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The annals of “I’m not antivaccine,” part 30: Kevin Tuttle “drops the mic” at ACIP

An antivaxxer named Kevin Tuttle thinks he “dropped the mic” at the meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He didn’t Instead, he demonstrated just how antivaccine he is.

The first meeting of 2020 of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) was held last week. As I noted about the first ACIP meeting of 2019 a year ago, antivaxxers have adopted a strategy of basically trying to disrupt the meeting in any way they can. Where they have been most annoying is in managing to plant themselves in the public comment session, spurred on through a Facebook group Inundate the CDC ACIP meetings and antivaccine propaganda blogs like Age of Autism, which urge their readers to submit written comments and try to register to make oral comments at the meetings themselves. Each public commenter is alloted three minutes to make a statement to ACIP, and last year the vast majority of those making public statements were antivaxxers. Sure, Lori Boyle and Alison Singer tried to make some scientifically sound comments, but they were swimming against the tide. This year, I’m not going to concentrate mainly on one antivaxxer’s statement, that of Kevin Tuttle:

I came across it over the weekend on—where else?—that wretched hive of scum and antivaccine villainy, Age of Autism, where the commenters were ebullient about his statement, referring to it as “dropping the mic.” I suppose you could call it that, if you meant “drop the mic on your bare foot, leading to an incoherent scream,” but unsurprisingly the denizens of AoA loved it and were very impressed with Tuttle.

Antivaxxers love to deny that they are, in fact, antivaccine. The reason is simple. They know that being antivaccine is—quite correctly, I might add—highly frowned upon by the vast majority of people. We’re funny that way. We don’t like people whose beliefs and activities risk the return of potentially deadly infectious diseases. At some level, antivaxxers know this, hence their frequent claim, “I’m not antivaccine. I’m a vaccine safety advocate. (This was a favorite of Jenny McCarthy’s.) Other claims that follow “I’m not antivaccine” include: “I’m pro-informed consent”; “I’m for parental rights”; “I”m for medical freedom”; and several other antivaccine dog whistles. The reason I decided to focus on Kevin Tuttle’s statement, other than that AoA conveniently posted it for me, is that it simultaneously puts the lie to antivaxxers’ claims that they aren’t antivaccine while laying down a staggering Gish gallup of antivaccine misinformation in a mere three minutes. Moreover, video of Tuttle’s statement has been shared widely; I’ve been coming across it in many of the usual places. Finally, March 5 is a day dedicated to #DoctorsSpeakUp/#NursesSpeakUp/#HealthcareSpeaksUp on Twitter and other social media. So I figured I had to do a post about vaccines on the day before or the day of, and what better way to contribute than to take apart this “mic drop,” which contains so many antivaccine tropes and so much misinformation and disinformation? (Maybe I’ll add a second post tomorrow.)

Here’s ZDoggMD interviewing Todd Wolynn:

Dr. Wolynn, as you might recall, started Shots Heard, a group designed to rally help to physicians, nurses, and other vaccine advocates who find themselves swarmed by abusive and threatening antivaxxers after having advocated for vaccines on social media. Sadly, such a group has become necessary because, like what they have been doing at ACIP the last couple of years, antivaxxers are increasingly willing to harass provaccine healthcare workers, flooding their practices’ and hospitals’ Facebook pages with abusive comments, posting fake reviews on doctor review sites like (there are several such reviews about me), and sometimes even flooding their practices’ phone lines with abusive calls. This harassment is a feature, not a bug, of the modern antivaccine movement.

So let’s start. I didn’t recall ever having heard of Kevin Tuttle before, and a search of my blogs found that I’ve never written about him before. At the beginning of his statement, Tuttle introduces himself as a former Air Force officer and president of the Adverse Events Recovery and Information Center. Naturally, I had to go and check out the group’s website, and it was pretty much what you’d expect:

The foundation of those values instilled in me, has led me here. Those experiences fuel my passion to give, help, and protect. There is a necessary urgency that we are facing in this country. We are one of the most advanced nations in the world, yet we rank overall one of the worst in health. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Statistics have shown that rates of asthma, allergies, autoimmune disorders have risen at a rate never seen before in human history. Yet with conventional treatments, mainly symptoms are treated. Ailments are rarely cured.

This is why AERIC was formed. I want to make a difference in the lives of those that have been failed by conventional medicine. I want to provide options of natural and alternative therapies that are effective and safe, for those that aren’t able to afford it. Establish a partnership with patients and service providers. Go beyond treating symptoms, find the root cause. AERIC’s mission: heal from the roots


We, at the Adverse Events Recovery and Information Center, seek to provide health guidance and recovery to families, and individuals, who have succumbed to injury via pharmaceuticals. We strive to provide aid where needed, in a naturally-minded approach: healing from the roots.

We believe that, far too often, conventional medicines treat symptoms and not the actual source. This fuels our passion in assisting our clients. We will arrange a partnership with professionals who specialize in alternative and holistic therapies. We will fund their treatments from donations received from our sponsors, patrons, members, and those who care to make a difference.

“We”? The AERIC website gives every indication of its being a one man operation. Kevin Tuttle is the only person pictured on the website, and its YouTube channel consists mainly of Tuttle playing a character he calls Dr. Kosher in 15 second videos that, I presume, he also posted to Tik Tok. (Seriously? “Dr. Kosher”? Tuttle couldn’t think of a different name for his parody doctor character? Gee, big surprise, an antivaxxer appears to be an antisemite as well.) The character is meant to be a parody of a pro-vaccine doctor, and the channel is full of painfully unfunny videos like this:

There are a few longer videos, even less clever and more unfunny:

And, of course, there’s this video portraying pediatricians as pedophiles:

Antivaxxers started comparing pediatricians to pedophiles after pediatricians on social media suggested that adolescents can speak with them without their parents present. What really surprises me is how aggressively, painfully unfunny all these videos are. For a “parody,” none of the humor lands, other than as vicious, stupid, cruel, or, worst of all, boring.

So you know where Kevin Tuttle is coming from, and he sure does go there:

I sat down the other day to watch Netflix, and as happens to every middle aged man I decided to watch a World War II documentary.

I guess this is Tuttle’s attempt at self-deprecating humor, but I also knew immediately where he was going to go next with this:

It occurred to me while watching this that you people are going to be in a heap of trouble when the Nuremberg Tribunal-like trials happen here after your crimes against humanity are uncovered, because what history shows us is that truth prevails. My grandmother survived the Nazi regime that finally crumbled, due to what the rest of the world finally saw was happening as murder. A tyrannical regime is also crumbling. The people are rising up against the slow Holocaust you’re inflicting upon us. You can’t hide the truth from parents who have witnessed vaccine harm.

Don’t you dare call Tuttle antivaccine! He only just accused ACIP of crimes against humanity, wished for a new Nuremberg Tribunal to mete out punishment, and likened ACIP, the CDC, and everyone involved in giving vaccines Nazis, but, no, he’s just a “vaccine safety advocate.” Of course, this is a typical fantasy of retribution that antivaxxers sometimes like to engage in, where they’re finally “proven right” and all the doctors and public health bureaucracy are shown to have been “covering up” vaccine injury. (That the CDC, doctors, pharma, and government public health organizations all “knew” that vaccines cause autism and a host of harms but covered it up is what I like to refer to the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, and antivaxxers frequently invoke it, sometimes with hilariously ludicrous results.) Similarly, comparing ACIP to Nazis is straight out of the antivax playbook.

Next up:

Your buddies at the WHO recently revised how adverse events after vaccination are classified, so that if a child with a heart condition, for example, is vaccinated and then dies, it was his heart condition that caused his death and not the vaccine. Isn’t that convenient? Tell me how that’s ethical.

While it is true that WHO revised its algorithm for Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) in 2012 to produce the WHO-UMC causality assessment system. Here’s a PDF of the manual. It’s actually a lot more complicated than that. Here are the old guidelines for causality assessment. Here is the newer system and, if you’re interested, the long WHO document describing it, Definition and Application of Terms for Vaccine Pharmacovigilance. If you look at the new system, there are six classifications of AEFI based on the assessed likelihood that the vaccine caused the adverse event: Certain, probable/likely, possible, unlikely, conditional/unclassified, and unassessable/unclassifiable. The example that Tuttle cites would likely be classified as possible, based on these critieria:

  • Event or laboratory test abnormality, with reasonable time relationship to drug intake
  • Could also be explained by disease or other drugs
  • Information on drug withdrawal may be lacking or unclear

Or it might be classified as unlikely based on these criteria:

  • Event or laboratory test abnormality, with a time to drug intake that makes a relationship improbable (but not impossible)
  • Disease or other drugs provide plausible explanations

Specific circumstances would dictate, but such an event would be unlikely to be classified as “probable” because there is another potential explanation (heart disease) and the lack of plausibility. Quoth WHO:

The essential distinctions between ‘Probable’ and ‘Possible’ are that in the latter case there may be another equally likely explanation for the event and/or there is no information or uncertainty with regard to what has happened after stopping.

