The tension between personal opinion and public harm

If the soul of a free society is free speech, what role is the mind? Anyone and everyone has the right to express their opinion, but nowhere in our country’s founding documents does it say all opinions are based upon fact and reason, or equal in merit.  Recent observations regarding the high and rising hesitancy toward childhood immunizations in our country have me thinking tonight about the tension between personal opinion and public harm and the madness of crowds.

In 1998, without scientific justification, British Surgeon Andrew Wakefield expressed his personal opinion that measles vaccination increased the risk for autism.  Wakefield used wacky research practices, including drawing blood from children attending his kid’s birthday party, to amass fraudulent data that eventually led to his opinion being discredited and his medical license revoked. But the damage was done.  British parents ignored recommendations from the Royal College of Pediatrics, and safety data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in favor of one physician’s scientifically baseless personal opinion.  Parents withheld measles vaccination from half the kids in the country for the next few years.  As a result, today the UK is awash in adolescent measles, with some kids becoming very ill.

In the US, unlike the UK, a child can’t attend school without receiving all age-appropriate vaccinations, but some moms still think they can “divine” an immunization schedule better than what the scientific method has determined and validated.  And not just for the measles vaccination, but all of them.  And what about the kids home-schooled who may receive no vaccinations?  Those moms are certainly entitled to their opinions, but are they entitled to place their kids or your kids in harm’s way.

Scientifically derived facts, when available, must govern the design and administration of our children’s healthcare, rather than opinion. But what caused the harm in the UK?  Was it Wakefield’s bogus opinion, or that half the mom’s followed it, rather than scientifically rational recommendations from the Royal College?

Rob Schreiner, executive medical director, Kaiser Permanente of Georgia.  He blogs at Leadership in Health Care.

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  • azmd

    I am old enough to remember being taught in medical school that peptic ulcers were caused by stress, or by spicy food. There were some researchers who were proposing a link between peptic ulcers and H. Pylori, but they were for the most part dismissed as cranks by the medical community.

    I think it’s important for us as doctors to keep in mind, always, that we don’t know everything, and there there is a huge body of undiscovered information out there, a certain amount of which will ultimately disprove some of the things we currently believe to be true.

    Suggesting that Wakefield’s bogus claims should have been silenced by the medical establishment in order to avoid harm to a credulous public is offensive, as it implies that the public has no critical thinking skills and is too ignorant to have valid reasons for skepticism about current medical thought. This is the type of attitude that regularly gets us in trouble with our patients.

    In the case of vaccines, there are many areas of concern being expressed by parents that have nothing to do with Wakefield’s claims of a possible link to autism. I personally continue to wonder why we vaccinate children against varicella with a vaccine that does not confer the same lifelong immunity that contracting chickenpox does, since varicella infection in adults has a much higher mortality rate than for children. However, over the years I have noticed that when I mention this to our pediatricians, their only response is to look annoyed and offer a dismissive and bogus-sounding explanation about lifelong booster shots and how easy they are to comply with.

    As long as physicians continue to be dismissive of reasonable concerns and questions being asked by educated adults about their or their children’s medical treatment, they will engender public skepticism about the veracity of the claims they are making about treatment, whether for safety or efficacy, or both.

    A skeptical public is more receptive to bogus claims like Wakefield’s, since they have lost faith in the ability of the medical establishment to offer prudent guidance regarding their care. I would suggest that the solution lies with us and our own thinking about what we do and what we know, and in how we interact with our patients, not in attempting to silence our critics.

    • adh1729

      Furthermore, why not allow children to contract mumps or rubella at a young age, and later vaccinate the few who missed contracting the illness when young? I had mumps and chickenpox in the 70s; I did OK.
      The medical establishment operates under the assumption that vaccines clearly have no downsides. It is a stupid assumption.

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

        If you are a woman who breastfeeds you would also pass a true immunity along to your children that doesn’t happen with the shots. Sterilization, sanitation, and good medicine play a role in this battle.

        • Guest

          Alice, the infant digestive system will break down any immunoglobulins in breast milk after 3 months of age. Please don’t pass on this misinformation about “true” immunity.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      This is just marvelous…yes….yes….and doctors should be the first in line defending Wakefield. Why? Because a three panel set of henchmen in the UK took his license. That is justice? The other doctor got his license back. All he did was have an opinion similar to your’s. But doctors clap, clap instead of saying WTH are you doing here to this man. They are immunizing truth and justice.

      • Guest

        Alice, Wakefield admitted he published fraudulent data and had his license revoked. You really should think twice about who you respect. People cautious about vaccines or those who choose to question traditional medicine are not the danger. Those that blindly support a charlatan like Wakefield are.

