International Vaccine Terrorists

The United States suffers from a well funded celebrity supported anti-vaccine terror campaign. This campaign commonly using internet based media to disseminate fear. Most objections to vaccines are pseudo-scientific fabrications, deceptions or magnification of known problems. Anti-vaccine proponents use internet media to disseminate cherry picked evidence, statistical manipulation, and occasionally outright deception. The overriding theme is fear. Purposeful fear for the express purpose of minimizing or dismissing evidence that does not conform to their world view. Fear mongering that is inaccurate, false, or infers hyper-inflated concerns about vaccines. It is a methodological attack to blunt the message that vaccines have clear benefit and few dangers. The most effective methods are emotional narratives and massaged statistics.

I would call anti-vaccine writings and publications a terror campaign. A terror operation that is expressly designed to provoke a fear response. Anyone that attempts to point out the facts is immediately dismissed as a big pharma shill, corporate apologist or government disinformation agent. In the general media there has been a small amount of push back against this disinformation. Still I see regression of vaccination rates in the United States and elsewhere. The US states Kansas and Alaska lead for overall poor vaccination rates but the numbers are stable. California and Washington are states that have lost the most ground (percentage wise).  Other countries have experienced decline in vaccination rates as well. Countries that suffered outbreaks like Australia and Great Britain. I thought Canada seemed to be exempt until I came across data showing a measles outbreak in Canada.

There has been a significant decline in Canadian vaccination rates. Especially in British Columbia. Recently 200 cases of measles in British Columbia. The combination of declining vaccination rates and disease outbreaks demonstrate the negative impact of Anti-Vaccine propaganda in Canada. Fear(even fabricated untrue fear) is a powerful motivator.

It Should be noted that below are some images that people may find slightly disturbing proceed at your own discretion.

The prolific writings of well known anti-vaccine crank Joel Lord has been instrumental in British Columbia. He is the leader of a disinformation campaign based in Vancouver Canada. The group that he leads calls themselves the “Vaccine Resistance Network” or VRM. Joel Lord runs the VRM website from his home.

The VRM mission statement.

“a grass roots, non-profit organization striving to empower communities around the world with the means of self sufficiency, while determined to expose vaccine fraud & pharmaceutical industry malfeasance.”

VRM does “research” at least what they call research-VRM Study

Real research has to be scientific in structure to actually answer any question. Calling something research does not make it so. VRM is looking for known autism cases to determine if vaccines cause autism. Case studies are research starters not a method to determine answers. Plus this question has been answered. Answered by very rigorous scientific methods. Vaccines don’t cause autism period, the end. Despite constant medical monitoring, well structured research, and 20 years of evaluation, there is no credible evidence of autism being cause by vaccines.

Well structured analyses show that unvaccinated children have exactly the same incidence of autism that vaccinated children do. For ideologues facts are irrelevant or lies. So VRM goes forward with “research” in an attempt to confirm what they already know to be true. That is not science that is self confirmation. Plus case studies can provide compelling narratives. Narratives that can be twisted confirm an  overall narrative of government/big pharma conspiracy. Case studies is not science and it is not research. It is a fishing expedition. A fishing expedition for the express purpose of producing compelling propaganda narratives.

Lets take a look at the damage that anti-vaccination has done.

In 2005, 81.4 per cent of kindergarten-age children in B.C. had received the five-in-one vaccine. Which provides protection against whooping cough, tetanus, polio, diphtheria, and haemophilus influenzae.

By 2012, that rate had dropped to 75.5 per cent – meaning about one in four children hadn’t been vaccinated. Concerns about vaccine safety in the 1980s prompted officials to set up Impact, the Immunization Monitoring Program Active. Which looks at every single reported case of vaccine adverse reactions in 12 hospitals across Canada. Plus possible adverse reactions including admissions to neurology wards. They monitor 1500 cases of reported illness from vaccines in B.C. a year. Yet there is no evidence of any problems.

These stats are often attacked as proof as the complicity of medical professionals in a conspiracy. A conspiracy that is in itself an impossibly complex fallacy.

The connection between autism and vaccines has been thoroughly debunked by a range of studies, scientific groups and world health organizations. Including the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization, the Mayo Clinic and the American Centre for Disease Control.

Beyond the consensus, there is new research showing that autism is detectable before children even start to get vaccines. To logically maintain the Anti-Vaccine mindset there are only two valid options.

1. That there is a world wide conspiracy including; all branches of public health, teachers, governments(some who actively hate each other), and Physicians. That medical doctors of all walks, and thousands of peer reviewed journals are ignoring or actively hiding the truth. That all these millions of people are ok with giving kids brain damage.


2. That a small well funded dedicated group of Anti-Vaccine enthusiasts lack the medical knowledge to understand the nuances of vaccines, public health, and neurological disorders That they dismiss any evidence that doesn’t conform to their world view becasue the have an emotional attachment to a child suffering from autism. That human nature makes it difficult to understand that bad things can happen with no active culprit, and that we can be powerless to stop some medical issues. Additionally that the belief has become a cottage industry for some that results in significant personal power and money.

There is no credible evidence that there is a conspiracy. The best evidence of a conspiracy was a fabricated study done by a doctor that wanted to sell a competing MMR vaccine. The researcher who published the original paper in a prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, had an undeclared financial conflict of interest, a British medical board found. The study was recalled, while the author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was barred from practicing medicine.

It is human nature to believe what we see, hear and often self confirm. Anti-vax proponents seem unable or unwilling to understand what the medical data means. They continue to promote this agenda despite proof that autism precedes vaccines. When evidence derails their worldview the parameters change to continue to fit a square peg in a round hole. Actions consistent with ideology, and confirmation bias, not facts.

The outbreak in Canada is just another example of how a fantasy based belief system is placing us all at risk. A vocal minority should not dictate our public health. They should not be able to set back huge gains made in pediatric infectious disease over the last 50 years.

Do we really need to see kids dying of polio, diphtheria, and whooping cough? Do we need to see deformed infants due to rubella again, or deafness due to mumps? Do we want the fear mongering to overcome good public health. Success narratives lack emotion “My kid grew up happy and healthy with vaccines”. The absence of disease is not scary and emotion provoking. Difficult to fight ideological fear attacks with simple facts. It is difficult to blunt emotional narratives with”Here is the Data”.

Worse honest physicians and scientists cannot give the type of definitive answers that anti-vaccine proponents offer. An Ideologue will always give the same answer”Yes Vaccines are toxic and harm children”. A good medical professional will give you an honest answer. Even the best medical treatment has a very tiny risk. Vaccines are one of the best medical treatments we offer, and the small risks are rare and well known. The problems are no great mystery. The diseases they protect children from are monstrously dangerous.

The answers are simple for me and my children. Vaccines do have some small risks. Sending my kid to school is risk, driving in car is a risk, letting him jump on the bed is a risk. These are risks most kids can live with. Would I let my child talk to random strangers, play with a gun, ride his bike on highway, have a pet rattlesnake? No I would not because the risks are too high/too deadly.

Vaccination risks are snall risks that kids can live with. The disease they protect your children from are not something they can live with.

United States Pediatric Disease Annual Mortality Prior to Vaccines.

Polio: 20,000 cases paralytic polio


Mumps: 450 deaths from mumps 1 in 20,000 cases became deaf permanently.


Hib: 600 deaths from Haemophylus influenzae b, thousands with loss of limbs and brain damage.

Hib Meningitis

Pertussis(Whooping Cough):9000 deaths plus 200,000 sickened

Pertussis victim

Rubella: 2100 neonatal deaths and 11,000 miscarriages. Of the survivors 20,000 were born deaf, blind, microcephalic(profoundly developmentally delayed) or all.


Diphtheria: 15,000 deaths a year.


Tetanus: 1100 deaths per year. 

Smallpox: Estimated 300 million in the 20th century. In 1967 15 million dead.


My point is not to terrorize you. It is to show you that anti-vax proponents own the compelling narratives, because of vaccines are effective. If the children at your kids school suffered from outbreaks like they did 70 years ago the anti-vax movement would be limited to a crank category. It is my desperate hope that we do not need to have children die in large numbers before parents can come to their senses?

