Please don’t vaccinate

18 Apr

After all, whats the death of a baby from a vaccine preventable illness huh?

The baby was 9 months old, his birth weight was 8 lbs 5 ounces. At six months he weighed just shy of 20 pounds. Today he weighed 15 pounds – he was a skeleton and he was dying.

Mom had brought him in after treatment by his naturopath had failed. Constant coughing had made it impossible for him to take in adequate nutrition and starvation, coupled with a raging bacterial pneumonia were conspiring to shortly end his very short life.

We worked feverishly. Intubation, IV boluses, major antibiotics, vasopressors. All futile.

At 9:03 pm, after 30 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation we pronounced him dead.

This boy had pertussis. His mother choose not to vaccinate him. I won’t enter that debate. Anyone who has ever watched a child die or become permanently disabled from a preventable illness supports vaccination.

A naturopath a mother who elected not to vaccinate and decreasing herd immunity – what could go wrong there? Lets hope there’s no other people as *fucking stupid* as to go around blathering about not vaccinating, using naturopaths instead of doctors and insinuating that vaccine preventable diseases are nothing and vastly preferable to something like…oh I dunno….autism for example.

69 Responses to “Please don’t vaccinate”

  1. HCN April 18, 2008 at 16:08 #

    This makes me ill.

    There are those who are quite proud to not vaccinate and then leech off the protection of herd immunity because most people do protect their children (see , where insider says “I enjoy the benefits”). But then they find out that as they convince more and more to not vaccinate, the herd immunity they depend on is compromised… and chilren suffer horribly.

  2. Fiona Sacchetti April 18, 2008 at 17:10 #

    This makes me feel pretty ill too.

    To use the death of a child based on scant information, gleaned from a blog with an obvious agenda, as ammunition in an attack on parents who are concerned about vaccine safety is low.

    Shame on you.

  3. Joseph April 18, 2008 at 17:22 #

    Fiona: I went and read ER Nursey’s blog. What in your opinion is her agenda?

    You know what’s sick? This idea that some anti-vax parents are “concerned about vaccine safety.” They are not vaccinating their kids anymore, so why are they concerned about vaccine safety? Right, they are concerned about the rest of us, sure, I buy it. More plausibly, they are extremely concerned about the money they haven’t gotten yet from vaccine litigation.

  4. Lenora April 18, 2008 at 17:50 #

    Fiona, try for other examples of the illness. Unless you think they are part of a conspiracy too.

  5. mayfly April 18, 2008 at 17:58 #

    At one time followers of alternative medicine treatments for autism would describe the number of ear infections their child had had. The claim was that the antibiotics given to cure the ear infections had suppressed the beneficial bacteria in the gut, while allowing yeast to flourish. It was the toxins released by that yeast which was responsible for contributory to their childrens’ autism.

    Most testified that the ear infections started directly after their children received one of their vaccinations.

    I’m willing to bet the intersection of the anti-vaxers and the practicers of anti-antibiotica is huge.

    Yes antibiotics were over prescribed in the past, but not so much any more.

  6. Ms. Clark April 18, 2008 at 19:07 #

    I expect to see more of this just based on how pathogens do their work, they look for a place to live and breed and then they live and breed and kill their host sometimes. I also expect to see a backlash against the antivaxers in the autism community. I could name names, but I better not. The backlash might even hit some people in their bottom line, you know, they might have to move into a less upscale neighborhood or sell a boat or something, if they become major objects of hatred, they could be seen as child killers, so that no one wants to do bizness with them any more.

    What I hope we don’t see is the backlash extending to everything related to autism and autistics so that autism comes to be seen as a bringing death to non-autistics.

  7. Arthur Allen April 18, 2008 at 19:17 #

    I visited a community in western Colorado where pertussis had hit an elementary school. 40 percent of the parents did not vaccinate their kids at this school. The unvaccinated kids coughed their guts out for three months. One of their mothers was pregnant and had to be hospitalized with complications of her terrible cough. Other, partially vacciinated kids got sick. Some of the vaccinated kids got ill, too — the pertussis vaccine isn’t perfect– but they didn’t get AS sick as the others.

    Having naturopathic parents is no promise of protection against whooping cough, is all I’ve got to say.