  • adh1729

    There you go again. Pound on Wakefield, Jenny McCarthy, or both. Ad hominem ^ nth power. Distract everyone from the fact that your naked emperor has never properly measured the risks of vaccines, and thus cannot remotely determine their risk/benefit ratio. Appeal for faith, for true-believers who humbly accept that the Royal College and the American Academy and the WHO and the XYZ just couldn’t possibly be wrong (even though they have no conclusive data and don’t seem interested in obtaining such data.)

    • PoliticallyIncorrectMD

      Beware… They are coming to get you!!!

      • adh1729

        which direction are they coming from? Ahhhhhhhhrrrrrrr?

    • Guest

      You guys should have told Jenny McCarthy to shut up when she started opening her mouth. A woman that has posed completely nude for money has no business discussing children’s issues. She has done your “movement” no favors.

      And you are an MD? What is your field? Why are you anti vaccine? How do you possibly rationalize that?

      • adh1729

        I am a lowly and obscure general surgeon. I belong to no movement. Jenny McCarthy wouldn’t listen to me if I had a bullhorn.
        I am not knee-jerk anti-vaccine. I am against gullible vaccination without adequate safety data. Vaccines clearly have, upon occasion, major adverse effects. They may have, even more frequently, subtle adverse effects (e.g. unintended immune suppression and modulation, modest adverse effects on brain function.) Major, lengthy clinical trials should have been done to rule out these possibilities — if necessary, un-randomized and un-blinded (i.e. comparing the children of anti-vaxers to children of the general population.)

        • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

          This is a good post. The NIH (to my knowledge) has refused every single application for grant money to compare the two groups of immunized kids to the non-immunized kids. And grant money is the gravy train for many researchers (and some don’t immunize, but can not get the financing to give the public the absolute truth).

          The topic is terrifying because science has told us they can prevent diseases, but the average person relies on their doctor who often is no more enlightened than they are. Who doesn’t want to prevent diseases? We all do….but no one wants to sacrifice their child to harm or even death. Then the medical community goes into denial….they teach patients that the harm didn’t happen…then the outrage from those who know differently. Therefore, your post is much more honest than most.

          I like what Dr. Marcia Angell said about this topic (previous editor of NEMJ who said a whole lot more than this in her book):

          “If
          drug companies and medical educators were really providing education,
          doctors and academic institutions would pay them for their services.
          When you take piano lessons, you pay the teacher, not the other way
          around. But in this case, industry pays the academic institutions and
          faculty, and even the doctors who take the courses. The companies are
          simply buying access to medical school faculty and to doctors in
          training and practice.”

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

        Omgoodness another well informed hit-and-run (and anonymous mind you! The are you an MD carry on….and no business discussing children’s issues. I’m thinking this poster doesn’t even know Jenny had a doctor as a co-author…the irony is too much. Sometimes you just wanna say, “Keep on talkin’…..”

        There is a long list of PhD’s and MD’s online who want those shots cleaned up. I really wish people would at least spend ten minutes studying before coming online to go for character assassination without seeing a boatload of hurt parents with harmed children. What should we ignore these kids? Ignore the pleas of the parents because doctors or their ill-informed patients simply can’t stand it? Gosh I am grateful for the internet…it’s a bloody well fantastic forum for those who want to give patients some information and let them think beyond their own doctor (who isn’t God, nor well informed on many, many matters….it’s why you go to a specialist and then go for a second or third opinion because specialists disagree over treatment options).

  • rtpinfla

    It’s not that vaccine manufacturers don’t want to prove the effectiveness of a vaccine, but the vaccines have proven so effective that undertaking a double blind study would be unethical. I am not sure anyone in their right mind would want to undertake a study that involves placing 1,000 children at risk for, say, tetanus and see what happens compared to the vaccinated group. If you have ever seen someone suffer with tetanus infection you would think very long and hard about it. If you haven’t, I suggest you read up on it a bit and see if you would enjoy watching your child suffer through such a horrible disease that has been virtually eradicated since tetanus vaccination was introduced.

    • http://DCincome.com/blog Matthew Loop

      “proven so effective” … How? You don’t have any real scientific studies comparing vacc to unvacc. You cannot say vaccines are proven if there are no efficacy studies.

      If you’ve ever seen a perfectly healthy child go to the doctor, get a shot, then all of a sudden have severe health problems, that might wake you up to the obvious.

      I’ve witnessed this. Thousands of parents have similar stories. Not just in the autism community either.

      Then, if you study the actual carcinogenic ingredients in vaccines that go directly into a vulnerable child’s bloodstream, that might also surprise you.

      formaldehyde, chicken embryo, MSG, dye

      • Faerin

        MSG a carcinogen?? Evidence please!

        • http://DCincome.com/blog Matthew Loop

          Neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell Blaylock, has pioneered research in this field. Very easy to find his work online. MSG is a proven neurotoxin and carcinogen.

