Vaccination

When Journalists Attack Non-Vax Parents

About a week ago I came across an article that was so full of incorrect information and prejudices against non-vaccinating parents I had to comment. It was the same old misinformation you often see touted across the internet, but this time it was expressed with such arrogance and rudeness, I was motivated to write this blogpost, correct the misinformation, and speak up for the non-vaccinating parents.

Below is the article, with my response in blue:

Becoming an expert is just a mouse click away
www.heraldsun.com.au
By Mia Freedman

THERE isn't enough room in this newspaper to list all the things I don't know. There's not even enough room in Wikipedia, which - if it were an actual book - would take you 123 years to read. Recently, though, there's been an explosion of people with a wildly inflated sense of their own intelligence. Suddenly, everyone's an expert. Me, not so much. I understand how little I know about lots of things. For example, I know less about science than scientists.

Mia says this, but later in her article insists she knows more than scientists who produce studies showing risks associated with vaccination. She's also never researched vaccination, and refuses to do so.

I know less about medicine than doctors.

When it comes to specialties such as vaccination, the majority of doctors are not expertly trained in epidemiology, immunology, virology, or vaccinology and can not call themselves 'experts' in the field. Because new vaccine formulations are continually rolled out and new vaccine studies are published each year, unless doctors have done their own, up to date, independent research, many may know even less about the latest vaccine studies than you.

I know less about tax than my accountant, less about cooking than Donna Hay and less about animals than Bondi Vet. There's no shortage of genuine experts who have degrees, qualifications and years of experience in their fields. Having access to Google does not make you an expert, nor does having a website or watching a YouTube video.

No one is saying that it does. Ofcourse having access to Google doesn't make you an expert. However, having access to the thousands of vaccination studies found through Google and online medical research databases can provide readers with access to expert opinions. That does not make the reader an expert, it only means that they can read the expert opinion of others. 4

These things simply make you someone with an internet connection.What on earth could make a civilian believe his Google "research" is superior to decades of science?

No one is saying that it does. The research that 'civilians' do often does involve researching 'decades of science'. It's Google, along with other databases, that provide the science for the public and the medical community to read. It's thanks to these databases that we have the opportunity to read the science first hand in full text, instead of relying on slanted, shoddy newspaper articles that have no basis whatsoever like the one I'm commenting on .

"Everyone's an expert today," confirms social researcher Neer Korn, "partly because we feel we need to be. We receive kudos for proclaiming our definitive knowledge to others and we compete to be the first to share facts, articles and videos."

This would be true for hack journalists who compete with eachother, but for parents their main priority, and the driving force to seek out new info, is the safety and protection of their children, that's an honorable trait.

But reading some articles doesn't put you on par with a scientist and here's where it can become dangerous.

No one is saying that it does. Articles, like Mias one here, are just opinion and on their own are worth very little. You need to get to the source of the info – the studies. But it doesn't stop there, you need to make sure the study itself is not spun and confirm that the funding and authors of the study are in no way involved with the company whose product is being studied.

Research sponsored by the drug industry are more likely to produce results favouring the product made by the company sponsoring the research, than studies funded by other sources. The results apply across a wide range of disease states, drugs, and drug classes, over at least two decades and regardless of the type of research being assessed.7

Adding to the controversy, organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), who are responsible for "providing leadership on global health matters" including vaccination recommendations, employ vaccine researchers and advisers who are also under the payroll of vaccine manufacturers. This is a massive conflict of interest that potentially undermines vaccine safety on a global scale. 115

A few years ago, I worked with a lovely guy who had left school at 16.

Why the need to mention he left school at 16? Quite a spiteful little dig at her co-worker.

When his wife had their first child, he "did his research" and they decided not to vaccinate their daughter.At the time, everyone around him insisted it was safe (and vital), but he was adamant.

It's more likely that just Mia thought vaccination was safe. It's possible this lovely guy had support from others who also chose not to vaccinate.

"I've read a lot about this and I watched this amazing video," he insisted.

Good for him for reaching out, getting informed, and getting involved in his childs health.

"Vaccinations are just a way for big companies and the government to make money."

We're talking billions. For example, a report from 2007 entitled "Pipeline and Commercial Insight: Pediatric and Adolescent Vaccines," written by vaccine analyst Hedwig Kresse, includes an assessment of products and forecast of market size and coverage rates to the year 2016. He predicts that due to the "promising commercial potential" of new, high-price vaccines, the pediatric and adolescent vaccine market will quadruple from approximately $4.3 billion in 2006, to over $16 billion by 2016, across the US, the EU-five including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, and Japan. 114

Another more recent report from 2012 entitled "20 Top-selling Vaccines - H1 2012" written by Alison Bryant on the global vaccine market notes: 
"Thanks in part to the adult influenza market and vaccines such as Gardasil and Prevnar, the global vaccine market has enjoyed a decidedly solid boost in revenue. Ten years ago, the vaccine market sat at $5.7 billion dollars…now, that market has soared to $27 billion." 117

To ensure this revenue is protected, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) gives vaccine manufacturers (and doctors) complete immunity from any legal liability if your child is harmed by their vaccines. No other industry enjoys this level of protection from a product that could injure a child. 116

Where do you start arguing the extreme lack of logic in that? Not here; I'd need more space and a wheelie bin full of Rescue Remedy.

First this journalist should watch the video / read the info her friend has seen / read to get a sense of what he's talking about in order to make a comment on it, as you would expect from a decent journalist. It could well be that his info is sourced from reputable studies. In which case she should thank him for passing on some great info. But it seems research is beyond this journalists scope of journalism.