The bottom line is that pharmacovigilance is complicated and difficult, and involves more than just concluding that an adverse event that happened after vaccination must have been caused by the vaccine, which is basically what antivaxxers like Tuttle always conclude.

Next up comes a “greatest hits” of antivaccine tropes:

It’s shocking how a product that isn’t safety tested, isn’t tested for carcinogenicity or mutagenicity, and has no liability can be so revered amongst medical professionals. What you call science is simply marketing, and people are seeing through it. For instance, people know that acute flaccid paralysis is polio triggered by the oral polio vaccine. Changing the name doesn’t change the condition. Your lies are being uncovered.

Let’s stop a moment, because Tuttle’s false statement per ten second interval rate is so high that I feel the need to interject. Fortunately these tropes are pretty much easily taken care of with links to appropriate rebuttals:

  • Vaccines are safety tested, very much so. No, really. Tuttle is spouting pure disinformation. Oh, and vaccines are tested for mutagenicity and carcinogenicity too. Tuttle is, quite simply, either lying or parroting antivaccine talking points.
  • Vaccine manufacturers are not free from liability. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed because liability from people trying to sue for vaccine injury was threatening to lead the last vaccine manufacturers to stop making vaccines. A small tax was assessed per dose to fund the Vaccine Court and a fund to compensate those injured by vaccines, and all claims for vaccine injury first have to go through the Vaccine Court. It’s a good deal, too, as the standards of evidence are fairly relaxed, and all legal fees are reimbursed, win or lose. Even then, if a claim fails in the vaccine court, the parents can still access federal courts. Antivaxxers love to mischaracterize how the Vaccine Court works, because, even under fairly lax evidentiary standards, most of their claims are rejected.
  • Acute flaccid paralysis can be caused by mutant strains of the oral polio vaccine in which the attenuated virus regains its virulence, but that’s pretty rare and only oral polio vaccine can do it. (We no longer use the oral polio vaccine in the US.) However, there are also several other forms of this syndrome that are not caused by polio.

Tuttle sure is good at Gish galloping, as he did indeed manage to package a lot of antivaccine misinformation into three minutes, and this is only roughly the halfway point. He keeps going:

The lies that come from this board and the CDC cause far more sickness and death than measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, and all of the other diseases there are vaccines for combined.

I’d love to ask Tuttle to show his work on this claim. He’s probably just parroting Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s “sickest generation” nonsense. Tuttle’s disinformation continues:

Let’s take a look at some of your lies. Your slogan of “safe and effective.” The definition of “safe” is “protected from or not exposed to danger.” “Effective” means “successful in producing an intended desire or result.”

The dictionary? He’s reading definitions of “safe” and “effective” from the frickin’ dictionary? Does he not know how utterly pathetic a strategy that is in an argument?

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Please, do go on, Mr. Tuttle:

Clearly your products aren’t safe, since the Supreme Court ruled they are “unavoidably unsafe,” and countless testimonies prove their dangerous.

First, the Supreme Court ruled no such thing. It actually ruled the opposite. The bit about “unavoidably unsafe” was in a dissenting opinion. The opinion was Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, and I discussed it when it was made. Even if it had, “unavoidably unsafe” doesn’t mean what antivaxxers think it does. “Unavoidably unsafe” does not mean “dangerous.” It basically means that a product is as safe as it can be made and still function as intended, such that to make it safer would compromise its function. Oh, and testimonials aren’t scientific evidence, as it is very easy for humans to confuse correlation with causation. Numerous massive epidemiological studies and clinical trials show that vaccines are safe and effective.

Next up:

I can only presume your intended outcome is to injure and kill; so I’ll et you have the effective portion of that.

Nice. He just called the members of ACIP murderers who want to harm children. But he’s still “not antivaccine,” right?

Onward, as we’re in the home stretch:

You should be sued for misleading advertising. When you tell patients that they need Gardasil, or they will get HPV, that is a lie. When you say that the flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from the flu, that is a lie. When you tell the mother that her new baby is in danger unless he receives the hep B moments after birth, that is a lie. Vaccines don’t cause autism. That is a lie. Remember the Tuskegee experiment. Their lives could have been saved, but those in authority watched them suffer and did nothing to help, much like the Nazi leadership. How is what you’re doing here any different? Your lies are catching up with you. I’d start worrying about that trial.

If I were a member of ACIP, the only thing I’d be worrying about during Mr. Tuttle’s statement are how long I could suppress the facial expressions and laughter that the utter bullshit Tuttle was laying down would have been eliciting in me and whether my eyes could roll so far in response to Tuttle’s nonsense that they’d get stuck peering backwards into my skull. I certainly wouldn’t be worried about any Nuremberg Tribunal-like trial. And, no, vaccines do not cause autism. That has been studied to death, and there is not even a hint of a whiff of a positive signal there. The vaccine-autism hypothesis is, like the famous parrot in a Monty Python sketch, deader than dead. To paraphrase, this hypothesis is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! Its metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, It’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-HYPOTHESIS!!

Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten to use that schtick. I feel obligated to trot it out every now and then.

In fact, ACIP labors tirelessly to examine the scientific studies and safety data for vaccines, assess the risk of various diseases and the effectiveness of the vaccines, and use that information to tweak the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule as needed. In fact, if you want to get an idea of what ACIP does, read this account of the February meeting by Dorit Reiss, who attended much of it, including her description of the public comment session. After noting that there were 12 antivaxxers and only two pro-vaccine commenters, she further noted how the antivaxxers often went wildly off-topic.

She also noted something that I’ve commented on before, albeit not specifically about antivaxxers and ACIP. I’m referring to the increasing tendency of antivaxxers to harass their opponents in person and use frighteningly violent rhetoric at hate speech levels. This is not the first time I’ve seen antivaxxers mention their dark fantasies of retribution (they call it “justice”) against the CDC, doctors, pharma, and anyone else whom they perceive as provaccine, while viewing themselves as heroic. One, Kent Heckenlively, openly likened the vaccine-autism “battle” to the French revolution and implied that pro-vaccine activists were like “unreasonable” French nobility dragged to the guillotine. He even wrote a post entitled I Will Accept Your Surrender:

And so I’m offering you a way out. A complete and unconditional surrender. You can’t ask what we’re going to do to you. You’re just going to have to trust in our good graces. Maybe sometime in the distant future your children and family might believe you had a shred of courage if you act at this very moment. But the time for choosing is drawing near. Choose wisely.

I declined Heckenlively’s kind offer.

Does this sound familiar, though? It sounds a lot like Kevin Tuttle.

Dorit Reiss notes:

Second, the tone of more of the comments was openly threatening and aggressive, even if the threats were not reality-based. One example was a commenter who warned the committee to expect “Nuremberg Trials” – clearly trying to scare the committee members with an imagined death penalty.


More than before, the undertone of the comments was angry, spiteful, and threatening (maybe because the focus was, in fact, on a photo op, and threatening comments go over better with their anti-vaccine audience) – a trend other commenters have pointed out in online comments, too.

Hopefully, thoough:

One notable difference from past years is that the number of anti-vaccine activists attending seemed very limited. In past years, there were many of them – this time I doubt there were even twenty.

This is a good thing.

I’m torn over whether it’s a useful exercise to let antivaxxers vent to ACIP, allowing them to be shown as the cranks they are and to emphasize to ACIP what a threat to public health they are, or whether the public comment session should just be scrapped and only written comments allowed. Antivaxxers clearly now just use them to grandstand in the hopes of producing viral videos of them “dropping the mic” in a battle with their most hated enemy. It probably is time to stop letting antiscience cranks use the ACIP for propaganda purposes. They shed only heat, no light, and there’s no reason why people who agree to serve on ACIP should be forced to try to sit without facepalming through a session in which abuse and accusations of crimes against humanity are hurled their way.