    • adh1729

      You are joking. There already is a study going on. It is not randomized or blinded, but it is ongoing. It consists of the parents and children who faithfully follow the vaccine schedule, versus those who do not vaccinate at all. Just collect the data and publish it. Tell how each group is doing in terms of health, mental function, infectious disease, etc. How “unethical” would it be to publish the results, damn it????

      • Guest

        Since you are a physician, you well know that no double blind RCT (the gold standard in the scientific method) could never be ethically conducted. How on earth could you inject placebos of PREVENTABLE disease into children and live with yourself as a researcher?

        So, what we are left with is either retrospective studies or anecdotal evidence (both lame).

        I honestly do not know how parents who don’t vaccinate and sleep at night. The benefits are known. There ARE risks, but the responsible parents amongst us are willing to risk it.

        • adh1729

          An un-blinded, non-randomized study, precisely as I described above, would yield useful and immediate data. It also might indicate if clinical equipoise existed in any areas, so as to ethically justify a more formal RCT.

          • Close Call

            It’d be more useful if this study was done, and then the unvaccinated child were sent to live in Africa or India. No fair getting protection from herd immunity!

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            Um….that assumes we have herd immunity here. We don’t! What we have a false sense of security in a vaccine that needs boosters every two to five years. We need at least 68% immunity to attain herd immunity. We may have it at a given moment in a certain age bracket, but overall we don’t. The real problem is the lack of education on the topic.

          • Close Call

            “We may have it at a given moment in a certain age bracket, but overall we don’t.” No one is saying herd immunity offers guaranteed protection or it encompasses everyone in the U.S. at every point in their life. The pubic knows this – they know about getting flu shots every year.

            And I don’t know where you’re getting your numbers. 68% for what? Which disease? Which age group? CDC reports much higher numbers of vaccination coverage with that. And while vaccination doesn’t guarantee immunity, you can make extrapolations by antibody response and derive immunity that way.

            But seriously, you’d be okay with your kid living in China, India, Africa or even South America when they’re unvaccinated? Or even visiting for a few weeks? You’re saying there’s no difference in the communicable disease burden there vs here?

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            How much have you studied this issue? Getting a flu shot? That was already scientifically shown to be useless (go to the Cochrane Collaboration site). And the Gates Foundation is sending shots to Africa and kids are getting sick from them too. Shots need many boosters to even work and there are so many variables between immune systems that I think the question is moot (that is also geographical because different regions suffer different problems). It’s a “what if” question because tons of adults go to Africa without immunity from diseases and don’t get sick (some do…my child got whooping cough from immunized adults working in healthcare, so she could go to certain countries and not worry about getting pertussis the way you may have to if you aren’t up on your boosters. My daughter has lifelong immunity she can pass onto her own child by breastfeeding). But then again I am surmising you are up on your rabies, malaria, and hep shots:)

          • Close Call

            Really? Think your daughter has “lifelong” immunity because she got pertussis from the community? Pretty sure about that, huh?

            Tons of adults going to Africa and not getting sick is one thing. But are you really cool with letting your kid go there and live without any immunizations? How about your 1yr old?

            You’re darn right I got hep shots before I travelled abroad. You know how fun it is getting Hep A while in India? And it’s not just abroad. Would you be comfortable with your unvaccinated child being in a home day care run by someone with chronic hep B? It’s not a what if – it’s our current daycare situation right now. Sure as heck made sure our kid was immunized and had antibody response.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            If you feel this way then you are not safe on any college campus with exchange students.

            Also, a test can prove immunity, and yes my daughter has lifelong immunity. That’s sorta a foolish response to try to cast doubt on the obvious, because if that’s not true then your whole foundation of how vaccines work goes out the window because it’s based on exactly what I shared about immunity after having a disease.

          • Close Call

            re: college campuses. Heck yeah! If you’re okay with your child having intercourse with someone w/ chronic hep b while in college, condom or not… or sharing toothbrushes… or using same nail clippers…. Or going abroad in college to china and not being vaccinated… By all means, tell your kid to go for it.

            And what does your daughter do… get titers every 6 months documenting her “lifelong immunity”?

      • rtpinfla

        I am not in any way implying that there are no risks in receiving a tetanus shot. I’m frankly not sure how you came the that conclusion based on my comment. I am, however, saying that the risk of a tetanus shot is far outweighed by the benefit that the vaccination conveys. Simply looking at any data comparing rates of a disease-any disease- pre and post vaccination will bear this fact out. If you want to take your chances with a little wound care, be my guest.

    • adh1729

      Where is the randomized trial comparing the tetanus vaccine against proper wound care to prevent tetanus in the first place? There is no data. You are just begging the question. Sorry, rhetoric doesn’t cut it. You need data.

