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Not content with just pandering to the creationists at the Discovery Institute, GOP nominee John McCain doubled down on Friday and made a push for the anti-vaccinationist vote.   According to Jake Tapper at ABC News, McCain still gives credence to the now-discredited "vaccines cause autism" hypothesis:

McCain was responding to a question from the mother of a boy with autism, who asked about a recent story that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program had issued a judgment in favor of an unnamed child whose family claimed regressive encephalopathy and symptoms of autism were caused by thimerosal.

"We’ve been waiting for years for kind of a responsible answer to this question, and are hoping that you can help us out there," the woman said.

McCain said, per ABC News' Bret Hovell, that "It’s indisputable that (autism) is on the rise amongst children, the question is what’s causing it. And we go back and forth and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines."

McCain said there’s "divided scientific opinion" on the matter, with "many on the other side that are credible scientists that are saying that’s not the cause of it."

Let me be absolutely clear here:  McCain is dead wrong, there is no scientific debate on this issue. The case is closed and vaccines are definitively NOT the cause of autism.  Tapper links to relevant statements by the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Institute of Medicine, all dismissing any causation based on the evidence available.  Many, many studies have been done testing both the mecury/autism and vaccine/austism connections, and none has found any causative link, including the most recent ones published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Archives of General Psychiatry.  There is as much "debate" in the scientific community on this issue as there is on the existence of global warming or evolution:  none, save for a few cranks acting in bad faith.

Additionally, the case conceded by the government that McCain's questioner refers to isn't as damning as she thinks it is.  Dr. Steven Novella has covered this much more thoroughly than I ever could, but just to briefly summarize his post, I'll note that this case had nothing to do with thimerosal or autism. The plaintiff had a mitochondrial disorder, not autism, and while the government ceded the vaccine injury claim, legal plausibility is not the same as scientific plausibility.  If Scalia et al. ruled tomorrow that gravity is only 5 m/s, you wouldn't be able to jump any higher as a result.  The legal threshold of evidence is much lower than a scientific study, it's no shock that the government might settle a few cases among the 5000+ in the Autism Omnibus proceedings.

Finally, I'd like to address McCain's motivation for making such a ludicrously ignorant statement.  The most charitable explanation is that he was put on the spot, and he simply didn't want to argue with the mother of an autistic child who, no matter how misguided she was, had suffered enough.  If this is true, it certainly speaks well to McCain's compassion, but not for his "straight talk" persona.  Isn't the whole point of Straight Talk™ to tell hard truths and not mince words?  Has McCain become yet another pandering politician?

More likely, though still speculative, is that McCain was trying to nail down the endorsement of disc jockey Don Imus.  Imus and his wife, Deidre, are big advocates of the mercury militia's cause, through his radio show and her blog at the Huffington Post.  One would think Imus would readily back long time guest McCain, but lately he's had a lot of nice things to say about Barack Obama, perhaps as public penance for his comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team.  Imus has never hesitated from pushing the vaccine/autism myth, perhaps McCain saw this as a way to lock up the shock jock's support?

Whatever the reason, McCain acted irresponsibly.  Vaccination is one of the greatest public health successes of all human civilization.  Because of immunization, some diseases have disappeared while others have ceased to be a threat.  To endanger all that with fearmongering and junk science  is unbecoming of a potential president of the United States.  This just goes to show you that Republicans are still the party of anti-science, it will take a Democratic president to safeguard science and health from the ideologues.  

Originally posted to Soberish on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:01 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He's such a miserable man (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, sheddhead

    Where's the fucking integrity in that?

    Kudos to you, though, on an excellent first diary!

  •  Tipped and Rec'd (6+ / 0-)

    I hope the GOP demogoguery of science becomes a big issue in the GE.

    If you havent yet,  donate to Bill Foster.

    "Cynicism is a sorry wisdom." - Barack Obama

    by BlueGenes on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:06:31 PM PST

  •  People Help Me Out Here (6+ / 0-)

    my understanding is that w/ vaccines there is always a very, very small (did I say very) that a person could have a reaction and/or pass away. But that the benefits to the other 99.99% far outweighs the risk.

    As I correct in this assumption or have I listened to the MSM for too long?

    Let us not forget New Orleans. Visit Project Katrina.

    by webranding on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:08:15 PM PST

    •  That's spot on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, EJP in Maine, esquimaux

      Usually you are screened out of getting a vaccine if you are medically unable to handle it.  These people need the protection of herd immunity, and that's compromised every time an able person does not get vaccinated.  

      •  That is why there is the compensation board.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SnowCountry, lemming22

        because that child unfortunately had encephalitis as a side reaction of the vaccine.  Encephalitis could easily lead to mild brain damage and something like autism- had a student whose cousin had this problem from LaCrosse Encephalitis, a mosquito born illness.

        There are rare but real side effects and we allow the vaccine makers to have this sort of dispute resolution with people to help those damaged while we get the herd immune.  It seems like a fair way to help people recover or get funds to help them with their disability.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:32:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The only way to "screen" for medical ability of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murrayewv, MissyH

        babies to handle vaccines is to give them the vaccine. There is no screening for babies and children, who are the lion's share of people being vaccinated.