Because, while I accept my former co-worker was a thoughtful person who meant well, I'm floored by the extraordinary assumption that he knew better than every scientist in the world - not to mention Bill and Melinda Gates, who are spending hundreds of millions of their own dollars funding vaccine programs in Third World countries to eradicate killer diseases.

Firstly, whether the former co-workers info was correct we'll never know because this journalist didn't bother to investigate it.

Secondly, every scientist in the world does not believe vaccination is safe nor does every scientist vaccinate their children. Rash statements that include the words "every scientist in the world" are what give Google research a bad name, you could end up reading one of Mias articles, heaven forbid. 10 - 13

Truth be known, the vast majority of doctors involved in establishing national guidelines on disease treatment have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry that could potentially sway their recommendations and inappropriately influence thousands of other physicians. 5 – 9

Further, whether a doctors agrees with vaccination or not, they are often bound by their workplaces policy to promote vaccination. If they dare speak out against vaccination they risk losing their job. 1,2,3

Lastly, why would anyone care what Bill and Melinda Gates think of vaccination? They're not vaccine experts, they're computer software moguls.

What on earth could make a civilian believe his Google "research" is superior to decades of science?

People use Google to access scientific studies. It's not "Google" vs "decades of science". In many cases it's Google that PROVIDES the decades of science.  

Is it arrogance?

This journalist claims her friends research is null and void but hasn't bothered to investigate what information he read. Then she has the gall to call him arrogant?

"The internet has made expertise a mouse click away," Korn says.

Access to an experts opinion is a mouse click away, that doesn't make the user an expert, but it provides much needed knowledge in a hotly debated topic such as vaccination.

"And a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Just ask any GP who has to contend with self-diagnosing patients, determined they can identify their prognosis and treatment. They address them more as colleagues than patients, because they place their internet search on par with the doctor's years of expertise."

GPs constantly use the internet, including Google, to research ailments! GPs are not an endless source of information, they are human, treat them as such. If a GP is unable to answer questions from a patient it's a sign they need to do a little more study. Medical research is constantly evolving and GPs must evolve with it.

Doctors really do live this every day. Says one of my friends who is a medical specialist: "You find yourself getting into these exhausting debates with patients who insist they've read something that goes against what you're telling them. Unless you're highly experienced, it can be extremely difficult to judge the credibility of the information you find online."

I agree with this medical specialist that it can be difficult for someone new to vaccine research to judge the credibility of information on line. You need to decifer opinion from fact by researching sources, verifying studies are reliable, and finding more reliable studies to back up the findings. But this is not reserved for the "highly experienced", any mildly intelligent person can learn to do this.

As for specialists dealing with a patients inquisitiveness – they can deal with it, they are providing a service and charging big prices for it.

Which brings me to the Australian Vaccination Network which, despite its official-sounding name, is a group of civilian self-styled "experts" who campaign vigorously and at times misleadingly (according to findings by the Health Care Complaints Commission) against vaccination on its website and in the free talks its members give around Australia, sometimes to expectant parents at pre-natal classes.

The Australian Vaccination Network makes no mention of being "experts". From the AVN site:
"The AVN was founded in 1994 by a group of parents and health professionals who were concerned about protecting the rights of Australians to make free and informed health choices. Since its inception, this organisation has been run on a volunteer-basis though it currently has two part-time employees who work in administration."
While publicly pedaling its anti-vaccination message, the AVN cleverly makes it sound like there are "two sides" to the vaccination debate.In fact, there aren't two sides and there is no debate.

In fact, there's a wide range of differing opinions on vaccination within the medical community. 10 - 13

On one hand there is science and there is no other hand.

Yes, in this debate there should only be science, not shoddy articles with no sources like the one I'm commenting on.

Because no link between vaccination and autism has ever been found. None.