      Schreiner submitted rhetoric. He should have submitted data –for crying out loud. I am not stupid enough to fall for rhetoric without data. I am coming to believe that no conclusive data exists, since nobody can ever come out with it.

      • Roy Benaroch MD

        Where is the randomized trial comparing jumping from an airplane with and without a parachute?

        It’s teh big parachute lobby!

        Seriously: there is more to evidence than the randomized controlled trial. I suspect you knew that already.

        • adh1729

          Yes, clearly there is more to evidence than the RCT. We accepted penicillin in the 1940s because it was obviously life-saving. We aren’t going to go back and randomize bacterial meningitis to an antibiotic-free arm. Duh.
          However, I don’t think you can reasonably compare non-vaccination to leaping out at 20,000 feet sans parachute. If non-vaccination was so crazy, then why would an intelligent person such as Robert Mendelsohn advocate it? I have read some of his books. I think the medical profession has been proceeding, for a long time, on some major assumptions.

  • http://DCincome.com/blog Matthew Loop

    Even though the name of that website sounds credible, the site itself is anything but a reliable resource for science.

    Just show me one study that compares 100 or 1000 vacc versus unvacc over the short and long term. Double blind placebo please.

    This is the real scientific method.

    If you (or your community) cannot show a study like this, you certainly cannot call it science. Consensus does not equal science either.

    Over the past several decades the drug companies, with their enormous wealth, have taken medicine over and now control its research, what is taught and the information released to the public.

    The fox guards the hen-house. Major medical journal credibility is at an all time low, since they’re over 75% funded by pharmaceutical companies. This is a complete conflict of interest.

    Go to Google and key-in:

    mmr vaccine injury
    Gardasil vaccine injury
    (insert vaccine name) vaccine injury

    Then, prepare to be shocked at the thousands of listings you find with REAL parents and children that have had their lives ruined by vaccine tobacco science.

    To say that “vaccine safety is no longer a reasonable one” is quite uneducated and naive. It’s also an insult to the tens of thousands of vaccine injured kids. Not to mention the SIDS deaths attributed to them.

    Since 1989, vaccine injury compensations exceed 2.3 BILLION. Tell me again how safe they are?

    • adh1729

      Amen and amen.

      And BTW, the takeover didn’t happen “over the past several decades”; it happened in the early 1900s. The Flexner report was when Rockefeller and Carnegie took over our profession and told us what to believe and practice.

      • http://DCincome.com/blog Matthew Loop

        Yes… that is correct. It happened in the early 1900′s. If you look at history, you find the Flexner report was all about creating another monopoly for Rockefeller, this time in medicine. It had nothing to do with science or effectiveness of allopathy. Probably one of the best examples of deceptive PR and unethical marketing the public has seen.

  • adh1729

    What extraordinary evidence exists, for the extraordinary claim that the “vaccine schedule” is safe?
    Favorite tactic: shut off the debate before it starts. “The question of vaccine safety is no longer a ‘reasonable’ one.” Proof? I am an MD who has quit vaccinating my children because I don’t know if the benefits exceed the risks (and I am outraged that nobody ever bothered to collect the data.) There is no study comparing fully vaccinated with fully unvaccinated, with long term follow up. If there is such, give me the journal citation.

  • azmd

    “The question of vaccine safety is no longer a reasonable one.”

    This is exactly the type of attitude that I am talking about. The fact is that there are no long-term (by that I mean multiple-year) controlled studies looking at vaccine safety. To suggest then, that we know everything there is to know about vaccine safety, is foolish. To even suggest that these vaccines have long-term efficacy is also foolish, since that has also not been proven for some of them, notably the HPV vaccine.

    Remember that in recent years, a number of studies have suggested that treatments which were previously believed to be without long-term effects are not as safe as our patients were originally told they were.

    By making exaggerated claims for the safety and efficacy of a treatment when there is not adequate scientific evidence to support those claims, we rightly lose credibility with our patients.

    • Guest

      I understand what you are saying and agree with many of your points. Sadly, I’m old enough now to know that treatments that were once considered gold standards in medicine have been debunked or found actually harmful.

      That said, I am a physician who vaccinates my children. I have been swayed by seeing children suffer from preventable disease (including terrifying epiglottitis from Hib). If the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk (they do) and these diseases can be largely prevented by them (they can), I personally cannot rationalize not vaccinating.

      • azmd

        I have also vaccinated my children for most diseases. However, I cannot endorse a system which attempts to shame parents into indiscriminately consenting to any vaccination that comes along. There are many forces at play in bringing these vaccines to market, some of which have an interest in presenting misleading information to the medical community and to the public.