        If you had a severe reaction to a vaccine, or a sibling had a severe reaction to a vaccine, you would be considered "screened." After the fact. Kind of like FISA. "Retroactive screening"

        •  Oh bull (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lemming22

          If a child has an allergy that is known to conflict with a certain vaccine, they will not receive that vaccine.  Sure, there are adverse events we can't yet predict and prevent, but there are certainly some we can.  

          The FISA comment is a nice bit of fearmongering there.  Kudos.  

          •  Can you give an example? (0+ / 0-)

            Besides egg allergy?

            And allergy is not the kind of vaccine injury we are talking about. I think we should have a way to screen out people who are likely to have negative reactions, but I don't think we're close to that. The immune system is complex, and when you add in genetic predispositions (which are still being identified), you can see how screening is a long way off.

            It might be helpful to look at people who have had adverse reactions and figure out why. As I mention downthread, my daughter was injured by a vaccination. But my son, who is fully vaccinated, was not. Why is that? The screening just does not exist.

    •  Yes, that's correct (6+ / 0-)

      That's why there is a vaccine injury board.
      And it is possible that brain damage resulting in symptoms resembling autism could occur due to seizures following a vaccine, or encephalopathy (brain infection). Before the recent changes to the vaccine injury board, a few parents had rightfully received compensation for this happening.
      We do know that rubella infection can result in autism (and we've known this since the early 1960s--though the connection was denied at the time as it conflicted with the "blame mom" theory).
      What doesn't seem to wash is the thimerosol theory, and the large-scale causation theory.
      The rubella connection is, by the way, an argument in favour of vaccination. As it appears that a subset of children with autism have immune-system differences, however, I support any research that looks into ways of delivering vaccines that are safer, including changed vaccine schedules for children who may have immune system difficulties or a proclivity for seizures. Doctors are supposed to do this anyway, but many GPs are unaware.

      "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." -- Oscar Wilde

      by expatyank on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:30:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are correct, but the issue (5+ / 0-)

      was whether thimerosal (an organomercurial) was the cause. Thimerosal is not a required ingredient, rather an antiseptic. The argument was that removing (or replacing) thirmerosal would still allow the vaccines to function and remove the compound that was thought to cause the autism. The problem is the time association with the discover of autism which corresponds with when kids are getting most of their vaccines, and the fact that there is basically no control group of kids who don't get vaccinated in this country.

      It's been shown to not be a factor and in addition it hasn't been used in the US in the last 7 years.

      -6.00, -7.03
      "I want my people to be the most intolerant people in the world." - Jerry Falwell

      by johnsonwax on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:40:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Study the Amish. (0+ / 0-)

        They are a large and unvaccinated population, and autism advocacy groups have been asking the NIH for exactly this research.

        •  yeah- they die from measles still..... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayBat, SnowCountry, Soberish

          Outbreaks of infectious disease among communities receiving religious exemption from immunization showcase the effectiveness of the vaccines and the consequences of refusal. In 1985, measles raged through a Christian Scientist school, with 125 cases and 3 deaths.[6] In 1991, there were at least 890 cases of rubella among the Amish in 5 states, and over a dozen babies with congenital rubella syndrome in Pennsylvania alone.[7] These cases would have been entirely preventable with immunization. In a measles outbreak among the US Amish in 1987, there were 130 cases. The attack rate was 1.7% among immunized individuals, and 73.8% among unimmunized individuals. Two Amish died of measles in the following year.[8] In 1979, a polio outbreak paralyzed 14 Amish people in the United States; the outbreak spread to unimmunized non-Amish neighbors.[9] In 1992, a Netherlands epidemic of polio began in a religious community affecting 68 people, paralyzing 59, and killing 2. None of the affected were immunized.[10]

          link

          Human Experimentation shown to cause harm will not be approved.  The Amish chose not to be vaccinated, but they are not a good control population because of their inbreeding.  Better to pick people like westsidegirlygirl who chose to put their children at risk because of some perceived benefit- study them and see what their autism rates are vs. their measles and rubella rates are.  But we couldn't as medical investigators ask you to knowingly put your children at that kind of risk.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:15:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with the Amish (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayBat, lemming22

          is that they are isolated by a wide range of other issues as well. So even if they have lower autism rates, it could be due to anything from milk pasteurization to preservatives in food to exposure to gasoline additives.

          That's a very broad study indeed.

          -6.00, -7.03
          "I want my people to be the most intolerant people in the world." - Jerry Falwell

          by johnsonwax on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:20:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No, they're not. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites, Soberish

          That's a myth.  If I had more time, I'd give you a link, but the Amish absolutely do vaccinate their children.  (They may live a traditional lifestyle, but that doesn't prevent them from adopting modern technology when they think it will improve their lives -- for example, I've heard a lot of Amish have cell phones for emergencies.)

          The Amish are also very different genetically from the rest of the country.  There's a lot of (mild) inbreeding that goes on, just because they tend to have small, close-knit communities.  In short, the Amish are a terrible control group.

          "Autism advocacy groups" is a misnomer in this case as well.  The term should be "parental autism advocacy groups".  I have AS, and it's very clear that the groups aren't lobbying on my behalf.

          •  let's admit that autism is a spectrum disorder (0+ / 0-)

            Your autism is clearly different from my daughter's. You can advocate on your own behalf, and more power to you. My daughter cannot.