Anti-vax proponents try to twist the numbers from the pre-vacccine era but the facts are the facts. Just talk to your, mother, father, grandma, grandpa, or someone who lived prior to World War II. Ask them what happened to brothers sisters and friends. Ask the about Polio outbreaks, whooping cough deaths, or quarantines due to measles. It will be an eye opening experience.

Prior to public health child mortality rate was 17%, after vaccines 0.7%.  The numbers I quoted are US specific. Most of the developed world shares similar numbers. Wherever there are vaccines available kids live. Anywhere vaccines are unavailable or limited kids die. Imagine the number of people who wouldn’t be alive today without vaccines. Prior to vaccines and antibiotics world population was about 1 billion. Just about the time vaccines became into world wide use the population went from 2 billion to about 7 billion. Life expectancy went from 48 to 74. This was not an accident. Vaccines are simply the most effective infectious disease treatment ever. In 25 years antibiotics may be worthless, but vaccines will still be just as effective.

Think about it, and do not let fear mongers put your child at risk.

Parents in the western world, for the most part, don’t ever have to live with the agony of watching their child die from a preventable disease. In some third world countries it is a far fetched dream to have their children vaccinated.

This isn’t the “age of Autism”(about 1.13% of children suffer with autism spectrum disorder). It is the age of life. A childhood free of terrible and deadly infectious disease.

Canada needs to get on the ball, and we all need to minimize this deadly nonsense.

As a additional opinion I feel that anti-vax proponents blame parents of autistic children. Telling them that a big bad drug company made their child autistic. Indirectly telling them that they failed to do the proper research. That they are at fault for allowing this to happen to their kids. As I said before criminal terrorism.


About Stephen Propatier

Stephen Propatier is a board certified acute care nurse practitioner specializing in spine and sports medicine. He is a member of the Society for Science Based Medicine.
This entry was posted in Conspiracy Theories, Health, Pseudoscience, TV & Media. Bookmark the permalink.

104 Responses to International Vaccine Terrorists

  1. Anne says:

    Skimming over the true facts…
    connecting autism to vaccines has proven more difficult for parents, but when you are the parent and you KNOW your child received a toxic dose of something, you KNOW. I am not one of thise parents, but I have been a nurse fir 35 years. We cannot deny what medicine chooses to call anecdoctal. The information is before us, we cannot bury our heads in the sand…
    Big Pharma and science insists on proof!
    Open your eyes!
    Big Pharma will sail through years, because parents have no way to confirm what parents know in their hearts.
    Children will suffer one way or another.
    I say no one deserves to get rich off another’s suffering.

    • Anne – Fascinating that when presented with the horror of vaccine-preventible diseases, you fall back on “mommy instinct” to justify what you think you understand.

      The carnage caused by illnesses like smallpox, measles and pertussis is real. The connection between vaccines and autism isn’t. It’s that simple.

      • Anne says:

        I vaccinated my children for exactly the reasons you cited. If I were a new mother today, I would never risk my child’s life. I knowingly justified vaccinating them in my thirties, because we must en made do this for the greater good. In my wiser years I can see and reflect on the carnage created by vaccinations. FDA adverse reports abound.
        I am not so altruistic in my individual wisdom. If I am lucky enough to have grandchildren I will share my views and I will hope the new parents will listen.

        Live polio from the vaccine infects people every year, as it colonizes in the gut and is infectious when one changes a diaper.

        Risks are everywhere…

        • lilady says:

          When was the last time that live polio vaccine was used in the United States, in Canada…or in any other country throughout the world which has been declared free of wild polio virus, Anne?

          I’m thinking you ought to start educating yourself about the vaccines presently in use in the United States and first world countries, before you post comments about *Big Pharma*.

          You might want to check out the CDC website for vaccine safety and monitoring and peruse some of ~ 90 scientific papers published from information garnered about vaccine safety and vaccine efficacy through the Vaccine Safety Datalink:

        • ask412 says:

          Interesting worldview and altitude.
          Anne wrote; “Risks are everywhere…” From this altitude, the CAM version of vaccine damage is very subjective and unfalsifiable.

          Have you actually looked at the death, permanent disablement and injury rate in your area from motor vehicles?

          It is interesting there is more righteous indignation about vaccine related stories than actual motor vehicle death and injury.

          Something to think about.

          • Sure if your driving around your kids in a 1957 chevy without seatbelt then your analogy holds. Also traffic fatalities average about 1500 a year age 14-0. A large number nationwide but a drop in the bucket compared to deaths from disease prior to vaccination.

          • ask412 says:

            Stephen Propatier wrote; “… large number nationwide but a drop in the bucket compared to deaths from disease prior to vaccination.”

            Interesting comment, and very true. Apologies for poorly articulating my premise.

            The context of my comment was about the hypocrisy of using motor vehicles while whining about vaccine risk.

            A relatively small risk, blown out of proportion by CAM practitioners and their followers. Who righteously attack any caring parent online or in hearing range defending their decision to use immunisation.

            Any evolved individual using critical thinking can see ‘driving’ carries orders of magnitude of greater risk than vaccinating a child. Yet this is routinely ignored, and widely accepted in deference to their worldview on vaccination.

            From my altitude that is ironic.

            Does that help with my premise and context?
            * Currently traffic accident death ranks 12 on the risk scale for the USA. But don’t believe me, below is a link to a starting point on due diligence.


        • Darwy says:

          As others have pointed out; the live polio vaccine hasn’t been used in nearly 2 decades; there is no risk of polio from the vaccine we use.

          For someone who claims to be a nurse, you show a decided lack of updated information regarding medicine.

        • Huh ?? Carnage ? are vaccines blowing up and killing children? How do you define carnage.

          • Torchwood says:

            “arnage” is the same at “prophecy.”

            Any less than perfect outcome is “carnage.” It is 100% visible in retrospect, just as prophecy written after the fact (as most are) is 100% accurate.

            Prevarication and smug stupidity are the cornerstone of 99% of the evil committed in the 21st century.

            If I were a parent today, I would look for vaccines that do not contain mercury and formaldehyde. If I couldn’t find any I would vaccinate my children anyway (as I do my cats and for the same reasons.) I am the responsible party, and I take personal responsibilty for my decisions over those lives in my custody, and the hysteria-mongers can go take a flying ****.

            Go Steve. 🙂

          • Vere Nekoninda says:

            It’s interesting to me that both Stephen and Torchwood protest the use of the term “carnage”, but Stephen and others support the use of the term “terrorists” in the same general context. I think both terms have been misapplied in this (and many other) discussions. Hyperbole often hurts the credibility of those advocating rational thought and science-based decisions.

          • lilady says:

            Torchwood: Every childhood vaccine is administered from single dose vials or preloaded single dose syringes. Thimerosal has not be present in childhood vaccines for more than ten years.

            Some seasonal influenza vaccines are packaged in multi dose vials which contain Thimerosal, but ~ 65 % of the seasonal influenza vaccines being used for the 2013-2014 influenza season are in single dose vials/preloaded syringes, that do not contain the preservative Thimerosal.

            There is a minute amount of formaldehyde in some vaccines, but the body manufactures formaldehyde as part of the metabolism process and you consume more formaldehyde in a pear than is contained within the lifetime doses of vaccines.

    • chris says:

      To be completely honest, it scares me that you are in the medical profession… It’s your job to inform parents that “KNOW” what the medical research has actually shown. The old adage if you can’t show it, you don’t know it applies. I assume that since you have been a nurse for 35 years you are old enough to remember some of these diseases.

      I can understand your point of view that nobody should profit over suffering, but in this case pharma is actually preventing a lot more suffering, see: photos and article above. Pharma certainly does profit on suffering but that’s just the way it is; if they had no profit motive they might not be too inclined to go through the high financial risk involved in the drug approval process.

      • Anne says:

        I would suggest all of you become more educated about this topic.
        You have bought in to the financial persuasion Big Pharma wants…

        • chris says:

          Again, I can understand disdain for companies dosing people with drugs for diseases and profiting from it, but in vaccines that isn’t the case. It would be far more profitable for them to have more sick people to dose up than for them to prevent diseases in the first place. Even if the bollocks autism claims are true, the negative effects of the diseases outweigh the effects of the claimed “toxic dose” you speak of by a longshot.

