Why the Vaccines-Did-This Crowd is Incorrect

A concerned commentator offered a long list of questions on my last blog, Sitting through Dateline's Wakefield Episode Sunday. It merited a substantial response, so I'm posting the comment, along with my response, here.

“Why isn't it plausible to believe that giving 36 vaccines to a child might not be safe?”
You do recognize that the sheer number of pathogens we are exposed to makes the 16 diseases protected against by the recommended US vaccination schedule look like chump change, right?
It makes every bit of sense to help our children avoid illnesses that can be through vaccination. Just because you may not remember these diseases or you remember everyone you know getting them and recovering doesn’t mean that they didn’t once affect, maim, and kill many and have the potential to do so again.

“Why is it not plausible to believe that giving 36 vaccines to All children is safe?”
This is a strawman argument. There are individuals who are immune compromised or who have allergies to ingredients in the vaccines who cannot receive vaccines. There are infants too young to get protected who benefit from herd immunity, from healthy people in the society getting the vaccinations so that there is less likelihood of these vulnerable populations  being exposed.

“Why is the vaccine schedule a one size fits all program?”
This, too, is a strawman. It’s not. These are the recommended vaccinations; an individual with his doctor will decide what and when.

“Why did the autism rate start to soar (1991) when the vaccine schedule had doubled in size?”
Why did the autism rate soar when the internet really got going? When satellite television took off? When cell phones really became popular? This is not science; this is faulty conjecture that is worse than meaningless. It shows a paucity of interest in how science is conducted and in what scientists have learned.

“Why are countless parents thought of as crazy when they say "my kid was typical" and then started to show autistic behaviors shortly after the MMR?”
Misguided, incorrect, guilty of illusory correlation, but I’ve never thought a parent was crazy for making the connection when so many others feed that idea into their heads, and when it’s such a neat and tidy explanation, and you’ve got a suave, dapper doctor telling them that.
I reserve crazy for folks who are off-the-deep-end, batshit crazy.
“Why did the gut dysbiosis, seizures, sensory disorders, loss of speech, etc start after so and so shot. Why can't can't it be a possibility that scores of parents observed something that merits investigation?”
It has received ample, exhaustive attention over the last decade and study after study have shown no connection between autism and vaccines.

“What if a child has an inability to detoxify the formeldehyde, aluminum, thimerosol (traces still count), and all the other preservatives in the vaccines?”
Since formaldehyde is produced in our cells, the kid would be thoroughly screwed, even without the vaccines. Thank gods the formaldehyde is used in the production of the vaccines to kill viruses and other things we really don’t want growing along with the vaccine, right? It’s aluminum salts, not aluminum, and unless you’ve made darn tooting certain that you don’t eat anything made with baking powder with aluminum in it, don’t eat or drink from food and beverages stored in aluminum cans, don’t cook with aluminum cookware, I’d say you have bigger problems. I guess it’s a really good thing there are ample studies showing no connection between thimerosal and autism, huh?
“Why can't we do testing to identify those kids and hold off on the most important shots until the immune system is more fully developed?”
Because the thousands of pathogens children are being exposed to daily are far more dangerous than the vaccines.

“What is your explanation of why the autism rate in this country is 1 in 100 and more in boys?”
Well, thankfully it’s science-based, having reviewed the studies dealing with autism and prevalence. It’s way better than relying on pseudoscience and woo.

“Why are children recovering and improving with biomedical intervention if this is a "psychiatric" genetic problem?”
I think this sentence demonstrates your completely inadequate knowledge base of autism. It isn’t a psychiatric problem. It’s a neurological disorder in which a combination of genetic and environmental factors contribute to how it manifests.

“Why is it wrong to question authority and to want studies that definitively prove that giving 36 preservative filled vaccines is totally safe for all children? Or that the combination of certain vaccines are safe for all children?”
Because it reflects an incorrect framing of the situation, a lack of awareness of the science that has already been done, and an incredible ignorance. The CDC, the government, experts, and scientists are aware that vaccines have potential side effects. No one is saying vaccines are safe for all children, just like no one says all drugs are safe for all people.

“Why is one of the more prominent pediatricians (Dr. Sears) not closing the door on the link between vaccines in his new book, "The Autism Book" and writes about biomedical intervention? (There's actually a picture of him and Dr. Wakefield smiling broadly at a recent biomedical conference - oh no -!!!)”
Because he’s pandering to parents in order to line his pockets? Because he’s also a dumbass? Take your pick.

“Why is Dr. Offit so revered when he clearly has a vested interest in vaccines and has never treated an autistic child or done any investigations or studies regarding autism as a medical condition?”
He’s not; in fact the evidence-based crowd doesn’t put Offit on a pedestal and make him a saint. He is an infectious disease expert who is eminently qualified to discuss vaccine safety. He wasn’t pretending to be an autism expert, something Wakefield is, by the way.

“History has shown that pioneers and people forcing a truth that is going to turn things upside down/rock the boat are demonized, maligned, and forced into silence.”
Oh for gods sake; it’s also shown that nutter-butter bars are too. Yeah, Wakefield isn’t being “demonized, maligned and forced into silence.” He’s an opportunist who has managed to cash in on desperate parents.

“If not Dr. Wakefield, then someone else would have come along to force the discussion of vaccine safety. Get ready. It's coming-- because 1 in 100 and counting is a very, very scary thing. So, like he said, "These children aren't going away, the parents are not going away, and I am most certainly not going away." --Dr. Wakefield”
Wakefield isn’t concerned about vaccine safety.

“Ya can't hold back a tidal wave forever!”
You’re right, there is, in fact, an endless stream of dumbasses.



kathleen said...

Well done..though will it make a difference? I think that "science mom" said it best on an earlier post.."science isn't decided by democracy" Why do so many believe it is?

Chris said...

Lovely. I do not have your patience.

I will also add that aluminum is also in the food, just because it is grown in soil. Soil that is full of aluminum containing compounds.

For more information there is:

Clay said...

It would be nice if Mr Wakefield did go away - for 5 to 10 years, at least.

Science Mom said...

Thanks for taking on Michele's vapid little talking points. It is amusing that they attach the force of a tidal wave to their 'cause', when, in fact, should be likened to a pee stream.