            I'll gladly and proudly call myself a parental autism advocate. And in that role I will do my best to figure out what caused my daughter's autism. Just because epidemiological studies don't prove causation does not mean that vaccinations did not cause my daughter's autism. Bench science, not epidemiology, is what will answer this.

            •  Bench science? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Soberish

              By "bench science" you mean "chemistry"?  Or by "bench science," do you mean "special evaluation of my personal special circumstances"?

              Epidemiological studies haven't proven causation, but more importantly, they haven't proven correlation!  And without correlation, there is no case.

              You're not trying to figure out what caused your daughter's autism -- not if you're focused completely on one cause.  You're trying to get doctors to prove what you already think you know.  That's neither bench science nor epidemiology -- and, more importantly, it's counterproductive.

              Or -- let's put this another way. What evidence would you need for you to conclude that your daughter's autism was not caused by vaccines?

              •  Epidemiology vs lab science (0+ / 0-)

                By "bench science," I mean lab science. I mean understanding what is happening on a cellular level vs. crunching numbers of populations. (I've never seen bench science defined as "special evaluation of my personal special circumstances" before.)

                My daughter got very, very sick within 24 hours of a vaccination and never recovered. I know this to be true because I lived it. Video and her medical records back it up. I don't need doctors to "prove" it to me.

                My question is: what about that vaccination did that to her? What caused that reaction? Could it have been prevented?

                I'm not sure why you feel so strongly that you know what I'm seeking in understanding the cause of my daughter's autism.

                •  You know ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... that your daughter got sick.  You do not know that the vaccination caused it.  (My elbow became dislocated within hours of my first tetinus vaccination.  Nevertheless, being vaccinated did not give me nursemaid's elbow.  The timing was entirely coincidental.)

                  Because you believe the vaccination induced your daughter's autism, you're selectively examining evidence.  If the recent studies had found a link between autism and vaccinations, you would gladly be citing them to prove your point -- as it stands, you're claiming they're irrelevant.  The net result is a conspiracy theory interwoven with cherrypicked studies -- not an objective analysis.  In short, what you wind up with isn't science.

                  The part that angers me, however, is that the dogmatic insistance on a link between autism and vaccinations actively hinders efforts to find effective treatment for autism.  Government funds are tight at the moment, even for something as high-profile as autism.  Every study dedicated to finding a link between autism and vaccinations means that another project (looking at, for example, genetics or brain function or treatment for children) isn't funded.  And that means that it's harder to find a cure.

                  Every biomedical research institution in America would love it if, say, mercury were found to cause autism.  We know methods of dealing with mercury poisoning.  The first drug company to identify a safe, effective chelation drug suitable for long-term use would make millions -- especially if it could be used preventatively.  But it isn't, and another dozen major studies won't suddenly change things.

          •  The article in question (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bjackrian, lemming22

            See this post from autism blogger Kev Leitch, which cites and quotes a CDC survey of a large Amish community in Illinois in which 84% of the 225 respondents reported having vaccinated their children.

      •  It hasn't been introduced into the supply for use (0+ / 0-)

        in the US in 7 years, but they were still using up the old supply.

        I would always check just the same. Who knows what "old supply" means, what the fine print was.

        Regardless of the verdict on thimerosal, it is still a derivative of mercury, and that just doesn't sound like something I want to inject my babies with if I don't have to.

        •  It's full-strength in flu shots (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HomeBrew

          Yes. 25 micrograms of mercury per flu shot, which the CDC recommends for pregnant women, infants, and is now trying to get on the schedule once a year for all children up to age 18.

          •  Amen (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MissyH

            I keep hearing that it has been taken out of vaccines, and it just isn't true.  Every year I get the flu vaccine, and sure enough, it is always there.

            That 25 micrograms is way over the recommended amount of mercury intake.

            The argument about whether thimerosal is the culprit is far from over.

          •  Not in 100% of the flu shot supply (0+ / 0-)

            Fluarix uses mercury but most is filtered out
            Fluzone has mercury added to the large 10 dose vial but the perservative-free single dose has none.
            FluLaval has it added.  25 micrograms
            Fluvirin it is also used but mostly filtered out.
            Flumist has none.

            I got this info from the Vacine Book by Dr. Sears.

        •  "It's a derivitive of mercury." (0+ / 0-)

          Fantastic.  Do you completely avoid tuna and other seafoods as well?

    •  That people could have a reaction, (0+ / 0-)

      yes.  That someone could "catch" autism, absolutely not.

    •  Yes, but it's not a very very small percentage (0+ / 0-)

      that have a reaction.  It's only small.

      What mortality rate do you feel is acceptable?

      Come up with an answer, and then research whether the result is more or less than the number you picked.

      Then decide what your opinion is of vaccines.

  •  Thanks (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for bringing this to the light of Daily Kos.    

  •  Vaccines don't cause autism? Please tell RFK, Jr. (6+ / 0-)
  •  I'll rec this one up (9+ / 0-)

    more to get the message out that the "link" between vaccines and autism has no support.  That meme needs to be discarded ASAP.

    For the record I am a parent of a child on the autism spectrum.

