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General Vaccine misconceptions

Posted in Medicine, Skepdude, Woo by Skepdude on August 27, 2008

MSNBC.com has a nice collection of parent’s quotes in regards to their decision to vaccinate or not their kids, titled “Parents sound off on childhood vaccine divide”

They did a pretty good job at representing both sides of the coin. I will concentrate on some flawed reasoning coming from the antivaccination crowd. Now let me make clear that I am not a doctor, and have no specialized knowledge about vaccines. These are my thoughts based on what I have been able to gather by reading various sources. If I say something which is not correct please do point it out in the comments section.

I chose not to vaccinate my children after one child developed a severe reaction to the vaccination. Also, I believe we are inviting a destruction to our immune system by disallowing it to fight the natural childhood diseases that come along.

It is a big mistake to say that vaccines “dont allow the immune system to fight the natural diseases”. The whole point of a vaccine is exactly the opposite, to get the immune system to fight off a weakened version of the germ causing the disease, so that it would know what to do when the living germ gets into the body. The parent also committs the natuaralistic fallacy, by somehow implying that “natural diseases” should be allowed to exist. I don’t understand that. HIV, Cancer, Heart Disease, Strokes all of these are natural diseases. In fact I am not even sure what an unnatural disease is..

My 3 year old has some of his shots but not all. As parents we decided to go slowly on vaccinating him as opposed to flooding his body full of unnatural agents. When we heard about the measles outbreak we did get him a measles shot. I don’t have any second thought to our process with vaccines.

There goes the natural fallacy again. Vaccines are referred to as “unnatural agents”. What the hell is that? A chemical that does not exist in nature? I find it really hard to believe that there is anything in vaccines that cannot be found in nature. Furthermore, vaccinating after there is an outbreak is not only inefficient, but irresponsible too. There does not need to be an outbreak in order for your kid to become sick.  This parent needs to have lots of second thoughts on the issue. Next time the kid may not be so lucky and get sick before there is a big outbreak. I mean how does this parent think an outbreak occurs anyway? It is an outbreak when large numbers of people get sick. And that large number of people could very well include her kid. Bad, bad reasoning.

Many of us who choose not to vaccinate are not totally opposed to vaccinations and the benefits they can provide, but rather we are just asking for a safer vaccination schedule and safer vaccines. I hope that one day it will be possible to protect our children from disease without the fear of a life long disability like Autism. I choose not to vaccinate my twins because if they got chicken pox, measles, or even pertussis it would not be nearly as devestating as Autism has been for our son or our family.

There is nothing, nothing, to relate vaccines with autism. Absolutely nothing. This person’s child was diagnozed with autism after receving his 15 month shots. Well, I have a 1 year old and I am personally aware of the amount of vaccines they get before 15 months. If vaccines do infact cause autism, why is it that it shows up so late? Why didn’t it show up earlier? Furthermore, in early stages vaccines are given at 3 or 6 month intervals. Regardless when a kid is diagnosed with autism, it is bound to be within a short period of time after getting some shot. What about the claim that it’s better if kids get other diseases rather than autism? Well given that vaccines have not been shown to cause autism, that is basically saying that in order to feel like we’re doing something to prevent a disease we don’t know how to prevent, we will forgo protection on the ones we do know how to prevent.  Weird reasoning no? I won’t even go into a whole what’s worse autism or the other ones. Another parent shows clearly how bad the other diseases can be.

I’m old enough to remember life without vaccines for measles and chicken pox and I suffered the consequences of the diseases. Measles, both kinds, Red and German, ruined my eyesight. Chicken pox left me with permanent scars on my face and body. I was so sick with the Red Measles that I also came down with pneumonia and almost died at the age of seven.

Let’s move on to the next comment.