          To your other comment regarding live (you forget to mention attenuated) polio viruses, that is only true for in places where vaccination is a high priority and they use the oral vaccination, third world nations. Even with the oral vaccination, the risk of the vaccine pale in comparison to the risk associated with having the wild virus being prevalent. Neglecting people with compromised immune systems the risk of infection via oral immunization is 1:750000. The US eliminated the oral vaccination in the year 2000.

          A little history. Polio in the US: 1953: 35,000 cases; 1955 the vaccine was distributed, 1957:5600 cases, 1961:161 cases. The last wild polio infection in the US was in 1979, between then and 2000 there were 8 to 10 cases/year associated with the oral vaccine. Even if the oral vaccine was still being administered, what do you choose, 8-10 or 35 freakin thousand (.5% of which made people lose limbs)?

        • lilady says:

          I viewed your comments, and I have my doubts that your are a registered nurse.

          I’m educated in vaccines, immunology, virology, bacteriology and epidemiology…and I have provided some links to reputable websites which include 30 or more published studies about vaccine safety. You have yet to provide any links to back up your statements and you have yet produced any comments to refute my comments.

          Time to put up or shut up.

          lilady, RN, BSc-Nursing, Public Health Nurse Clinician-Epidemiologist (retired)

        • Erwin Blonk says:

          Stop with that “if you disagree with me it proves I’m right” nonsense.

          • lilady says:

            This isn’t a political discussion. This is a discussion about vaccines and the false statements made by a person who claims to be a nurse.

            You make a statement on a science blog, you better be able to back it up.

          • Erwin Blonk says:

            Lilady – I responded to Anne’s “You have bought in to the financial persuasion Big Pharma wants”. I think she made a nonsensical argument that implies that when you don’t agree with her you are dumb/naive/etc.
            I can’t quite place your reaction to how I responded to Anne.

          • lilady says:

            Sorry Erwin Blonk, if I misinterpreted your comment. I did challenge Anne to “put up or shut up” because of her ignorant “beliefs” which are not based in science. 🙂


          • Erwin Blonk says:

            Misinterpretation? That never happens to me 😛
            We are an involved lot and people like Anne tend to get to us. They seems to, if not initially then eventually, resort to dead end methods that win any game of logical fallacy bingo.

        • Sigh really were back to the giant conspiracy nonsense. I still waiting for my check lol

        • I’m gonna be honest with you guys here… I’m pretty damn sure that “Anne” is a troll. Stop feeding the trolls.

          • lilady says:

            Amy, we’re not “feeding” the troll. As soon as I posted comments at her questioning her credentials as a nurse, Anne disappeared.

          • It won’t let me reply directly to you, lilady.
            So many of Anne’s arguments seemed “trollish” to me that I honestly stopped reading her feeble attempts at rebuttals and just saw the scope of the thread. She really got everyone up in arms which is why I suggested that Anne should no longer be acknowledged (fed).
            I apologise if I offended any of you.

          • lilady says:

            Amy you haven’t offended me or anyone on this thread.

            (I tend to get p!ssed off, when poseurs claim that they are nurses).

            lilady 🙂

          • I appreciate the reassurance, lilady 🙂 And I think I can speak for most of us when I say that not only do we love how you ousted a horribly ignorant “nurse” but we also appreciate that you spelled “poseurs” correctly 😉

    • lilady says:

      And I am a retired public health nurse clinician-epidemiologist. I have studied all the research that has been published in first-tier, peer reviewed medical and science journals that proves that there is no association between vaccines, the ingredients in vaccines, the timing and spacing of vaccines and the onset of autism…or any other developmental disability or disorder:

      Children have suffered and children will continue to suffer, when credulous parents get information about vaccines and about vaccine-preventable-diseases from crank anti-vaccine, anti-science websites.

    • Robertw says:

      What you believe is not what you know, science is the business of certainty, not belief. If you are really serious about this prove it, then this debate and all others associated with it will be silenced but until then, your arguments are simply expressions of belief.

      • Darwy says:

        It’s not belief – it’s evidence – the evidence supporting the use of vaccines and the vaccination schedule is solid.

        If the evidence did not support the use of vaccines, we wouldn’t have them.

      • lilady says:

        I am not stating a belief. I provided a list of safety studies from researchers around the world that show that vaccines, the ingredients in vaccines and the spacing and timing of vaccines, are not implicated in the onset of autism, any other developmental disability, diabetes, asthma or any other disease or disorder that the anti-vaccine crowd comes up.

        Your belief to the contrary has to be proven. So if you have any studies of large populations, that have been published in first tier, peer reviewed science or medical journals, link to them.

      • SwampWitch says:

        Since when is “science the business of certainty?” Certainty comes in retrospect. Science is for establishing probablilties by testing objectively with controls to limit errata.

        The mantra of certainty in things that have not yet happened is ” My Mind is Made UP. Do not confuse me with any facts.”

        • Vere Nekoninda says:

          I agree with SwampWitch, that “certainty” as used above is anathema to science. In science, every conclusion is provisional, and this is a profoundly important distinction from religion, which insists on certainty for most elements of its various dogmas. A second very important aspect of scientific and skeptical thought, is the ability evaluate the quantity and quality of evidence, and distinguish between the absurd assertions of the extreme anti-vax propaganda, and the reliable, ever-improving statistical evidence of the vaccine risks and benefits.

    • A Ward says:

      Anne, it honestly scares and sickens me that you are in a position to influence and care for the health and lives of other people. I hope your willful ignorance never directly causes the death of one of your patients.

    • Neville Ross says:

      @Anne-You can’t even spell properly, why should we trust you about this? You’re just falling for the same bullcaca mentioned in the article (and you’re a nurse!)

  2. Erwin says:

    Anne – You can’t choose to call something anecdotal. It means based on individual stories. If there is other evidence it is not anecdotal. Furthermore, there is not such thing as anecdotal evidence. Anecdotes are observations. They can lead to hypothesis and then to theory. But they are not evidence. There are many things people “know in their hearts”. Until deep into the 19th, with bits of it persisting into the 20th, medicine was mostly based on what people knew in their hearts and what they saw and witnessed themselves. Bloodletting, everyone knew it worked, everyone could see it, everyone saw the results. Except that it didn’t work. Observations were biased. Hits were remembered, misses forgotten.
    So much for what we know in our hearts because that is what kills people. Practice arts and love with your heart, practice medicine with your brain.

  3. Liz says:

    Let me tell you another few tales of suffering. My second-great-grandmother lost five children under the age of two and one daughter at the age of sixteen to diphtheria — six of her eleven children. The single marker dedicated to “the babies” in her village cemetery is hardly the only one there commemorating children who could have been saved by diphtheria, polio, measles, and other diseases which are now preventable through vaccination.

    My cousin moved next door to a New England cemetery and found very large number of graves of children and young people buried there who all died in the summer of 1863. A little research at the town clerk’s office found that the culprit was a measles epidemic that year. You will also find dedicated “smallpox cemeteries” all over New England, where people had to bury their smallpox dead separate from other burials. Some of these include entire families. Some of my ancestors or their siblings are in those cemeteries — one a family of six, and only the infant son (now orphaned) survived.

    People have lost all perspective of dread diseases. They don’t know what it was like to live in fear of epidemics — not real ones. My mother only barely remembers being taken to her grandparents’ remote cottage on one of the Thousand Islands one fall instead of being sent to school because of polio. I have known people permanently affected by polio, but most of them are older than my mother, and they’re dying out. By the time I left off working at a college for the deaf, most of the “rubella babies” had graduated and we were laying off staff because there were fewer deaf teens enrolling.

    Vaccines don’t make people rich — the profit margin simply isn’t that high — but I bet that the pseudo-celebrities writing books and selling them to parents desperate for simple answers aren’t just donating all the proceeds to charity, either.

  4. Vere Nekoninda says:

    Thanks for this article. I agree with you on all the important stuff. I differ on a few tactical issues. I think calling housewives and mothers “terrorists” is counter-productive. Labeling and demonizing tends to diminish rational thought, and close off dialog. While there may be no hope for thoughtful dialog with the Anti-Vax leaders, we need to connect with both with the followers, and those that are on the fence. We need them to think and engage in dialog with us.