Really… says who, this hack journalist? The same journalist who earlier claimed to know nothing about vaccination, and who provides no sources of proof for any statements, but now decides to make  definitive expert claims? Ironically Mia is doing exactly what she is accusing those who question vaccines of doing. In the real world 'decades of science' show there is a clear link to autism, and unlike Mia I have the studies to prove it.
An abnormal immune response to the vaccine-derived measles virus is implicated in autism
“This report on children with both autistic encephalopathy (brain injury) and intestinal pathology (disease) associated with measles virus persistence describes the detection of measles virus in the cerebrospinal fluid of such children. None of the cases (autistic children studied) or controls (non-autistic children studied) had a history of measles exposure other than MMR vaccination. Findings are consistent with both a measles virus etiology (cause) for the autistic encephalopathy (brain injury) and active viral replication in these children. The data support the growing perception that a subset of children with autistic encephalopathy (brain injury) exhibits a complex systemic pathology (disease) consistent with an etiological (causative) role for measles virus.” 14
“Analysis revealed the presence of an unusual MMR antibody in 60% of autistic sera (blood samples) but not in control sera (non-autistic blood samples). Furthermore, over 90% of MMR antibody-positive autistic sera (blood samples) were also positive for myelin basic protein autoantibodies (myelin basic protein is a substance essential for proper functioning of nervous system, autoantibodies to myelin basic protein mean that body attacks the myelin basic protein, creating inflammation, damage, and cell death), suggesting a strong association between MMR and central nervous system autoimmunity in autism (autoantibodies to myelin basic protein is found in other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and traverse myelitis). Stemming from this evidence, we suggest that an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism.” 15
Aluminium sourced from vaccines is implicated in autism
“We investigated whether exposure to aluminium from vaccines could be contributing to the rise in autism spectrum disorders prevalence in the Western world. Our results show that:
(i) children from countries with the highest autism spectrum disorders prevalence appear to have the highest exposure to aluminium from vaccines;
(ii) the increase in exposure to aluminium adjuvants significantly correlates with the increase in autism spectrum disorders prevalence in the United States observed over the last two decades and
(iii) a significant correlation exists between the amounts of aluminium administered to preschool children and the current prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in seven Western countries, particularly at 3–4 months of age.” 16
“Our results provide strong evidence supporting a link between autism and the aluminum in vaccines. A literature review showing toxicity of aluminum in human physiology offers further support. Mentions of autism in VAERS increased steadily at the end of the last century, during a period when mercury was being phased out, while aluminum adjuvant burden was being increased. We propose that children with the autism diagnosis are especially vulnerable to toxic metals such as aluminum and mercury due to insufficient serum sulfate and glutathione. A strong correlation between autism and the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine is also observed.” 17
Vaccination with subsequent acetaminophen (paracetamol) administration is implicated in autism
“The present study was performed to determine whether acetaminophen (paracetamol) use after the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination could be associated with autistic disorder. Acetaminophen (paracetamol) use after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination was significantly associated with autistic disorder when considering children 5 years of age or less (autistic children were over 6 fold more likely to have received acetaminophen after MMR vaccination). After limiting cases to children with regression in development (the likelihood was 4 fold), and when considering only children who had post-vaccination sequelae (damage due to vaccination)(the likelihood was 8.2 fold). This preliminary study found that acetaminophen (paracetamol) use after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination was associated with autistic disorder.” 18
Mercury sourced from vaccines is implicated in autism
“Exposure to mercury can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioural dysfunctions similar to traits defining or associated with autism, and the similarities extend to neuroanatomy, neurotransmitters, and biochemistry. Thimerosal, a preservative added to many vaccines, has become a major source of mercury in children who, within their first two years, may have received a quantity of mercury that exceeds safety guidelines. A review of medical literature and US government data suggests that:
(i) many cases of idiopathic autism are induced by early mercury exposure from thimerosal;
(ii) this type of autism represents an unrecognized mercurial syndrome; and
(iii) genetic and non-genetic factors establish a predisposition whereby thimerosal’s adverse effects occur only in some children.” 19
“It is clear that while genetic factors are important to the pathogenesis (cause) of Autism Spectrum Disorders, mercury exposure can induce immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions similar to traits defining or associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A case series of nine patients who presented to the Genetic Centers of America for a genetic/developmental evaluation are discussed. Eight of nine patients (one patient was found to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder due to Rett's syndrome)…
(a) had regressive Autism Spectrum Disorders;
(b) had elevated levels of androgens;
(c) excreted significant amounts of mercury post chelation challenge;
(d) had biochemical evidence of decreased function in their glutathione pathways;
(e) had no known significant mercury exposure except from Thimerosal-containing vaccines/Rho(D)-immune globulin preparations; and
(f) had alternate causes for their regressive Autism Spectrum Disorders ruled out.
There was a significant dose-response relationship between the severity of the regressive Autism Spectrum Disorders observed and the total mercury dose children received from Thimerosal-containing vaccines/Rho (D)-immune globulin preparations. Eight of nine patients examined were exposed to significant mercury from Thimerosal-containing biologic/vaccine preparations during their fetal/infant developmental periods, and subsequently, between 12 and 24 mo of age, these previously normally developing children suffered mercury toxic encephalopathies (brain injury) that manifested with clinical symptoms consistent with regressive Autism Spectrum Disorders. Evidence for mercury intoxication should be considered in the differential diagnosis as contributing to some regressive Autism Spectrum Disorders.” 20
Conjugate vaccines are implicated in autism
“It is hypothesized here that the introduction of the Hib conjugate vaccine in the US in 1988 and its subsequent introduction in Denmark and Israel could explain a substantial portion of the initial increases in autism spectrum disorders in those countries. The continuation of the trend toward increased rates of autism spectrum disorders could be further explained by increased usage of the vaccine, a change in 1990 in the recommended age of vaccination in the US from 15 to 2 months, increased immunogenicity of the vaccine through changes in its carrier protein, and the subsequent introduction of the conjugate vaccine for Streptococcus pneumoniae. Conjugate vaccines fundamentally change the manner in which the immune systems of infants and young children function by deviating their immune responses to the targeted carbohydrate antigens from a state of hypo(lowered)-responsiveness to a robust B2 cell mediated response (which promotes the production of antibodies; carbohydrate antigens are bacterial-based polysaccharides and glycocojugates that evoke antibodies, many are found in vaccines such the Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and Salmonella typhi vaccines). This (biologically normal) period of hypo(lowered)-responsiveness to carbohydrate antigens coincides with the intense myelination process in infants and young children (myelination is a crucial process in the nervous system; problems with myelination are involved in autoimmune diseases), and conjugate vaccines may have disrupted evolutionary forces that (would have normally) favored early brain development over the need to protect infants and young children from capsular (polysaccharide) bacteria.” 21
Ever

There has been a link to autism since early 2000 when the CDC first investigated the link, and the link has continued to strengthen as studies continue. 22 For more studies linking autism to vaccines see this post.

What has been proven is that, while they are not 100 per cent perfect, vaccines are the best and only way to protect babies and children from diseases such as whooping cough that can kill them.