I have chosen not to vaccinate my daughter. My stepson has autism which could put my daughter at a greater risk for contracting it. Currently she has come down with Rubella (german measles) she had a high fever for 5 days, following a rash from head to toe. Was she sick? Yes, and miserable. However, would I choose two weeks of that over a lifetime of Autism. YES!!!! With the rate of Autism on the rise 1 in 150. And no known cause of it, why wouldn’t a parent whose child is at a greater risk decide to not put those poison’s into their child’s body?

Ok so what this person is saying is that “there is no known cause of autism” and at the same time saying tht if she vaccinated her daughter, she would have gotten autism, thus vaccines are a cause of autism. A bit contradictory, wouldn’t you say?

My children did have some vaccines BUT after my soon to be 3yr old regressed after a series of vaccines last yr I have stopped vaccinating them as I truly believe that all the poison in those shots caused his autism. I also wonder why unvaccinated children can be blamed for vaccinated people being at risk! IF the vaccines are supposed to be safe and protet them then those who are vaccinated should have NO reason to fear the unvaccinated children!!!

See, it is exactly the lack of basic understanding that makes people affraid. They are litterally scared because they lack knowledge. Vaccines are not 100% effective, in fact some wear out and you need booster shots. Because they are not 100% effective, there is a small chance that you could get sick, even if you get the shot. However, if everyone got shot, there would be much less of a chance for the germ to survive in the “herd” and thus risk infecting that small portion of unlucky vaccinated people. Long answer short, herd immunity is affected as more and more people don’t get vaccinated. To illustrate that point:

While I vaccinated my child with everything the government advises, my child still got whooping cough because so many parents don’t (or won’t) vaccinate their children. The diseases mutate and become stronger and healthy children who’s parents have taken every precaution get extremely sick. My child was horribly sick for an entire summer and no matter how many times we went to the doctor they couldn’t figure out what was causing her cough because doctor’s don’t think to look for illnesses that children have been vaccinated against. Only after my child had become better did we learn that there had been an outbreak of whooping cough in our area. Shame on the parents that think they are doing their children a favor by not immunizing them. Not only are you endangering your childs life you are endangering every person that your child comes in contact with!

Let’s keep going:

Vaccinating children is stupid and reprehensible. We have absolutely no way of knowing what goes into vaccines. As recently as ten years ago they contained mercury derivatives which could cause ppermanent harm to anyone taking them. I inquired upon a visit to the county health department and was shocked and horrified upon ten minutes of searching to see it openly admitted (albeit in the smallest fine print) that these rumors were correct. If the government doesn’t mind putting mercury in your children who knows what else the CDC may consider an ‘acceptable risk.’

Ok, there goes the unavoidable conspiracy idiot. He’s not even a parent apparently, so I don’t know what his comment is doing in an article about “parents”. Too juicy to be passed over by the journalist I guess.

We choose not to vaccinate our children. Childhood diseases are not getting better, they are just changing. Vaccinations may happen to lower the original diseases, but they have opened up a whole new world of childhood diseases. We choose to keep our children safe and clean. If they happen to get sick then we know the Doctors are very capable of helping them through their sickness. We are certain there are risks with vaccinations and we are not willing to put our children through that. It is wrong for a government or any other group of people to tell us what is best for our children. This is not neglect or abuse. We are sincerely interested in the health and well being of our children. We are not ignorant or illiterate.

No, not ignorant or illetarate, but misguided and scared probably. Childhood diseases are not getting any better? Really? Where are their statistics coming from? Whose research about childhood diseases before and after vaccines are they relying on? Very weird statement indeed. Sounds like a sentence that had been copied and pasted from so woo master’s website without a second thought to it. They choose to keep their children  “safe” by denying them the protection of vaccines? Something is not quite right there. So the doctors are very capable of helping the kids when they do get sick, but apparently they ar not capable enough to prevent the diseases thay can treat. Dubious reasoning no? And how does it make sense to say that it is wrong for any group of people to tell parent’s what’s best for their children. By any group do they mean experts such as the able doctors they refer to? How is it wrong for a group of experts in a field to advise a group of non-experts about the right choice?