    Some additional commentary on case referred to in the blocked text can be found here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/...

  •  Sadly (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, EJP in Maine, Bernie68, BlueMama

    No one wants to admit that there is an issue here about the actual number of checicals that pregnant mothers and children are getting at all times.

    We test things on their own and declare that they are safe, but there are so many different things that we are bombared with on a daily basis that there is no way to know what the combination is doing to us.

    Personally, non-scientific mind of mine, thinks that they cause of autism and many other diseases on the rise in our country has to do with the combination of all the hormones, chemicals and pollutants that are "safe" on their own.

    Mr. Ellinorianne for CA State Senate! (Gary Pritchard ActBlue CA-SD-33)

    by Ellinorianne on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:26:07 PM PST

    •  why assume we have more pollution now.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, SnowCountry, lemming22

      than we did 20 years ago?  In fact, our environment is much cleaner and we are continuing to make progress.  We are taking more herbal remedies and vitamin supplements, but people never seem to worry about taking those, even though there are indications they also are risky when they are poor quality or poorly researched.  There is very little oversight for all these herbal remedies and supplements as well.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:35:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is very little oversight for anything (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ellinorianne

        anymore.

      •  Why assume? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chigh

        Because twenty years ago we didn't eat as many processed foods.  Twenty years ago we didn't have cell phones and other portable devices.  I'm just talking about all the little things that add up.  

        How many drugs have been recalled in the last year that were priorly approvaed by the FDA as "safe".

        We are taking more prescription drugs than ever and we are eating differently from just 20 years ago.  As assumptions go, I think this is just a decent one to make without much proof.

        Speculation is all it is.

        Mr. Ellinorianne for CA State Senate! (Gary Pritchard ActBlue CA-SD-33)

        by Ellinorianne on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:44:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The FDA is more stringent than they used to be... (4+ / 0-)

          they allowed estrogen for years and only recently recommended changing it.  As for processed foods, 20 years ago there were plenty of those  bad for you foods- I bet there is more emphasis on fruit, fiber, vegetables etc. now.  Cell phones causing health problems?  Try not driving with them- there is no good data indicating they cause brain problems but they surely cause car accidents.

          We are taking more different prescription drugs but not for babies prone to autism- our topic of concern.  Instead, we are more aware than ever that babies and toddlers shouldn't be given all sorts of medicine.  

          Rather, American diet is too much fat and sugar and not enough fruits and vegetables.  But no correlation has been presented that autism is due to that diet that I have seen.  Some suggestion that a subset of autistic kids have intolerances for some foods high in gluten- but that could be an effect rather than a cause.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:01:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The definition for autism ... (3+ / 0-)

            ... has also changed dramatically.  That's your "autism epidemic" right there.  Revert back to the definition used in 1983 and I guarentee the numbers will plummet.

            •  Even just 1993. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lemming22, codeman38, Ellinorianne

              Asperger's became a legit diagnosis in America in 1994.

              Before then, anyone without a speech delay but with other autism symptoms, or even all other autism criteria, was not considered to be any kind of autistic in the official statistics. That someone might have been under a different label and might have been considered greatly impaired, but would not have counted as autistic.

              •  When I was in grade school ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassandra Waites

                ... circa, maybe, 1993-5-ish, there was a boy in my GT program who was clearly strange.  His social skills were nil -- his idea of interacting with someone was finding a student and "playing shadow", repeating everything they said until the teacher made them stop.  (Needless to say, no one liked him.)  He spoke in a monotone and had terrible handwriting.  He was obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes.  My mother swears he was brilliant.  At the time -- and to this day, I have no idea why -- he was diagnosed with ADD.

                Even after Aspergers became a legitimate disorder, it still took him years to be diagnosed, let alone properly medicated.

                (As an aside, I am still irritated that I have the same diagnosis as he does.  Any definition that broad is simply useless.)

        •  There were more pirates 20 years ago (5+ / 0-)

          Clearly, the lack of piracy today is contributing to the autism epidemic.  

        •  Twenty years ago ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellinorianne

          ... we had lower CO2 levels, and the Internet didn't exist.

          Quid pro quo.

  •  Thimerosal has largely been phased out of the (7+ / 0-)

    vaccine supply. Regardless, just the very fact that there exists a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program gives pause.

    Autism is not the only form of injury attributed (or previously attributed, to be clear) to vaccines and/or thimerosal in vaccines.

    The fact that these injuries are rare does not give any comfort to those families affected by them.

    Most of the true debate about vaccines deals with the rights of parents to refuse vaccines for their children. It is different from state to state, but it is a real can of worms, one that probably is best left unopened, quite honestly.

    I am a parent who chose to postpone vaccination until school age for my children. I had to tell the hospitals it was a violation of my "religious beliefs" to avoid vaccination at their births.

    If people understand that vaccines are slightly more complicated than 1 vaccine = 1 less disease per person then you have to have debates you never had before. Basically, everyone thinks that if they get a vaccine they don't get a disease. Not exactly. Some vaccines can be as low as 70% effective. The protection comes not from the vaccine itself, but from the fact that everyone else is getting vaccinated, preventing an outbreak.