    The forces for truth, in this case, have a bad reputation. Big Pharma is profit driven, and has been caught out in lies and distortions about medical safety with great frequency over the last twenty years. Government has a very low level of trust, and a high power of coercion, which it frequently uses in a negative way. It’s easy to find examples of bad, stupid, and/or dishonest government policies and public health initiatives. Scientists are seen as arrogant, dismissive, and ignorant of the problems facing real parents.

    Against this array of bullies stands a young mother, who is just trying to take care of her kids, and share her own experience. So sincere. A man doing research on his kitchen table, giving of his time, just so parents can get the “truth”. Round 1 goes to anti-vax.

    Parents facing the unknown will naturally align emotionally with the latter group, made up of fathers and mothers like themselves. When a pro-vax writer calls them “terrorists”, the impulses toward the anti-vax circle are strengthened. The pro-vax advocates attempt to instill terror, just as the anti-vax people do. But we have a weaker hand. Our position is “Let doctors inject unknown substances into your child, and we are almost sure that nothing bad will happen. If you don’t, your child might get diseases that you have never seen.” The anti-vax folks get to say, “Protect your beloved child from all those awful needles and chemicals. You child is safest in her mother’s arms, living naturally.” Round two goes to anti-vax.

    In response, the pro-vax forces often try to stimulate more terror and horror, with scary pictures of unfamiliar diseases from old times and far-away places. The fact that these diseases are distant because of vaccines isn’t easy to sell. People believe that “my childhood was normal. We didn’t see those diseases.” “Every doctor I ever saw lied to me about vaccines. They said it wouldn’t hurt, and each shot hurt a lot! They said the pain would go away quickly, and it lasted for days. Then they said they had never seen a reaction like that, or that this was very rare. When I got sick after a vaccination, they said it was unrelated. After the vaccinations, all the kids in my elementary school got sick from time to time, just like always. The vaccines didn’t do anything. I don’t want to put my child through that.” Round three to anti-vax.

    For me, it is easy to see why the anti-vax message is more appealing than the pro-vax. Unfortunately, the anti-vax message is bogus and dangerous. But if we don’t look carefully at why we have been failing to convince young parents, then we will continue to fail. It’s a difficult problem with tragic consequences. Just being right is not sufficient to turn the tide, and increase vaccination rates.

    • “In response, the pro-vax forces often try to stimulate more terror and horror, with scary pictures of unfamiliar diseases from old times and far-away places.”
      No I would say that my approach(pics of diseases) is an extreme minority in the pro vax community. It is my attempt to try a different tack given that calmly presenting the info fails to blunt emotional narratives. Counter emotional narratives may be more effective.
      ” I think calling housewives and mothers “terrorists” is counter-productive”
      You are reading your own narrative into my writing. The VRM and specifically lord qualify, in my opinion, as terrorist given their behavior.
      UN general assembly def of terrorism :Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.
      Again in my opinion their deliberate and systematic deception in the dissemination of information as well as obvious deception to promote their agenda is criminal negligence on a societal scale.
      Also I am not young but I have a young child and I remember when smallpox was a very real thing. I guess I don’t agree with your characterization of “old times” either 🙂

      • Vere Nekoninda says:

        It is, of course, difficult to predict how different populations will respond to different types of messages. However, the question of effective strategy for promoting vaccinations has been studied. According to a Dartmouth study reported here:

        ‘The results showed that by far, the least successful messages were “Disease narrative” and “Disease images.” Hearing the frightening narrative actually increased respondents’ likelihood of thinking that getting the MMR vaccine will cause serious side effects, from 7.7 percent to 13.8 percent. Similarly, looking at the disturbing images increased test subjects’ belief that vaccines cause autism. In other words, both of these messages backfired.’

        This is what I meant, when I said the scary images/scary stories strategy is counterproductive. This study is scientific evidence for considering other approaches. Evidence is not proof, of course.

        As for smallpox being a “real thing”, my position is that getting sick from smallpox was outside the experience of current parents, when they were growing up. According to the link below, “The last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949.” I’m saying that to grow up in the US, and know someone who got the disease in your location, while being old enough to understand and remember it, you would have to have been born in 1944 or earlier. That makes you 70 or more years old this year, so you probably aren’t debating currently whether to vaccinate your kids.

        The same site says, “The last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977.” Assuming again that you need to be at least 5 years old (and probably older) to remember and be concerned about something like this on an emotional and experiential level, we are looking at parents born in 1972, now 42 years old. I speculate that the number of parents born in the US after 1970, who grew up with a direct experience of childhood disease-related epidemics and deaths, is very small. Certainly, some people learn from history and the study of science. Those people don’t become anti-vax crusaders. My assertion is that parents who had limited awareness of childhood disease issues when they were growing up are more likely to believe that these diseases aren’t a real problem.

        • I would not agree with what you are saying on many levels. I think you also miss the point. THe study you quote in particular is a web based survey. Not exactly a well controlled education assessment. Just a quick and dirty survey that is extremely limited for discussion of education planning. The lion share of research related to all education is clear multiple modes multiple times. A 2 stage web survey is not going to convince me it is detrimental. The pictures are not the effective tool and neither is the facts. What works is exposing people to the idea that the community is vaccinating. Research clearly shows that presenting counter arguments tends to harden positions not derail them. The point is not soft sell/hard sell. Spreading a eye catching title that attracts both believers and non believers. Introduce them to the idea that most people are vaccinating and that they are a minority. Providing scope of the historical perspective may change some minds as well. Your claim that the soft sell was doing better is negated by recurrent failure. The Canadian PDF pamphlet, distributed by the Canadian health service in BC is a very nice soft sell. Yet facts are declining vaccination rates and increasing illness/disease.
          Finally I may not be a majority but I was 10 in 77. in the 70’s christian childrens fund used to run tv ads which showed small kids suffering with smallpox. There were nature shows that also showed the 3rd world and I remember a NAt geo mag that had pics in it in the 70’s. I still carry the scar from my small pox vaccination. My child is between 4-10 so despite your data I will tell you that small pox was real to me when I was a child. I am very sure that I am not a white elephant of a parent. Given now that the average age for first child is now 26y/o the numbers support people waiting for childbirth. I am not the only parent in my son’s classes that is in their 40’s. So again olden times maybe for you. For me it was very real and I carry the scar literally to this day.

          • ask412 says:

            Stephen Propatier wrote; ” For me it was very real and I carry the scar literally to this day. [referring to the childhood smallpox education]

            Which is an interesting comment. Because this is not about you or your medical professional colleagues who have a forte for understanding the current medical science.

            Vere Nekoninda wrote; “I’m saying that to grow up in the US, and know someone who got the disease in your location, while being old enough to understand and remember it …”

            The keyword Vere uses here is ‘understand’.

            It is easy to project we have a grasp of others life conditions, their values and worldview.

            My premise is there is no one approach that will be effective because of the various stages each person, family, or group is on.

            We all need to be flexible in our approach to integrate the evolution of current science with our rapidly changing and diverse community.

            Our inherited adversarial culture* is just as much a relic of thinking we fall back on as the reactive response against vaccination on this thread.

            After all the overarching cultural goal is our evolution as a species.

          • Vere Nekoninda says:

            The Dartmouth study was only one of many that measure the differential effectiveness of techniques for motivating people to change their viewpoints. Stephen, you reject that study and its conclusions, which is fine, but so far, you haven’t offered any links to research with contrasting conclusions.

            Can you offer any studies that support the approach that you used in this blog as being one of the most effective strategies for causing change in the desired direction?

          • I believe that
            1. although you have focused on the Pictures that is only a small part of the the post.
            2. It is not the only technique I used for education.
            3. As I posted neither approach is expressly effective. A sense of community is the most effective mind changer for believers.
            4. In those on the fence a multi-modal approach producing outrage is the best method.
            2007 communication in healthcare study by DU a hand washing study showing that shocking pictures in bathroom improved hand washing. A well controlled study
            CDC has reams of Health Risk Communication recommendations. In my opinion this the best overview of effective strategies that is not from the CDC.
            It has a pretty good reference list as well

          • Vere Nekoninda says:

            Thanks, Stephen, for the link to the Journal of Extension article ( I read it carefully, and I found it to be interesting. It did not support your thesis #4 (in your previous comment), that “producing outrage is the nest method.” I’m assuming “nest” was supposed to be “best”.