More madeup opinion from a self-confessed non-expert who refuses to even look at studies on vaccination. Can I get a citing study with that? Not likely. Vaccines are certainly not the only way to protect babies from illness – studies show the protection of breastmilk, vitamin C and D, fresh water, sunshine, healthy diet and cleanliness all play a major role in immunity. 23 - 40

Long before vaccinations were in wide spread use the major diseases responsible for the bulk of mortality in the late 19th and early 20th century had declined dramatically, almost entirely due to improvements in living conditions. 118 The US Center for Disease Control explains: 
"The 19th century shift in population from country to city that accompanied industrialization and immigration led to overcrowding in poor housing served by inadequate or nonexistent public water supplies and waste-disposal systems. These conditions resulted in repeated outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, TB, typhoid fever, influenza, yellow fever, and malaria."
"By 1900, however, the incidence of many of these diseases had begun to decline because of public health improvements, implementation of which continued into the 20th century. Local, state, and federal efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene reinforced the concept of collective "public health" action (e.g., to prevent infection by providing clean drinking water). By 1900, 40 of the 45 states had established health departments. The first county health departments were established in 1908 (6). From the 1930s through the 1950s, state and local health departments made substantial progress in disease prevention activities, including sewage disposal, water treatment, food safety, organized solid waste disposal, and public education about hygienic practices (e.g., foodhandling and handwashing). Chlorination and other treatments of drinking water began in the early 1900s and became widespread public health practices, further decreasing the incidence of waterborne diseases. The incidence of TB also declined as improvements in housing reduced crowding and TB-control programs were initiated. In 1900, 194 of every 100,000 U.S. residents died from TB; most were residents of urban areas. In 1940 (before the introduction of antibiotic therapy), TB remained a leading cause of death, but the crude death rate had decreased to 46 per 100,000 persons."
"Animal and pest control also contributed to disease reduction. Nationally sponsored, state-coordinated vaccination and animal-control programs eliminated dog-to-dog transmission of rabies. Malaria, once endemic throughout the southeastern United States, was reduced to negligible levels by the late 1940s; regional mosquito-control programs played an important role in these efforts. Plague also diminished; the U.S. Marine Hospital Service (which later became the Public Health Service) led quarantine and ship inspection activities and rodent and vector-control operations. The last major rat-associated outbreak of plague in the United States occurred during 1924-1925 in Los Angeles. This outbreak included the last identified instance of human-to-human transmission of plague (through inhalation of infectious respiratory droplets from coughing patients) in this country." 119
And the personal choice argument? Well, it's a bit like arguing that driving your car drunk is a personal choice.

We could say that vaccinating a child is like choosing to drive drunk – we don't know what reaction the child will have to a vaccine or when it will manifest itself. Will the child die, will they be severely brain damaged, will they have autism, ADD, allergies or autoimmune disorders? It's a risk we take when we choose to vaccinate. 14 – 22, 41 – 50

Likewise there is risk to not vaccinating – will a child contract a disease and die, will they be left permanently injured by a disease?

But driving drunk is not a valid comparison to either side at all, it's just insulting. Whether parents decide to vaccinate or not vaccinate, you can rest assured they've taken the decision very seriously and have their childrens best interests at heart.

The question at the end of the day is: do the benefits of vaccination outweigh the negatives? With the prevalence of disorders such as autism, allergies, and other autoimmune disorders that have ballooned to epidemic proportions and are linked to vaccination, I don't believe vaccination is worth it – it is simply exchanging one set of illnesses for another. For those who choose not to vaccinate this isn't a viable trade off.

In 1996 it was estimated that 3% of the US population had at least one autoimmune disease. In 2005 estimates of autoimmune disease prevalence increased to 5-8% of the US population. 113 The below graph shows the rise in autism:



You see, the lives of babies too young to be vaccinated depend on herd immunity in the rest of the community.

The concept of herd immunity relies on the fact that those who are immune are unable to spread the disease to others. Unfortunately I couldn't find ANY studies demonstrating that current injected vaccines actually stop recipients contracting the infections they are vaccinated for - mainly because the design of almost all vaccine studies do not include testing all study subjects for infection. Instead, studies show that vaccines often effectively reduce the symptoms of infection (eg. coughing, fever, spots etc). But that does not ensure the recipient does not have a subclinical infection (infection without showing symptoms) with which to spread the infection to those around them. 

For instance, the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine is shown in studies to create the illusion of immunity in the vaccine recipient (minimal or no symptoms) when in fact they are infected and spreading the virus to those around them. 52 This was demonstrated recently when a newborn was hospitalized for whooping cough after contracting it from her fully vaccinated older sister. 51 

Other vaccines are also implicated. Regarding the measles vaccine, Stittelaar et al (2002) state, "...vaccine failures may, at least in part, be attributed to an inadequate vaccine-induced mucosal immunity – the current vaccine protects against measles but not necessarily against measles virus infection." Likewise, Hudgens et al (2004) state, "...vaccines for rubella, mumps, measles, and polio have been shown to prevent disease, but not infection.

The varicella (chicken pox) vaccine has been documented numerous times causing infection in the vaccine recipient and spreading the infection to others. It's also known to cause herpes zoster, a related virus with 3 times the morbidity and 5 times the mortality of varicella, in vaccine recipients. 60-85

This completely shatters any illusion that at least these particular vaccines can provide herd immunity, and even implicates the varicella vaccine as a possible cause of outbreaks. Additionally, it shows that without studies that test each individual for infection, whether they show outward symptoms or not, we can't jump to the conclusion that vaccines can provide herd immunity. 

We also need to take into consideration the fact that vaccines are often ineffective. Even if everyone were vaccinated, and even if vaccines could protect recipients from infection (and we know many don't), there would still be a large chunk of the population in which the vaccine simply won't work. For example multiple outbreaks of whooping cough, chicken pox, and influenza have been documented in highly vaccination populations. 53-58, 86-90, 91-112 If we are unable to guess who the vaccine will not work on, then it's a gamble putting anyone – vaccinated or not – near a newborn. For more information on the pitfalls of vaccine-based herd immunity, see this post.