    My kids aren't protected from disease because they got vaccinated. They are protected because you got your kids vaccinated, and there is no outbreak. Throw that in with the risk - slight risk, but risk nonetheless - of injury, and we set ourselves up once again for another frustrating individual rights vs. good of the community debate.

    Combine that with this nutty idea that parents can't make "medical" decisions about vaccines, but only "religious" ones, - by law here in Illinois - and maybe we don't want to be trumpeting the truth about vaccines from the rooftops.

    •  In other words, to be blunt... (4+ / 0-)

      ...you're a parasite. Your children are protected from disease because of what other children and their parents did. "Haul up the ladder, Jack, I'm on board!"

      •  Did you read what I wrote? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MissyH, Simply Agrestic

        I said POSTPONE. I am not a "parasite" thank you. In fact, the only reason I vaccinated, knowing what I know, is precisely to "join the herd" so to speak.

        Please read my post before insulting me.

        My VACCINATED children are protected more from the herd protection than they are from their individual vaccines.

        •  you can get essentially thimerasol free vaccines. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SnowCountry, lemming22

          even for flu.  However they are more limited in quantity.

          link

          Here is a site Families Fighting Flu whose children have died from influenza.  link  

          Annually, over 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized as a result of influenza. That is a lot of sick children that could be prevented to some extent by flu shots.  High risk children (those with illnesses like heart problems or asthma or sickle cell anemia) should get vaccinations for sure.

          Influenza, pneumonia and other respiratory viruses can be deadly for children with asthma. Asthma is the most common chronic illness in childhood. It affects 6.2 million U.S. children younger than 18 years, is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children younger than 15 years and accounts for more than 640,000 annual emergency department visits in children under the age of 15. It is estimated that 12.8 million school days are lost as the result of asthma.3 The American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) is a network of 20 clinical centers in the United States. The first ACRC study was published by The.New England Journal of Medicine in November 2001 and found that the inactivated influenza vaccine is safe for both children and adults with asthma, regardless of asthma severity. For more information on the ACRC, visit www.lungusa.org.4

          While influenza-associated deaths are most common in elderly persons, they do occur in children. During a recent influenza season, 153 influenza-associated deaths in children were reported to the Centers for Disease Control.5

          link

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:33:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  i am a little confused about why you (5+ / 0-)

      are postponing vaccinating your kids when you get the reasons for doing so perfect.  You are not only increasing the odds of saving your child by getting them vaccinated, but that of another child whose vaccine may have not "taken".  Why would you put those other children at risk?

      just because I call you to task for shitting on Democrat y, does not mean I support y, or x or z. It only means you are an asshole.

      by ETinKC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:40:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am not putting anyone at risk! (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe an explanation is in order here. The protection of the "herd" allows for a small percentage to go without vaccine without causing a problem.

        Technically, if we assume a 70% effectiveness rate which is probably a very low number but for arguments sake - there are a whole lot of people out there who got shots that didn't take, and don't even know it. Never will know it unless there is an outbreak.

        You have to get the unvaccinated population above a certain level before there is a risk. It is not an individual matter. My children will not singlehandedly cause an outbreak of disease, especially if we never leave this city/country to contract anything that isn't already here to introduce into the population.

        I felt, and still do, that we are within our rights to take 3% of the time my children will (hopefully) be alive and spend it in the unvaccinated group - especially- and this is important - since they aren't at school, or at work, or on public transit, etc where they would have a public presence of the sort that provides the opportuniy for transmision of disease.

        In fact, I would advise any parent (who does not travel) to do so.

        •  Classic free rider (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murrayewv, lemming22

          Yes, if just your children are unvaccinated, we'll be fine.  You don't have the power, though, to keep your children as the select few.  When able people don't get vaccinated, preventable disease follows.  Or are you going to try and explain away the recent measles outbreak in San Diego?

          •  If your children get sick.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SnowCountry, lemming22

            they will pass the illness along to others as well.  So you are putting those children at risk as well as your own.  You obviously feel that is a smaller risk since other people are getting vaccinated- and you are right of course- until the herd immunity breaks down and the outbreak happens.  

            I know people who had polio and still use braces.  I mentioned I had measles and rubella.  I know families where the child was born deaf from rubella.   I don't minimize the real problems that vaccines are solving. I hope you never have to regret your decision.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:51:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I am so sick of DKOS a-holes (0+ / 0-)

            you'll never read this b/c three days have passed, but just in case, people here are so busy finding fault they don't even review what they are finding fault with.

            My children are under school age, and they are spending that time unvaccinated while their immune systems strengthen and they gain the ability to speak to me about their symptoms should a reaction develop.

            After that, they get immunized.

            In Japan, they don't vaccinate before age 2. Why do I write this into the void. It's like screaming into the wind, even when, especially when there is someone to read respond to it.

            I can sort of see why conservatives don't like us. Everything anyone says is met with

            "oh YEAH?"
            "so you're saying (insert twisted words here)?" "Huh?"
            "HUH?"

            I am so sick, so sick of the shittiness on this site. I am so sick of thinking I should waste time defending comments I make.

            And for me to S P E L L out the rest of the argument that I tried to keep simple in previous comments to minimize the twisting of my position is way too much energy.

          •  Reply to murrayew was really more appropriate to (0+ / 0-)

            this comment. But you'll never read it, so it doesn't matter.