        I feel that it is our responsibility as physicians to be familiar with the literature and to present our patients with an objective view of the risks and benefits of any given treatment, as well as to acknowledge what is not known yet about that treatment.

        • Guest

          I agree with you. I think the difficulty arises in trying to rationally discuss vaccines with anti-vaccinaters who come across as fanatical and irrational. It’s hard to have a debate when either side gets too emotional, and this topic can really charge up emotions.

          • azmd

            Yes, I agree that both sides get very emotional. That’s the part that’s puzzling to me, since some of the diseases that we’re vaccinating against really don’t justify that level of emotion. I mean, come on, chickenpox? As a parent and a physician I think that some of the very intense affect coming from the medical side has more to do with being judgmental towards parents rather than a rational assessment of the risks and benefits for the child involved. I have also noticed that people are much more vehement in their claims when they have some underlying awareness that they are not entirely in the right (sort of like Republicans claiming that it’s poor people’s fault that they are poor).

            When the medical community insists that it’s irresponsible not to vaccinate your 11 year old daughter for HPV “because it’s effective against cervical cancer,” we are being no more irrational than some parents who insist that vaccines are linked to autism. There’s no scientific evidence for either claim.

          • Guest

            Excuse me. I am quite emotional about chickenpox as it caused me to miss Girl Scout Camp. I’d never inflict that horror on my children.

            lol

          • azmd

            Oh well…who can argue with that?

            :-)

    • Suzi Q 38

      I can see what you are saying.
      I think of HRT. Weren’t doctors prescribing them for decades? Didn’t they think that this was the right thing to do for most menopausal women?
      Now that the jury is “in,” the doctors no longer prescribe these drugs as much. No one wants to bring on cancer.

      I am sure the doctors thought the drugs were safe for women at the time.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      It’s great someone with authority can try to beat some sense into these people who proclaim to practice real science. I lived in the UK and developed a taste for their type of dramatic newspapers. The parents of the children Wakefield tested were agreeable and defend him. Where are all these harmed kids from Wakefield’s hands? They wrote letters to the papers and did interviews supporting him. I really think the original poster (Andrew the Boogey Man Hunter) needs to go back and find out what real research is or at least real journalism is and hopefully study some great philosophers before his kind get their old writings snuffed out under the guise of protecting us from ourselves.

  • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com Margalit Gur-Arie

    I have a few questions (and I did vaccinate all my kids, and would do it again): what is the purpose of those weird ingredients in vaccines? Some must be preservatives, I guess, but not all. Are they there to make production cheaper? Can “clean(er) vaccines” be manufactured? How much more expensive would they be (if at all)? Would that make a difference in “safety”? Did anybody try anything like this?

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      The vaccines Bill Gates pays for are much cheaper than the ones doctors purchase because they have mercury in them. Because the anti-immunization movement decried the use of the mercury it was overall removed (except for the flu vaccine and a few others). The CDC site will tell you the “mercury” was “safe” but hey they just removed it basically to shut parents the hell up:) Yet, the same doctors who will come here and claim the shots are safe, were often the same doctors who were telling moms twenty years ago the mercury shots were safe.

      Those who do the research and can afford it usually opt for the shots you have to special order via your pediatrician. I know a few doctors who did this for their own children and only gave a few for diseases they felt were a threat to their child.

      • Roy Benaroch MD

        Other than the multidose flu vaccines, all vaccines routinely given to children in the US are thimerosal-preservative free. And have been since 2001. You don’t have to “special order” anything. I don’t even know what kind of imaginary “special order” vaccines you could have been referring to.

        • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

          You’re kidding right? You just proved my point that doctors don’t even study the issue before coming forth with information that makes you scratch your head at the lack of study. You don’t know about preservative free shots? You need to talk to your pediatrician or doctors who have studied this. They are expensive though. I seriously can’t believe you haven’t looked into this more before posting. And surely you know the flu shot that is given to children has mercury in it? So do a few others. It’s right on the CDC site.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            Since I am usually addressing moms who will stumble on this information while researching for themselves (and the sad realization that their doctor really didn’t do their homework and may be using bullying or arrogance at times instead of listening, learning and guidance). I decided to add this little bit of info on thimerosal and the labeled preservative free, or mercury free shots. Just something to watch out for:

            snippet:

            “Preservative-free” still gives you a 150 percent dose of FDA/EPA maximum
            According to the CDC, vaccines labeled “thimerosal-free” often have a little
            asterisk to warn you: “This vaccine has ‘trace’ amounts of thimerosal,
            which the FDA says is equivalent to thimerosal-free products.” There are
            basically two kinds of flu shots given: one contains 25 mcg of mercury
            and is often given as the “regular” flu shot to those with no special
            circumstances, and the other is labeled “thimerasol-free” (containing
            fewer than 3mcg of mercury) and is given to young children and pregnant
            women.