            The most directly relevant phrase in the article that you linked advocated that we should “calm people down when they are enraged”. The article states, a few paragraphs later, “When public outrage about a perceived risk… is very high…, the effectiveness of education efforts may be limited because of the defensive posture held by both parties.”

            I found not a single sentence in the article that advocated “producing outrage”, nor even trying to stimulate strong emotions.

          • I believe that I responded to that related to my indication that hardened positions do not respond to counter ideas.
            I am glad you carefully read through the article so I will not have to remind you of the discussion in the journal article. I will post the quote for others relating back your original comment about the pictures. And your characterization that they were counterproductive in your opinion, based upon a web survey.

            Once public outrage is considered, the next step in creating effective health and safety educational materials is to establish the existence and severity of potential risks. In some cases, more effort is needed to establish the existence of a risk than in other situations. This may be the case when outrage is low or non-existent. For instance, when developing materials about manual dishwashing there is more of a challenge to establish the existence of a potential risk than in developing materials about safety with farm tractors or chain saw safety. There is probably little or no outrage regarding the dangers of improper dish washing. On the other hand, there may not be true outrage related to equipment safety, yet the public is more likely to readily acknowledge the associated risks.

            There are many reasons why “washing dishes” might be perceived as less of a risk situation than operating a chain saw. The less dramatic and more mundane act of washing dishes seems to be an unlikely threat to health. For this reason, more attention is needed to explain the existence of the potential risk. The following three steps outlined by Clark (1984) can help establish the existence of a potential risk:

            Plausibility – provide an indication that the existence of a potential risk is plausible.
            Sign Reasoning – note the signs of its existence.
            Explanation – offer one or more explanations for the existence of the hazard.
            The above three steps might be an effective strategy to help people understand how improper dishwashing can lead to bacteria which can harm people. These steps would not necessarily be appropriate for the chain saw example. In the latter example, it may be more helpful to demonstrate the severity of the problem and how the risk can affect people. Clark (1984) provides the following advice when this is the desired goal:

            1. Overview of the Problem
            Single statistics, number of people affected, comparisons, etc.

            2. Indicate Multiple Implications
            Undesirable consequences

            3. Demonstrate that this problem is more serious than other problems
            Compare to other hazards already thought of with great concern.

            4. Suggest that the effects of the problem are enduring
            Unreversiblity, cumulative effect.

            Like picture of contaminated hands that led to more hand washing in the DU study and
            like visual examples of disease I used for those failing to grasp the risks of being unvaccinated. 🙂

      • Mark Doldon says:

        You are entirely right in your approach, Stephen, but the fact is that it will serve no purpose in changing anyone’s mind. The anti-vax crowd don’t read skeptic blogs like this. What you MAY do is encourage others to take up the fight to stop this nonsense.

        Incidentally, it is worth mentioning that the recent outbreak in BC was linked originally to a single small religious group who encourage their members not to vaccinate. How do you like that idea? Don’t vaccinate, and then spend your time hanging with other unvaccinated people! Brilliant.

        • lilady says:

          I for one, am not trying to change the minds of the die hard anti-vaccine crowd…it truly is a waste of time, because their minds are welded shut.

          I no longer try to build bridges across the ever-widening chasm that is science and the pseudoscience that rules their every decision.

          What I do do, is post on many science blogs, along with a small but growing cadre of parents and professionals, who are sick and tired of crank journalists from crank blogs and their flying monkey squads who post walls of words and canned Spam, in a successful effort to provide information to the fence sitters.

          We are a growing number of savvy and educated professionals who are able to reach out to fence sitters and turn them into child advocates who then influence their own peers to review evidence about vaccine safety from reliable sources.

          The cranks no longer drive the debate (as if…there ever was a debate) about vaccine safety and the protective value of vaccines.

    • Robertw says:

      Sadly your observation of the success of these sorts of bogus messages is close to spot on, in my opinion the reason for the traction of these kinds of emotive arguments is simple, we are failing to educate our young to a level from which they are able to comprehend and disassemble the arguments for and against and it comes down again and again to what we wish to believe.

    • lilady says:

      Sorry those “innocent” housewives and mothers who post anti-vaccine unscientific information on their own blogs and on parenting threads are terrorists. Scroll down to see this ignorant mommy who has a following of other young parents, who has a “moderator” who does not permit anyone who mentions or links to the CDC or any other reliable website and who referred a pregnant woman who was advised to get a Rhogam shot at 27 weeks gestation, to an antivaccine book.

      I post on a number of science blogs and I am quite familiar with the names and ‘nyms of other commenters. I don’t recall ever seeing you post about vaccines on these science blogs.

      If you think your comments aren’t going to dissuade me from my internet activities, you are wrong. I won’t cede any ground to the anti-vaccine organizations and their groupies carpet bomb the internet with their ignorant, not-based-in-science Spam. We’ve come too far and have inspired too many young parents to find reliable information about vaccines and the serious, oftentimes deadly, diseases they prevent.

      • lilady says:

        correction “If you think your comments ARE going to dissuade me from my internet activities, you are wrong.”

      • Sue D says:

        Vaccines are drugs. Just like all the popular ones advertised on TV. Ever notice how those always have a long list of disclaimers and nasty side effects which they are required to mention in the ad? If vaccines were actually advertised in this way, we would all be aware of the potential adverse problems with them as well. Some folks have actually read the vaccine inserts naming risks and contradictions. They prefer to make an informed decision where there are possible health risks for their lived ones. I am fully aware of both sides of this hot issue and don’t intend to get into a hissing match on this blog. I know there is hostility here and I will not share my daughter’s story under these conditions. I would just be throwing out the next lure for rebuttal. All the best!

        • lilady says:

          Your reply to my questions about your statements claiming your child was injured by vaccines, is not posted in the correct place.

          You made a claim that your child is “vaccine injured” and I asked you if you made a claim on behalf of your child in the Vaccine Court”.

          Vaccine injuries are extremely rare. During the 24 years that the plaintiff friendly Vaccine Court has been in existence, ~3,500 plaintiffs have been awarded damages. During that same 24 year period almost 2,000,000,000 (two billion) vaccines have been administered, without serious adverse events.

          When you make an extraordinary claim (you child’s “vaccine injury”) on a science blog, you have to have some proof.

          The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.

        • I would characterize this as follows, if we assume that everything you have said is 100% true. That your daughter has brain damage directly due to a modern era vaccine. Which is medically implausible but not impossible.
          Public health is not personal choice, it like other parts of society, is a cultural decision of societal safety. You cannot yell in a crowded theater “fire”. You cannot ignore the risks to other children by calling it my choice. It is not just your choice communicable disease is a danger to other children.
          For example not vaccinating your child for measles means that they can get measles. Airborne and contagious they can infect a pregnant adult who cannot be vaccinated resulting in permanent birth defects. Pertussis vaccine cannot be given to young infants yet pertussis is most deadly to young infants. By vaccinating the carriers you protect the helpless not just the child. By leaving them unvaccinated “by choice” you cannot defend the helpless. If the chance that a measles vaccine has a complication is 1 100,000 and it has a 1/1,000,000 chance a life threatening complication you have to look at the risks of being unvaccinated. You don’t let people choose to avoid vaccines to prevent a disease that has a 1/1000 chance of miscarriage or permanent birth defect.
          You don’t let people drive drunk because they might make it home.
          Society cannot let you put an unacceptable risk on others when the risk is infinitesimal to the child. It is not personal medical choice High Cholesterol will not kill your neighbors infant son. Smoking in your house will not cause birth defects in the unborn child next to you at wal mart. That is the reality it is not a choice.

          • lilady says:

            Vaccination is part of the social contract that we have with society. It is what we do for ourselves to protect ourselves against vaccine-preventable-diseases…and to protect infants too young to have received the primary series of the Recommended Childhood Vaccines…and to protect those who have valid medical contraindications due to a prior severe reaction or who are immune compromised/immune suppressed.

            Presently there are 89 cases of measles that have been reported to the CDC…with large outbreaks in New York City and in California.