    No one died. Which is good. But sadly, by the end of the epidemic the non-vaccinating parents were proud that they’d put their kdis through this. They were sure it would make them stronger in the future. The others in the community were just angry. Suddenly they realized what kind of hopelessly naive–dangerously so–neighbors they had.

  8. donewithbiomed April 18, 2008 at 20:21 #

    See Jenny Mac’s pal and now frequent LKL guest, Jay Gordon, MD laugh about parents concerns about “whooping coughs”.

  9. Regan April 18, 2008 at 20:58 #

    So even Dr. Jay says that Pertussis is one that kids should be immunized for.

  10. mayfly April 18, 2008 at 21:19 #

    Fiona, I believe anti-vaxers are concerned for the safety of their children. It is a concern which is misplaced and in this case combined with the use of a naturopath resulted in the death of the child.

    I doubt the parents are anti-vaxers and alties now. It will be interesting to see if anyone is criminally charged in this case.

  11. Brett April 18, 2008 at 23:09 #


    I posed this question recently on my blog, but it seems appropriate to ask the crowd here as well:

    “How many children would you be willing to let die from a vaccine preventable disease in order to insure no more children would become autistic?”

  12. Kev April 18, 2008 at 23:18 #

    Well there you go – I guess there’s at least one other person prepared to be as fucking stupid.

    Fiona – please, shut up and take your faux outrage somewhere someone cares.

  13. mayfly April 18, 2008 at 23:42 #

    Brett, as there is absolutely no connection between autism and vaccines the question should not be put. I had measles and rubella simultaneously and those directly after the mumps. All were twern’t nutthin’ diseases in my case.

    My daughter is low-functioning and severe. If I could guarantee that they would have been “twernt nutthin” diseases in her case. I would definitely take the infections over her autism.

    If I simply look at the odds and the capabilities of western medicine. I would choose to risk the infections in exchange for no autism.

    However, as her farther I deal in more than probabilities . The small risk is much too large and I would not take it.

  14. Ms. Clark April 19, 2008 at 00:43 #

    There was a horrible case where an alt med practitioner didn’t treat a girl’s asthma correctly and she died. The alt medder’s office was across the street from hospital with an emergency room, and the girl who was obviously having a hard time breathing was sent home, as I recall, and she died. The alt medder didn’t have an inspirometer which is a little plastic gadget that costs a few dollars and measures lung capacity.

    After losing their daughter to this dangerous alt med nonsense the parents still thought alt med was a good thing.

  15. Kerry Maxwell April 19, 2008 at 01:55 #

    I doubt the parents are anti-vaxers and alties now. It will be interesting to see if anyone is criminally charged in this case.

    I would be surprised if this tragedy changes the parents worldview, as sad as that sounds. We can only hope that a story like this does become a high profile story of a “conversion”. I have real mixed feelings about prosecuting parents in these cases. It may strengthen the perception of the parents as victims of a conspiracy, for those who are fantasy prone.

  16. Schwartz April 19, 2008 at 04:34 #

    Ms. Clark

    I recall a number of public incidents where patients were sent home FROM the emergency rooms of hospitals only to die shortly after.

    There are anecdotes about stupid people everywhere.

  17. HCN April 19, 2008 at 06:54 #

    Schwartzy, Georgy porgy.. pudding and pie… can YOU tell us where it is documented that the DTaP vaccine is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria?

    I keep asking that question, but no one will give me an answer. Perhaps it is because I insist that the answer include documented evidence that is indexed in PubMed. You do have that don’t you?

    I do have this:
    and … which says “Pertussis mortality is generally estimated using case fatality rates in hospitalized cases. In Canada mortality has been recorded at 0.37 pertussis deaths per 100 000
    infants under one year of age. Underreporting of pertussis affects estimates of mortality and incidence. Only about one third of cases are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and deaths from pertussis are possibly being reported as other respiratory illnesses or sudden infant death syndrome SIDS).
    Previous global burden of disease estimates have assumed an overall case fatality rate of 1% in developing countries and 0.04% in developed countries.”
    and this: … which says ” Among persons of all ages with pertussis, 33 cases of encephalopathy and 56 pertussis-related deaths were reported during 2001–2003.”