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]

125 replies on “The annals of “I’m not antivaccine,” part 30: Kevin Tuttle “drops the mic” at ACIP”

Is he Ken, or Kevin Tuttle? He definitely introduces himself as Kevin on the video. Either way, he’s managed to show himself up as an utter credulous idiot.

Yeah, it’s been fixed. Brain fart late at night that I didn’t catch on proofreading. Unlike quacks and antivaxxers, I ‘fess up to my mistakes, even embarrassing ones.

Kevin Tuttle’s Facebook name is Mediocris Kevin, and his page reflects the themes you raised here.

Definitely your run-of-the-mill antivaccine activist, with an extra dose of aggressiveness (and unsuccessful attempts at humor).

And I’m finding myself leaning towards your view that oral comments at ACIP right now do not achieve their goal.

Yeah, he’s obviously antisemitic, given that he chose the name “Dr. Kosher” for his parody of a provaccine pediatrician.

“Dr. Kosher”
Facepalm! I read that as cosh +er and thought he was beating someone. If only English were not my native language.

@ Dorit,

Are you saying public comments should not be a part of public policy? Has there ever been a provaccine public comment? Not a rhetorical question; I do not actually know.

Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, some public participation is required. But my reading of it is that it does not have to be oral. Oral comments have been part of ACIP Meeting for a long time. But they used, in the past, to be on point.

As I said in the post Orac quotes, it’s increasingly clear that the comments are used by the anti-vaccine activists not to address matters before the committee or substance, but to make videos they can then pretend are somehow official. That’s not the purpose of oral public comment, and if that’s how it’s used, it may well make sense to limit comments to written comments (as already is available for anyone on

@ Dorit

Well, you people at least have an institution where you can ask questions and get videos out of the process.

Here’s the webpage of the analogue institution in France. As far as I’ve been able to track it down.

The ByLaws claim that sessions are recorded and transcripts published. I’ve been unable to find any published recordings of the sessions. Transcripts are not performed systematically, and I do find them sketchy (example here), very little outside voice except off-the-record discussions covered by industrial secret.

Can’t say I’m very much satisfied by that specific culture of transparency and public accountability. So comments, even if not used the way they should be, are not something I’d curtail.

I agree with you that you could go the other extreme. That’s not what I was suggesting. I’ll explain in a response to my comment.

@ Dorit

Yeah, well I do find public interventions in video format useful. However, I’m not very happy with the format as “comments”. I’d rather have direct questions in Q&A format instead.

From abroad, when I look at the US Senate hearings on whatever topic, I simply drool over it, and wished we had the same culture of factual Q&As in our hearings over here. I’m sick and tired of our pseudo-literary culture of grandiose handwaving oscillating between injunctions to either class warfare or race warfare (I’m hitting a bit hard here, but still…).

Generalizing videotaped Q&As, not “comments”, across the board of our public institutions would greatly have my favor. I wouldn’t mind social media fuss as long as the debate is vibrant and as long as you can oppose one video argument to another video argument in public debates.

For this ACIP meeting, is the antivaxx video the only one that is circulating on social media? Is it the only one that has been taped? Answering yes to the first question wouldn’t be a surprise to me, but answering yes to the second would be a disappointment.

@ Orac

“And, of course, there’s this video portraying pediatricians as pedophiles”

As much as I like bashing doctors, I’ve had a very good opinion of the no-nonsense pediatrician that took care of my daughter. So I’m not in the pediatricians = pedophiles movement. But I nevertheless find it hard not to mention this champion-of-the-world contender we unearthed recently in our little corner of the world. Alert signals date back to 2006, and I believe a few questions could, eventually, hypothetically, be in order. Q&As, anyone?

I actually wrote my dissertation, in part, on agency accountability in other countries, including France. I agree that you could use more openness. Your agencies do have mechanisms for consultation, but it’s with a predetermined set of actors, and outsiders don’t have a lot of forums to give input in.

I think having public participation is usually important. But note that public comments on agencies are not actually Q&A – the only ones authorized to engage in Q&A in this forum are the agency members, and they were not engaging with the anti-vaccine commenters. Nor were the anti-vaccine commenters, as far as I could tell, seeking to meaningfully engage them, with one possible exception, the first commenter. The person who was trying to threaten them with Nuremberg Trials was certainly not seeking to engage meaningfully, just intimidate.

This isn’t achieving real engagement. In terms of input, it’s not achieving anything written comments wouldn’t achieve, I think.

The whole meeting is video recorded, and that will be available, but it takes them a few weeks to put up the feed. I’m really looking forward to watching the Polio session on the second day.

@ Dorit

“I actually wrote my dissertation, in part, on agency accountability in other countries, including France. I agree that you could use more openness.”

If you need someone to scrub your back or wash your feet or be the shadow of your dog…

More seriously: thank you for writing this explicitly.

Is this the dissertation you mentioned? Seems you wrote things on telecommunications before 2009, so I’m not entirely sure you were referring to that paper. I’ll have a look. Thank you.

That’s an article off the research for my dissertation, but it’s not the dissertation, which is unpublished and was submitted in 2007. If you really want a copy of the 350 page document, it would likely have to be via email, sorry!!! I don’t know if there’s an online version.


@ Dorit

Liked your article.

Principal-agent problems going wrong is indeed something I’m deeply interested in.

Sadly, the ACIP will have to have public comments and endure trolls like this. I admire the professionalism of the committee members although I’m sure they’re aware these anti-vaxx tormenters commentors are just trying to provoke reactions/retaliation in order to make their videos juicier.

1) Dorit is correct, FDA and ACIP advisory meetings are generally conducted in compliance with CFR Title 21 Part 14 ( While some such meetings (or portions thereof) are closed most are open to the public.
2) As regards effectiveness, to date antivaxxers have yet to effect change at ACIP or FDA Advisory Committee Meetings during the public participation segments. Not only that, recall that from 1999-2003 and 2007-2011 Barbara Loe Fisher and fellow antivaxxer Vicky Debold, respectively, served as the Consumer Representatives for the FDA ACMs convened prior to licensing of new vaccines. They were voting members of the Committee, not simply participating in open public sessions. It appears that, unable to provide compelling data to fellow committee members that might cause them to vote against the vaccines under consideration, during their combined tenures vaccines such as Prevnar, Menactra, Menveo, Gardasil, Cervarix, Rotateq, Rotarix, ProQuad, VAQTA, and Zostavax were approved by unanimous or overwhelming majority votes.

The essential distinctions between ‘Probable’ and ‘Possible’ are that in the latter case there may be another equally likely explanation for the event and/or there is no information or uncertainty with regard to what has happened after stopping.

This is always very interesting to me. The meanings of the words “probable” and “possible” are very dependent on what the people who are saying them understand them to mean. One person saying the word “possible” may interpret it as “very very possible” and assume that it means “more possible” than the equivalent degree of possibility interpreted from “probable,” while another may assume the same word to mean “it’s possible for it to happen once in a while, but not very likely.” The word “probable” seems more mechanically reliable because we could associate a mathematical degree of probability with it, but no such attribute has been offered here.

I think that the open imprecise interpretation of the words leaves so much wiggle room that people can be honest within their own heads while using them, while accusing others of lying when using those words, even though those other people are being honest in their own heads too. Since there are no numbers in sight, the degree of “possibility” or “probability” is literally undefined and the words are almost totally relative in their meanings. I think this is why lawyers have problems with the absoluteness of physical laws… the meanings don’t stretch the way rhetorically defined laws can.

I’m not going to argue with what people may or may not believe these words to mean but surely in a sort of semi-formal sense that one would expect science type dialog might take ‘possible’ just means that (on the prior information) it can happen, whereas ‘probable’ is much stronger – meaning more likely than not to happen, or at the very weakest sense (which I wouldn’t personally use) the possibility with the heighest probability. I wouldn’t see how the second most likely possibility can be said to be ‘probable’. Even in completely informal discourse surely it is always the case that many things might be possible but at most one thing is probable? I think both words are fairly reliable and not interchangable in some fashion – if you feel ‘possible’ is stronger than ‘probable’ I would be tempted to say you misunderstand the words/concepts. (Not ‘you’ meaning you personally..)

I think people misunderstand it all the time. Why else does anyone play Powerball? Sure, it’s possible someone can win; someone always does. Probability is that you could spend your life savings trying to assure a probable win of any significance. Obviously, a lot of people think possibility is stronger than probability when 500 million dollars is on the platter in front of them. My only real point is that people flex the meanings on words to suit what they want to believe, whether they think they are or not. Interpretation of the meaning is the difference between one person’s honesty and another person’s lie.