My son has not been vaccinated for several years. He had convulsions and quit breathing after every vaccination and now suffers minor learning diabilities. It scares me, because I certainly dont want to lose him to measles, or hepatitus… or the vaccine.

I feel for this parent. It is obvious that her son has some sort of allergic reaction to the vaccines, and the parent is rightly worried about the missed protection these vaccines could offer her son. I hope this never becomes an issue for their family.

To close it off there’s nothing I could say that would sum it up better than what another parent had to say:

Parents of kindergarteners today never had to deal with childhood disease as a certainty. In the ’50’s & ’60’s, it was so certain kids would get measles, mumps and chicken pox, that parents would make all their kids sleep with the first one who contracted a disease, so to “get it over with”. Young parents weren’t around to see children in iron lungs, and leg braces, wobbling on crutches regularly. They have never had to almost lose their hearing or suffer such after-effect from mumps or measles. They have never had to worry that they might contract measles while pregnant (because they most likely have been vaccinated for measles). They have no idea of what can be the new reality if fewer and fewer children are vaccinated. Young parents of today have benefited from the availability of vaccines and the requirements that school districts and state health boards had previously made. I shudder to think that our society cannot seem to learn from history, and since every generation seems to know it all better than any previous, we are doomed to repeat our history as well.

Let’s hope she’s not right about the repeating history part. Let’s really hope.

10 Responses

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  1. IGG said, on August 28, 2008 at 10:19 PM

    Some of your comments are right, and some wrong. I’ll point out the wrong ones:
    “There goes the natural fallacy again. Vaccines are referred to as “unnatural agents”. What the hell is that? ”

    I think what he meant to say is, the types of agents that do not enter our body naturally. For example, the preservatives used in vaccines do not enter or occur in our body naturally. Get it? Similarly not all vaccines are dead or weakened viruses. Some of them are synthesized to be a completely separate compound than the actual virus. Again… read up dude!!

    “If vaccines do infact cause autism, why is it that it shows up so late? Why didn’t it show up earlier? ”

    Ahh, ignorance is bliss. Do you know when that each of the components of MMR start working not immediately, but as late as a couple of months? it S T A R T S working after a month or so. Did you see the video I sent to you in the first post? The kid’s lumber puncture (google and you’ll know what it means) showed high amount of MMR viruses flowing through his brain more than a MONTH after vaccination.

    Apart from it, I personally know atleast two persons whose kids started having “Infantile Spasms” a deadly form of infant epilepsy within hours of receiving DTP vaccination. I guess you’ll ask, why hours, why not minutes?

    “It is obvious that her son has some sort of allergic reaction to the vaccines”… wow, you are a doctor now? Is it so obvious it was an allergic reaction? Read the side effects, vaccines do not ONLY have allergic reactions.

    Why don’t you read up some more, and THEN comment. Medicine is not rocket science.

  2. IGG said, on August 28, 2008 at 10:35 PM

    Here is the thing, I had a heart-to-heart with our pediatrician about the vaccination, and eventually, after presenting all the data she came clean. Apparently, there are many pediatricians worried about the risk to reward ratio of SOME of the vaccines, but they cannot speak out publicly in the fear of the vaccination companies suing them. There are tests (test of allergy, immunology etc) where you can weed out the kids who will be affected adversely by specific vaccinations, and customize the vaccination schedule for individual kids. But the insurance and vaccination manufacturing companies won’t have any of it as it costs more. See who is driving the market?

    So, it’s up to you to read up, figure it out and make your own decision for your little one. Don’t depend on the doctor or FDA to provide you all the info. It’s YOUR precious one, not theirs. For them, putting a fine print is good enough. Or else, wouldn’t FDA ban cigarettes?