    •  I got my children vaccinated..... (6+ / 0-)

      because overall, I don't want them to have these potentially fatal diseases.  Take rubella- a major cause of birth defects, blindness and hearing impairment in babies when the pregnant mom got the illness in the correct trimester.

      Since the Measles Initiative has been working to wipe out measles in Africa:

      In 2000, measles caused approximately 757,000 deaths, mostly children under five. By 2006, measles deaths were reduced to 242,000 people worldwide– a remarkable drop of 68 percent. The reduction was even greater in Africa where measles deaths plunged by more than 91 percent.

      link

      That is a lot of lives saved- and there were people dying of measles when I was a kid and got it.  I ran a fever of 104- and was very sick indeed.  So even if it isn't 100% effective, that is a lot of lives saved.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:41:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My daughter is vaccine injured. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chigh, HomeBrew

      I'll spare you the details of the two weeks of fever and vomiting and diarrhea and lethargy that followed the shot that fried her. I'll just tell you that she never recovered from it. And she has autism.

      I remember getting her vaccinated and signing a form stating that I understood the risks. Like most parents, I never thought she would be one of those kids who was actually damaged by vaccines.

      And I agree with westsidegirlygirl that the fact that we have this NVICP is troubling. It was created to protect the vaccine manufacturers, who pay not a DIME into the fund. Who pays for the fund? Those who vaccinate. You pay a small fee each time your kid gets a shot.

      I never even knew what this fund WAS. To think that I paid into it when she got that shot ... it's just nauseating. And now we've been waiting for 3+ years just to get her case heard.

      •  I am so so sorry. (0+ / 0-)

        Your voice is important here, people need to hear it. Thank you for speaking up.

        •  that is because.... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SnowCountry, lemming22, Soberish

          if there were law suits for the few children with serious side effects (which unfortunately your child was one of) then the companies would stop making vaccinations to end lawsuits.  It is an agreed upon arbitration mechanism that many people feels addresses a serious but rare problem.  It is self-funded by those using the vaccines- but then the companies are also self funded by those buying the vaccines.  Many companies left the vaccine marketplace rather than deal with these issues.  These are real risks with all vaccines- and the thimerasol is not the issue but the vaccination process itself.

          Do you want to risk your child dying from a disease or do you want to risk your child dying from the vaccine?  Of course you want no risk but there is not a door number 3.  you can hitchhike along with the herd immunity right up until it breaks down.  There isn't a no risk option here- just which risk you feel like taking for your child.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:39:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The problem is a breakdown of risk analysis (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            murrayewv

            Anti-vaxers mention the risks of vaccinating and not vaccinating as if they are equal.  This is not at all the case.  

          •  That's why I postponed. I felt it was a good (0+ / 0-)

            option. I wish we had some effort put into looking at the largescale implications of postponing, say, until 2 or 3

            •  again.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SnowCountry, lemming22

              it is unethical for researchers to collect data  with children like this by denying them vaccines and putting them at risk- so they need to rely on large populations of people who like you feel it is a better idea to hold off on vaccinating your children.  

              You could check older studies for best ages of vaccinations and when children got sick and died from these diseases when they were more common.  I assume that work was already done when they picked the ages they use now- that the CDC had some input.  I think they want to immunize the child earlier since they are more apt to die or suffer brain damage or blindness and deafness when they are young and more vulnerable to these fevers.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:59:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  So let me get this right... (0+ / 0-)

      You're OK with your kids being protected because other kids got vaccinated and exposed to risks you didn't want your kids exposed to. And you were willing to lie about it to authorities.

      This isn't just about parents' rights--it's about public health policy.

      So, by all means, let's trumpet the truth about vaccines and have an open and truthful discussion about vaccination and the public health. I would like more people to be informed about the facts and the wealth of data that support vaccination.

      "We're up to our alligators in assholes around here!" --Me

      by homogenius on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 12:47:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good grief, will you read my post? Then read (0+ / 0-)

        sagesource's kneejerk reply - sagesource didn't appear to read my post either - then read my reply to said kneejerk reaction-

        then take a deep breath and stop putting words in other people's mouths.

        The truth about vaccines would be lost on you. You wouldn't read it! It's nuanced, some people just don't have the patience for nuance.

        This is why I say can of worms best left alone. Although I always hope beyond hope for a higher level of discourse at dkos-

        to my chagrin.

        •  I didn't put words in your mouth. (0+ / 0-)

          I am a parent who chose to postpone vaccination until school age for my children. I had to tell the hospitals it was a violation of my "religious beliefs" to avoid vaccination at their births.

          My kids aren't protected from disease because they got vaccinated. They are protected because you got your kids vaccinated, and there is no outbreak.

          Your comment left room for more than one person to interpret it this way. I said "let me get this right"--that left room for you to clarify the perceived ambiguity.

          I didn't call you names or insult your intelligence. So take some responsibility for your sloppiness.

          "We're up to our alligators in assholes around here!" --Me

          by homogenius on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:31:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I can't believe this. (0+ / 0-)

      My kids aren't protected from disease because they got vaccinated. They are protected because you got your kids vaccinated, and there is no outbreak. Throw that in with the risk - slight risk, but risk nonetheless - of injury ....