Yes, but the point was this: Tuttle claimed that the change in definition meant that any death from a vaccine in a child with a preexisting condition like a congenital health defect would automatically be chalked up to the heart defect, not the vaccine; i.e., that the new classification automatically dismisses the possibility that a vaccine caused death or injury if there is a preexisting condition like a congenital heart defect. That is clearly a massive misrepresentation. Under the more recent WHO system, how a serious adverse event after vaccination is assessed could range anywhere from probable to unlikely depending on the specific circumstances. That’s not automatically dismissing the possibility that a vaccine caused the injury.

I strongly agree with you. People support massive cognitive dissonance in the face of all evidence to the contrary. In that, even the regularity of the actual numbers is subject to reinterpretation, no matter what they really mean. The back flips Tuttle is turning here are the most extreme version of flexing meaning –suspended meaning, or alternate reality meaning, maybe!

In a qualitative sense, I still find it interesting how much of our spoken meaning depends upon the implied valuation of a term rather than any actual value, especially since that implied value is not guarded by any sort of bureau of standards. How people rationalize their cognitive dissonance is very interesting to me;-)

I’d leave the public comment period as is. Removing it would provoke cries of cover-up. As it stands, it highlights the extreme nature and nastiness of hard-core antivaxers.

In other news, congrats to Mainers, 74% of whom voted to uphold the state’s ending religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccination.

The leader of the failed referendum claims the vote doesn’t really reflect the views of voters, and that her group’s failure is due to the issue being placed on the primary ballot, hostile media coverage, Pharma influence, phase of the moon etc.

@ Dangerous Bacon,

It doesn’t reflect the views of the voters. Nothing that affects children will.Only 38.5% of Maine bothered to vote, which is deplorable on so many levels not even related to vaccines.

I think what it will take is compulsion for adults. Now THAT has the potential to spawn an ex or anti vax majority. Waiting patiently.

It doesn’t reflect the views of the voters. Nothing that affects children will.Only 38.5% of Maine bothered to vote, which is deplorable on so many levels not even related to vaccines.

You don’t do numbers well do you? If there was only 39% voter turnout and 74% voted to uphold the ban on exemptions, then what does that tell you about how few anti-vaxxers there actually are? Especially considering how loud and mobilised they are.

@ Science Mom:

Correct. In addition, anti-vaxxers are the group most fired up and probably are more likely to get out and vote so they may actually be overrepresented in the final tally.
See my comment below about a new study concerning misinformation and social media. The authors suggest that nearly 20% believe anti-vax.

Well, if anti-vaxers didn’t bother to vote, then you don’t matter anyway…what does that say about your movement?

A couple of weeks ago, I had a question for the antivaxxers, which for some reason, they missed seeing and answering, so I thought I’d ask it again:

I have an autistic child, and I’d do anything to help him. So – how will my son benefit if I pretend to believe that vaccines cause autism?

If I receive a good answer, I’ll go all in, believe me. I’ll send death threats to children like Marco Arturo, bribe Congressmen, make fun of kids dying of encephalitis, pretend that 1960s America had never heard of sanitation (and ignore the 1960s epidemic of rubella that blinded tens of thousands of infants); I’ll help out when Andrew Wakefield wants to drain blood from kids at birthday parties and ignore the unvaccinated autistic child of Kim Stagliano — you’ll have my complete unwavering support for the whole antivax program.

But I’m not going to start until I get some idea of how any of this will help my son – until I hear some vague hint about how pretending to believe that vaccines cause autism will actually help my son, I’ll just continue to use my time loving him and supporting job training, assistive care, and education for him and other autistic people.

Voters are, by definition, the people who actually voted in the election. The people who could have voted, but didn’t, are only “eligible voters”. I can’t speak for any particular member of the latter category–some don’t care, some could not make time in their work schedule to vote (which is genuinely a problem for too many people), some encounter barriers that prevent them from voting (this is generally not a problem in Maine but is an issue in some other states), and perhaps some requested an absentee ballot which did not arrive in time (this has happened to me once, some years ago). And of course all voters are eligible voters. But in a democracy, it’s only the voters that determine the outcome. And nearly 3/4 of those voters were OK with the law.

Elections in general are about turning your voters out, and hoping the other side’s potential voters do not. That doesn’t seem to have worked for the Mainers supporting the referendum in question. Either they didn’t turn their voters out, or the people supporting the law did, or both.

Thomas C. Morton asks,

So – how will my son benefit if I pretend to believe that vaccines cause autism?

MJD responds,

Don’t pretend, use the scientific method and clearly show how vaccines cause autism. I’ve learned that this is difficult because you can’t prove a negative in medical science; it’s unethical.

In simplicity, your son will not benefit if you pretend to believe that vaccines cause autism.

@ Orac,

Great post, again! In my opinion, Kevin Tuttle lacks science-speak to be convincing and influential.

Kevin did an awesome job. I understand why high-profile provaxxers are so threatened by high-profile antivaxxers (especially Kevin) & it has nothing to do with scientific prowess, which is amusing.

High profile provaxxers do not exactly embody healthy, hip & attractive populations.

Kevin did an awesome job.

Of course you’d think that; it doesn’t matter how dumb and fact-free he came off as, as long as he says it with feeling.

I understand why high-profile provaxxers are so threatened by high-profile antivaxxers (especially Kevin) & it has nothing to do with scientific prowess, which is amusing.

Uh no, you mistake disgust and annoyance with “threatened”. It shows how detached from reality you are.

High profile provaxxers do not exactly embody healthy, hip & attractive populations.

It’s obvious that’s a petty dig at a particular person. A mirror (literally and figuratively) would serve you well before going down that road.

Interesting that she thinks baseless fantasies of trials that will never happen are “an awesome job.” Maybe she thinks of the incorrect statements that followed (thank you for going through them, Orac).

What I find threatening is not the fantasy, but the question of what someone who is this angry and extreme may do once he realizes his fantasy is not going to happen – is his next step actual physical violence against the committee members? And even if he would not, such language, legitimizing violence, can lead others to act. After all, not all members of the anti-vaccine movement are completely stable, as experiences in California – and possibly recent behaviors in New York and Connecticut – show.

@ Science Mom

It’s obvious that’s a petty dig

As a true troll trying to get under people’s skin by whatever mean available, christine has been digging this particular hole since about day one or two.

@ doritmi:

Anti-vaxers portray medical professionals and vaccine supporters as criminal, corrupt and destroyers of children –
we’ve heard it here at RI, so it seems feasible that someone who is thus whipped up may decide to take revenge upon these miscreants. I also wouldn’t be surprised if something violent happens.

A mirror (literally and figuratively) would serve you well before going down that road.

Life-size cutout of John Stone?

I would point out that the need of the antivaccine movement to imagine things about the health of people who correct them speaks to them. Their comments about the health of both their supporters and opponents reflects internal things, since they don’t actually have access to real information either way. They want to believe their supporters have better health than the people standing up to them.

I don’t see any reason to engage in similar musings or fantasies about their supporters. Not really relevant.

@ Science Mom,

It’s not a petty dig & it’s highly relevant to the context of this thread; so I am not trolling. A mirror? Lol; your avatar is an emblem. It’s marketing & if you don’t feel threatened you should.

Vaccines suck. They target one of hundreds of thousands of pathogens & leave the body with increased susceptibility to the other 999,999. They are causing cytokine storms in the brains of infants which results in SIDS. They are causing the same in the brains of toddlers, which disable the microglia cells & results in the lack of synaptic pruning & months down the road; the child regresses into autism.

Alzheimer’s has more than doubled since 1999. What causes Alzheimer’s? Microglia cells that stop pruning & leads to increased plaque buildup. Thank you flu shot. Also, thank you flu shot; for causing increased susceptibility to Coronavirus.

“Orac has covered all this …” Yes I know. The only thing that has kept me from commenting here recently has been a missing child case here in my town, a child for whom I have been actively searching. His stepmom (who was just arrested) also had an answer for everything. You also always have some answer for everything vaccines have been accused of except for the one you need. The Study. You don’t have that, you won’t do it & you have a pat explanation for that too.

So devoid of that; you will have to rely on spokespeople. The Maurice Hillman-esque appearance will not cut it with the visually influenced public.