  3. Skepdude said, on August 29, 2008 at 1:39 AM

    Ok, first you’re missing the point about the natural or unnatural fallacy. The point is that, even if I grant your definition of unnatural agents, something that we would not normally get in our bodies “naturally” does not make it bad for us. Do you drink soda? I am sure the secret formula of Coke must have some “unnatural” agents. It is quite stupid to claim that natural is good and unnatural, whatever the hell you mean by that, is bad.

    Second, try not to contradict yourself. In one paragraph you make the point that vaccines take up to a MONTH to work and on the very next paragraph you give an example of kids having effects within hours. Again you miss the point of the argument. See, little children start getting vaccines when they are born, then again in 2-3 month intervals. That’s at least through the first year, which is my direct experience with my kid. Don’t you think 15 months is too long if in fact it is the vaccines that are causing the autism? Given that kids get shots as early as a few days after birth and then another batch at 2 months, even if we allow for you 1 MONTH theory, we should see a lot of diagnoses at the very least by 6 months no? Isn’t it true that you can pretty much blame anything that happens in the first few years to vaccines, simply because it happened within a couple of months of some shot?

    Ok, maybe I shouldn’t have used the term “obvious”, maybe I should have said “it seems to me like”. So I’ll grant you that one. Nevertheless, the fact that the kid stops breathing right after he gets any vaccine, seems to indicate that he’s experiencing some sort of allergic reaction. Again you miss my point. The parent WANTS to vaccinate her kid but she can’t because of some sort of reaction he experiences. The point was to sympathize with that parent, not diagnose the reaction.

    You talk about my ignorance, and then you say that “medicine is not rocket science”? Maybe the kind of bullshit, pseudo-science that is teaching you that vaccines are evil, is not, but pal REAL medicine is in fact way harder than rocket science.

    DON’T FOOL YOURSELF THAT SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU CAN GOOGLE OR BROWSE WIKIPEDIA THAT YOU ALL OF A SUDDEN KNOW MEDICINE. EVEN A 5 YEAR OLD CAN LEARN TO PRESS A FEW BUTTONS ON A KEYBOARD.

  4. Skepdude said, on August 29, 2008 at 1:45 AM

    Ok dude listen to me. If these doctors had actual proof that some vaccines are as dangerous as you make it sound, it speaks to their ethical standards and integrity if they don’t make it public. You cannot be sued for spreading scientific information. I have yet to hear about a doctor who set up and ran a proper study and was sued as a result.

    On the other hand, if a doctor goes around attacking a specific vaccine based on a gut feeling then they may run the risk of legal action. And I actually would support that. Spreading panic without actual proof is irresponsible and should be prosecuted.

  5. IGG said, on August 29, 2008 at 4:39 AM

    See my response to your response about rubella in the previous post of yours. You didn’t reply about the rubella thing. Ask your doctor about it and get me one frigging reason for vaccinating a BOY child with rubella.

    Coming to your point of unnatural agents, vaccinations used to have thermisol, and flue vaccination for kids still does. Now, kid me in telling thermisol is okay to be injected in the body. Even the vaccination companies decided to replace it since this is a compound made of 50% MERCURY. I guess you’ll claim my pseudoscience is wrong in telling me mercury is bad for health. And you will still take your one year old next year and inject him/her with flue vaccine that contains thermisol (check out sanofi pasteur, the main manufacturer of flu vaccines in US).

    See, each vaccine is different. In my comment, I talked about two vaccines. One is MMR, which takes effect over a period of about 2.5 months. So, if you give the kid MMR, do not travel to third world countries with measels until 3+ months AFTER vaccination. In fact, MMR works in multiple phases. These are NOT information coming from web. Ask your doc if you want confirmation. For DTaP, the pertussis component is suspect for a long time. That’s why they moved from DPT to DTP to DTaP (the latest where they only give the acelluler component of Pertussis). Look man, I’m NOT lying when I say I personally know kids developing Infantile Spasms within hours of DTP (not DTaP, which came not too long ago, and is safer). You can believe me, and try educating yourself, or remain blind, and trust everything.