  18. Ms. Clark April 19, 2008 at 07:28 #

    Oh yeah, stupid people are everywhere…

    Stupid people are a dime a dozen…

    lots of them can be found on the Internet, there’s a whole class of stupid people who think they are smarter than real immunologists, vaccinologists and public health experts.

    Some of them are antivaxers and a couple of that group seem to have sentenced a baby to die a particularly horrible death (see above). Babies die of whooping cough here every year. Maybe people should be more afraid of the diseases than the vaccines that can prevent them (see HCN’s perennial question that you keep dodging).

  19. Kev April 19, 2008 at 08:49 #

    Schwartz – a medical error is indeed stupid.

    Not vaccinating, going to a naturopath instead of a doctor and watching your baby die of a vaccine preventable illness as a result is a whole new level of stupid.

  20. Jen April 19, 2008 at 13:47 #

    Actually, some anti-vaxers do change their minds when they’re directly faced with a vaccine preventable disease. We have a measles outbreak in our town right now, and while at a visit with my daughter to her pediatrician a week ago the office was FULL of school-aged children waiting to get vaccinated for the first time. Sitting in the waiting room for over 90 minutes listening to the parents talk to each other was an education in itself, but at least some of them finally realized that vaccines are NOT all bad at the last moment.

  21. Landru April 19, 2008 at 15:22 #

    The problem with the ER Nursey blog is that it isn’t true. ER Nursey states on her front page that her stories are composites of her ER experiences. Using the blog as a source without highlighting the disclaimer offers a chance for distraction by antivaxers.

    Which does not make Fiona any less reprehensible for ignorantly or maliciously claiming to be focused on vaccine safety.

  22. Fiona Sacchetti April 19, 2008 at 20:42 #

    Kev said;

    “Well there you go – I guess there’s at least one other person prepared to be as fucking stupid.”

    Are you refering to me? If so then that comes across as an enormous assumption and judgement. You know nothing about me, my life or the decisions I make about my children’s health and safety. Sorry if I hit a nerve but why the need to be so aggressive?

    “Fiona – please, shut up and take your faux outrage somewhere someone cares.”

    ‘Tis not outrage Kev, it is disgust.

    I did answer some of the other responses here but my post seems to have gone missing.

    What is all this ridiculous talk of conspiracy and antivaxers?

    Also Landru sorry but could you explain what on earth you are on about here please?

    “Which does not make Fiona any less reprehensible for ignorantly or maliciously claiming to be focused on vaccine safety.”

    Thank you.

  23. Regan April 19, 2008 at 23:12 #

    Well there are other stories, and on other. I might also suggest the personal story on Rotavirus and the outbreak of rubella among the Amish.

    And before someone wields the card about telling horror stories, etc., it’s not as if we don’t get stories, and some fairly lurid ones at that, from those who are anti-vax or anti-a particular vax, etc.
    Since we live at a time when few people have seen the actual diseases, it seems fair to know what that might be like, and some of the consequences.

  24. Ms. Clark April 20, 2008 at 00:57 #

    Who said the ER nursery story wasn’t true? Saying that the blog entries are composites of her experiences would mean that she has seen a baby die of whooping cough, probably recently, and maybe the details (like maybe that the parents were religious or that there were “parents” as opposed to a single parent) may have come from another situation. But I would guess that all medical bloggers write disclaimers similar to that so that none of their patients reads the blogs and says, “Hey! that’s me s/he’s writing about!!” and gets upset about that.

    If you find on that blog where it says that her “accounts” are “fictious” or “fabricated” I’d like to know about that, because that’s a whole other kind of writing.

  25. Schwartz April 20, 2008 at 07:14 #


    Dangerous is a dumb word to use since this is all a balance of risks. Even if we accept your risk rates of disease and death from those diseases, you can’t give me an efficacy rating — guaranteed to be well below the published rates for pertussis because there have been several outbreaks here where I live, all among vaccinated children. In fact, the rules for the daycare attendees in an outbreak is identical regardless of vaccination status — that should also be a clue.

    You can’t give me a quantifiable risk of damage or death from the vaccine because credible safety studies haven’t been done, which is what I keep pointing out.