You know what’s great for preventing Alzheimer’s? Dying young. You know what’s great for causing Alzheimer’s? Aging Baby Boomers.

It’s not a petty dig & it’s highly relevant to the context of this thread; so I am not trolling.

See Prof. Reiss’ comment. No, your delusional fantasies of anti-vaxx being the picture of health and pro-vaxx sickly are neither correct nor relevant. As for the rest of your comment, fact-free and hysterical ranting as usual.

Lol; your avatar is an emblem. It’s marketing & if you don’t feel threatened you should.

Science Mom’s avatar is one of my favourite M. C. Escher woodcuts.

This guy is flat out nuts. I was looking for a polite word because the mentally troubled have enough problems already but you changed my mind. He’s the equivalent of the guy that goes to every city council meeting and talks while the council reviews the agenda until second 120 where he gets cut off in the middle of the word “Illuminati.”

You’re proud of this idiot? This is the best you can do? Your response is not “Get help?”

“Kevin did an awesome job.”

Not half as good a job as Sterling Hayden in Dr Strangelove.

“healthy, hip & attractive populations”
Pretty is as pretty does. Kevin’s lies and wishing horrible things upon the people who are trying to prevent suffering is not an attractive thing to do.

Even as much as I really don’t like the things you say here, please stay safe from this new virus and wash your hands.

“Kevin did an awesome job.”

Yep. He was clearly well-rehearsed, and well-paid. I hope his employers are taking your endorsement of his effectiveness into account for his bonus.

high-profile antivaxxers (especially Kevin)

Oh, yeah, he’s extremely high profile for someone no one has ever heard of before.

@ Christine Kincaid

Must admit I agree on one point, the pathetic low voter turnout in American elections. Much lower than many other modern democracies. Australia actually fines people for not voting.

However, you ignore that polls show overwhelming majorities support vaccines and you continue to display your absolute moronic ignorance, e.g., claim after claim in previous posts that I refuted with science, logic, and often just plain common sense.

As for “High profile provaxxers do not exactly embody healthy, hip & attractive populations.” I prefer not to rely on anecdotes; but I am in my mid 70s, a regular blood donor, hoping to reach 100 donations, not on any medication, BP 120/70 or lower, Total Cholesterol 175 and sometimes lower, BMI perfect, 5’10”, 160 lbs. As for attractive, well, white hair, some wrinkles, etc. I’m old. Shove it you abominable moron. I would bet I’m in better shape than you. Walk my dog briskly, neighbors have comments how fast I walk, about 1 mile twice daily. Go to gym every day, alternative weight-lifting, moderate, with stationary bike.

@ Joel,

Thank you for donating. I had to have 9 units transfused over the course of a year & a half thanks to an ill advised surgical procedure. Iatrogenic. Just like vaccine injury & death.

I remember seeing your picture. Maybe you need to take your admirable health & become a talking head for your pet agenda because that’s one selling point the provax do not have & it’s noticeable & has been commented on frequently.

“Maybe you need to take your admirable health & become a talking head for your pet agenda because that’s one selling point the provax do not have & it’s noticeable & has been commented on frequently.”

LOL. This reminds me of the woman who was berating Dr. Offit in DC. On her Facebook page, she complained to her friends about my weight. Something about me not being able to tell anyone that vaccines work because I’m fat, or something. Then you take a look at her FB pictures and see how many of her own family seemed overweight and downright obese. On top of thinking themselves scientists, antivaccine loons see themselves as the picture of health, too.

They should really also make sure their FB profiles are locked down. They tell a much different story on there than what they tell on forums such as this one. 😉 Then again, it’s not like they feel any kind of shame in telling lies.

@ Christine

You write: “just like vaccine injury & death.” There is really no dialoguing with you as you ignore most of what I and others write, just keep on going. I think you would fit better joining some church as your approach to vaccines is more like a religious fanatic, not science-based. As for my “pet agenda”, I do strongly support vaccines; but also strongly support limiting usage of antibiotics, Medicare for All, the ERA, pro-choice, human rights, civil rights, against the death penalty, against mass incarceration and draconian sentences given mainly minorities, and I have written papers and been involved when I was younger of working with various groups as well as participating in demonstrations. One more stupid phrase from you “pet agenda.”

As for “selling point” the provax don’t have. Yikes. We have history and current status of vaccines that not only have saved umpteen lives; but found that some vaccines even confer additional protections. Of course, you don’t believe it. DON’T BELIEVE IT. Well, my position is not as some fanatic religious proponent; but understanding immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, the history of infectious disease and their current status in the world. This blog is names “Science-Based Medicine.” Try understanding what that means, if you are even capable of such understanding.

Like Orac, I also wonder if it is wise to allow public spoken comments, which, though they neatly illustrate their ineptitude addressing science, allow them to histrionically act out in public and create fodder for social media. Anyone can contact elected representatives or governmental agencies in writing.

Tuttle and Heckenlively would make an unforgettable duet. Maybe Kennedy should book them for his next anti-vax review.

……a few things

Anti-vaxxers say, ” Let the public speak” and they just did:
Maine instituted stricter laws eliminating non-medical exemptions when anti-vaxxers called a referendum which failed yesterday by a 3 to 1 margin ( Wall Street Journal). Maine probably includes a fair number of libertarian voters who may oppose any laws that limit “freedom” so we don’t know if the voting purely reflects anti-vaccine sentiment.Ginger Taylor ( AoA) hilariously provides excuses for the failure.

re insulting pediatricians..
I imagine that Dr Baldwin’s TikTok has unsettled the faithful if Kim Rossi is representative:
( @ Kim Rossi1111**) she compared her to strippers and other unsavory characters but in the last few days, she’s outdone herself with a gif of a teenaged cheerleader flipping her hair and also comments: now peds are more women than men and they use their looks to get ahead, “just passing”: they’re pharma reps!
HOW would she know what medical school is like? SRSLY
What a great feminist analysis of occupational requirements and practice!

New research finds that people who get information from social media about vaccines believe more pseudoscience than if they rely on information from traditional media ( television and news); importantly, about 20% cite anti-vax nonsense. The lead researcher’s name escapes me at present but I can find it. easily.

** 1111 is an angel number: it shows that angels are watching or interceding or something.

The cited study is by Stecula, Kuru et ( 2020) Annenberg Center for Public Policy U Penn.

@ Denice,

“1111 is an angel number: it shows that angels are watching or interceding or something.”

Good grief.

Why do they always think they “drop the mic”? I’ve heard and read antivaxxer after antivaxxer make some ridiculous claims and then claim some sort of victory. Just like the new antivaccine loon in the comments, who thinks she has one-upped us only because she comments the same thing over and over again, as if repeating her baseless claim makes them more valid.
They basically scream at the top of their lungs that 2+3 is 9, and there is a worldwide conspiracy to keep the number 9 from the world. And only the woke people, not the sheeple can see that this is true. Then they pat themselves on the back and walk away all smug and happy because they’re not anti-5, they’re just ex-5-ers.
Speaking of loons… What ever happened to “Sid Offit” the fire scientist?

Speaking of loons… What ever happened to “Sid Offit” the fire scientist?

Last I saw, Robert Schecter was sitting fat, dumb and happy on his FB page preening amongst his dimly lit sycophants.

There’s a man who shares my meatspace name who was murdered by the stalker of a woman he had started dating. (He had gone out with her a few times, and the woman just wasn’t into him.) I occasionally see gloating by a crank that supposedly I had been shot dead. (Spoiler alert: As was the case for you, it wasn’t me.)

I share a name/ nym with a lovely woman from Hobart, Tasmania, who works for the scouts, does HIghland dancing and is a cancer survivor/ fund raiser. Although I am only a very minor league player, I wondered if anti-vaxxers with whom I’ve tangled, like Jake, searched her out the net, saw her address and harassed her.I hope not.
(There’s also a DW who works with the trade commission)

Samuel Clemens would undoubtedly say that, like his, the reports of Rene and Orac’s deaths were an exaggeration. But that can’t be true because antivaxxers NEVER exaggerate…

I’m starting to think of all anti-vax memes/ videos/ talking points as pre-emptive strikes against SBM:
they want to implant an image or false datum into their followers’ minds in order to prevent them from looking at SB information.
Catchy phrases, lurid tales of child “destruction”, evil perpetrators, criminal enterprise or bombastic slogans on signs score quick points that poison the well.

