A final bit more on the vaccination thing

A final bit more on the vaccination thing August 1, 2013

This may be of interest to some folks: Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human  Foetuses from the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Also, a reader writes to say:

I appreciate you posting your comments on the efficacy and importance of vaccines.  I find it particularly disturbing that among committed Catholics there seems to be a higher prevalence of ant-vaccine ideology.  I will admit I have not done a careful study so perhaps it is just that among committed Catholics the anti-vaccine folks represents  particularly vocal subset.  However, an important additional piece of information of which you might not be aware.  The original study linking vaccine’s to Autism was published in a 1998 issue of the Lancet.  In 2010 the Lancet took the unprecedented step of retracting the article.  Part of the reason for this retraction was that Dr. Wakefield’s study was based on fraudulent data and was funded in part by Trial Lawyers looking to sue vaccine manufacturers.  See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/health/research/03lancet.html?_r=0

Take a moment to think about that.  The study was not retracted because it was conducted in error or more recent research suggests the methodology was flawed.  The determined the study was fraudulent.  Even worse, this fraud was perpetrated in part by trial lawyers looking to make money off lawsuits.  As a result dozens if not hundreds of babies have died because their parents believe this fraudulent study.  As such, I feel intense outrage (directed at Dr. Wakefield and his corrupt associates) whenever I hear of parents risking their children’s lives by not vaccinating them against preventable and deadly diseases.

Another reader send along this link to Voices for Vaccines.

And still another reader writes to say that in parts of the Islamic world, Muslims are actually killing people seeking to vaccinate people against easily preventable diseases.

Are there moral issues?  Of course.  As the Moral Reflections document makes clear there are issues surrounding the origin of some vaccines.  And for all I know there may be side effects to various vaccines, as my Pediatrician doc mentioned yesterday. And yeah, as my pal Zippy points out: “Yeah, it is almost as controversial as breastfeeding. With better reasons though — it really has saved countless lives, and it really does have its individual downsides, it really is big business + big government, etc etc.” Most of all, I’m now aware that vaccination is a Thing–and a Thing that engenders such strong feeling since it hits on all the “You are a Bad Parent who is Trying to Destroy the Life of Your Innocent Child” raw nerves (whether one supports vaccination or has reservations about it).

But for all that, I find it hard to argue with the elimination of polio, smallpox and whooping cough as major diseases. And as a total lay newbie, discovering this controversy as I might stumble into the granularities of a quarrel between partisans regarding almost any other controversy of which I know nothing and have no expertise, I have a frank and open bias toward people who have years of formal training over people who don’t. Given the interwebz amazing facility for turning Anybody with a Keyboard into instant experts on medicine, criminal law, moon landings, global warming, and all sorts of other fields of expertise that you used to have to go to college to have competence in, I remain extremely leery of confident pronouncements that veer too far from a) what a trained pediatrician says and/or b) what the Pontifical Academy for Life says. I don’t consider Jenny McCarthy or Michelle Bachmann reliable experts, nor am I super inclined to pay overmuch attention to anybody beyond the Pedes guy and the PAFL in my comboxes (I only skimmed the huge wave of responses). For myself, I deliberately sought a DPT shot last year when there was an outbreak of whooping cough in the area, partly because respiratory illnesses hit me particularly hard, partly because I have a friend who got it and wouldn’t wish it on her worst enemy, and partly because I couldn’t live with myself if I caught it and gave it to Lucy the Cuteness, who could die from it.

Main takeaway for me: there are whole worlds of controversy in which I am a babe in the woods. As a rule, I defer to the experts in such cases.

Main takeaway for some of my readers: do not interpret my astonishment at the passion over this (and, I am told, breastfeeding) as somehow my being angry or hurt. It really was just surprise. I told a friend I felt like a guy taking a stroll in a summer wood who comes around a large tree to find myself suddenly at Little Round Top, caught between a charging Confederate force and the troops of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, laying down deadly fire. It was startling. But I had no idea I was in a war zone and was just bemused at it all. I can see (now) how the subject can stir passions. But my passion remain mostly unstirred since the discussion is almost entirely academic, not personal, for me. Apologies to anybody I have offended.

"Just ignore my friends.NO!Your friends are fun. I refuse to ignore fun people."

Reader DoughnutGuy Gets It
"In a nutshell, some cultures are better than others but all people are loved by ..."

I have a lot of respect ..."
"One loon is recommending people get over the taboo of eating human flesh to save ..."

I have a lot of respect ..."
"Correct. If you're baptised validly then you belong to Christ's Church and Catholics believe there ..."

I have a lot of respect ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • PrecipMom

    Keep an eye on footnote 15. It’s probably the most definitive statement in the entire document from the Pontifical Academy for Life:

    15 This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles, because of the danger of Congenital Rubella Syndrome. This could occur, causing grave congenital malformations in the foetus, when a pregnant woman enters into contact, even if it is brief, with children who have not been immunized and are carriers of the virus. In this case, the parents who did not accept the vaccination of their own children become responsible for the malformations in question, and for the subsequent abortion of foetuses, when they have been discovered to be malformed.

    And I really doubt anyone would argue with the orthodoxy of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.


    It can feel like there is a debate on vaccination, and in parenting communities there certainly is. There is precisely zero debate in respected scientific circles regarding the science of immunization, even though schedules vary according to locality.

    I really loved this piece on the Voices for Vaccines blog. The author is a pro-life Catholic mother:


    “This disregard infuriated me because it came from “pro-life” Catholics. If it is a travesty that society allows a child in the womb to die a preventable death to abortion, why is there no social responsibility to that child in using acceptable means to protect him from a preventable disease during his gestation or after he is born? How can the sick and elderly be so inherently valuable as human beings that physician-assisted suicide must be rejected outright, yet they are acceptable casualties when it comes to deadly diseases just because you and yours will (probably) be fine? Blessed Mother Teresa said, “It is a poverty to decide a child must die so you may live as you wish.” I agree. To the vaccine refusers and anti-vax advocates, I say it is a poverty to decide a child must die so you may live as you wish!”

    • HornOrSilk

      Exactly right, point 15 points out what I was discussing of the moral necessity which can happen with vaccines. Saying those who did not take the vaccination are responsible for what happened points to a moral culpability.

      • PrecipMom


        I’ve always been somewhat puzzled, because this seems to be so clearly an issue of respecting the autonomy of science, respecting the principle of subsidiarity. The work of countless scientists, experts in the field of immunology, virology, infectious disease and public health has made it tremendously clear how safe and effective immunization is. Are all of those people incompetent? Or are all of them lying? And if we are going to say that they are all lying in the absence of evidence and with evidence suggesting to the contrary, isn’t that at least bordering on calumny?

        Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes on Facebook is a great source for debunking a lot of the more common misconceptions, if anyone is looking for some of the main anti-vaccine concerns debunked.