            Dr. Bob Sears, whose deliberately unvaccinated seven year old patient became infected with measles and was the “index case” who infected eleven other children during the 2008 San Diego measles outbreak, used his Facebook page to rant about measles vaccine.

            (Dr. Sears has an “alternative vaccine schedule” which he promotes in his book and on his website, which he readily admits is not based in science…i.e. he made it up.)


            Then we have the curious case of Dr. Jay Gordon, a.k.a. “The Pediatrician To The Stars”, who sent a letter (contained here) to his patients’ parents, which minimized the impact of the multiple measles outbreaks taking place in California. In spite of Dr. Jays past forays on to the Respectful Insolence and Science Based Medicine blogs and in spite of our efforts on those blogs, Jay is still clueless about the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable-diseases.


        • Vere Nekoninda says:

          @Sue D: Every comment on any blog is an invitation to further comment; possibly support, possibly rebuttal.

          I don’t see much hostility here, although that word has at least two common meanings. The Skeptoid bloggers and commenters generally want data and scientific support, and they ask for it. Usually calmly. They often disagree, usually politely.

          If by “hostility” you mean people who don’t agree with your position, then Skeptoid is full of that. Almost no one agrees with anyone else’s position completely. Lot’s of postings start with something like, “I agree with you, but…”.

          I hope that you will decide to provide more information on the sad situation that occurred in your family, so that we can understand better.

      • Vere Nekoninda says:

        lilady, I am not sure whether you are responding to my postings [Vere Nekoninda], in your post which begins “Sorry those ‘innocent’ housewives’… are terrorists.” It seems like you might be, so I will respond to your comment. Sorry if you had someone else in mind.

        Taking your same first sentence, it sounds like you assert that “terrorists” is the best/most valid term for the people you are discussing. If I’m understanding you correctly, then I think this kind of labeling is counterproductive, in discussions hoping to influence diverse Internet readers.

        In your second paragraph, you say you haven’t seen my name around these discussions on other vaccine discussion sites. That is true. I comment mostly on blogs, when I post on science-related and science-education/advocacy topics.

        Your third paragraph begins, “If you think your comments are going to dissuade me from my internet activities, you are wrong.” This current comment is the first that I have written with you in mind. I found your previous comments on this blog to be interesting and generally well-reasoned.

        My goal is not dissuade anyone from action in any general way. I advocate using effective methods rather than ineffective ones, and productive strategies rather than counterproductive ones. There is no final answer about what is more productive and what is more effective, but discussions, with links to research articles and reports, can be educational and enlightening.

  5. lilady says:

    When I worked as a public health nurse clinician-epidemiologist for a large suburban health department, I investigated individual cases, clusters and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable-diseases. During my tenure there (I retired nine years ago), I provided education for small groups of young parents and was in contact with thousands of young parents who had questions about certain vaccines. I answered those questions truthfully and provided parents with the Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) for each vaccine on the current CDC Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule. I also provided parents with the links to websites for reliable information about childhood vaccines:

    There is a small, but vocal, number of groups which seek to stop vaccinations entirely. They claim they want safer vaccines; they lie. They are anti-vaccine to the core of their being, because they claim that vaccines are associated with the onset of autism, of asthma, of diabetes…and a number of other childhood disorders.

    These groups composed of “journalists” who are totally uneducated in basic sciences and their loyal readership have as their heroes the disgraced and discredited former medical doctors Andrew Wakefield, who lost his medical license for the fraudulent research he conducted which blamed the triple antigen MMR for the onset of autism. Their other hero is Mark Geier another ex-doctor who lost his license because he was chemically castrating autistic kids, then treated them with IV chelating chemicals for supposed “heavy metals toxicities”. Many of the parents who are their loyal readership, subject their autistic children to Intrathecal IV stem cell transplants in filthy unregulated offshore clinics; others dose their kids with industrial bleach enemas…which, IMO, is child abuse.

    So, don’t presume to tell me how I should respond to these crank anti-vaccine “journalists” and their groupies, who carpet bomb science blogs and mainstream media articles, with their ignorant drivel.

    • Jan Laan says:

      Wakefield and co-authors have been exonerated; you ,of all people, should know that.

      • lilady says:

        Care to produce a court document or the reversal of the GMC decision to revoke his medical license?

      • Black Light says:

        @Jan Laan, That’s too funny, exonerated, hahaha.

      • walker smith wakefields dupe was exonerated from intentional wrong doing. A far cry from saying it was good science or information. Wakefield still is still unable to practice medicine in either US(where he now resides) and the UK(where he was a doctor). He has not even appealed the dismissal. So he can’t even dispute the fact that he fabricated evidence or that he stood to make big financial gain from the study. Hardly the same as exonerating him. It’s is like saying Hess didn’t get executed after WWII so Hitler is guilt free.

  6. Why should we bother to fight? Just let this generation of parents and kids suffer, so the next generation has a hope of being better educated.

    • Unfortunately herd immunity means they put all kids at risk especial infants and pertussis

      • I’m aware of herd immunity. The point is, we are faced with a populace that can’t be educated or budged.. I think Ms. Reiss’s suggestions are good (hit the non-vaccinating families in the pocketbook), but I think she doesn’t go far enough.

        • The government should threaten to take away the children of anti-vaxxers for reasons relating to child abuse. It is abusive to deny a child protection from a deadly disease and there is nothing that a parent fears more than their child being taken away. That AND a fine should be placed on those who refuse. When their children DO get taken away and they finally get them back, they will have been fully vaccinated and the parents will be completely responsible for the pain that the children went through by being shuffled around in the foster care system. Then THE PARENTS will look like assholes and the blame will be where it should.

          • Jan Laan says:

            And who suffers from this fascist approach?Right, the kids that you are so desperate to protect!

  7. lilady says:

    Why should we bother to fight? We “fight” ignorance and we “fight” on behalf of all children…even the children of deliberately non-vaccinating parents, who put their own infants and children at risk for serious, oftentimes deadly, vaccine-preventable-diseases.

    • Lee says:

      Ignorance breeds further ignorance. Perhaps it is best to allow ignorant parents to put their children (who will likely grow up to be equally if not more ignorant) at risk. Some people call this process natural selection.

      • lilady says:

        Sorry. Your suggestion to put innocent kids at risk, is not a viable one for me.

      • ask412 says:

        Appreciate your level of thought.

        No one on this thread would expose their child to the ebola* virus outbreak if there was a vaccine available. Something to think about.

        Lee wrote; “Some people call this process natural selection.” Which is a very interesting comment.

        Human beings have stopped evolving after becoming the only species to put a stop to natural selection. This is evident from the longevity and quality of life enjoyed by developed worlds “Silent Generation” and younger.

        The natural human evolution process has been interrupted, those in the first world have the disease and death related statistics to verify this.

        Our natural scepticism and conservative values about change are healthy. So questioning transnational corporations motive of putting profit before corporate social responsibility essential. But vaccination is a matter of public policy and this involves the whole community.

        If individuals wish to cling to relics of earlier eras chasing CAM practices e.g. homeopathy, then this goes directly to “cultural evolution”.

        Raging against vaccination does raise the question regarding personal beleif in evolution and where the our global family group is heading in development.

        The evolution of humans is most definitely now down to our technology. Changes we make to the human genome, though diet, lifestyle and this is wrapped up in our culture. The science is in, the papers written, the body of knowledge of this process extensive and growing exponentially.

        If we wish to be conservative in our view of human development and rage against the change in our natural systems, that’s understandable.

        But “cultural evolution” is the human future, so an equilibrium needs to be reached for the survival of our species. Vaccination is part of human evolution like it or not.



  8. ask412 says:

    Stephen Propatier wrote; “… large number nationwide but a drop in the bucket compared to deaths from disease prior to vaccination.”

    Interesting comment, and very true. Apologies for poorly articulating my premise.

    The context of my comment was about the hypocrisy of using motor vehicles while whining about vaccine risk.

    A relatively small risk, blown out of proportion by CAM practitioners and their followers. Who righteously attack any caring parent online or in hearing range defending their decision to use immunisation.

    Any evolved individual using critical thinking can see ‘driving’ carries orders of magnitude of greater risk than vaccinating a child. Yet this is routinely ignored, and widely accepted in deference to their worldview on vaccination.