Let’s face it, anti-vaxxers are usually unprepared for a realistic discussion of vaccines involving SBM and statistical analysis: the topic is complicated, involves multiple avenues and, I venture, is probably beyond most adults’ education unless it is carefully prepared by someone who comprehends the audience like Orac, Dr Novella or Prof Dorit.

How many anti-vaxxers are willing to put in the time required for understanding the material? They like to brag how they spend years “researching” their topic BUT they pick and choose their reading material and authors. None of them ever talk about important research going on for thirty years about the pre-natal origins of autism or genetics: they automatically dismiss them. Yet this is where research is going. They lead excursions into peripherally related topics, leaving most important findings OUT**.

Orac answers their old reliable objections but it fails to register ( e.g. no vaccines tested against placebo, the unvaccinated are healthier, the unvaccinated aren’t autistic, ASDs increase since 1970 etc) because it threatens their identities: brave maverick-y revolutionaries have to fulfill their destiny: much research on what type of person becomes an anti-vaxxer, none if it pretty.

** like Jain et al ( 2015) unvaccinated younger siblings of boys with ASD have the same rate of autism ( around 7%) as VACCINATED younger siblings of boys with ASD AND unvaccinated younger siblings of kids without ASDs have the same rate of ASDs as vaccinated younger siblings of kids without ASD ( about 1%). Thousands of pairs of siblings.
That is Dr Jain’s mic drop.

They love to claim any and all autism diagnoses to talk about how often autism occurs, but then turn around and claim that if you don’t need full time care, you’re not “really” autistic. It’s all about their narrative, not reality.

In light of Terrie’s and Denice’s comments, they come across very much like fundamentalist evangelicals with their cult-like denial of opposing views…… listening only to their “chosen, true” leader….. as we have all recounted, they are just as difficult to have their minds changed.

To clarify:
rather than saying “siblings” and “kids” I should have said “brothers”/ “boys” as all Ss were male.

@Christine KIncaid
There is a paper about microglia and Alzheimer’s
Brent Cameron Gary E.Landreth
Inflammation, microglia, and alzheimer’s disease
Neurobiology of Disease
Volume 37, Issue 3, March 2010, Pages 503-509
You get it all wrong, as one may guess. Existing amyloid plaques provoke microglia to destructive action. Similar thing happens with atherosclerotic plaques.
As for microglial pruning as a cause of autism, you forget that neonatal cytokines are elevated:
Morsi W. Abdallah, Nanna Larsen, Erik L. Mortensen, Hjördis Ó. Atladóttir, Bent Nørgaard-Pedersen, Eva Cecilie Bonefeld-Jørgensen, Jakob Grove, David M. Hougaard,
Neonatal levels of cytokines and risk of autism spectrum disorders: An exploratory register-based historic birth cohort study utilizing the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank,
Journal of Neuroimmunology, Volume 252, Issues 1–2, 2012, Pages 75-82,
ISSN 0165-5728,

@ Aarno,

From your article:

“Findings showed that children developing ASD were more likely to have decreased levels of both T helper-1(Th-1)-like cytokines (i.e. IFN-γ) and Th-2like cytokines (i.e. IL-4, IL-10) which may suggest a depressed or hypoactive immune cell activity during neonatal period in ASD.”

That’s interesting & very good to know because now we could isolate control groups. I’d bet that kids born with those cytokine profiles should never be vaccinated. I’d bet they are at increased risk for vaccine-induced autism. If you cannot show me that has been done & ruled out then you are just speculating that vaccines do not cause autism as much as I am speculating that they do.

Do you know? Did they take that knowledge anywhere beyond that study? Not rhetorical I do not know but I want to.

Not born that way. Sorry. I have parented a child through regression.

Believe me, vaccination of childrens with autistic sibling have been studied, for instance:
Jain A, Marshall J, Buikema A, Bancroft T, Kelly JP, Newschaffer CJ. Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism. JAMA. 2015;313(15):1534–1540. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3077
“For children with older siblings with ASD, at age 2, the adjusted relative risk (RR) of
ASD for 1 dose of MMR vaccine vs no vaccine was 0.76 (95\% CI, 0.48-1.22; P = .25), and at age 5, the RR of ASD for 2 doses compared with no vaccine was 0.56 (95\% CI, 0.30-1.04; P = .07). For children whose older siblings did not have ASD, at age 2, the adjusted RR of ASD for 1 dose was 0.91 (95\% CI, 0.68-1.20; P = .50) and at age 5, the RR of ASD for 2 doses was 1.09 (95\% CI, 0.76-1.54; P = .65)”
You would notice that vaccination prevents autism in the case of siblings with autism. I myself bet that with a certain cyto cytokine profile, benefit would be greater. But a bet is not a study

I’d bet that kids born with those cytokine profiles should never be vaccinated. I’d bet they are at increased risk for vaccine-induced autism.

Why? Are you an immunologist and ASD specialist or is this just based upon your “Mummy power”?

If you cannot show me that has been done & ruled out then you are just speculating that vaccines do not cause autism as much as I am speculating that they do.

You don’t speculate; you have flat-out stated that they do along with a plethora of other disorders and diseases.

Not born that way. Sorry. I have parented a child through regression.

Regression is part of being “born that way”. Sorry but your being a Mommy is not relevant.

@ Christine Kincaid

Your citation includes: “may suggest.” Of course, in your sick mind “may suggest” becomes something confirmed. However, what you, in your immense stupidity regarding immunology, fail to understand is that if ASD children have reduced TH cytokines, then they are much more at risk for infections, including more serious outcomes. And that is what the literature shows, i.e., ASD kids more often sick, vulnerable. So kids with ASD actually benefit more from vaccines than other kids. You also ignore that many kids labelled ASD would not have been so labelled years ago because the definitions, criteria changed, more funding was made available, so schools, etc. test to get more funding, etc. In other words, not an epidemic; but a change in definition, funding, becoming a more therapeutic oriented society, etc. I wrote more about this in a BMJ Rapid Response. Available at:

Read it, you may learn something, though I doubt it.

You write: ” If you cannot show me that has been done & ruled out then you are just speculating that vaccines do not cause autism as much as I am speculating that they do.”

Might be so if we didn’t have an overwhelming number of studies that refute this, plus our understanding of immunology and how vaccines work.

As for “Not born that way. Sorry. I have parented a child through regression,” a number of studies have found that changes to structure of fetal brain occur; but don’t necessarily show up immediately. For instance, children often mimic words without knowing their meaning, just the sounds, so at a certain age when they should be learning language they don’t and parents, having heard them using words earlier think they have regressed. There are also several genetic conditions, e.g. Rett syndrome where a child develops normally then regresses, regardless of being or not being vaccinated, just genetically programmed.

And finally, as usual, you jump on one study. May be valid; but even if done quite well, random chance can explain results and later variant replications will fail to obtain them.

You just jump at everything because in your fantasy world vaccines must have caused ASD. I wonder what would happen if, in the future, overwhelming research finds the cause of, say, 40% of kids with ASD and it clearly has nothing to do with vaccines. Oh, you will still believe vaccines cause 60%. If studies find clear causes for 90%, you will still blame vaccines for the remaining 10%. In your world, attacking vaccines is your raison d’être.

@ Joel,

If you support mandatory immunizations you do not support human rights. If you refuse to believe the mothers; you do not support women. If you call our stories ‘misinformation’ you support censorship & propaganda.

Vaccines mandates support human rights by protecting a child’s right to health. You don’t have a human right to send an unvaccinated child to school and risk others. You don’t have a human right to refuse to protect your children from disease, either. The human right is the child’s right to health. Vaccines protect it.

And abusing the believe women slogan by using it to promote counter evidence stories just makes it harder for real victims.

Stop latching onto other movements to promote your goal of bringing back preventable diseases. Thank you.

@ Dorit,

I will never stop. Since I started posting here I have heard of at least 34 NEW cases of SIDS (VIDS) that occurred within 48 hours of vaccination & in only ONE account did the parent say that they had heard it could happen.

That one case is just as devastating if not more than the others because those parents had actually sat in the parking lot before their baby’s very last “well baby” appointment, worrying about SIDS but talked themselves in to getting baby out of the car & going inside to get the shots.

All of the other 33 parents have said ”

We didn't know this could happen. Nobody told us this was happening."

So I’m not doing good enough. I suppose you can be happy for that.