    As for ethics, are you kidding me. Do you think a regular pediatrician will try to bring down his practice, call for lawsuits for the sake of YOUR kid? Here is another example… In other countries, when a kid gets Urinary tract Infection, normal procedure is :
    1. Test urine.
    2. Based on the infection, give antibiotics.
    3. After the course, do a test again to make sure the infection is gone.

    In US, the procedure is:
    1. Test urine
    2. Based on the infection give antibiotics.
    3. DO NOT DO ANY TEST, HOPE THE MEDICINE WORKED, GO TO STEP 1 IF YOU START BLEEDING IN URINE AGAIN.

    When I asked my doc about why the discrepency, he (a urologist) said he would like to do repeat test and he used to do that, but recent insurance instructions are not to do that, he will get blacklisted if he keeps on ordering repeat UTI tests AFTER the course. Now tell me about etics and all again. This is one of the most powerful urologist in the area (an associate professor of Pediatric Urology in Stanford Medical School), and I have one of the best medical insurances nationwide with a PPO plan.

    See man, it’s up to you to listen to me, but in simple, here are your options.
    1. You can have complete faith in your doctor and FDA, who are controlled by lobbyists and insurance folks, and do whatever they ask you to do.

    2. You can start reading up (NOT ON THE WEB, invest in some good books, especially the one I recommended in the other post, and then go back and clarify things with your doc). This is YOUR kid, not your doc’s or FDAs. You are not going to lose anything by educating yourself, right?

    Good luck.

  6. IGG said, on August 29, 2008 at 4:41 AM

    BTW, my example of the urologist has nothing to do with vaccination. That was just to show how doctors in this country are controlled by the insurance companies by giving a real example. Go ahead and put your full trust in them.

  7. Skepdude said, on August 29, 2008 at 4:25 PM

    Are you kidding me? I did not reply to your Rubella question? Have you even been following up on those comments? I left 2 comments after your 4, quoting Wikipedia, which you quoted first and in fact answering all your questions about Rubella. You should go read those 2 comments.

    It seems to me that you are one of those conspiracy minded people that really distrusts the medical establishment. I can’t do or say anything to change your mind.

    You can educate yourself, you can find out lots of information,but if you think you can learn all there is to know about a subject on your own, I’ve got news for you, YOU CANT. Unless you have a medical degree and are trained in the specific field, you are in no position to criticize based on some dubious fact that you got off the internet.

    There are plenty of good books to invest your money on as you say, but how do YOU decide which one is good? Let me give you a rule of thumb. If the title includes the “..they don’t want you to know” line, it’s bullshit. Furthermore, picking a book from the stand is no different from finding out info on the web, they’re just as reliable when you don’t know how much to rely on the author that is.

    If you want medical information, look at actual published studies on a particular subject, not a $10 book you buy at the airport. That’s the real data, not some kook who thinks he’s discovered the conspiracy of the century. And don’t rely on Wikipedia too much. It’s got some good stuff, but because of it’s nature, it’s bound to have lots of misinformation as well, so don’t take everything in there as true.

    Now about your urologist example, the point should not be that why don’t we do a second test (I am assuming what you say about the other countries and the US is true, and I am assuming that your claim that you did in fact speak to this big guy urologist is true, see I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt), the point is if this test is needed and what do you get out of it. Everything in life is a cost benefit analysis. IF 99 out 100 patients never have any problems after the course of antibiotics, would you advocate that all 100 get a second test? Of course not. Do you have any statistics about that?

    Tests cost money, and what do you think will happen if that became the practice. The insurance company would simply pass on that cost to you and I.

    Who is paying for all these second test in the other countries that you mention anyway?

  8. IGG said, on August 29, 2008 at 8:50 PM

    “You can educate yourself, you can find out lots of information,but if you think you can learn all there is to know about a subject on your own, I’ve got news for you, YOU CANT. Unless you have a medical degree and are trained in the specific field, you are in no position to criticize based on some dubious fact that you got off the internet.”