    So as you’ve so aptly demonstrated, one can’t really determine which is more “dangerous”. This has been my issue since I first started investigating.

    The irony here of course is that my eldest was eventually vaccinated with DTaPxxx since I consider it one of the safer vaccines especially since Canada removed Thimerosal long before the US.

    Since I’m guessing you mistook the intent behind my post:

    I completely agree with the second half of Kev’s response. It is very stupid to have a naturopath treat your child while they deteriorate before your eyes with a serious illness. That has nothing to do with vaccination and everything to do with stupidity. The story about the ER across the street from the naturopath is pretty meaningless.

  26. Schwartz April 20, 2008 at 07:16 #


    A measles outbreak changes the risk profile for the people in the area. New risks, should absolutely lead to altered decisions.

    Why would you expect otherwise?

  27. Kev April 20, 2008 at 07:17 #

    _”Are you refering to me?”_

    The fact you need to ask kind of answers that all by itself.

    _”Sorry if I hit a nerve but why the need to be so aggressive?”_

    Hit a nerve? Are you kidding? A child is dead. Get some perspective.

    _”‘Tis not outrage Kev, it is disgust.”_

    I do apologise. In that case, take your faux disgust somewhere someone cares.

  28. HCN April 20, 2008 at 08:19 #

    Schwartzy said “Dangerous is a dumb word to use since this is all a balance of risks. Even if we accept your risk rates of disease and death from those diseases, you can’t give me an efficacy rating—guaranteed to be well below the published rates for pertussis because there have been several outbreaks here where I live, all among vaccinated children.”

    Answer my question! Give me the documentation that shows that it is riskier to have the DTaP vaccine than to have pertussis, tetanus or diphtheria.

    Were the outbreaks ONLY among vaccinated kids? Then show the evidence, and that those who were NOT vaccinated somehow escaped and did not get pertussis. Show us the evidence.

    Especially since protection against pertussis from the vaccine does wear off, and the vaccine is less than 80% effective. It is one reason why pertussis is so dependent on herd immunity. It is not unreasonable to expect some who are vaccinated to get pertussis (they usually have milder cases). Saying that because several who were vaccinated became ill, does not answer my question.

    Stop giving me stupid pseudo-intellectual excuses: give me evidence. Real evidence, not just innuendo, your opinion, references to things you claim happen but are not referenced. Prove to me that getting a vaccine is riskier than getting the actual disease… with real documentation. Something like this:

  29. Fiona Sacchetti April 20, 2008 at 08:46 #

    Thanks Kev for your clear response!

    OK, now that we have established that you are calling me ‘fucking stupid’ would you be so good and to tell me how you have come to that conclusion on the basis of almost no information about me?

    You seem to have decided that I would be prepared to act like the parent in the possibly ficticious tale above. In a previous post (which went missing) I clearly stated that I was not claiming that pertussis is not a dangerous disease. I also stated that I was well aware of the risks as I am unable to vaccinate one of my children for medical reasons. Are you calling me ‘fucking stupid’ for following my doctor’s advice?

    Sorry Kev, not ‘faux disgust’ but real disgust.

    You chose to post the thing on an internet blog for public reading. You cannot expect everybody who reads it to fawn over it and congratulate you for a brilliant post.

    I couldn’t give a monkey’s whether you personaly care about my opinion of this nasty thread. What I do care about is when people use underhand, unpleasant, irrelevent, possibly untruthful, highly individual and extreme tales and tactics to try to bolster their argument in what they perceive as some sort of debate with only two sides.

  30. Kev April 20, 2008 at 09:32 #

    _”would you be so good and to tell me how you have come to that conclusion on the basis of almost no information about me?”_

    I came to that conclusion based on the fact that you said I wanted to use the death of a child based on scant information, gleaned from a blog with an obvious agenda, as ammunition in an attack on parents who are concerned about vaccine safety. Only an idiot would consider posting about the death of a child as using that death.

    _”possibly ficticious”_

    What? Are you for real? If you think this nurse is making it up, please educate yourself.

    _”Are you calling me ‘fucking stupid’ for following my doctor’s advice?”_

    See above.