            Take a look at “safe” and “un-safe” levels of mercury, per the FDA/EPA:
            Two part per billion is the maximum amount of mercury that deems water
            “safe” for drinking. Anything over 200 ppb mercury is considered TOXIC.
            But guess what?

            There is up to 300 ppb mercury in the “thimerosal-free” flu vaccine. There is 25,000 ppb mercury given in the regular flu shot.
            [more online]

          • Roy Benaroch MD

            The volume of a vaccine is typically .5 mL. Half a milliliter, or one-tenth of a teaspoon. The amount of water consumed by a typical person in a typical day is somewhat larger than that. Can you not see that comparing the safe concentration of mercury in a tiny vaccine versus in water for routine use is silly?

            OK: I agree. Don’t drink 8 glasses of influenza vaccine a day.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            So if given a choice in dental fillings do you chose white fillings or silver for your children?

          • Roy Benaroch MD

            Fortunately, my kids haven’t needed fillings. Our water supply is fluoridated (gasp!) and they’ve had good access to dental care.

            If they did need fillings I would discuss the decision with the dentist that they’ve been seeing, someone I trust. He would help me decide. Not Dr. Google.

          • Roy Benaroch MD

            I am a pediatrician.

            They’re all preservative-free, as I said, except for some flu vaccines. You don’t have to special-order them. They are not expensive- they’re the only ones available. What you’re saying isn’t even close to reality.

            Sanofi has had a preservative-free flu vaccine option for children for years; and the Flumist has always been preservative free.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            Gob-stopping, but it is so revealing that if challenged you seem more
            forthcoming. It’s why patients should also pressure their doctors for
            more direct answers and not put up with the status quo treatment or
            browbeating type of doctors who write bullying articles online while
            proclaiming they are protecting their patients (bollocks….most of
            their patients aren’t up on their boosters anyhoo….and we know in many
            cases the shots wear off after two years. It’s a false security they
            are selling and often getting bonuses for. Info and URL from an article
            by best selling pediatrician Dr. Sears at the bottom of this post).

            I think the bottomline is many moms would prefer the disease over even
            the preservative free shots (and they can be special ordered and are
            expensive because insurance, nor government covers their cost). The MMR shot killed my
            two year old cousin but doctors are basically immune from lawsuits over
            those shots. Amazing that such a “safe” product needed Congress to give
            doctors and manufacturers a waiver of basic immunity from lawsuits..
            simply amazing:).

            I am glad the internet is producing free thinkers, and books (Vaccine
            Epidemic by experts, and Vaccine Illusions by an immunologist, etc.) and
            doctors like Ben Goldacre (author of Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies
            Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients) are sharing more and more about their
            colleagues, exposing ghostwritten studies from BigPharma.

            Ben Goldacre shares an example that is relatable to the shots. Example:
            During an 18 year period the FDA tracked antidepressant trials showing
            38 positive outcomes and 37 negative outcomes, but once published in
            literature only three negative trials showed up and 48 were portrayed as
            positive. And so it is with vaccines (with FDA doctors approving them
            then heading over to work for the same pharmaceutical company making
            millions).

            And doctors want us to trust that type of data mining. They want us to
            deny that the shots can do harm (VAERS reporting system says
            differently), and then ask us to trust them to give our precious a child
            a “safe” shot under the “Greater Good” analogy and then come online and
            provide sketchy details in an effort to lure us into shots under this
            same type of data mess (the difference is anecdotal evidence is becoming
            much powerful than doctor’s parroting pharmaceutical paranoia).

            I am fortunate enough to have a rare award winning pediatrician who
            doesn’t encourage shots (she special orders if you desire, and if you team up with
            another patient you can split the cost of the vial), and Dr. Tenpenny
            who wrote the chapter on immunizations for Dr. Oz’s book on babies is
            within walking distance. I have access to the truth on a personal basis.
            But I rejoice in the internet’s ability as a type of Wikileaks on
            medicine in general which includes the shots.

            The problem is doctors misunderstand. What person doesn’t want to
            prevent disease? Our disagreement is in how this is playing out…the
            denialism from the physician pulpit (as played out here).

            The URL and snippet to the above claim from Dr. Sears (who does
            vaccinate but with a lot more conservative schedule that is safer than
            most pediatricians want to follow).

            Snippet: But I recently talked with two physicians in different states that told

            me the HMO plans that they contract with do chart reviews and patient

            surveys at the end of each year. If their office scores high enough on

            these reviews, the HMO plan gives them a several thousand dollar bonus.

            This bonus varies depending on the number of patients the doctor sees.

            One of the requirements for a patient’s chart to pass the test is that

            they are fully vaccinated.