On a side note, one of the most effective ways of protecting an infant from illness is to exclusively breastfeed. Breastmilk helps protect against almost every commonly known pathogen including whooping cough, rotavirus, and even polio. 59

At least when a non-vaccinated person does contract an illness they usually show outwards signs (eg. coughing, runny nose), and know to stay away from vulnerable individuals such as newborns or those with immune disorders. Additionally a non-vaccinated person is given life long, or long term immunity to the illness after contracting it, something vaccination has never been able to achieve.

So the choice made by that guy I worked with didn't just affect his family. His well-intentioned yet ill-informed decision has the potential to harm my family. And yours.

Firstly, as we know this journalist has no idea whether her co-worker is 'ill-informed' because she never bothered to investigate the information he read.

Secondly, we know that for the majority of current vaccines, vaccine-based herd immunity simply does not exist. Mia's co-worker's decision not to vaccinate does not affect Mia's family or yours, any more than Mia's decision to vaccinate does. Mia is not stopping the spread of disease by vaccinating, though she ignorantly thinks she is, and like many pro-vaccine advocates, she tries to lord the mistaken belief over those who choose not to vaccinate.

Thirdly, forcing a parent to vaccinate their child – potentially harming or killing their child – with the belief that your child will benefit, is ethically wrong. Though one persons child may not have been injured through vaccination, we can not guarantee another child will not. For instance, are you willing force another child to get vaccinated, causing that child to develop developmental delays, just so your child can avoid getting chicken pox, only to find your child's vaccine didn't work and your child gets chicken pox anyway? The hypothetical scenario is made even worse by the fact that forcing another child to get the chicken pox vaccine is unlikely to help protect your child from contracting chicken pox anyway. If exposed to the wild virus the child will still contract the virus and spread it, albeit likely without showing symptoms. They also risk contracting chicken pox or herpes directly from the chicken pox vaccine, and spreading it on to you. 60-85

It's not ethical, and it's not a viable tradeoff.

Watching (or even producing) a YouTube video with some cherry-picked statistics set to rousing orchestral music is not the same as having a uni degree or having your research findings peer reviewed.

No one is claiming that it is.

I'm baffled by this growing sense that everyone has the right - indeed the obligation - to challenge facts that have been established scientifically, independently and repeatedly over years, even decades.

The fact that autism and other injuries can be caused by vaccines has been established scientifically, independently and repeatedly over years, even decades. While people like Mia who have never bothered to read them think they have the right – indeed obligation – to challenge these facts.

Which is fine, if she can produce a sound study to challenge it with – that's what science is all about. But the scientific community hasn't produced sound studies to challenge the studies showing vaccines cause autism and other illnesses / injuries.

"Do your research!" is the common faux clarion call of so-called "experts".

Yes we most definitely should bother to research reliable studies, especially if you're a journalist. 

These exhortations are usually accompanied by a helpful list of links to skewed, scientifically baseless articles that back up their claims.

Articles on vaccination should always be cited, take note Mia, and the sources investigated to verify the validity of the study. The majority of websites about vaccination do cite studies, but seeing Mias aversion to research she probably never bothers to investigate them.

It's easy to mislead people with random graphs and alarmist statements.

This is what Mias article is packed full of – alarmist, false, or misleading statements without any hard facts. Again, finding the studies from which the graphs or statements are sourced is key.

I'M not suggesting we become a flock of sheep or suspend critical thought.
But I don't need to "do my research" before I vaccinate.

A giant oxymoron if ever I heard one. How do you develop critical thought without the freedom or desire to investigate unanswered questions?

Or before I accept that the Earth is round and that gravity exists.Scientists far smarter than me have already done that research and the verdict is unanimous, thanks.

Yes scientists are smarter than this journalist and have done the research, this journalist just hasn't read it. And the results are anything but unanimous.

It can be easier for some folks to dismiss those who disagree with their decision in order to maintain the belief they've done what's best for their child. What would be the alternative? The realization that their choice to vaccinate is causing more harm than good?

For Mia it's easier to block her ears and sing la la la, refuse to research vaccination, and instead write an article smearing non-vaccinating parents to make herself feel better about her own decision.

But what's alarming about Mias article is that it expresses an attitude that, judging by the comments, is  common. It lacks almost any hard facts and is based on snippits of dramatised press, but it's full of anger and arrogance. 

Vaccination has been marketed so intensely that parents often feel attacked for any vaccination choice they make, and it can make the best of us lash out at others when we feel our decision is under attack.

WE ALL care deeply about our childrens welfare no matter what our decision.

Journalists like Mia would have us believe the safety of vaccination has been unanamously agreed upon, but in reality it couldn't be further from the truth. Which is why for many of us, our childrens lives are far too precious to not bother investigating vaccination.

Update: Mia's article has been removed from the Herald Sun.