    From my altitude that is ironic.

    Does that help with my premise and context?
    * Currently traffic accident death ranks 12 on the risk scale for the USA. But don’t believe me, below is a link to a starting point on due diligence.

    • chris says:

      I don’t want to be a dick, but precisely what do you mean when you say “altitude”. Most all definitions refer to height above a determined datum.

      Doesn’t take away from your point, but is something that is bothersome.

      • ask412 says:

        Appreciate the reply.
        chris wrote; “… what do you mean when you say “altitude”.” Apologies Chris, it does sound obscure reflecting on the sentence. It is interesting when we talk metaphorically sometimes an analogy gets lost. My mistake not yours, it’s clever to ask the question.

        The context of altitude relates to our worldview and ability to see ‘the forest for the trees’.

        The lower the altitude the less we understand the metaphorical ‘forest’ it’s topography, it’s integral nature within the region and planet. From ground level we are able only to see the trees front and centre of our vision. Lost to the wider worldview.

        Having said that, no one can imagine the view unless they see it clearly from altitude. Choosing rather to doggedly stand their ground where their view of the forest is right, good an proper.

        We all are at risk of fooling ourselves we know enough from where we are, and that exploring with critical thinking is not needed.

  9. I went to the site and sent a nice e-mail to these horrible anti-vaxxer “terrorists” thanking them for giving me a nicely constructed website full of BS that I can now cite every time I have to go up against one of these alarmists who think that vaccinations are a bane on society.
    Thanks for the ammunition, VRM! Since you have the most misinformed “information” website ever, I can now pull excellent quotes proving how stupid all of you are. I hope that the government gets off of their butts, sees what harm this crap is doing to the population, and makes it MANDATORY for ALL children to be vaccinated in the safety of a doctors office or hospital setting just in case they DO have an adverse reaction (because they do, on occasion, actually happen). This law should make issues of religion, personal views, creed, and whatever else these sadly misinformed people can come up with completely useless in the face of the law. It is much like how we treat murderers: did they do it because of religion? Yes. Do they get a “get out of jail free card” because it was their religious belief to end someone’s life? Nope. They get to sit in prison or on Death Row. Do parents who abuse children get a break if abusing children is part of their “belief system”? Nope. They get them taken away. Is keeping your children unvaccinated a kind of abuse? You effing bet it is. Does it have the power to kill or harm the children of others? You bet your ass it does. So WHY in the flying HELL is it not the LAW to vaccinate children? It makes sense to the sensible and it is “unfair” to the zealots. We should just say “well, if you don’t want to protect your children and the ones around them with vaccines then someone ELSE can raise them”. The most powerful motivator for a parent is to threaten to take away their children. Although I do not wish for our country to have to resort to such a thing as removing children from their inept parents, I do wish for parents to become less stupid and learn that their views DON’T MATTER when it comes to PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY.

    • Mark Doldon says:

      Modern society has a set of blinkers that says that we have to ‘respect’ the religious views of others. That, if a religion says X, we should allow that to dictate which laws a person obeys. Since no religion has an ounce of actual proof that it is correct, by definition, we are allowing irrational ideas to be accepted as real. Now, that is fine when it only involves YOU. But once it starts harming your children, my acceptance of your beliefs STOPS. We would not allow people to brand their children. In Canada and the US female circumcision is illegal (although not male, yet). So why do we allow something else, like not properly vaccinating your kids? It I scientifically proven to be harmful on a statistical basis, so why is it allowed?? Why?

      • lilady says:

        Most organized religions have no prohibitions against receiving vaccines.

        Even Roman Catholics are instructed by a pastoral letter, that they have a “higher calling” (the duty to protect) their children from childhood diseases with vaccines that are made using cell lines from fetuses who were aborted more than fifty years ago during the last rubella epidemic which affected fetuses, when contracted during pregnancy.

        Orthodox jews do not have a prohibition against vaccines. Rebbes instructed their followers that gel caps made with pig gelatin and porcine heart valves should not be avoided when used to save human life.

        Jehovah’s Witnesses now leave the matter of vaccines for their children up to parent/adherent consciences.

        Chistian Scientists are against vaccines, because of their faith grounded in the power within to heal.

        Joe Mercola, numero uno quack snake oil salesman, who knows even less about vaccines and immunology than your average six year old, advises his “customers” about tricks to avoid vaccines by getting around religious exemptions regulations, by lying about religious beliefs.

  10. androosk says:

    Oh god, my eyes are burning from the stupidity of VRM’s website. Why do you expose these fringe jackasses to the light of day? Look what happened with the Nye/Ham debate. It’s my understanding that Ham got the rest of his funding to build that ridiculous ark replica due to the publicity from that debate. Besides, according to the research below, we’re all spinning our wheels trying to convince these idiots that they are wrong.

  11. Susan Savarise says:

    In 1955 when my mother registered me for kindergarten, a vaccination certificate was required. Likewise for grade school. During grade school, the public nurses came to the school and administered the TB and polio vaccines to every child. Are vaccination certificates not required for school anymore? I think this anti-vaccine thing is child endangerment, putting all public health at risk. The federal, state, county and city public health authorities should get involved and make vaccinating a priority. This is a homeland security issue – imagine what would happen if terrorists caused a mass epidemic of one of these dreaded diseases.
    I wish these anti-vaccine people would focus their time and resources on the real monsters: the industries causing environmental pollution and ecological destruction.

  12. lilady says:

    All 50 states permit a valid medical contraindication to receiving one or more vaccines, based on a prior severe reaction or severe allergy to a vaccine ingredient…or certain immune suppressing/immune compromising treatments/conditions (usually only live vaccines). West Virginia and Mississippi are the only two states which do not permit other (religious belief and/or personal belief) exemptions.

    New York State permits a “sincere religious belief” exemption and that exemption, IMO, is the toughest for a parent to prove, in order to opt out of vaccines, based on that “sincere religious belief”.

  13. Sue D says:

    Religion, politics and vaccines! Everyone takes a stance and thinks they are right. Circumstances shape our opinions. Vaccines serve a purpose but are in no way flawless. My daughter suffered brain damage from her vaccine experience. She is not alone! The important fact here is that we should be able to make up our minds about our own health care options and not forced into it by the mighty powers that be. Make an informed decision!

    • lilady says:

      Sue D. You do have the option to file a claim on behalf of your child at the United States Court of Federal Claims (Vaccine Court) for a vaccine injury. The Vaccine Court has a lower burden of proof than civil courts (described as “50 % and a feather”).

      Would you like to share with us the nature of your child’s vaccine injury and which vaccine caused her injury?

    • ask412 says:

      No words could possibly cover how you must feel. So appreciate the perspective and openness.
      Sue D wrote; “My daughter suffered brain damage from her vaccine experience …”
      Can you share what the medical professionals diagnosis of the outcome was?
      It would go a long way to assisting other parents be mindful of all their choices.

  14. David West says:

    Interesting stuff and I wholeheartedly agree. Badly in need of a proof-read, though.

    • lilady says:

      There are some statements which could use some editing, but they do not detract from the message and the superb manner that the message is conveyed.

      • Thanks a lot, but in his defense I have revised many of my articles several times because the original post was rushed. I wish I had an editor. I wish I didn’t have to work in full time practice, plus I have NP students this time of year, and a young child. I try to write one once a week but I don’t always have enough time even for that. SO i ask for gentle acknowledgement of my flaws 🙂

        • lilady says:

          I appreciate all your efforts Stephen and if I have a question about the content or wording, I’ll pose that question on the thread.

  15. Sue D says:

    I am interested in knowing the stance of the scientific community represented here regarding vaccine safety. Do you believe adverse side effects from vaccines resulting in brain injuries (mild or severe), any other type of health issues or death 1) never happen 2) do happen currently 3) used to occur but don’t now 4) do happen, but the benefits outweigh the risks 5) happen with some vaccines but not others 6) something else. Do you think vaccine injury stories are all made up – if so, why? Is there room for improvement regarding vaccine safety? Are any vaccine safety tests skewed – possibly by those with special interests? I am trying to gain an understanding of both sides of this issue. Thank you!