But I would actually like to take all these compulsions & mandates & fast track them. Can you help with that? Can we have some bills mandating current schedules for adults please? I would like a bill for the airlines to start requiring proof of current immunizations for all adult passengers. I would like a bill for all healthcare insurance providers to REQUIRE full immunization compliance, including the flu shot; before they will cover any & all adults.

A bill mandating current immunizations to collect Social Security. Renew your drivers license. I mean, it really doesn’t do any good to have fully immunized children in a community with un or under-immunized adults; does it? Let’s get this show on the road & force-immunize the grown ups! America is ready for this. Citizen’s will back these bills & more 100% & it will be great for immunization policy & program.

Since I started posting here I have heard of at least 34 NEW cases of SIDS (VIDS) that occurred within 48 hours of vaccination & in only ONE account did the parent say that they had heard it could happen.

Oh what a bunch of bullshit. SIDS incidence is ~35/100K live births in the U.S. And of course some will occur within X hours/days/weeks of vaccination. You seriously need to get a different “hobby”. You’re such a ghoul.

@Christine, what diseases are you volunteering to expose your family to? How about whooping cough? Hope there aren’t any infants in your family. That one kills 1 in 200 infants.

It’s horrible to lose a child. I feel for those families. We both know that chances are that none of them had evidence linking the loss to vaccines. Vaccines don’t cause SIDS. Further, I would bet that quite a few of them lost a child in unsafe sleep conditions, like Ms. Clobes, or like the woman who wrote online that she left her baby alone on her adult bed, and the child died.

Besides the fact that it doesn’t help these families – in fact, it likely delays healing from grief – to trap them in the mistaken idea that vaccines cause the tragedy, besides the fact that using these tragedies this way puts other families at risk of disease, when you encourage this, you prevent identifying the real dangers of unsafe sleeping practices, and acting in ways that could actually save babies lives.

I understand you don’t intend to stop.

That’s not a good thing. It’s bad for those who may be affected by your efforts, and it doesn’t seem good for you, either. I hope you find a better way to deal with your problems.

Ms. Kincaid, roughly 2,500 infants die per year of SIDS in the US. If such deaths were independent of vaccination, and assuming 6 vaccination visits in the first year, we would expect 84 SIDS deaths per year to occur within 48 hours of vaccination by random chance. How many years have you been posting here?

All of the other 33 parents have said ”We didn’t know this could happen. Nobody told us this was happening.”

All at the same time, in a chorus?

You are not all mothers. Your arrogance and selfishness is astounding.

Giving birth to a child does not give one any special scientific or medical insights. In fact, being a parent probably impairs one’s objectivity where one’s offspring are concerned.

@ Meg,

I actually do not disagree with you regarding a parent’s objectivity (or lack thereof).

Sometimes new parents can be somewhat annoying that way. There is a lot of almost competition & exaggeration of how wonderful & ‘developmentally ahead’ their amazing baby is. It’s common.

The child I observed the regression in was the youngest of eleven. By the time you observe 10 ‘toddlerhoods’ you have stopped all the comparing. You have seen that all babies, even full bio siblings; are different. Some talk early, some talk late. Same with crawling, walking, getting their first tooth, etc …

By the time number 11 rolled around, I was so laid back about ‘developmental milestones’ I was literally the last one to see what was happening. Everyone saw it before me. They kept trying to point stuff out:

"Why isn't he talking?"

“He’s talking! He’s been saying mama, dada, more, etc …”

"But he's not talking NOW!"

A month later:….

"When is he going to talk?"

“Every kid is different, geez … He’s a boy. ALL my boys talked later than the girls!”

He had been sick after those shots. Rashes & fevers & strange vocalizations. Even banging his head on the floor. He wouldn’t play with his toys anymore. His hair changed & became wiry with an orange tint. I was working 12 hour shifts at the hospital & coming home to a houseful of kids. I was exhausted but I wasn’t quite sure why. It was a different kind of tired.

It took two months before I realized that he had totally changed. I wasn’t objective enough. Had I been a parent of 1 or 2? I would have seen it earlier. When I say “I parented a child through a regression” I mean I parented 10 children who did not regress & THEN parented a child through a regression. That’s very different. I know what I saw. I also know there are stories out there about kids who “regressed overnight”.

That’s not my story. I don’t think a true regression works that way. In autism; “something” has damaged the microglia cell’s ability to prune synapses. You can’t overgrow another 10% total neuron volume overnight. It would be slower than that but I believe a baby could stay sick from immediately after the vaccines long enough for the synaptic overgrowth to become evident, as the acute illness fades out; making it appear as though the child “regressed overnight”.

@ Christine Kincaid

First, rights are balanced with responsibilities. The old saying that your rights end at my nose. Unvaccinated kids puts others at risk, e.g., those who can’t be vaccinated because of some autoimmune diseases & undergoing chemotherapy or who were vaccinated; but it didn’t take effect. Second, rights aren’t absolutes. We have had quarantine laws since the Middle Ages. Third, parental rights aren’t absolute. You have heard of child protection services? Despite what you choose to believe, the overwhelming evidence is that vaccines protect children. Fourth, as for what mother’s choose to believe, so society should just sit back and always defer to mothers? How about mothers who believe kids with ASD are possessed? I don’t know of any society that does this. The question is in what circumstances.

You really are STUPID. Calling your stories “misinformation” is not censorship, doesn’t stop you from continuing with them. As for being propaganda, I guess one would have to include ALL medical journals and other scientific journals as propaganda if they disagree with what some individual or group of individuals believe. All the journal articles on global warming must be propaganda?

I really find it hard to believe you got through nursing school.


I also support mandatory seatbelt laws and laws requiring car seats for infants. I guess they also intrude on mother’s right to decide how to take care of her child????

And I also support the authorities acting when parents, because of religious beliefs or beliefs in CAM, deny a child with cancer or septicemia, etc. proper medical care.

Demanding that children get many serious illnesses that require a parent to stay home from work to care for their child is “not support[ing] women.” There is plenty of evidence that mothers are expected to (and do) take on the burden of caring for sick children, which directly and negatively impacts their careers, reducing the economic stability of the whole family, which leads to negative outcomes for their children.

Clearly it is you who is anti-feminist, anti-woman, and anti-child.

(But still, please wash your hands.)

@ Christine Kincaid

I like your suggestions to require proof of vaccinations to board airlines, collect social security, get drivers licenses, etc. However, it is children who spread diseases more than any other group. Studies, for instance, have found that when grandchildren vaccinated for flu, lower mortality and morbidity in grandparents. But, yep, as a public health measure, the more people vaccinated the lower mortality and morbidity will be. Of course, from your delusions of grandeur “intuitive genius” I’m wrong and 10s of thousands of experts around the world, experts in difference nations with different histories, different cultures, different political and economic systems and different educational systems, all are wrong; but you are right. You are a sick joke.

Yep, mandatory vaccinations, of course with legitimate exemptions for medical conditions, would be a great public health measure.


So many years ago, I forgot that to fly abroad or for people entering the U.S. not only a passport was required; but proof of smallpox vaccine. When I first went to Europe I had been vaccinated as a child; but that wasn’t considered up-to-date so I got smallpox vaccine a second time. So, requiring vaccinations of planes already happened.

@Joel, many countries require yellow fever vaccination to enter, either for everyone, or just those travelling from countries with a risk, so it’s not like it’s unheard of to require vaccinations for travel even today. (And, frankly, if vaccination was just a money grab like antivaxxers like to claim, it would be a more widely used and required vaccine, not just for people in at risk areas).

What a good example of black and white thinking. If you’re not with me, you’re against me. I guess if I refuse to believe a liar, I don’t support the entire sex or some other demographic category (ethnicity? Blondes?) of the speaker speaking lies. Because that totally makes sense.

In context of this discussion, not all mothers are lying, but believing something passionately doesn’t mean that belief isn’t wrong. Math and trying to eliminate bias, including one’s own biases, can be hard and humbling. But necessary. The brain is incredibly good at confirmation bias and finding patterns that aren’t there.

The thing is, most of us believe mothers (and fathers) who say their child has health or developmental issues, and we believe they noticed it around the general time of their vaccines (give or take 6+ months in some cases). We just disagree with their conclusion that this proves anything about vaccines.

Dude nailed it. Thanks for sharing Orac. You always find the best stuff. Shared on all my social media. This Kevin guy rocks.

Well, you set a low bar. Though you may being seeing more than actually exist after all of those skinny margaritas.