        So much anti-vaccine stuff sounds completely plausible! I mean, if you say to someone “vaccines contain formaldehyde” it’s very understandable that a parent freaks out and thinks “you want to inject my baby with CORPSE JUICE!?!!!” It’s when you take a step back and realize that there is more formaldehyde naturally occurring in a pear than in a vaccine that the whole picture changes. The same thing when you realize that a simple kiss from mother to child offers more antigen exposure than the entire immunization schedule does. I totally understand why someone could feel uneasy about immunizations, but isn’t it the responsibility of a parent to push out past his or her initial discomfort and go straight to the experts about what is true regarding this issue?

        • Becky

          I can’t speak for Catholic anti-vaccers, but I was raised protestant fundamentalist, and many of them think that scientists are engaged in a conspiracy to mislead the public re: evolution. If you believe that, it’s pretty easy to think other scientists are part of a huge conspiracy to mislead the public re: vaccines. It’s terribly sad and is one reason I’m Catholic and not protestant fundamentalist! My husband is a physicist, and there can be plenty of group-think and big egos in science, but let me assure you … conspiracies are thin on the ground.

        • Dave

          It isn’t just whether a pear contains more formaldehyde than a vaccine. It’s the chemical formulation. As I understand, the adjuvants are designed with a chemical formulation that causes them to STAY in your body for a long time (this is what gives the vaccine its long-lasting effect), whereas any formaldehyde in a pear, for example, would pass out of your body naturally.

          • Newp Ort

            Formaldehyde is a specific molecule. There are no isomers or variations of any kind.

            • Dave

              Yes, Sandra mentioned that. I was thinking more of the heavy metals like mercury and aluminum, which can cause compounds. I used formaldehyde because that was example given, but it wasn’t proper.

      • Dave

        I vaccinated my kids for the deadly diseases. Would I do it again? I am not sure. Probably, but at a delayed and more spread out schedule, and with greater care that their immune systems were strong. Parents are responsible for all decisions they make. If they fail to vaccinate, they are somewhat responsible if their child or someone else gets a serious disease. If they do vaccinate, they are responsible for whatever side effects ensue.

        I truly envy those of you who think that vaccinations have no negative effects, except maybe extremely rarely, because that relieves you from worrying about the decision. Let me ask you this: if vaccinations cause extreme negative effects very rarely, isn’t it probable, or at least very possible, that they cause lesser negative effects on a wider scale?

        Read both sides of the issue and then comment. Whatever you think of the Wakefield study, it’s a red herring. There are tons of studies out there. Someone linked a lot of them in the original post Mark had on this issue.

        • HornOrSilk

          Again, no one has said there are no potential problems with vaccines. Clearly, anything which can be done to improve it should be done. Anything unethical should be turned ethical (embryonic stem cells, I’m looking at you). There is no problem with that concern and working to improve it.

          But there is a problem of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

          And no, there are not “tons” of authentic autism/vaccine studies which support autism relationship with vaccines. There are tons of pseudo-scientific hogwash out there being used by groups like “natural news” for their own agenda.

          • Dave

            Go back and read the links that were included in comments on the original post, and then find the flaws. Some of them didn’t seem directly relevant, but many of them did.

            Whatever bombastic or hastily drawn conclusions “Natural News”, etc. may make from any study that comes out does not invalidate the studies themselves.

            • Laura

              You’re right: Natural News doesn’t invalidate the studies… but it DOES invalidate the interpretation of them! Whenever you can actually link to read the studies, you’ll always find that the studies either come from discredited hacks like the Geiers or Shaw/Tomlijenovic who use absurd and invalid methodology or the conclusions are completely absurd, especially as they relate to vaccines.

              Another thing to consider: If there are all these legitimate scientific studies proving the harms of vaccination, why has no major health organization said so? Grand conspiracy by Big Pharma amongst millions of healthcare professionals and researchers for $100 vaccine given a couple times in life that make less than 10% of any company’s profits and make little/no money for GPs?

              No, you differ to the experts because you don’t have the expertise to know what is GOOD science and what is BAD science! Epidemiology, immunology… these are professions– difficult professions– that cannot be replaced by your (theoretical) AP Biology and B+ in high school statistics.

              • Stu

                “Take your shot, you stupid $%*ing idiot neanderthal.”

              • Dave

                I have no idea what you are talking about as I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about vaccinations on Natural News. From what I have seen of them, I certainly wouldn’t rely on them for anything, except perhaps entertainment. Scientology and Natural News seem to be the straw men the establishment likes to pick on? As far as I know, you are right about Natural News.

                Regarding vaccinations, even if there is demonstrable harm, I think gov’t/Big Pharma would see it as being in their best interests to keep that as quiet as possible – the gov’t because they are worried about a public health crisis if vaccination rates go down, and Big Pharma because they could be exposed to huge class action lawsuits.

                As to your last point, I am done with deferring to “experts”. I’ve been burned too many times on that point. “Experts” sometimes rest on their laurels, or they have tunnel vision, or vested interests.

                • Laura

                  I was just saying why anything linked on Natural News is going to be dismissed. I didn’t have a chance to go through the comments.

                  So you’re done deferring to experts. Then to whom do you defer? Contrarian bloggers? Sensationalist media? No one is capable of knowing everything– that’s why we have specialists in medicine– so how are you going to get reasonable advice if not from the people who have the best shot (education, experience, etc.) of knowing? I’ve questioned the authorities– that’s why I’m so solidly pro-vaccine; their answers are sensible. Have you thoroughly questioned those telling you to question? I have; their answers are implausible, pseudoscience, or rest on logical fallacies appealing to the anti-authoritarian zeitgeist.

                  Think about what you’re saying, though. Pharmaceutical products are constantly being recalled, and FAR more profitable ones at that. We’ve had vaccines recalled: The first rotavirus vaccine (not the one currently used) caused a very slight (too small for clinical trials to detect), but real, increase for intussusception and it was pulled from the schedule. If they thought they’d get sued to the point it would make a difference, they’d just leave the market. That’s what happened with all that hoopla in the 80s over DTP. If “government” and “Big Pharma” were two homogeneous entities, such conspiring would be feasible… but they’re not. They’re thousands upon thousands of people in hundreds of countries! Everyone is a soulless shill ignoring “demonstrable harm”? That’s an incomprehensible level of conspiracy cynicism that is more the stuff of a Dan Brown novel than anything else!

                  • Dave

                    I don’t have time for a long answer. Western Medicine is just one paradigm of medicine, which basically reduces to symptom suppression. They don’t have all the answers. I listen to those who have actually been successful at making me and my family feel better, and read material they have recommended.

                    I’m not saying that the harm has been scientically proven so far, though I don’t think they are particularly motivated to find it, since it’s better off for them if there is none. Particularly, there seems to be reason to worry about the aluminum levels in vaccines – see the site of quack (anyone who questions vaccines is automatically a quack) Dr. Robert Sears, which I linked in another post.

                    With the folks I’ve met who insist their child was harmed by the vaccines, though, I’m not really waiting for the scientific proof before I try to protect my kids.