    _”You chose to post the thing on an internet blog for public reading. You cannot expect everybody who reads it to fawn over it and congratulate you for a brilliant post.”_

    Yeah, thats me to a ‘T’ – ask any of the many people I disagree with (Schwartz, century are two that spring to mind) whether I expect them to fawn all over me.

    Here’s the thing Fiona – you came on here ranting and showing your very much faux disgust. When you act like a silly little child, that’s how you’ll get treated. I have three kids already. I have no time or inclination to parent you too.

    _”when people use underhand, unpleasant, irrelevent, possibly untruthful, highly individual and extreme tales and tactics to try to bolster their argument in what they perceive as some sort of debate with only two sides.”_

    Yeah, right. I reiterate my earlier invitation to take it somewhere someone cares what you think. You want to be a denier? Go right ahead. I have no time for idiots who quite clearly couldn’t see the nose in front of their face.

  31. Landru April 20, 2008 at 16:18 #

    MsClark, I know that babies die of pertussis and other preventable diseases (and that, in case I didn’t make this clear enough for your taste here or elsewhere, humans should be vaccinated, period).

    I do not know anything about which facts in ER Nursey’s account go together. I don’t doubt for a second that ER Nursey has seen a baby die of pertussis. And given the strength of the disclaimer, I have no basis to conclude that what ER Nursey posted is or isn’t true in any respect.

    Of course medical blogs have privacy issues. I have concerns about the strength of ER Nursey’s disclaimer. It gives the other side an awful lot of room for pointless argument in a debate that we like to frame in terms of science versus anecdotes.

    Here’s what’s troubling: “Stories are products of past experiences and a vivid storytelling bent.”

    I’m a little loathe to use that as a source in a fact-based argument. Especially against people who are so fact-challenged. I insist that the other side produce actual science and stop bothering me with meaningless anecdote; the ER Nursey story seems to me to fall terribly close to meaningless anecdote. Given my conviction that, based on the weight of the science, antivaxers are dead wrong, the ER Nursey post is more anecdotal than I’m willing to quietly tolerate in defense of my position. That’s the entirety of my message.

    As for “fictitious” or “fabricated”, I’ll beg you to consider my use of those words in another forum (one I’m fairly sure you saw) as the product of a vivid storytelling bent, and further beg your pardon. Thanks.

  32. Ms. Clark April 21, 2008 at 07:11 #


    I have no idea what you are referring to as “another forum” (one you are fairly sure I saw)… I don’t recall seeing the word “Landru” ever before in any context except here with your recent posts.

    A “vivid storytelling bent” can mean the ability to recount and event in a colorful or interesting way, as in “suddenly I was accosted by 3 miniature people in full, yellow spongebob-squarepants regalia” as opposed to something like, “the next thing I knew I was in charge of 3 preschoolers”.

    I guess we’ll have to look up an account in the NYT (they use fact checkers) where an ER nurse describes a deceased baby, giving his birth weight, weight at its peak and weight as it was about to die of pertussis, as well as listing the medical interventions that were tried to keep the baby alive by real doctors after the homeopath couldn’t help him and essentially left him for the undertaker to exercise his professional abilities. Or maybe each of us could interview a pediatrician who has been around for a while and ask him if he’s seen a baby die of pertussis, we can compare notes back here….

  33. Dawn April 21, 2008 at 11:59 #

    Well, I’m not a preschooler. And I have had the DPT. But, of course, it does wear off. I got pertussis last year. It’s an experience I would not wish to repeat, and I made damn sure my husband and kids were re-vaccinated once I was diagnosed (which took time..most MDs haven’t seen pertussis. I was fortunate that my MD had a high level of suspician given my symptoms). Coughing till you are breathless and/or vomiting is NOT fun. Any exertion – eating, going to the bathroom, talking – would set me off. I’m an adult, with plenty of reserves in weight and an ability to think clearly about medications. I can’t imagine a baby or child going through what I went through for 3 months.