            I had to cut the URL off because URL’s go into moderation. It’s as Ask Dr. Sears

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            No preservatives in the shots. Not according to the government sites. So do you special order flu shots before giving them (even though Cochrane concluded the data shows they are overall useless I surmise most doctors will continue giving them). The FDA site has a whole bunch of data on why the vaccines need preservatives (the use of preservatives is declining and that’s a good thing, but it’s not gone. And we can thank moms who screamed loudly that the doctor’s promoting those thimerosal shots were wrong). The FDA site also shares that some DTaP shots have trace amounts of mercury in them. They include a table listing the other preservatives in the shots. I think the tetanus and meningitis shots contain some mercury too. The chart includes Thimerosal, Phenol, Benzethonium chloride (Phemerol), and 2-phenoxyethanol and some shots have antibiotics, and aluminum use is prevalent (in the HIB, Hep B and A, varying levels of aluminum in different DTaP shots, Pneumococcus, HPV, and combo shots. And for whatever reasons the warnings about aluminum and babies is government mandated on injectibles and IV’s with a very low limit etc., (I think 25 mcg) but not for shots which are higher than the 25 mcg warning….another exemption) and formaldehyde.

            We know mercury can build up in fat tissue so I assume aluminum can too and with so many shots have some good levels in them one wonders (the DTaP – depending on the manufacturer, ranges from 170 to 625 micrograms and Pediarix (DTaP, Hep B and Polio combo vaccine) – 850 micrograms)

  • buzzkillerjsmith

    Problem: Granolaheads not immunizing their kids.

    Solution: Movie of the week or minseries or reality series about granolahead’s kid ( angelic sweet blonde little girl) dying a horrible death (limb loss would increase the effect) because she did not get immunized.

    Next case.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      Now ya’ see….just when I thought you could think outside the box. Even the CDC figures won’t back you up on this one (if you check how many kids are dying as you shared…have you checked out how many moms of SIDS babies claim the vaccine right before the death killed their child? Whoops…CDC isn’t interested in that stat). Of course, overall doctors do think within the lines and work well that way….it’s why we are *usually* grateful for you…but some of us choose other roads that aren’t as confining and think that doctors who can think outside of the BigPharma brochure are much better doctors:)

      • buzzkillerjsmith

        Alice, I’m not quite sure I’m following you here. And my post was actually a joke.

        • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

          Thank God you clarified…and thank you:) I am trained in literature analysis and looked only at the intent of the article and your feedback. Okay….you have renewed my faith in your ability to think and to have humor about it. I “Follow” you on Disqus because I like what you share. And I admit I can get quite dramatic over this issue (it happened after I saw my two year old second cousin in a casket a week after his MMR shot….little Preston:). My goal is not non-vaccination, it is thought and research (meaning truth in research and government and BigPharma money [emphasis on the former]) to gain a safe way at preventing disease. Preston’s parents would have preferred he contracted measles….with modern medicine the chances of him dying were better with the disease were less…the shot killed him. I feel that’s unnecessary).

          Therefore, I apologize if I understood your intent wrong.

          • buzzkillerjsmith

            Sorry about you cousin. Absolutely terrible.

        • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

          Well late night ramblings mean this. I think that overall doctors think inside the box. It’s your strength and your weakness. I think it can be helpful to productivity…and their very job may require it (we know what happens when doctors think too far outside the box). But for whatever reasons I ended up with a few research doctors at my disposal and what they shared about immunizations fascinated me (they agree that the shots need cleaned up and some avoided them altogether). These researchers could think outside the box (particularly after they quit research…the omgoodness what they shared about what isn’t available to the public. It certainly rocked my world:) So to sum it up thinking outside the box is dangerous to your career, your patients may not like it, but hey you’ll make a tantalizing dinner guest if you aren’t made homeless first:)

          • buzzkillerjsmith

            Physicians are not generally highly creative thinkers although there are some notable exceptions.

      • meyati

        My baby died from his baby shots. My kids asked me if they should give their babies their shots. I said-Yes-I’ve seen kids loose their hearing from measles, etc.
        I had 2 older children that had normal reactions to their series. David got really sick-I took him into navy pediatrics, and I was told that if I didn’t follow through with the series, they’d take my other kids away-so he was sicker than others-no big deal-it was the law. Just one more shot- it killed him. He developed some type of pneumonia that took him quickly-
        He had nice lab work- healthy-except for the shots-which they started at 8 weeks. They did lab work on my 2 older children to see if they were anemic-we ate lots of liver because it was cheap. The EMTs that came to the house even checked the cabinets and fridge to see if we ate anything besides Campbells soup and peanut butter sandwiches. My husband was deployed. They found salad, leftover -homemade enchiladas, some real food besides peanut butter. It’s odd what you remember at a time like that–
        I do resent the crack about claiming to loose a baby after a shot. It really happens. I’m the one that lost my little angel. I just wish the Navy wasn’t experimenting on my son-no telling how many others died too. They went back to the normal schedule of starting shots when they were older.