                    • Laura

                      That’s a nice meme line for some holistic services, but it doesn’t even make the remotest bit of sense. Vaccination is ENTIRELY in the scope of western medicine (although, in fairness, the Chinese and Indians were doing variolation for hundreds of years before Jenner) and it’s ENTIRELY about disease prevention.

                      The harm of vaccines has been studied… a lot. There are some rare, serious side effects. Most of them are recoverable. http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Adverse-Effects-of-Vaccines-Evidence-and-Causality.aspx

                      The harm of vaccine preventable diseases are thoroughly established. (CDC.gov, http://beforevaccines.blogspot.com/) Blindness, hearing loss, congenital deformations, death… these are NOT recoverable.

                    • Dave

                      Yes, I agree that vaccination is part of Western Medicine. That was not my point. I don’t even dispute that vaccination does help significantly to damp down outbreaks of some terrible diseases.

                      I believe that it will be increasingly clear as time goes on, though, that there is a cost to vaccination that goes well beyond the rare, serious side effects. I’m not even saying that, even with that, vaccination isn’t worth it. But we should know the true problems with them, and why, so we can try to mitigate them, not just scream that they don’t exist because we are afraid people might not vaccinate.

                      I’ve met too many people, just in my small circle of folks, that swear that their child was significantly harmed by vaccines. I don’t believe they are all wrong. Personally, our naturopath/chiropractor claims that our son’s allergies and our other son’s asthma came about because of the pertussis vaccine. Is he right? There is no way to know, but since he got both of their conditions to go away when no one else could, he gets the benefit of the doubt from me. (No, he doesn’t say all problems are related to vaccines. My wife, who has also greatly improved, did not have any vaccine-related problems.)

                      But I don’t expect that to mean much to you. If myself of several years ago was talking to myself of today, the past version of me would have thought me to be a nut, so I can’t really blame anyone who feels the same. 😉

              • Dr. Eric

                What high school offers statistics? I took Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Trig, Calculus 1 & Calculus 2 in high school. I didn’t take statistics until I was in undergrad.

                • Will

                  I took a term in college. When you think about it statistics and probability is common sense stuff. It should be taught earlier.

                • Laura

                  We had probability and statistics as an elective. Most fun class senior year!

              • silicasandra

                Have you ever been to myobsaidwhat.com? It’s not about vaccinations (though those issues do sometimes come up there), but you’d be surprised how little some so-called experts in obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, and other specialties know. Medical professionals are subject to similar blunders of thinking the way the rest of us are. The groupthink of OBGYNs on display at that website (and confirmed by some of my own experiences) should make anyone hesitant. Especially when some of that groupthink leads to outright promotion of intrinsic evils (lots of women are just told to take their Pills and STFU.)

                A white coat does not offer infallibility to anyone who wears it. I grow tired of the idea that because I question anything or ask to see research myself I must be some kind of nutjob.

                • Laura

                  There’s a difference between questioning and being contrarian… between skepticism and cynicism. Anti-vaccination falls into the latter in both cases.

                  It’s fine to question and to see the research yourself– I have. But what do you do when you DON’T know how to critique the studies? Do you read the explanations and criticisms? How are you able to judge which criticisms have merit? At some point, you HAVE to defer to someone, and if you’re not deferring the consensus of thousands of PhDs in the appropriate fields… well, you might just be worthy of that “nutjob” moniker.

                  You know what else happens when laypeople decide that they can interpret and figure things out better than the people who’ve dedicated their lives to the study of a subject? THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION.

                  • Stu

                    Luther was a priest.

                    Just saying.

                  • silicasandra

                    I don’t think you need to be nearly this condescending. The “conventional wisdom” of medicine changes constantly, as I pointed out in my earlier reply to you. There are conventions today that are absolutely insane – the example I gave earlier was obstetrics and gynecology, since that’s what I’m most familiar with in the medical system. Christ’s Truth, on the other hand, is unchanging and the role of the Church in disseminating that Truth does not change.

                    Do I know everything? No. But unfortunately, the people I am supposed to be able to trust sometimes do not know enough either, and they tell me to shut up because they’ve got the MD and I don’t. If that’s their attitude, they’re a lousy doctor – if my concerns are not valid, there’s a way to communicate that without being snotty. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and it is hard for the untrained eye to sift through it.

                    And sometimes a “layperson” does know more than a doctor about some issues. Take the aborted fetal cell line issue. My sons’ pediatrician interrupted me when I tried to tell him my concerns and told me point blank I was absolutely wrong and it was totally bunk. I told him I had read enough to not think it was just some crazy conspiracy, and he reluctantly agreed to look at the research. At our next visit, he told me we could do the ethical alternatives and that he was doing more independent research on it now that I’d brought it to his attention. If I’d just shut up like he’d asked me to, he never would have learned anything new.

                    When my second son was in the NICU, the hospital pediatrician took me aside and confided in me that she was “on my side” about breastfeeding because she had nursed her children so she “actually knew how it worked.” God forbid medical personnel in the neonatal intensive care unit understand how newborns eat as part of, you know, their JOB.

                    As I said before, the white coat does not confer infallibility. Doctors, and professional medical organizations, can be tempted to the same kind of herd mentality and groupthink as any other group of people. They can misinterpret studies or apply them inappropriately. I think concerns about malpractice have, ironically, contributed to this. One ped I talked to in the NICU told me he “never let” pregnant women continue to breastfeed a baby or toddler and he was “surprised [I} didn’t miscarry.” If I hadn’t been so freaking tired from giving birth earlier that day (to a healthy full-term baby), I would have asked him where the hell he learned that bit of misinformation. But I knew he was wrong so I let it go and still nurse both my kids. Whatev.

                    • silicasandra

                      OK, on thinking about this some more, I will add one more thing since clearly your reply touched an emotional hot spot for me. As simply as I can state, my issue is that the mere act of questioning gets one labelled contrarian. Assumptions are made about you. I think if our pediatrician didn’t know me so well as he did he would have instantly categorized me in the “anti-vaccine nutjob” category, when I’m not at all. He knows I’m actively interested in my children’s care, do independent research, and he had always appreciated that and never talked down to me once – until I brought up this issue, where we disagreed, and I could see in his face that he was rethinking his entire approach to me. “Oh, so now she’s one of THOSE.” Luckily, we had a well enough established relationship that I was able to put a stop to that. But it still really hurts that it happened, and it hurts every time I encounter that attitude from someone in medicine. And it happens to a lot of people – whether the concerns they have are medically founded or not.

                    • Laura

                      “Conventional wisdom” does change, but it changes because of better science. That’s all anyone can go on when dealing with the workings of the natural world– go with the preponderance of science and evidence.

                      “My OB said what?” are anecdotes, sometimes by doctors, sometimes nurses. But you’d never see those things in serious obstetric research. Likewise, regular GPs aren’t going to know everything about vaccines and can give similar off-the-cuff dumb remarks. But you don’t see those things in serious vaccine research. The people recommending vaccines– the ones the condescending pediatrician and nurse generally defer to in matters of safety– have specialized knowledge and know how to set up research. I’m not asking you to defer to pediatrician who doesn’t know anything about MRC-5; I’m asking you to defer to the collective opinion of thousands of specialists and researchers based on the corpus of scientific research.

