
— how facial features** can identify even siblings of autists ( Whitehouse, others) which can lead to very early identification and
— how the foetal brain connections are similar to adults, pointing to prenatal origins of ASDs

Why do they hate these trends so much? Could it be because they point away from vaccines

** the brain and face develop together

OK, I’m going to resort to pedantry here: ‘foetal’ (as opposed to, e.g., ‘paediatric’) is a solecism. It’s a hypercorrection, with no corresponding diphthong in the Greek.

@ Julian – “In other words, an event was reported to VAERS. Pretty weak tea.” I agree. Many more likely due to the under-reporting problem of post vaccination injuries since many healthscare providers fail to listen to parents, deny or blame coincidence. Are there vaccine mandates in South Africa? Good day Julian.

Your claim about under-reporting of post vaccination injuries has been dealt with. W.R.T. South Africa:

Yes, the list of immunisations is mandated by the Department of Health (DoH) and requires it to be given to all children at state or private clinics…The Department of Basic Education has also made it mandatory for parents or guardians to provide proof of immunisation as part of the registration procedure to enrol children in schools.

I see South Africa is still using oral polio vaccine on newborn babies. Yikes! And no hep B for newborns like they do in the U.S. You also have measles vaccine without mumps and rubella. We can’t even get measles vaccine in the U.S. w/o mumps and rubella. Interesting. Will the HPV vaccine be mandatory too like they are trying to push through here in the U.S.?

@ Narad – I appreciate your pedantry along with your editorial input. Your tips improve our writing… so thank you!

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