  34. Landru April 21, 2008 at 13:15 #

    Ms. Clark, I’m terribly sorry if I’m continuing to give you the impression that I don’t believe children should be vaccinated against pertussis (or anything else), or the impression that I don’t believe that children die of pertussis or any other vaccine-preventable disease. Let me be clear:

    *Children die of vaccine-preventable diseases, including diseases that antivaxers think are harmless;

    *Children should be vaccinated on the schedule recommended by their pediatricians, and that people who believe otherwise are ignorant, deluded, or malicious;

    *I believe, without reservation, that ER Nursey has seen a child or children die of pertussis;

    *I believe, without reservation, that using naturopathy or homeopathy to attempt to cure an infectious disease is criminal (and I’m not particularly supportive of it for noninfectious conditions either); and

    *I believe that we should hold ourselves to the same evidentiary standard we demand of others–i.e., science, not anecdotes–not least because the use of anecdotes leaves those who support evidence-based medicine open to the same lines of counterattack as those who bring unsubtantiated stories to the table. That is and has been the entire (and only) point of my comments on this post.

    As for my reference to another forum, I do apologize–I think that I mistook you for a regular commenter on another blog.

  35. Schwartz April 22, 2008 at 07:31 #


    I guess you just don’t understand. There is inadequate safety data to allow anyone to determine the full set of risks. I thought I explained that pretty well.

    You’re also making another mistake. You don’t want to compare the risk of vaccine damage to risk of damage from disease. You need to compare risk of vaccine damage to risk of contracting said disease multiplied by risk of damage once contracted.

    As I pointed out, reliable safety data on the vaccine doesn’t exist so no one can prove it’s more or less dangerous to get vaccinated. Oh, and thanks for pointing out a useless study on whole cell pertussis vaccine which is not used here anymore. If I wanted the short term safety study funded by the sponsor for the actual vaccine being used, I would have gone to the well documented Immunization guide at HC — but I read that one a long time ago.

    As for vaccines wearing off, the outbreak was in kids ages 1-4, not enough time to wear off. The full study details on the 2006 outbreak here haven’t been published yet. I don’t know if that’s because it had a negative results or it’s still ongoing, but in the news reports at the time, they indicated that it was passing through both the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

  36. Schwartz April 22, 2008 at 07:32 #

    “Yeah, thats me to a ‘T’ – ask any of the many people I disagree with (Schwartz, century are two that spring to mind) whether I expect them to fawn all over me.”

    I’ll confirm that, thankfully, you have no expectations of fawning.

  37. HCN April 23, 2008 at 17:32 #

    Shwartzy: This stuff has been studied, and including economic impacts:

    You are leeching off of the herd immunity in your community. The fact is that pertussis protection is only about 80% to 90% effective, and it does wear off. Adults who get pertussis get a bad cough, and then give it to younger kids — who then, in turn give it to other kids.

    As herd immunity declines among the younger group (due in part to people like you who skew the actual results) more kids get pertussis… and hospitalizations rise.

    Most of the adverse reactions to pertussis are sore arms. There is very little evidence that there have been increased neurological impacts (the “mercury” is dangerous stuff is pretty much a myth, promoted by the Geiers and others trying to support lawsuits):

    You keep repeating the mantra that “the safety of vaccines has not been thoroughly researched” as if it has any validity. The safety has been researched, but folks keep moving the goal posts.

    What you are doing is trying to use a small sample data of your local area to prove that the larger studies are invalid. When in fact you are not looking at all the numbers. In an area where a large percentage of persons are vaccinated, there will still be a large pool on unprotected people because the vaccine is NOT 100% effective (and it wears off). Here is some of the math:

    If a population consists of 1000 persons, where 5% have chosen to not be vaccinated you would have:

    50 unvaccinated people
    950 vaccinated people

    If there is an infection that occurs, we will assume 75% of the 1000 persons came in contact with the infection (or get ill if all come into contact).

    This means that 75% of the of the 50 unvaccinated people will become sick, that would be about 37 people.

    BUT… 75% of the remaining vaccinated population will contract the infection, 950 * .75 would be about 712 vaccinated persons.

    BUT… the vaccine is only about 90% effective. So of the 712 vaccinated persons who come in contact with the infection, about 71 persons will become ill.

    By the way, the numbers change when more and more decide to be unvaccinated. So, let us see what happens with the unvax rate goes up to 20%:

    200 unvaccinated people
    800 vaccinated people.

    Still keep 75% come in contact with the infection.

    So then: 150 unvaccinated people become ill.