                      I know what it’s like to be talked to like I’m stupid. It IS off-putting and annoying when that’s the knee-jerk reaction. But, doctors are human. Imagine if your sophomoric teenager was battling with you, questioning everything you say, doubting every bit of experience and knowledge you’ve accumulated in the years he wasn’t alive, completely oblivious to how much he doesn’t know. Then, take away the familial love and add a hundred more and I have to imagine what it’s like for doctors.

                      I imagine what it would be like if my daughter would one day come up to me and tell me in her “wisdom” that she questions whether premarital sex and cohabitation are all that bad. It would take all my willpower to not cry out “What are you thinking?! Are you insane?” I might not be able to tell her correct stats and figures on those lifestyle choices, I might even say something factually inaccurate, but my knowledge and experience scream of the terrible consequences. A pediatrician might not be able to tell you anything about aluminum adjuvants… but she’s probably treated a child who’s suffered from a vaccine-preventable disease. And if she had her residency at a large hospital, very well could have seen some that died. Don’t conflate the humanity of the doctors with the wisdom of medical advice. One can be terrible without affecting the other. (Been there, done that.)

                  • Dave

                    The Catholic Church isn’t right because they are “the experts.” The Catholic Church is right because it is protected by the Holy Spirit from error. One could easily turn that around and say that it’s when other people think they are the experts, instead of having humility, that we got the Protestant Reformation.

                    • Laura

                      … and who were the people who think they’re the experts who knew better than the Church? Not the vast majority of theologians who had the training and education in the faith. A handful of “brave mavericks” like Luther and lay people who liked the idea that they were not beholden to the oppressive, elitist Vatican for Truth.

                      Who are the people thinking they’re the experts who know better than every major health organization in the world? Not the vast majority of doctors who have the training and education in medicine. A handful of “brave mavericks” like Mercola and lay people who like the idea that they are not beholden to an oppressive, elitist medical establishment for truth.

                    • Patrick

                      A brave little maverick who decided he didn’t need to listen to the experts and go through 8+ years of state-controlled school in order to earn a white coat and instant respect…heck, didn’t even need to wait until he could legally drive in Kansas…has potentially helped revolutionize the cancer-detection options available. If I could, I would kick this little punk into next week for his hubris, lack of humility, and potentially reformation-making chaos. Jerk. DOESN’T HE KNOW THAT WE HAVE A PERFECTLY FINE TEST IN PLACE NOW??? IT HAS WORKED FOR 60 YEARS, WHY CHANGE IT??? WHAT’S NEXT, SOME OTHER NON-DOCTOR CURING ALZHEIMERS??? I WON’T HAVE IT!


      • GodsGadfly

        But those conditions do not exist in the US, and they don’t *need* to, if the FDA would permit the ethical alternatives.

    • wlinden

      But that means it is another VATICAN EDICT from the repressive church CRACKING DOWN on DISSIDENTS.

      Next: Vatican edict says two and two is four.

      • GodsGadfly

        Yes, it’s a crackdown on the dissidents who use vaccines derived from fetal tissue research. There is no moral responsibility to prevent disease: I got that straight from Msgr. Suaudeau, the author of the document.

    • Rosemarie


      >>>Blessed Mother Teresa said, “It is a poverty to decide a child must die so you may live as you wish.” I agree. To the vaccine refusers and anti-vax advocates, I say it is a poverty to decide a child must die so you may live as you wish!”

      Blessed Teresa was saying that women who abort so that they can continue their selfish, wealthy lifestyles without the expense of children are actually very poor in virtue. I don’t see how that parallels with loving, concerned parents who believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are doing the best thing for the health of their own children by forgoing vaccines. They don’t want to “live as they wish” in the sense Blessed Teresa was speaking, they just want what they think is best for their kids.

      EDIT: Another problem with the parallel is that an abortion brings about the definite end of a life. A few unvaccinated children *might* cause an epidemic or they might not, and even if they do there may or may not be deaths as a result. So it doesn’t quite compare to the act of abortion.

      Plus, non-vaccinating families often must endure harassment from the state and attacks from pro-vaccine people, so they are making a real sacrifice for what they believe to be the good of their family, whether you agree with their decision or not. This is quite unlike women who abort because they don’t want to make sacrifices for a family. So the comparison is a real stretch.

      • Laura

        You’ve created a caricature of women who abort to make you feel better about the parents who don’t vaccinate, but it’s just that. A caricature. Many women who abort DO think they’re doing the right thing, especially if they think the child will significantly suffer by being born. Here’s the thing: Their intentions don’t matter to the child killed any more than the intentions of the parents who vectored pertussis to an infant who died. There are dead children as a result of valuing “choice” above the good of the children.

        Do we have an obligation to prevent children from dying preventable deaths or don’t we? If you have to qualify that with a probability of death, then you aren’t really pro-life. One preventable death is one too many!

        • GodsGadfly

          So do you believe there’s an obligation to “prevent” genetic disorders?

          • Laura

            I don’t know exactly how that would work or how that would be relative to the discussion of vaccination, especially since there is absolutely nothing a member of the community can do to precipitate a genetic disorder for someone else’s child… unless a lot of people are building insufficiently shielded plutonium reactors near their neighbors’ property lines that I’m not aware of.

        • Rosemarie


          I’m explaining what Blessed Teresa meant by that particular quote. She was specifically addressing women who abort for selfish reasons. That doesn’t mean other women don’t have other motives.

          BTW, I am not anti-vaccine, as I said on the previous thread. I am just concerned when I see someone caricaturing families that don’t vaccinate as selfish, which that quote implicitly does. But thanks for judging me, whether I’m “really pro-life” or not, based on a single post which you completely misinterpreted anyway.

          EDIT: Yeah, I think I’m done with commenting here. All I get is attacked. Serves me right for asking people to treat their ideological opponents with a modicum of charity rather than assuming the absolute worst about them. I should have known I’d have the worst assumed about me as well. God knows my heart, Laura. You don’t.

          • Laura

            What? I am so confused. Where were you attacked?

            Would you not agree that qualifying life is not pro-life? To me, it is a very dangerous ground when you talk excuses, exceptions, and probabilities when it comes to the value of life. If I can say it’s acceptable that Dana McCaffery died a horrible, preventable death to pertussis since it was only a 1: 200 chance that it would kill her, what other deaths are acceptable in terms of probabilities?

            You have to ask yourself, if the preventable death of a child due to someone’s choice doesn’t sicken you to the core, are you really pro-life or are you just anti-abortion?

            This isn’t me saying you’re a bad person or judging your heart! It’s an invitation to reflect. These are the questions I didn’t realize I needed to ask of myself… and when I did ask them, I realized I had to change. Even if I believe non-vaccinating parents are incredibly wrong, I don’t judge their motives unless they give me a reason to question them and even then, I give further benefit of the doubt by presuming they’ve never approached it from the same angle as I am. But that doesn’t mean their ideas aren’t wrong and dangerous!