Sources

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2. PENN MEDICINE INFLUENZA IMMUNIZATION POLICY
Vaccine Ethics

3. Vaccine Policy Statement
Primary Care, Haverford

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10. Doctors, Nurses and Scientists on Protecting Your Child and Yourself
International Medical Council on Vaccination

11. The Case Against Immunizatons
By Richard Moskowitz, M. D

12. Doctors Speak
Vaccination Risk Awareness Network

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Vaccine Truth

14. Detection of Measles Virus Genomic RNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Three Children with Regressive Autism: a Report of Three Cases. J.J. Bradstreet et al. J Am Physicians & Surgeons Vol 9 no.2 2004

15. Abnormal measles-mumps-rubella antibodies and CNS autoimmunity in children with autism.
Singh VK et al. J Biomed Sci. 2002 Jul-Aug;9(4):359-64. PMID: 12145534

16. Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?
Lucija Tomljenovic et al. J Inorganic Biochemistry Vol 105, Issue 11, 2011, Pg 1489–1499

17. Empirical Data Confirm Autism Symptoms Related to Aluminum and Acetaminophen Exposure
Stephanie Seneff, et al. Entropy, November 7, 2012

18. Acetaminophen (paracetamol) use, measles-mumps-rubella vaccination, and autistic disorder: the results of a parent survey. Schultz ST, et al. Autism. 2008 May;12(3):293-307.

19. Autism: a novel form of mercury poisoning
Sallie Bernard et al. Medical Hypotheses (2001) 56(4), 462–471

20. A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorders
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21. Hypothesis: conjugate vaccines may predispose children to autism spectrum disorders.

22. Risk of neurological and renal impairment associated with thimerosal containing vaccines
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23. How to boost your immune system

24. Vit C studies
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25. Vitamin C and human health--a review of recent data relevant to human requirements.
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26. Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C based on antioxidant and health effects in humans.
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27. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

28. Ample evidence exists from human studies that vitamin D reduces the risk of selected bacterial and viral infections.
Experimental Biology and Medicine

29. Vitamin D-Mediated Induction of Innate Immunity in Gingival Epithelial Cells▿
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30. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 Treatment Shrinks Uterine Leiomyoma Tumors in the Eker Rat Model
Journal of Biology of Reproduction

31. Prevalence of eczema and food allergy is associated with latitude in Australia.
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32. The Global Burden of Disease study and applications in water, sanitation and hygiene
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33. Estimating the burden of disease from water, sanitation, and hygiene at a global level.
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34. Sickness behavior induced by endotoxin can be mitigated by the dietary soluble fiber, pectin, through up-regulation of IL-4 and Th2 polarization
Journal of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

35. Does tomato consumption effectively increase the resistance of lymphocyte DNA to oxidative damage?
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

36. DNA damage and repair activity after broccoli intake in young healthy smokers
UK Environmental Mutagen Society

37. Watercress supplementation in diet reduces lymphocyte DNA damage and alters blood antioxidant status in healthy adults
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

38. A randomized trial of isonitrogenous enteral diets after severe trauma. An immune-enhancing diet reduces septic complications.
Annals of Surgery

39. Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults
British Journal of Sports Medicine

40. Risks of Formula Feeding
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41. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
Since 1990, the U.S. Government has collected reports of adverse health events that follow the administration of vaccinations. This database, called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is available for anyone to search or download.

42. 'ASIA' - autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants.
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43. HPV Vaccine Policy: At Odds With Evidence-Based Medicine?
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44. Effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus vaccination on allergies and allergy-related respiratory symptoms among children and adolescents in the United States.
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45. Early childhood infection and atopic disorder
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46. A case-control study of risk factors for asthma in New Zealand children.
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47. Atopy in children of families with an anthroposophic lifestyle.
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48. Pertussis vaccination and asthma: is there a link?
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49. Vaccination and Allergic Disease: A Birth Cohort Study
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50. Childhood Vaccinations and Risk of Asthma: Discussion
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51. Deadly whooping cough warning - Sadly this article has since been removed. 

52. Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model. Jason M. Warfel, et al. 10.1073/pnas.1314688110

53. The 1993 epidemic of pertussis in Cincinnati. Resurgence of disease in a highly immunized population of children. Christie CD et al. N Engl J Med. 1994 Jul 7;331(1):16-21. PMID: 8202096. Study Type : Human Study

54. Outbreak of pertussis in a fully immunized adolescent and adult population.
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55. Pertussis infection in fully vaccinated children in day-care centers, Israel.
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56. Infant pertussis epidemiology and implications for tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination: King County, Washington, 2002 through 2007.
Hanson MP et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Jul ;165(7):647-52. PMID: 21727277. Study Type : Human Study

57. A field survey carried out on the confirmation of a pertussis case in a village of Kirikkale Province, Turkey. Coplü N, et al. Mikrobiyol Bul. 2007 Apr;41(2):175-83. PMID: 17682703

58. Author Insights: Higher Pertussis Rates in Children Vaccinated With Newer Pertussis Vaccine
Bridget M Kuehn. JULY 31, 2012

59. The Immunologic Significance of Breast Milk
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60. Acyclovir-resistant chronic verrucous vaccine strain varicella in a patient with neuroblastoma.
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61. Development of Resistance to Acyclovir during Chronic Infection with the Oka Vaccine Strain of Varicella-Zoster Virus, in an Immunosuppressed Child - full text
Myron J. Levin et al. J Infect Dis. (2003) 188 (7): 954-959.

62. Chickenpox attributable to a vaccine virus contracted from a vaccinee with zoster.
Brunell PA et al. PEDIATRICS Vol. 106 No. 2 August 1, 2000 pp. e28

63. Disseminated varicella infection due to the vaccine strain of varicella-zoster virus, in a patient with a novel deficiency in natural killer T cells. Levy O, et al. J Infect Dis. 2003 Oct 1;188(7):948-53.

64. DNA sequence variability in isolates recovered from patients with postvaccination rash or herpes zoster caused by Oka varicella vaccine. Loparev VN, et al. J Infect Dis. 2007 Feb 15;195(4):502-10.