      That's quite possibly the most disgusting statement I've read.

      You openly admit that vaccines only protect a community when everyone is vaccinated, and yet refuse to vaccinate your own children?

      I give up.  This is like arguing with Grover Norquist over taxation.

  •  I don't think that it is the vaccine itself that (0+ / 0-)

    is at issue with respect to being a possible cause of Autism.  Rather it is the mercury found in the preservative Thimerasol.  There is a law in MO that prohibits the vaccination of children under ?? age with a vaccine that contains .0??? of Thimerasol.  However, there have been no studies linking Thimerasol to autism either.  Sorry no links but it's any easy google search if your interested.

  •  By and large (0+ / 0-)

    vaccines are remarkably ineffective.  The chances of complications are always described as "slight".

    They make sense that we as a society use them for group health, but downplaying the negative side effects is simply dishonest.

    •  Sources on "remarkable ineffective" please. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayBat, murrayewv

      I guess it is magic then that measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, polio, h influenza menigitis, diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, and hepatitis B rates have decreased dramatically.
      Don't let facts get in the way of ideology.

      I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

      by UndercoverRxer on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:20:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a matter of ideology. (0+ / 0-)

        What number would you call effective?

        Studies would indicate between 98% to 70% effective depending on which vaccine you are talking about.

        Can you think of anything else in your life that only works 9 times out of 10, and you think of it as being very effective?

        •  So condoms are ineffective? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          UndercoverRxer

          Seriously, 9 out of 10 is enough to brand something ineffective?  I'm sorry, but that fucking insane, especially when the "works" in this statement is "preventing fatal disease".  Have you lost your mind?

          •  Would you drive your care if (0+ / 0-)

            it only worked 9 out of 10 times?

            Had clean water only 9 out of 10 times?

            Used a condom if it was safe only 9 out 10 times?

            My point was that we wouldn't accept this low level of effectiveness in other areas of our life, and think it was okay.

            We've been sold a bill of good from the medical community.  70% effectiveness is probably sufficient to stop pandemics, but that's still not very good.

            The medical and pharmaceutical industry likes to lead us around like sheep and tout the effectiveness of vaccines, and hides the fact that there are significant side effects.

        •  Being in the medical field myself. (0+ / 0-)

          Vaccines work better than almost anything else we do in health care. So we should stop using them and do something with a ZERO % success rate, that being do nothing. Humans are not machines, you will never get anything 100% sure in people other than eventually we wear out and die.
          Again, how else would you account for the reductions in the conditions that I mentioned? 70% seems to be enough to disrupt the pool for the pathogen to spread, even with the dismal rates seen in some areas.

          I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

          by UndercoverRxer on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 02:09:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are knocking down a strawman (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not suggesting we shouldn't use vaccines.  I am saying we need to be cognizant of the side effects.

            And saying they work better than almost anything else down in health care is damning it with faint praise.  Ever try and ask your pediatrician why they want to prescribe antibiotics for an ear infection?  They don't want to discuss it.  Every other parent just takes it and shuts the hell up, why can't you?

            •  OK, we are mostly on the same page. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              desertlover

              The reality of care is that nothing works 100%, well maybe hysterectomy for birth control, OK.
              And my pediatrician doesn't use antibiotics until chronic otitis because I trained her about how worthless they are in most cases.
              I think we should do a better job on informed consent. Mail out information weeks before the vaccination visit, not just drop a consent when the nurse is there with the syringe and the child has their rear in the air.
              I knew all the risks, it's my career, and all 3 of my kids had every vaccine available at the time and they are 3 very healthy kids, partially because of vaccinations, I truly believe. But it was my choice, and I think we need education so people see it as a choice they want to make.

              I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

              by UndercoverRxer on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 02:34:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I did everything I could to space out my (0+ / 0-)

                kids' vaccinations.  I made sure that they never were sick at the time they had it done.  On two occasions one of my kids had a bad reaction and was sick for a week.

                Another one of my children has autism (mildly), but I don't have any reason to think it was related to vaccines.  We didn't give her any vaccinations in the first year (one of the benefits of not sending your kids to public school), but my wife did have a rhogam shot (I am not sure how to spell that), and that has a ton of mercury in it.

                I have never seen any studies relating autism to rhogam, but the same sort of thinking applies about mercury and autism.

                As for the informed consent thing, I think that it is usually a crock.  Most parents have to give their kids vaccinations if they go to school or daycare.  Their situation forces them to get the vaccinations, and get a bunch of them at the same time.  It is kind of strong arming them into doing that.

  •  They are afraid to find the reasons for... (0+ / 0-)

    increased austism in the USA! Pointing to vaccines in spite of the lack of evidence to link the two gives them comfort. Comfort in the fact that they won't look at what is really causing austism! It's a head-in-the-sane approach.

    "What a peaceful world it would be if Barbara had aborted!"

    by DevonTexas on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:05:11 PM PST

  •  The "proof" you cite is pretty hollow. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    westsidegirlygirl

    The New England Journal study did not study autism.  The Archives of General Psychiatry article was a retrospective study that was contaminated by a change in awareness of childhood autism during the time period of the study.  The only way this association could have been discredited would be to do a prospective study and to follow children with health care professionals that have had the same training on how to identify autism.  The lack of equal health care in this country also means that many children could have undiagnosed autism.  I have a real problem that you are accepting the opinions of professionals employed by big pharma for your medicine facts.  Take a look at the affiliations of the people that authored the article in NEJM.