I really can’t decide, is this more of a Humbolt County comment, or a Mt Shasta comment, or a Chico comment?

Obviously it’s not a Marin County comment, because that’s not Northern California.

I’m already getting tons of likes.

Dandy. Why don’t you show everybody?

Getting likes doesn’t mean you are right. You just get likes from people who are just as misinformed as you are.
Being right is not some kind of democraty. It’s not who gets the most votes, who is right, but who has the best scientific proof.

@ JustaTech:

I don’t know- isn’t Marin Northern CA?

Where do you divide into N / S?
North is north of Monterey or SF or elsewhere?
Then there is that ephemeral entity Central Coast

@Denice Walter: Map-wise I would consider the whole of the Bay area to be “Central Coastal” California, and I’m honestly only excluding it here to point out that most of Northern California isn’t the Bay area but is generally rural and agricultural. (And to be at least a little rude, because this person is clearly not interested in any actual conversation.)

@Chris, that is the saddest margarita I’ve ever seen. It’s only slightly less sad than a vodka and soda. Though I can’t say I’m even slightly surprised by the super toxic diet culture “cleanse” nonsense.

One more observation on Maine’s overwhelming rejection of the ballot issue to reinstate religious/”philosophical” vaccine exemptions: it’s understandable that antivaxers resent the proposal being placed on a general election year ballot. Special interest groups typically prefer off-year elections with little else to vote for, counting on poor turnout dominated by their own troops. I’ve seen this play out on everything from school bond/tax issues to pro-public smoking initiatives.

I doubt the outcome in Maine would’ve been materially affected if the antivax proposal had been on a non-presidential primary ballot. Current news, including stories about mainland U.S. and Samoan measles outbreaks and spread of coronavirus strongly encourages pro-vaccine sentiment and viewing the CDC in a positive light.

Must be intensely frustrating to antivaxers.

@ Terrie,

Unfortunately this household was fully vaccinated.

I have a child dead from vaccine SIDS & a child with severe autism. Isn’t is completely obvious that we vaccinated?

Redefining words again? Your family is “fully vaccinated”? So despite your conviction that vaccines caused your son’s autism,he still got his 4-6 and his 11-12 vaccines? Why don’t I believe you?

Or are you saying your kids reject your paranoia and made the choice to protect their kids from preventable, potentially deadly diseases?

@ Christine Kincaid

And I can find families who haven’t vaccinated who lost kids to SIDS, which studies have overwhelmingly shown NOT related to vaccines. If one vaccinates kids at a certain age range which is also the age when cases of SIDs occur, then so what. I already discussed this and refuted it a while back in another exchange (included references); but nothing changes your mind. And I can also find families who haven’t vaccinated with kids with severe autism. The difference between science and mommies like you is that science is objective so that what one sees so do others.

Did you know that someone posted online a correlation between use of cell phones and autism? And someone else posted a correlation between increased consumption of organic foods and autism. I have both somewhere on my computer; but won’t bother finding them. Every human being, based on past experiences and beliefs, selective memory and selective attention, experiences things differently. Which is why science is necessary. On a personal note, despite everything I know, the Earth, at times, still seems flat to me.

If you had not vaccinated any of your kids and lost one to SIDS and one with severe autism, as some other families have experienced, what would you then blame?

You believe that you have some sort of absolute knowledge that makes you superior to vast numbers of people who have devoted lifetimes to studying immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, infectious diseases, etc. Must be nice, not suffering from delusions of grandeur; but relishing them.

Oops! Actually it was ORAC who refuted in several articles vaccines and SIDS; but I posted some comments. I’m sure you saw ORAC’s articles; but, of course, nothing changes your mind.

I have a child dead from vaccine SIDS & a child with severe autism. Isn’t is completely obvious that we vaccinated?

No Christine, your baby died because she was medically-fragile and you discontinued oxygen. Your other child was born autistic; he was your last right? And you are on the spectrum, a couple of risk factors there. This is not the place for your “therapy”.

Isn’t there a relationship between older mothers and older fathers being more likely to have children on the autism spectrum? If so, a mother who had 8 or more kids would, by default, be at a more advanced reproductive age (compared with the early 20s) when having the last few kids, which could be a risk factor, even if the risk is still low. I just googled it and a cursory glance looks like it could increase the probability of having a kid with ASD, just like older reproductive age is associated with other health conditions. But maybe it’s a correlation/causation thing.

Science Mom, I love your ‘nym. It makes me smile after seeing all the alt med mamas, as though only such mothers were authorities on kids and childrearing. I was delighted to see a science mom ‘nym as a kind of rebuttal, demonstrating that there are ‘mamas’ out there who have confidence and pride in science and the scientific method, rather than what seems to be overwhelming crunchy, knee-jerk contrarianism.

And your posts are always interesting and insightful.

“Vaccine SIDS?” Doesn’t exist.

Let’s just totally ignore that the overall rate of SIDS is at its lowest level since we’ve been keeping records, including a drop of more than 50% even as vaccination rates have stayed steady and new vaccines added to the schedule.

You’re totally delusional and falling further down the rabbit hole. I fear for the safety of your children.

Her 16 year old is her youngest, so her kids are probably safe. And I hope they haven’t fallen victim to their mother’s conspiracy theories and are actually vaccinating their kids.

@ Christine Kincaid

How many children do you have? Did you vaccinated all the others following the complete vaccine schedule? Was the one with SIDS and the one with severe autism among your last?

Did you know there are studies finding associations between parity, number of children, and problems? Or that children born to older mothers risk higher rates of chromosomal damages, that is, defects?

So, maybe the one to blame is you for having so many children. How do you even ensure all of them have received quality medical care, quality nutrition, quality times with parent, etc.? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people wanting large families, personally have had friends with large families; but some research does find increased risks, not absolute risks; but increase.

I have two friends, both who had a 4th child with Down Syndrome and both mothers were in their late 30s. And many have kids in their late 30s and 40s who are completely healthy; but the risk is increased.

What is entertaining is that in some AV echo chambers I have seen boasts about how closely the speakers were being watched by security. Surely the officers are becoming woke! Or more likely security was watching them like hawks because they were concerned that they might have to take them down in a hurry.

#VaccinesWork #NursesSpeakUp #VaccinesWork

@Cristine Kincaid
There is an old autopsy paper
E Courchesne
Brainstem, cerebellar and limbic neuroanatomical abnormalities in autism
Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 1997 – Elsevier Current Trends
Autistic and neurotypical brains are very different. Synaptic pruning does definitely not explain differences. Cell bodies are different, too, and many areas are similar.

@ Aarno:

Of course!
In addition, Prof Courchesne has been working on these issues for over 30 years. Other researchers show early indicators ( of autism) prior to vaccines- like patterns of gaze, head size, early social interactions, movements- many studies that argue for prenatal origins.. The Cedillos tried to prove that their daughter was “normal” before vaccines but experts discovered these same early indicators in the videos they provided. Aldridge and Miles both investigate subtle differences in inter-facial proportions in boys with autism and there are other more “masculine” qualities of facial features in girls with ASDs: some of these findings are so small that they are only discernable through computer pictorial analysis. The aforementioned researchers can divide autism types ( based on severity) via proportions as well There are also studies that show that interconnectvity between brain regions are different in people with autism. Then there are genetics. Interestingly, the development of the brain and of the face run together and often reflect these differences from average: Chris linked to a great video lecture that involved some of these facts.

Believe it or not, anti-vaxxers like Kim Rossi or Katie Wright believe this research is a waste of money. Sure, because it basically shows how impoverished their ideas are. Anti-vaxxers know fail to recognise research like that I quote above . I wonder why that is? .

” I mean, it really doesn’t do any good to have fully immunized children in a community with un or under-immunized adults; does it?”

Only more evidence that someone doesn’t know how infectious diseases work. Someone thinks that adults have the same risk profiles for childhood (wink, wink) diseases. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so darn tragic.

The other day, watched a toddler lick the back of her seat at a a restaurant. There’s a reason I call my nieces and nephews “the germ vectors.”

Oh, Orac — you’re selling the “parental rights” crowd short. They’re not just antivaccine, they’re anti-“children being treated as human beings” in general!

And when “[a]ntivaxxers started comparing pediatricians to pedophiles after pediatricians on social media suggested that adolescents can speak with them without their parents present”… That’s right out of the Parental Rights playbook.

They don’t want their children to have contact with mandatory reporters outside of the parent’s control.

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