            Much of what the greats say can be applied outside of the specific instances they were talking about, no? We still quote the founding fathers regarding liberty even though the events that motivated them were specific to their time. Likewise, Blessed Mother Theresa’s message speaks to the obligation we have to children and to life. Anti-vaccination can and DOES get the weakest among us killed. It’s tragic that children have to die so that some people can live as they wish, whether that wish is to be child free or vaccine free.

          • wineinthewater

            I think it shows that there is a fundamental similarity. They are not the same thing, but there is a similarity. I find it distressing how often people who are anti-vaccination do not consider the impact of their choice on others. My own social circle brings me in contact with a lot of families who do not vaccinate and I have yet to hear one of them give serious thought to the impact of their decision on others. Doing something without concern for others is the very definition of selfishness.

            I have serious concerns about the vaccination industry and how profit has skewed vaccination policies. I have serious concerns about so many vaccinations all at once. I have serious objections to vaccines that were developed on the backs of aborted children. My child is healthy and would probably weather most of the illnesses we vaccinate against just fine. For us, the tipping point is all the children out there who aren’t healthy. Se aren’t vaccinating just for the health of our child, but for all the other children who aren’t blessed with our child’s good health.

    • GodsGadfly

      Note that it’s a *footnote*. In the development of the American Rubella vaccine, as opposed to the morally acceptable and medically sound Japanese version (which was swabbed from an infected child’s throat), they forced pregnant women in the 60s who contracted Rubella to have abortions, then dissected their dead babies: only one baby was infected, and that was the fetal tissue they used to develop the vaccination. You’re profiting from abortion: saying that child–and all the children who continue to die for the sake of ESCR and fetal tissue research because of groups like NRLC and NCBC–had to die so that you can live as you wish.
      The purpose of the PAV document was to back up conscientious objection. It notes that the vaccinations are *only* morally permissible where there are no alternatives *and* there are epidemic conditions. A Catholic who knowingly and freely chooses to engage in remote material cooperation with fetal tissue research endorses that research. The document is also clear that even those who believe they are morally justified in using the “ethically tainted” vaccines are still obligated to let their doctors and governments know of their objection to the lack of availability of alternatives.

      • PrecipMom

        And your reason to think that that objections being lodged and alternatives being advocated isn’t happening within pro-vaccine circles by faithful Catholics is…? Your proof that we are not living up to our obligations as outlined is where exactly?

      • Laura

        No one “forced” women to have abortions. Congenital rubella syndrome is subjectively a fate worse than death.

        “She took a deep breath, said German measles [rubella is also called German measles] and started to cry. Then she looked at herself. She was pregnant. The next day she was in hospital…she cried tears of JOY when she miscarried her two-months baby. I now know why. Deafness, blindness, retardation. These things were REAL to her generation and mine.” http://beforevaccines.blogspot.com/2013/07/rubella-unborn-pay-price.html

        Where does it says we have to expose babies to epidemics (i.e. it’s too late for some) before we can vaccinate? The word “epidemic” occurs 4 times in the document and to talk about the epidemics that showed how serious these diseases can be, not as a condition for vaccine use.

  • britt

    I’m a half-er. We do some of the vaccines and at a seriously delayed schedule. My husband, who worked for ALL for several years, is not at all comfortable with sorted fetal cell line vaccines, and I hate what having more than one shot at a time does to my kids, so there. We piss everybody off. Also, a friend just sent me this: http://www.undergroundhealth.com/courts-quietly-confirm-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism/

  • Stu

    “As a rule, I defer to the experts in such cases.”

    But here is the rub. The “experts” aren’t always the experts you think they are. Now certainly, your position as a baseline makes sense. You have to start somewhere and all things being equal, starting with those who are educated in a particular discipline should be given deference. But such deference should never preclude questioning.

    Another “sea story” from me. I had a young Sailor working for me (muslim) who refused to take a mandatory flu vaccination because he believed that it contained pork products (some actually do). The initial reaction from our chief medical officer (who happened to be a pediatrician) was one of scorn toward this young man for clearly being ignorant. And while the young Sailor was wrong in terms of the particular vaccination that we being employed (I was able to demonstrate that to him), I applauded his desire to make a stand on something of principle. And it is on this latter point that I went to have some words with the doc. As I was defending the actions of the Sailor, I explained to the doc that there are certain Hep Vaccinations that I would not take for ethical reasons given the use of aborted fetal cells. I was a bit surprised when he began to mock my assertion and tell me how uninformed I was. To his credit, he did actually research the issue and came back to me to admit that he was indeed incorrect. This “expert” was uniformed.

    Indeed, it certainly appears to be the case the vaccinations have greatly reduced the instances of some fairly nasty sicknesses. But does that mean it remains the best course of actions now? Does that mean we shouldn’t continue to question our approach on such things? Does that mean that the state has the power to inject your body with something against your will? I don’t know. But I do know that I see much of the same attitude that I saw in the doc towards the Sailor by those who are strong proponents of vaccinations towards those who have legitimate questions. That doesn’t invoke confidence in my mind.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I’m surprised it’s connected with vocal Catholics, as I’ve usually found that those who object to any and all vaccines, or to the vast majority of vaccines, are either Christian fundamentalists or don’t identify with any particular religion (it’s more part of trying to live a natural lifestyle). I find that a strong distrust of the government goes with it, and that’s certainly been on the rise with many conservatives these past few years.

    • In general, openness to one counter-cultural ideology (e.g., orthodox Catholicism) is highly correlated with openness to others.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        True. I generally find more trust for science–and therefore the medical profession–among Catholics I know than among Fundamentalists I know. Maybe I just haven’t talked to them about the same subjects. There is also a strong current of people I’ve encountered in person and online who seem to think that eating exactly the right things and doing the right activities and eliminating absolutely everything unnatural from their house will ensure no sickness or bodily ailments, which I find to be worrisome. Disease and decay are part of the fallen world. Doctors, medicine, medical intervention, etc. has a rightful place in society. To think that we can completely avoid the former and have no need of the latter seems very foolish to me.

        • Dave

          ” who seem to think that eating exactly the right things and doing the right activities and eliminating absolutely everything unnatural from their house will ensure no sickness or bodily ailments”

          Hmm, well I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I fall into that category of person. However, you have a misunderstanding of our position. Doing all of those things will (and for us, HAS) GREATLY REDUCE sickness or bodily ailments, and will give our immune system the best chance to fight off any “invaders”. Of course, there is nothing that can make Earth into Heaven, but we might as well make it as good and healthy as possible. Of course doctors and medicine are still needed. Find a doctor who gives you good results and stick with them until such a time as they don’t. Know what your doctor is giving you and what the side-effects are.

          I view it as similar to sin. We aren’t going to eliminate all sin from our life, but if we don’t give it our very best, avoid the near-occasions of sin, and cooperate with God’s grace, we won’t get anywhere at all.