    Just FYI, my wife is a leading microbiologist in one of nations top schools in Northern CA. I think she is qualified to read some of the medical journals and make sense of it.

    However, I understand your point. So, why don’t you do this, take the information I gave you about Rubella, and verify if I was wrong in ANY, ANY information that I gave you in my comments.

    See, I never told you “DO NOT VACCINATE”. I told you “READ UP AND DECIDE”.

    BTW, the book you are berating, IS written by a doctor, and was recommended to my wife by another microbiologist collegue.

    :-). You are ready to distrust a real person/parent talking about his child to you, but you have full trust in FDA/CDC/vaccine companies and their studies. Irony.

    For the urology experiment, I’m an immigrant, so, I know the midicine system of two countries. Girls get UTI very often, and when they said they are not going to do another test, my wife was very very surprised, as that’s not the norm in many other countries. And whatever I said is true. My son (boys don’t normally get urinary tract infection) had a UTI, and a test showed he has bladder divirticula, not so uncommon among boys, since boys are neurologically behind girls in development and can’t control the urinary muscles that well (they get potty trained later than girs because of this). However, this condition gave us access to this urologist who doesn’t normally see pationts with run of the mill UTI. Just FYI.

    The thing is the risk to reward again. If you have a UTI, especially among children under 2-3 yrs of age, the muscles between kidney and bladder do not close well and on time. So, the urine, a lot of times, flows back to kidney. THe only time you see blood (the first indication of UTI since the kid cannot tell you he is itching while peeing), the blood is coming from the kidney, NOT your bludder. That is the sign that the infection has gone to your kidney. I guess you’d take that risk with your kid… would you?

    Now, what would you do in this case? If you car develops a transmission problem, do you want you mechanic to fix it, and don’t even take it for a test ride and give it back to you and say “well, if you break down in highway again, come back”?

    In other countries, the one I know, there is no insurance framework, so, everything is paid for by parents. Consequently, medicine is MUCH MUCH MUCH LESS expensive. Yes, it’s paid for by the parents, but ordered by the doctor, because it just makes sense.

    No I do not have any statistics for the UTI, I never looked for it. But the fact that this sequence of tests USED TO BE the norm in US, and then got dropped on the behest of INSURANCE COMPANIES tells me a lot of what control they have on doctors. So, my point just is, do not completely trust them, get your information also. That’s all. After that, it’s you and your kid.

    BTW, in the first few months of my kids vaccination, I was like you, completely trusting doctors, never tried to look up any info. Then my son got hit by a dilapidating disorder called Infantile Spasms (Google for it). Fortunately, he is one of the very rare cases who recovered completely. I don’t think his condition is the result of any vaccination, but this triggered me to read up more. So far, between me and wife, we have read many papers and journals, and from that information I’m telling you… educating yourself is the best thing you can do… and this is not only about vaccinations but different other medications too.

  9. Skepdude said, on August 29, 2008 at 9:07 PM

    Can you point to one scientific paper that cast doubt on the Rubella vaccine and how useful it is?

    I trust science, because science has never given me a reason not to trust it. I trust doctors because when I get sick they make me better. When I break a bone they can fix it really nicely.

    It is hypocritical I think to think that the doctors are out to get you and still go to them for treatment when you have a need.

    Yes fine I am willing to educate myself. The question is where do you get your information? You’re basically telling me not to trust the FDA, CDC or WHO because they’re all in the conspiracy.

    Why should I trust a book written by a doctor. Why should I trust A DOCTOR but distrust ALL DOCTORS. Does that make sense to you? Could it be that this one person is looking to sensationalize something in order to make some profit out of it? Do you even accept that as a possibility?

  10. IGG said, on August 29, 2008 at 9:34 PM

    Look at my reply in the other post. I have sent you a lonk that contains quotes from some renowned doctors on what should be changed in the vaccination program, also couple of straightforward questions for you.


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