    • janiceamancuso

      I have a love/hate relationship with your comments. I often agree with what you say, but not necessarily the way you say it…especially the name-calling. But that is certainly your right. I have learned to brace myself before I read your comments.
      PS Certainly home-schoolers don’t fall into the category of “granolaheads,” do they? I think of them as the opposite end of that spectrum.

      • buzzkillerjsmith

        Don’t worry about the love/hate thing. That’s what I’m aiming for.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

    Most moms who don’t immunize don’t even know who Wakefield is. The UK admits it’s the upper class, better educated and earners who aren’t immunizing. It has nothing to do with Wakefield. They just don’t trust doctors to actually study beyond their one chapter in medical school.

  • MatBastardson

    I don’t ascribe to vaccination paranoia, but since vaccinations are proven effective, how is your vaccinated child placed in harm’s way by an unvaccinated child? Mary’s child is vaccinated, and therefore safe from Martha’s unvaccinated child, or else what in the hell good is vaccination in the first place? If someone doesn’t vaccinate his kid, he and his kid have to live (or
    die) with the consequences. Isn’t that guilt enough, without this
    spurious claim that it also threatens *your* child? What do you want, CPS kidnapping children and spiriting them away to state run vaccination centers? Maybe re-education for the parents while we’re at it?

    • Roy Benaroch MD

      “I don’t ascribe to vaccination paranoia…”

      Yes. That explains why you brought up the imaginary state run vaccination centers.

      As you’re probably aware: though vaccines are effective, they’re not 100% effective. Not everyone vaccinated becomes immune. And: not all people can be vaccinated– the very young, those with immune problems, etc. There are people who depend on the health of the herd to protect them, because their own immune systems cannot.

      This isn’t rocket science, and isn’t new news. Nonetheless,the antivaccine “I’m not hurting anyone else” trope lives on.

      • MatBastardson

        Yes, the state run vaccination centers are imaginary. That was a
        rhetorical flourish. Just me trying to be funny. So the point you think
        you just scored – that I *am*, in fact, a vaccination paranoid – is null.
        Doctors and accountants. Such literalists, you guys.

        I lump anti-vaccination activists in with the chem-trail nuts and
        ‘Coast to Coast’ fanatics. I also don’t believe in the FEMA
        concentration camps, or that 9/11 was an inside job, or that space
        aliens have infiltrated Congress.

        I think the great increase in autism decried by ‘anti-vaccinationists’
        is due not to vaccination, but to a broadening of the definition of
        autism (like the obesity rate practically doubled overnight when the CDC
        changed the definition, and alcoholism greatly increased when they
        decided that what makes a moderate drinker in the UK, makes a guy in the
        US a heavy drinker. Or deaths caused by smoking spiked once they decided that anytime a guy who smokes gets creamed by a bus or hit by a meteor, it’s a smoking-related death. But I digress).

        As to your point that vaccinations are not 100% effective, not every kid who fails to vaccinate against whooping cough gets whooping cough, either. So maybe your kid gets vaccinated but it doesn’t take, and he gets infected by another kid who vaccinated, but it didn’t take for him either. Meanwhile, the non-vaccinated kid doesn’t get whooping cough, probably because lack of vaccination prevents him from being allowed to attend school with your poor, sickly, ineffectively vaccinated kid.

        Just as you don’t know that the vax didn’t take until your kid gets sick, you also don’t know he was infected by some unvaccinated kid. He could have gotten it from some other duly vaccinated kid, who also got sick in spite of his vaccination. Just providing an alternative scenario, here. I am not in any way against vaccinations.

        But I don’t think your “vaccinate your child, or else my child may die” argument holds water either. Your medical degree notwithstanding.

        • Roy Benaroch MD

          So because it’s difficult to assign individual culpability, we should just throw up our hands and say fuggetaboutit?

          Wouldn’t it be better to protect as many children as possible?

  • adh1729

    Predictably, the website you referenced is full of ad hominem attacks against anti-vaxers.
    Predictably, you use the term “delusion”, implying that people who avoid vaccinations are mentally ill (another ad hominem attack.)
    Of course people who follow the herd — take their vaccines, ingest their fluoride, eat their GMO food, and expose themselves to thousands of chemicals and to various forms of radiation and EMFs — could never be victims of a delusion. That is because the herd leaders are nice people who love their followers and who would never lead them astray.
    Who cares about ad hominem cr*p. I care about my kids. There are plenty of un-vaccinated individuals walking around — show me a study that demonstrates that their overall, long-term health outcomes are worse than those of vaccinated people. I really would like to know the truth.