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            I agree with greatly reduce–just getting sugar and processed food out of our diets has helped our family immensely. However, I have met those who, at least in conversations I’ve had with them, put forth the idea that they and their children will not catch colds or the flu because of their natural diet, lifestyle, etc. There is a distinct difference between saying, “Our immune systems are in top-notch working order due to our lifestyle,” and saying, “We are immune to illness because of our lifestyle.” You and I and my parents are in the first category. I was referring in my previous post to the second.

    • wineinthewater

      I’ve found a high correlation between anti-vax and especially “conservative” Catholics. It’s almost like pushing the silliness of “liberal” pseudo-theology of their lives left a silliness void to be filled by the silliness of pseudo-science.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        Perhaps that why I haven’t met them within the Catholic community. Our congregation terribly middle-of-the-road when anyone tries to apply the “liberal” or “conservative” labels to it. You could probably place certain families in either pigeon-hole, but they’d still all be pretty close to the middle.

  • ivan_the_mad

    “the interwebz amazing facility for turning Anybody with a Keyboard into instant experts” This. Information and understanding are not the same thing. Google does not turn one into a genius polymath autodidact, nor does it frequently provide a sound basis from which an amateur might challenge conventional wisdom.

    I’m skeptical about the skeptics.

  • Zippy

    I have a frank and open bias toward people who have years of formal training over people who don’t.

    Me too. But then there are my lying eyes, and they have seen much.

    On prescription drugs more generally (not vaccines specifically), I once again recommend a guy with years of formal training and a full career in medicine: Dr David Healy. Laymen who have not read and understood Pharmageddon – read and understood it as opposed to reading a sound-bite Beavis and Butthead gotcha in the media somewhere – are doing themselves a serious disservice. If you or anyone you love takes prescription drugs ever, you owe it to yourself to read and understand this book, as well as Dr. Healy’s blog. I was driven to it by actual occurrences. You owe it to yourselves to read it without that kind of incentive — before you yourselves encounter that kind of incentive.

    It turns out that the medicine-industrial complex doesn’t always act in your/our best interests any more than the military-industrial complex, or any number of other X-industrial complexes. It turns out that “experts” who mean well often don’t know what they are talking about; or more frequently, they know what they are talking about in a very narrow sense which results in sometimes dangerous half truths.

    Credulity is dangerous. You wouldn’t and shouldn’t accept “trust us, we only kill bad guys” from the military-industrial complex. You shouldn’t accept “trust us, these profitable alterations we make to the biochemistry of billions of people are an unmitigated good” either.

    It isn’t a matter of conspiracy — nothing so simple. It is a matter of these things being vast human institutions, with all that that implies.

    • Dave

      Zippy, thanks for saying what I tried to say below (to Laura) in a vastly more eloquent way!

    • Patrick


  • Sandra Miesel

    Dave: Please acquaint yourself with some elementary chemistry. Adjuvants are added to vaccines not to “make them stay in the body longer” but to enhance the body’s immune response to the vaccine. The few molecules of formaldehyde in the dose will be metabolized just as the formaldehyde in the pear will be. Let’s remember: “The dose makes the poison.” Otherwise, none of us would stay alive. Even vitamins and essential minerals are poisonous at high concentrations.

    • Dave

      Formaldehyde isn’t used as an adjuvant anyway. I just used the example of formaldehyde because that’s what Laura was talking about. My point remains that all “formaldehyde”, all “mercury”, all “aluminum” etc. is not the same thing. It depends on the exact molecular structure as far as how the body will process it. You are right that the purpose of adjuvants is not to make them stay in the body longer.

      • Dave

        Also, as you said, the dose makes the poison. I have seen claims that aluminum levels for a SINGLE vaccine are 15-20 times higher than the FDA approved amount for a newborn, or 7-10 times higher for a baby that’s a few months old. If you add up several vaccinations in one day, it’s not a pretty picture.

        Now, I don’t know if this claim is correct (I certainly hope not, and maybe someone can verify it one way or the other) but if so, that would be more than the body could process, and thus it would not be eliminated properly. This info came from Dr. Robert Sears. I’m not sure if he’s considered a “quack” or not by the official quack police.


        • Laura

          Dr. Sears may fancy himself a brave maverick, but his version of “science” is anything but.

          I actually went diving into aluminum a lot since it became the it “toxin” after thimerosal could no longer be blamed. Sears makes some very crucial errors, most of which circulate around trying to compare chronic exposure on compromised patients (kidney dialysis, premature infants) to acute, vaccine exposure.

          The FDA limit he cites is for parenteral feeding solutions. These are going directly into the blood, not intramuscularly or subcutaneously like vaccines (this affects the pharmacokinetics and the likelihood of tissue loading.) Parenteral feeding is given many days sequentially and THAT is what makes tissue loading an issue. FDA limits are precautionary in nature to allow for poor excretion (such as with renal dysfunction) and other sources of aluminum.

          Sears cites Bishop et. al. and that was the kicker for me to put him in quackland. If you actually look at the study, adverse outcomes only for babies on IV feeding for >10
          days. Acute exposure/ exposure ≤ 10 days caused no

          If you breakdown the total aluminum exposure, in the whole pediatric schedule, even if all the aluminum was loaded with no excretion, you’re only looking at 141 µg/kg for a kid in the 50th percentile over 18 months. In the Bishop study, the impaired children were up to 450 µg/ kg in only 10 days!

          This link goes into some of the other problems with Sears and provides a chart on the effects of aluminum and why vaccines are not a worry. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/cashing-in-on-fear-the-danger-of-dr-sears/

          • Dave

            Dr. Sears does not definitively state anything. He only states reasons for concern…since there are no FDA recommended allowances for subcutaneous injections, he uses the allowances there are for feeding solutions. We don’t know for sure because there haven’t been any significant studies. Theoretically, maybe there is no reason for concern, but we don’t know everything about the human body or how it interacts with various substances. In fact, we really know astonishingly little.

            All I know is that I have a little nephew who used to be a normal little boy who is somewhere on the autism spectrum now, and his mom KNOWS that it was the vaccine. It happened immediately. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of my experience with talking to people about vaccines. I don’t know what exactly in the vaccine caused it in his case.

            We’ve all got to go by our experiences. Scientific studies, as much as I wish it were so, are not infallible. Even if they were infallible in their results, they still wouldn’t be infallible as far as the interpretation of the results.

            Now, I have to go on with life. Thank you for the discussion.

            • Laura

              I really wish you would have checked out that link. We know FAR more than what Dr. Sears would have you believe.

              Sears and his ilk do not follow the scientific method. They ask questions, which is fine and good and what actual scientists do. But then they go looking for evidence to show that their preconceived “concerns” are justified, not take the corpus of the evidence as it is. When you take the Bishop study as it is, it shows that you need a FAR higher aluminum load that the whole pediatric schedule to have aluminum even potentially be harmful. But Sears cherry-picks and takes things piecemeal to justify his “concern.”