65. Herpes zoster after varicella-zoster vaccination
Fahlbusch M, et al. Hautarzt. 2013 Feb;64(2):107-9. PMID: 23358727

66. Genetic Profile of an Oka Varicella Vaccine Virus Variant Isolated from an Infant with Zoster
Andreas Sauerbrei et al. J. Clin. Microbiol. December 2004 vol. 42 no. 12 5604-5608

67. Herpes zoster and meningitis due to reactivation of varicella vaccine virus in an immunocompetent child. Han JY, et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2011 Mar;30(3):266-8. PMID: 20844461

68. Herpes zoster and meningitis resulting from reactivation of varicella vaccine virus in an immunocompetent child. Iyer S, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2009 Jun;53(6):792-5. PMID: 19028409

69. Herpes zoster by reactivated vaccine varicella zoster virus in a healthy child
Barbara Uebe, et al. European Journal of Pediatrics 2002, Vol 161, Issue 8, pp 442-444

70. Herpes zoster due to Oka vaccine strain of varicella zoster virus in an immunosuppressed child post cord blood transplant. Chan Y, et al. J Paediatr Child Health. 2007 Oct;43(10):713-5.

71. Herpes zoster with skin lesions and meningitis caused by 2 different genotypes of the Oka varicella-zoster virus vaccine. Levin MJ, et al. J Infect Dis. 2008 Nov 15;198(10):1444-7.

72. Live attenuated varicella vaccine use in immunocompromised children and adults.
Gershon AA, et al. Pediatrics. 1986 Oct;78(4 Pt 2):757-62.

73. Rashes occurring after immunization with a mixture of viruses in the Oka vaccine are derived from single clones of virus. Quinlivan ML, et al. J Infect Dis. 2004 Aug 15;190(4):793-6. PMID: 15272408

74. Secondary transmission of varicella vaccine virus in a chronic care facility for children.
Grossberg R, et al. J Pediatr. 2006;148: 842– 844

75. Severe Varicella Caused by Varicella-Vaccine Strain in a Child With Significant T-Cell Dysfunction
Patrick Jean-Philippe et al. PEDIATRICS Volume 120, Number 5, November 2007

76. The incidence of zoster after immunization with live attenuated varicella vaccine. A study in children with leukemia. Varicella Vaccine Collaborative Study Group.
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77. Transmission of vaccine strain varicella-zoster virus from a healthy adult with vaccine-associated rash to susceptible household contacts. LaRussa P, et al. J Infect Dis. (1997) 176 (4): 1072-1075.

78. Transmission of Varicella Vaccine Virus, Japan
Taketo Otsuka et al, Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 October; 15(10): 1702–1703. PMCID: PMC2866412

79. Transmission of varicella-vaccine virus from a healthy 12-month-old child to his pregnant mother.
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80. Transmission of varicella-zoster virus from a vaccinee with leukemia, demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction.
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81. Vaccine Oka Variants and Sequence Variability in Vaccine-Related Skin Lesions
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82. Vaccine Oka Varicella-Zoster Virus Genotypes Are Monomorphic in Single Vesicles and Polymorphic in Respiratory Tract Secretions. Mark A. Quinlivan et al. J Infect Dis. (2006) 193 (7): 927-930.

83. Vaccine-associated herpes zoster opthalmicus and encephalitis in an immunocompetent child. Chouliaras G et al. Pediatrics. 2010 Apr;125(4):e969-72. Epub 2010 Mar 1. PMID: 20194287. Study Type : Human Study


84. Virus Variant Isolated from an Infant with Zoster
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85. The Case against Universal Varicella Vaccination
Gary S. Goldman. International Journal of Toxicology, 25:313–317, 2006

86. Chickenpox outbreak in a highly vaccinated school population.
Tugwell BD, et al. Pediatrics. 2004 Mar;113(3 Pt 1):455-9.

87. Younger age at vaccination may increase risk of varicella vaccine failure. 
Galil K, et al. J Infect Dis.2002;186 :102– 105

88. Outbreak of varicella at a day-care center despite vaccination. 
Galil K, et al. N Engl J Med.2002;347 :1909– 1915

89. An elementary school outbreak of varicella attributed to vaccine failure: policy implications. 
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90. Vaccine Effectiveness During a Varicella Outbreak Among Schoolchildren: Utah, 2002–2003
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91. Effectiveness of inactivated influenza vaccines varied substantially with antigenic match from the 2004-2005 season to the 2006-2007 season. 
Belongia EA, et al. J Infect Dis. 2009 Jan 15;199(2):159-67.PMID: 19086915. 
92. Effectiveness of the 2003-2004 influenza vaccine among children 6 months to 8 years of age, with 1 vs 2 doses. Ritzwoller DP, et al. Pediatrics. 2005 Jul;116(1):153-9. 

93. Effectiveness of influenza vaccine during pregnancy in preventing hospitalizations and outpatient visits for respiratory illness in pregnant women and their infants. 
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94. Effectiveness of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine in influenza-related hospitalization in children: A case-control study. Authors: Joshi, Avni Y et al,  Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, Volume 33, Number 2, March/April 2012 , pp. e23-e27(5)

95. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Osterholm MT et al. Lancet Infect Dis. 2012 Jan;12(1):36-44.PMID: 22032844. 
Study Type : Meta Analysis

96. Evidence of bias in estimates of influenza vaccine effectiveness in seniors
Lisa A Jackson et al. Int. J. Epidemiol. (April 2006) 35 (2): 337-344.

97. Further Evidence for Bias in Observational Studies of Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness: The 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) Pandemic
Michael L. Jackson et al. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2013)

98. Impact of influenza vaccination on seasonal mortality in the US elderly population.
Simonsen L et al. Arch Intern Med. 2005 Feb 14;165(3):265-72. PMID: 15710788. 
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99. Impact of maternal influenza vaccination during pregnancy on the incidence of acute respiratory illness visits among infants.
France EK, et al.  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Dec;160(12):1277-83. 

100. Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy: A Critical Assessment of the Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) 
David M. Ayoub, M.D., F. Edward Yazbak, M.D, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 11 Number 2 Summer 2006

101. Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who work with the elderly. Thomas RE et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010(2):CD005187. PMID:20166073. Study Type : Meta Analysis

102. Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who work with the elderly.
Thomas RE et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 ;3:CD005187. Epub 2006 Jul 19. PMID:16856082. Study Type : Meta Analysis

103. Influenza vaccine effectiveness among children 6 to 59 months of age during 2 influenza seasons: a case-cohort study. Szilagyi PG,et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008 Oct;162(10):943-51. New Vaccine Surveillance Network. Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. 

104. Influenza Vaccine: Review of Effectiveness of the U.S. Immunization Program, and Policy Considerations
David A. Geier, B.A., et al. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 11 Number 3 Fall 2006. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.

105. Influenza-related mortality in the Italian elderly: no decline associated with increasing vaccination coverage. Rizzo C et al. Vaccine. 2006 Oct 30;24(42-43):6468-75. PMID: 16876293. Study Type : Human Study

106. Interim within-season estimate of the effectiveness of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine--Marshfield, Wisconsin, 2007-08 influenza season. 
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107. No effect of 2008/09 seasonal influenza vaccination on the risk of pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza infection in England. Pebody R, et al.  Vaccine. 2011 Jan 31. Epub 2011 Jan 31. PMID: 21292008. 
Study Type : Meta Analysis

108. Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults
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109. Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children. 
Jefferson T et al. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Sep-Oct;15(5):44-6. PMID: 18425905. 
Study Type : Meta Analysis

110. Vaccines for preventing influenza in people with cystic fibrosis.
Dharmaraj P et al. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/there-currently-no-evidence-randomised-studies-influenza-vaccine-given-people-cf-benefitCochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Oct 7;(4):CD001753. PMID: 19821281
ArtiStudy Type : Meta Analysis

111. Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly.
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112. What, in Fact, Is the Evidence That Vaccinating Healthcare Workers against Seasonal Influenza Protects Their Patients? A Critical Review. 
Zvi Howard Abramson et al, Int J Family Med. 2012; 2012: 205464.

113. Progress in Autoimmune Diseases Research Report to Congress 
National Institutes of Health. THE AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES COORDINATING COMMITTEE. 2005

114. Pipeline and Commercial Insight: Pediatric and Adolescent Vaccines
Hedwig Kresse, 2007

115. Swine-Flu Bribe Fever!
Chelsea Schilling, 2009

116. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

117. 20 Top-selling Vaccines -- H1 2012
Alison Bryant 2012 

118. United States Mortality Rates

119. Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Control of Infectious Diseases. 1999

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10 comments

  1. Brilliant, thank you!

    "And a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Just ask any GP who has to contend with self-diagnosing patients, determined they can identify their prognosis and treatment. They address them more as colleagues than patients, because they place their internet search on par with the doctor's years of expertise."

    I developed cubital tunnel (similar to carpal tunnel but not the same). I used Google and decided that was probably what the problem was, and then went to my GP for treatment. I didn't want to seem arrogant by stating that I had cubital tunnel, so I just told him my symptoms.

    He fired up Wikipedia, in front of me, to make a diagnosis.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is incredible. totally agree with everything you've said and I applaud you for having the guts to put it out there. Its about people having choices, but making sure they are 'informed' choices, i.e. having ENOUGH information to weigh up the pros and cons rather than just going with the masses because it seems like the right thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for your comments ladies, much appreciated :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a brilliant critique of Mia's dreadfully shoddy article on Mamamia. Well done you!!! And well done on all the work you've put into this subject - no doubt born of necessity to become informed and protect your child/ren.

    ReplyDelete
  5. brilliant response to a pathetic article, well done. i look forward to directing the next person who criticises me for not vaccinating my child right here. keep up the good work! x

    ReplyDelete
  6. I find it difficult to read the article without terrible distraction from the interceding opinions. Perhaps it would be respectful to refer to the original rather than carve it up so disrespectfully.
    Rather than denigrate her statements with your snide remarks, you should offer references to back up your opinions.
    Otherwise it just seems like you're engaged in a petty argument.
    Oh, and Smallpox.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Shepherd, I've offered 51 references for my argument. Mia did not provide any.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Websites such as fourteenstudies, vaccinesafetyfirst, and vaccinetruth are NOT reliable resources. They are not peer reviewed scientific studies, they are biased against vaccination.
    Also smallpox. Polio. Whooping cough.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anon, 'fourteenstudies', 'vaccinesafetyfirst' etc are HOSTING copies of these studies, they are not authoring them. That's a very big and important distinction to make. These studies were originally published in medical journals eg. The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.
    Also, I'll take smallpox, polio, and whooping cough anyday over permanent neurological injury or death from vaccination.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love this! I remember reading Mia's article back when it came out and hoping she would say ANYTHING at all that would convince me vaccination is a good idea. I read. And I read. And came to the end of her article and had learned nothing...
    Except that when people think they're on the winning side of an argument, they get awfully cocky and lazy with things like facts and research.
    Thank you for writing this post. And wow! 119 links to back you your research.
    I have three children - 4, 2 and 6 months - and haven't vaccinated them. Never intend to either. I'm very happy with the fact they don't have asthma, autism, eczema, recurring ear infections, bronchiolitis, allergies, etc, etc.

    ReplyDelete