    • Define brain injury?
      Vaccines have a whole system of reporting and monitoring adverse reactions in the US. Reports of adverse reactions can be done by Physicians, Pharmacies, hospitals, and even private citizens. Reports are distributed to the CDC and the WHO.
      There is always room for improvement in both safety and efficacy. This is constant process it is not a “test”. It is a monitoring program.
      Because vaccines in general are not very profitable they are subsidized(there are some exceptions such as brand new or newly patented vaccines), most research for improvement comes from NIH grants and the CDC not private industry. Yet they are constantly improving.
      I do not think vaccine stories are “made up”. They may be genuine, lay person misunderstanding, confirmation bias or improperly diagnosed. The truth is when the are evaluated in any comprehensive way they demonstrate an infinitesimal risk compared to the actual disease. Stories can be told by anyone they can be wrong deceptive or miss real underlying medical issues. That is why scientific analysis is important. You need to carefully logically and systematically evaluate risks to decide treatment, not utilize stories. Anecdotes are a starting points they do not provide answers to medical questions.

    • lilady says:

      There have been exceedingly rare severe adverse events (encephalitis) that have occurred in close proximity to the receipt of a vaccine. Those cases of encephalopathy associated with vaccines, are, by orders of magnitude, far less than the encephalitis/encephalopathy caused by actually contracting vaccine-preventable diseases.

      Children who were awarded damages from the Vaccine Court for purported onset of encphalopathy, following immunization with whole cell pertussis vaccine, have undergone genetic testing and found to have a degenerative neurological genetic disorder (Dravet Syndrome):

      “Brain damage” is a layperson’s terminology for traumatic brain injury, which occurs after birth as a result of horrific accidents and trauma to the brain.

      BTW, autism is not “brain damage” and is not encephalitis/encephalopathy.

  16. sued:Do you think vaccine injury stories are all made up – if so, why?

    Yes. A lot of the loudest parents in the anti-vax movement are type-a career people who had children late in life. In other words, perfectionists who expected perfect kids. When they don’t get what they expected, they resort to looking for something, anything to pin the blame on- that isn’t their genes. And because the human brain is malleable, they eventually genuninely believe that vaccines injured their children. Plus there are a few who have lied so often that a fact-checking committee would be needed if they said the sky was blue.

    • ask412 says:

      What an astute observation.
      politicalguineapig85 wrote; “… In other words, perfectionists who expected perfect kids.” Very few grasp this about the cultural centre of gravity in developed nations, a value set that exists particularly in North America.

      Collectively central values are around earlier generations dystopian beleif of regression, not evolution.

      That is, the human decent from perfection in the Garden of Eden where humans 6000 years later are in a degraded state, but now those wanting to be seen as closer to God strive for perfection. An utterly surreal scenario promoted on all media and targeted at consumers because of the grasp of core values.

      Admittedly it looks unbelievable in this comment and those of faith in God will reject the premise. But think about the source of most of our human values and where they emerged.*

      How can anyone challenge the emotion of anti-vaccination without respecting the personal ‘faith’ issues central to a theocratic value set?

      • Actually, oddly enough, it’s not about religion. It’s about the stupid self-esteem movement, high achievers and denial. Most anti-vaxxers are unchurched, children of the seventies when all our institutions (including churches) collapsed and crumbled into corruption.

        • ask412 says:

          Appreciate the comment and your explanation.
          politicalguineapig85 wrote; “Actually, oddly enough, it’s not about religion.” Agree with your view.

          Adding the ‘values’ held by the anti vaccine believers are wide and varied. It is not simply the ‘children of the seventies’ or generation x who are against vaccination. But can be any unevolved individual who holds ‘perfectionism’ as a core value.
          Certainly the ultimate conservative. Conserving their perfect version of human homeostatic systems.

          As for the origins of ‘perfectionism’, we will have just have to disagree on that one.

        • ask412 says:

          Here is a link you might appreciate;

          • Awesome link nice boost to my day thanks:)

          • ask412 says:

            Not surprised it’s tough on the medical coal face, caught between patient and the system.

            You might like to read this transcript or listen to the podcast. The study was a long time one based around mothers who were also registered nurses. It is interesting how time along with good science is correlating far more data and a pattern about carbon energy is emerging. Even if it is unpalatable to many.

            Marc Weisskopf interviewed by Norman Swan*
            “… about a report out of California, suggesting in a study, in the sort of Bay area of California that mothers who were in census tracts that had higher estimated pollutant levels, had a higher risk of giving birth to a child with autism.”

            “Pollution and Autism Spectrum Disorder” *


  17. lilady says:

    That is an interesting article, but if you read the last comment about “environmental factors” and autism I suspect you might understand how “important” it is for some to hold on to the belief that post birth “environmental factors” are an important link to the onset of autism

    In the minds of many who still blame vaccines for their child’s ASD diagnosis, those postnatal exposures are buzz words for vaccines.

    The IACC provides guidance for how finite resources might be best used to fund studies; which definitely include chromosomal and genetics studies, including de novo gene mutations, and the interuterine environment including prescription/street drug use, cigarette smoking, obesity, diabetes, faulty embryonic attachment, cervical erosion, high order births, premature and SGA births, HTN, diabetes and maternal/paternal ages at time of conception. As soon as you mention postnatal “enviornmental factors”, many of these parents are off and running toward blaming vaccines.

    I’ve read most of those postnatal environmental studies, including living close to major highways and frankly, I am unimpressed. We are not talking about about migrant workers who are pregnant and have huge exposures to pesticides and herbicides, or those who live in Appalachia with bituminous coal polluting the environment. We are discussing woman who have little or no exposure to an inordinate amount of heavy pollution…and certainly less pollution since lead was removed from gasolines and heavy duty manufacturing plants are belching out less chemicals.

    We are closing in, more and more, to the thousands of phenotypes and genotypes as well as de novo gene mutations which have proven associations with the onset of ASDs..and dozens of studies have shown no plausible links between vaccines and the onset of ASDs.

  18. ask412 says:

    lilady wrote; “I’ve read most of those postnatal environmental studies, including living close to major highways and frankly, I am unimpressed.” Interesting, comment about investigations of possible causal links to autism and particulate emissions of 2 microns or less.

    Unimpressed with what? Is it the premise, methodology or the preliminary conclusions?

    Because from this perspective medical science is just starting an investigation of a plausible link between autism and vehicle emissions. Which in itself raises more questions that it answers.

    What is also interesting is there are many studies linking vehicle emissions to human health outcomes for many diseases that are accepted and acted upon globally.

    The possible petrochemical causal links to autism, look far more worth investigating than chasing rare adverse outcomes of vaccinations. But respect the conservative values and worldview in comments.

  19. lilady says:

    I’m “unimpressed” with environmental studies because of the vast knowledge we have acquired about the genetic origins of ASDs:

    Certainly the broadening of the DSM Diagnostic Criteria, has resulted in more children aside from those with “classic autism” being diagnosed with ASDs as well as the reclassifying of children within the educational system who would formerly been diagnosed as ADD/ADHD with ASDs. Children who would be formerly diagnosed with Mental Retardation with autistic-like behaviors (especially those with significant intellectual impairments), have been reclassified as “autistic with intellectual impairments”.

    The studies which I believe to be interesting for early detection include subtle (and not so subtle) dysmorphic facial features:

    • ask412 says:

      Appreciate the candour in the reply.
      lilady wrote; “I’m “unimpressed” with environmental studies because of the vast knowledge we have acquired about the genetic origins of ASDs” Clearly the nature of scientific process and methodology is not trusted*. Disappointing to read of the rejection of recent studies connecting carbon energies particulate matter crossing the brain barrier. As this could be seen as little different to climate change denial caused by the same emissions.

      What is interesting is science has brought a paradigm shift in neurology this decade. Just one example of many is the complexity of one single synapse that is orders of magnitude more complex than man made systems. Demonstrating just how vulnerable the developing, developed and ageing brain is to personal life conditions.

      My premise is setting aside our natural conservative inclination is essential for human evolution and a demonstration of awareness of the benefits to be gained. As an integral perspective acknowledges peoples tendency to conserve cultural memes and works with all levels of thought. That is easier said or written than done though. Thanks for the reply.

      * What is interesting is these health benchmarks have gone global.

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