              I am sorry that your nephew has that challenge. I pray that he gets the assistance he needs so he can have a successful life like the awesome self-advocating autistics I know. But… I just can’t take the word of a mom who “knows” that it’s the vaccine when there has never been any link, let alone a causal link, established between ASDs and vaccines. (Yes, there have been a few high-profile compensated cases, but those were with children, like Hannah Poling, who had rare genetic conditions or an encephalopathy develop in proximity to vaccination that makes a brain injury as a result of vaccine even remotely plausible.) It is a human condition to “know” things that are not necessarily so. We used to “know” that blood-letting cured illness. We saw them get better. As one mom pointed out, “While a mother might sense when something is wrong, we do need an objective eye to help us discern exact diagnoses and to help us construct the history of our children’s conditions. A mother of a sleepless baby may bring her bundle in and announce confidently that it must be an ear infection, only to learn that her children’s ears look healthy and normal.” http://momswhovax.blogspot.com/2012/10/moms-who-vax-but-i-saw-it-with-my-own.html

              Most of what research is turning up points to a prenatal origin for ASDs. Brain differentiations have been observed at 6 months. It appears that placenta abnormalities are linked. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=autism-linked-placenta-abnormalities But, the subjective signs– the developmental delays, oddities, and regressions– are so subtle when they’re babies. Most people won’t notice them unless they’re trained. So few moms are educated on the early signs and even fewer are so emotionally detached from their child that they could look on them with an objective eye. (I mean, it’s your baby. You grew him. How could you be completely objective?!)

              I do not go by experiences (to the best of my ability); I go by reason. Experiences are anecdotes. Experiences are wrought with irrational emotions and biases. Experiences are relative. What if my “experience” tells me that [Hispanics, women, Jews, etc.] are [insert undesirable characteristics]? What if my “experience” tells me that Catholics are some of the worst hypocrites that could care less about Christ (true story that almost had me leave the faith)? Should I go with my “experience” or should I go with reason?

              • Dave

                I did check out the link. It had good information, but again, only certain aspects have been studied. Maybe aluminum plus something else in the vaccine is causing a problem for some people. There is no way to study every combination of everything, nor do we really know how various substances are handled in each individual person, even though we might have an idea how they are handled in general. Vaccines do contain toxins, so the potential for harm is there, even if so far, no one has been able to narrow it down to a specific substance or combination of substances.

                Certain aspects of the writeup can be criticized. For example, VAERS. It is true that just because something happened right after a vaccine doesn’t ALWAYS mean it was caused by the vaccine. It is also true that MOST vaccine adverse events are not even reported to VAERS. My sister-in-law never reported hers. Most people don’t see the point. Speaking of which…

                In the case of my nephew, I can’t share details because I don’t know if I have permission to do so, but unless my sister-in-law is lying, there’s very little wiggle room to believe that anything other than the vaccine caused it (or activated it, whatever)

                As far as your experience of Catholics being the “worst hypocrites”, if you had the experience, I’m sure it’s true. However, the experience, in actuality, has no relevance to whether you should leave the faith. That’s exactly what I mean about unwarranted conclusions and misinterpretations from good data.

                Part of me has misgivings about the morality of vaccines at all. Even if hypothetically, a million are saved by the shot, is it moral to save the million if we know that 10 will die and 100 will be brain damaged as a direct result of the injection? I’ll defer to the Church which hasn’t seemed to find a problem with it, but it viscerally makes me a bit uncomfortable.

            • wineinthewater

              “and his mom KNOWS that it was the vaccine”

              I think this is most of the problem. People just “KNOW” that it is the vaccine without any evidence or proof at all. When you consider that autism doesn’t really present itself until toddlerhood, which is also a period with somewhat frequent vaccinations, proving causation instead of correlation is nearly impossible based on timing alone. Add to it the human desire to find something to blame for woe, this kind of unsubstantiated knowing is, while understandable, not very convincing.

              • Dave

                Easy to say, since you don’t know the details of this situation. Impossible to scientifically prove, perhaps.

                • wineinthewater

                  I don’t see how there can be a detail that can change what I would say. There are absolutely no credible studies linking autism to vaccines (the link might exist, but it has so far not been demonstrated, and we cannot *know* that there is a link without it being demonstrated). Unless the mother has some kind of medical superpower that enables her to peer into a body and witness biochemical and physiological changes, she has absolutely no way of *knowing* that the vaccine caused her child’s autism.

                  She may have witnessed a temporal correlation, but that correlation is easily explained, and correlation does not equal causation.

                  • Patrick

                    And the easy explanation is….?

                    • wineinthewater

                      As I said above,it’s a very normal coincidence. Autism symptoms present most significantly during the toddler years, also a period of intense vaccination if you follow the standard schedule. The chances, therefore, are very high that you will first notice an autism indicator after a vaccination since the two things typically occur in the same age range.

                    • Patrick

                      “Same age range” 24 hour period. That you can post such simplistic rationalization with a straight face is astounding. Either you are not a parent, or you were an outstandingly disengaged/disinterested parent.

                    • Dave

                      +1000000000, Patrick. It wasn’t even a 24 hour period. Maybe not even a 24 second period.

                    • wineinthewater

                      When pressed, everyone I have ever heard claim their child’s autism started “right after the vaccine,” admitted that it was weeks or months and gradual. Sudden and immediate is something I simply cannot explain and of which I have never heard anything even remotely similar.

                      So no, my explanation is not simplistic. It answers the most common claims of “correlation equals causation,” in fact the only “correlation equals causation” claims that I have heard previously. You could have used your anecdote to contradict that observation, but that you would use it as the basis to lash out and insult me certainly doesn’t incline me to accept your anecdote as proof.

                  • Dave

                    Fine. It is just a bizarre coincidence that after the vaccine, he instantly got a lot worse in his mental function and behavior and has never recovered.

                    I am getting the same feeling I get when trying to argue with atheists, (i.e. they aren’t seeing the forest for the trees, but they are just sure they are in the right), so I’m done with this whole conversation.

                    • wineinthewater

                      It’s not a bizarre coincidence. It’s a very normal coincidence. Autism symptoms present most significantly during the toddler years, also a period of intense vaccination if you follow the standard schedule. The chances, therefore, are very high that you will first notice an autism indicator after a vaccination since the two things typically occur in the same age range.

                    • Dave

                      To me, this sounds exactly like what happens when I argue with my atheist friends. Their schtick is basically, “God does not exist. Therefore, any evidence that you have encountered that God does exist must have another explanation.”

                      And it was immediate, as in right away, even at the doctors office. But, since that can’t happen since vaccines can’t cause such things, I suppose you’ll be more inclined to think I’m making it up or severely confused. That’s the same thing that happens when you try to tell an atheist about a miraculous encounter with God.

                    • wineinthewater

                      What I said was quite different. It was, until and unless there is evidence of an autism-vaccine link, no one can *know* their child’s autism was caused by a vaccine. Very close correlation may suggest causation, but it still does not prove it.