    •  Exactly- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MissyH, HomeBrew

      We know vaccines save lives. but the more we know about vaccines - and the people who give us our official vaccine information - the more we realize we can't really trust them either.

      Thanks

      •  please see my comments.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SnowCountry

        on why a prospective study is unethical, given the potential fatal risk to child who participated and didn't get a vaccine.  If you want to not vaccinate your child you could participate, but a physician would need to go find you and not offer you any inducement to take this action.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:42:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It may not be possible to answer this question (0+ / 0-)

          I do not disagree with your concerns about the ethics of a proper randomized study.  What I am saying is that I read the two papers mentioned and I do not accept the conclusion that vaccines are unrelated to autism.  It certainly was a concern when I had my child vaccinated and it is one of the many things I am thankful for that the vaccinations did what they were supposed to do.

    •  No, retrospective cohort design works fine here. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv

      You can't throw out the study due to the diagnosis awareness confounder, you can control for this. And if anything, it would bias the results in a positive direction for thimerisol association. Are you saying that the risk of getting autism would be different in the group who doesn't have as good an access to healthcare services after getting the vaccine? Otherwise looking at the "better health care" group should be fine, again, would bias in favor of finding an autism diagnosis.

      So with all the POTENTIAL biases in favor of finding an association, they still don't find one.

      I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

      by UndercoverRxer on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:26:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The diagnosis of autism may not be consistent (0+ / 0-)

        I am familiar with studies of hypertension and diabetes.  When you do population studies and actually measure everyone for whether or not they have high blood pressure or high glucose levels you find that many people have these problems but were unaware of them.  Part of the problem is better training of health care providers.  So, if you start a study and say you are going to study autism, I would expect that over time the rate of autism would increase due to better awareness of the symptoms.  Next you have a population of people that do not have access to health care and may or may not get the routine set of childhood vaccinations.  Somehow you need to account for them and define how many vaccinations are necessary to see a negative reaction.  Bottom line, retrospective studies are very helpful to point to potential associations but need to be followed up by prospective studies.

        •  Agree, but not going to happen. (0+ / 0-)

          No IRB would approve a prospective study of this type.
          The one telling thing for me is that the rates are still rising, and yes, mostly likely due to better diagnostic skills. But if if was mercury, the rates should still be decreasing.
          My personal belief is that there are people with high functional autism who are main streaming (which I think is great)and having children where in the past they did not. This increases the prevalence in the population. Part of the issue with juvenile diabetes and asthma increases as well.  

          I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

          by UndercoverRxer on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:25:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes and no (0+ / 0-)

            You could design a study where you followed children prospectively and look for vaccinations as being triggering events.  From other comments it looks like people think the onset of autism occurs shortly after a vaccination.  That might be possible to measure but would require a very large and costly study to get the numbers needed.  Who would fund that?

            •  The "urban legend" is the thimersol (0+ / 0-)

              not the vaccine. And thimersol is out of the usual battery of childhood imunizations. No one is going to expose subjects to thimersol in a study.

              I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

              by UndercoverRxer on Tue Mar 04, 2008 at 01:43:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  There is a problem (0+ / 0-)

              With this set-up.  A large number of vaccines are given in the first two years of life.  Autism spectrum disorders are first diagnosable around the age of 18 months because the first hints of a problem are usually in language development or social interaction, and both of those skills begin to develop significantly at about that time.  Therefore a study of development of autism after vaccines would probably show a correlation, but that does not mean that the vaccines cause autism.

              There was actually a similar conflation of timing with causation with the diptheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine a while back.  Some researchers looked at babies who had died from SIDS and it turned out that many of them had a DTaP vaccine in the two weeks before they died.  DTaP is usually given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age.  SIDS generally affects children under 6 months of age.  Therefore, when you look back, of course many of these children who died had a recent DTaP vaccine, but DTaP did not cause the deaths.  Decreasing the vaccination of children didn't help decrease the rate of SIDS, but having children sleep on their backs did.  Just shows how easy it is to conflate correlations and causations especially when you're looking for an explanation for something as serious as SIDS or autism.

              We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it well.

              by bjackrian on Tue Mar 04, 2008 at 03:43:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  So? (0+ / 0-)

      The professional status of the authors is not proof that the study is bunk.  This is simple logic here, people.  If you have something to say about the science involved, I would use that rather than try to poison the well with anti-pharma fearmongering.  

      •  The NEJM paper does not address autism (0+ / 0-)

        I am not saying the study was bunk, I am saying that it did not address autism.  Yes it does matter who pays the salaries of the authors.  A clinical professor can bring in millions of research dollars to his/her department by doing research for big pharma.  That results in promotions and bigger staffs.  Why do you think journals insist on publishing that information?

        •  Again (0+ / 0-)

          You actually have to have scientific issue with these studies (which if you remember, I only said were the most recent, not the end all be all) to make a valid complaint.  Source of funding says nothing about the science involved.  If this is the best you've got, I pity you and your pre-scientific mindset.  

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