                      Usually when you press people about how “immediately” their child’s presentation of autistic characteristics was, it is weeks or months and gradual. I’ve never heard anyone claim anything so immediate. In fact, I’ve never heard of rapid onset autism at all. But ultimately you’re family’s specific experience is outside the realm of what I know, so I don’t have an opinion about it, I can’t.

                      And that’s kind of my point. I don’t KNOW that there isn’t a vaccine-autism link, and have never claimed there isn’t. I only know that such a link has not been proven, and that evidence strongly suggests that it does not exist. But you can’t prove a negative, so it could be possible. My problem is that there are lots of people who, in the face of no hard evidence, feel they absolutely KNOW there is a connection. And based on that “knowing” promote a course of action that has serious ramifications for their family and society as a whole. I may not have an opinion about your specific circumstance and whether it fits anywhere into this trend, but this trend does exist.

  • Sandra Miesel

    Formaldehyde itself is a specific chemical compound. Mercury and aluminum are elements that can form compounds of varying properties.

  • anonforthistopic

    Posting anonymously for this (I hope).

    Just want to point out that according to the best estimates of medical science, vaccine protection lasts approximately 10 years for most vaccines (some may only last five, some might last 15 or 20, but most vaccines are expected to offer protection for about 10 years).

    So by the time everyone’s kids are about 15, the kids who got their shots and the kids who didn’t are pretty much equal again.

    • MarylandBill

      That doesn’t seem right to me. Oh, I know that it is true for some diseases like tetanus, but last I checked there were a whole host of diseases that people simply don’t get these days if they have been vaccinated in childhood. If what you wrote was true, I would expect to see adults getting measles.

      • Stu

        I think it is more of an issue of the diseases simply not being prevalent in a given area any longer (ostensibly from vaccination programs). So for instance if you are going to certain areas overseas while in the military, you will be required to get some additional vaccinations that aren’t required in the States. I know I certainly got another Smallpox vaccination and I think MMR again as well.

        I’m not sure we can say everyone is “equal” after that time period but I do believe the effectiveness of vaccines diminishes over time.

      • anonforthistopic

        I tried to post a reply to MarylandBill with some links in it, but now I don’t see it. Anyway, measles vaccine (like polio and smallpox and possibly Hep. B.) is supposed to give lifelong immunity, but vaccine failures happen (one of the links I posted went to a govt. study of a measles outbreak in a highschool where 98% of the kids were vaccinated). Other vaccines don’t give lifelong immunity.

    • Laura

      That’s only somewhat true for when you’re talking about blood titers- the circulating antibodies. Waning immunity also occurs with wild infections, too.

      However, “memory B cells survive for prolonged periods (e.g., several decades) even in the absence of re-exposure to antigen”, even if there aren’t enough circulating antibodies to keep you from getting sick. http://www.who.int/immunization/documents/Elsevier_Vaccine_immunology.pdf. If you have 12 hours to spare, you can get a crash course on all things vaccines. (Warning: it’s the driest thing you may ever watch) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPJ_33NjiEc&list=PL755D7FB4DE14439F

      Nothing is perfect, but I’ll take 60-97% effective over 0% any day!

  • Patrick

    This is a not-at-all-uncommon anecdote about a person’s encounter with a physician pushing a shot. Keep in mind that a doctor today is basically running on what they learned in med school (or rather what they remember of it), plus what they encounter in their daily practice, which often involves seeing a patient for maybe 6 minutes (gotta run volume in order to make any money). Doctors do not, generally speaking, spend a lot of time keeping up on the latest research, reading the medical journals, trying new approaches, etc. In today’s distorted market conditions, it’s all they can do to just get through the day. Any new data on a particular condition usually comes to them via the patient, who has spent a lot of time doing their own research; that then creates a conflict because the dumb uninformed patient is now telling the high priest how to do his job, which always goes over well.


    • Laura

      I can’t imagine why 8+ years of higher education and experience in treating people and deference to the expertise of other equally educated professionals attesting to the safety of vaccines would make them condescending and indignant towards someone touting their University of Google degree as a reason to eschew a potentially life-saving treatment…

      But, anecdote for anecdote. “‘The mistake that we made was that we underestimated the diseases and we totally over-estimated the adverse reactions’, says father Ian Williams, who is speaking publicly of his family’s ordeal in an effort to warn other parents about the dangers of not immunising their children.” http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/06/06/3776327.htm

      • Patrick

        Some smart people use Google too. Ever heard of Jack Andraka? I guess since he doesn’t have 8+ years of higher education he should be ignored and condescended to… That Google degree of his is not to be trusted!!

        What with more people killed annually by doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals than a loaded 747 going down every day, I’d say that 8+ years of state-approved-information-only, experience treating people at a maximum of 7 minutes per session, and deference to people who often have a huge undisclosed financial interest in what they attest to the safety of, render their condescension and indignation out of line.

        • Dave

          Here’s another reason I don’t defer to experts. I am a software engineer by trade. I am good at what I do, but it is necessarily very specialized. I do not have time to keep up on every new development in computer science. There are many people who don’t have degrees in computer science who know more than I do about many aspects of software, programming, etc. I would not expect those people to defer to me just because they do not have the formal training.

          • Patrick

            What was it that first attracted you to Scientology?

  • Loretta

    Mark, we’re grateful you stirred this up. Really. I had no idea the corpses of aborted fetuses were being cannibalized for “routine” medical stuff like this. It is important. Vaccine manufacturers should find alternatives for their antibodies. Add it to the Culture of Death–and another item on our long list of social decrees that need to be vetted better.

    Of course, this coming from one who discovered, only too late, that a post-surgical hormone therapy was fabricated of remanufactured horse urine. Yuck.

  • Michelle

    I would just like to add that it is possible that many orthodox Catholics have a habit of questioning medical experts because of the unfortunate reality that hormonal contraceptives and other unethical medical practices are widely accepted and pushed. Catholics have had to gather their courage in response. Some may choose to overreact and push back in unneeded ways.
    Also some things the expert pediatricians push are just common sense ridiculous. My doctor told me with a completely straight, serious face that I should start my newborn on vitamin D supplements because breast milk does not meet the new national recommendations for vitamin D levels in food for infants. If I fed her formula I’d be fine though because the manufacturers have increased the amount in response to the changes. Really? A trained doctor can’t hear how stupid that sounds?

    • Dave

      Good point. The pill is a horribly unhealthy “medication” that medical professionals dispense without a second thought. And we’re supposed to trust them?

  • Patrick

    “Quack” is AMA-speak for “Competition”.

  • Bill

    The circumstances surrounding the Lancet retraction are themselves suspect. Wakefield has explained many times what led up to the retraction of his paper. And anyone who actually reads the paper–I mean sit down with it and read it–cannot dispute that it does not posit causal association between MMR vaccination and autism but states that more research is warrented into a possible causal relationship. The man who “exposed” Wakefield as a “fraud” is himself an unethical journalist who lied to individuals connected with the case to obtain information that he manipulated to demonize Wakefield.