    And then of the 800 vaccinated people, 600 of them come into contact with the infection. If the vaccine is still 90% effective, then only 60 would become ill.

    It does not take much of a change to tilt the number to the other side of the scale. unvaccinated. As you push for delaying vaccines until they have been studied ad nauseum, you bring the numbers to the point where the diseases are back in large numbers. Where I live the numbers of un-vax are very high (close to 30%), this is why when my son was born there was a pertussis epidemic in our county (due to idiot stuff from Barbara Loe Fisher he was denied being vaccinated for pertussis because he had neonatal seizures, see the PubMed abstract I posted to show that was unnecessary). It still occurs, and most of the kids getting pertussis are NOT vaccinated.

    One reason why all of my kids got the Tdap, including the oldest (first time he got protection from pertussis). Next time it is time for my 10 year tetanus booster, I will also get the Tdap. I would suggest that if you deny YOUR children protection from pertussis and tetanus, that the adults in your family get the Tdap. Though, you should find a way to protect kids from tetanus (since it is in the soil, and sometimes comes from bug bites… there is NO herd immunity, you are going to have to figure that out yourself).

  38. HCN April 23, 2008 at 18:56 #

    Since I found this in response to some fool on Orac’s blog, I thought it would be useful here:

    Which says:

    “An antivaccine movement developed in Japan as a consequence of increasing numbers of adverse reactions to whole-cell pertussis vaccines in the mid-1970s. After two infants died within 24 h of the vaccination from 1974 to 1975, the Japanese government temporarily suspended vaccinations. Subsequently, the public and the government witnessed the re-emergence of whooping cough, with 41 deaths in 1979. This series of unfortunate events revealed to the public that the vaccine had, in fact, been beneficial. Furthermore, researchers and the Japanese government proceeded to develop safer pertussis vaccines. Japan now has the most experience worldwide with acellular pertussis vaccines, being the first country to have approved their use. This review describes the major events associated with the Japanese vaccination program. The Japanese experience should be valuable to other countries that are considering the development and use of such vaccines.”

  39. Schwartz April 24, 2008 at 07:06 #


    You can’t provide credible RCT vs placebo of almost any vaccine in the schedule today. You also likely can’t provide one that has a followup period longer than a couple of months (most have much shorter periods ranging from 10-30 days). I don’t consider that much of a safety investigation, nor do I see it as moving any goalpost.

    We know for certain that there are none for MMR or Flu vaccine based on systematic reviews. You can quote all the error prone epidemiology in the world, but the fact is that in many cases, the basic safety information has not been studied.

    I’m not even sure what goalpost you are referring to since the aP shot here has been Thimerosal free for almost a decade.

    As for your theoretical cost savings study, I have little faith in the accuracy. For decades, these same organizations have used similar models and preached the cost benefits of the flu vaccine, and now when the data finally comes in, we find it completely ineffective in reducing the costs that were used to justify it’s application.

    As for Tetanus, I am quite familiar with the risks there, and that is the main reason my eldest has been vaccinated with the DTaPxxx. As for vaccinating myself? Nope.

    As for the Japanese, I think it is an excellent lesson. They actually invested money in safety studies and improved them dramatically. Contrast that with the situation here. Blatent dismissal of safety issues. Who got it right?

    Your simplified math exercise also reveals one thing. The situation is highly sensitive to small changes in several numbers. That includes vaccine efficacy. Since the efficacy rates are not actually based on reduction of disease, they are almost always overstated. The mumps outbreaks (and I highly suspect the pertussis ones as well) are more often blamed on vaccine failure, not unvaccinated populations.

  40. HCN April 24, 2008 at 07:21 #

    Schwartzy said “You can’t provide credible RCT vs placebo of almost any vaccine in the schedule today.”

    That is unethical.

    I shall not try to explain, because you’ll will move the goal posts again.

    By the way, I’ve seen the hospital costs for a kid needing respiratory care. Trust me, one night in a hospital is equivalent to several thousands DTaP vaccines (and the minimum stay was two nights, sometimes more). Don’t even go there, unless you’ve spent some nights making sure your toddler is still breathing in the morning.

    Stop being an idiot.

  41. Steve D April 25, 2008 at 04:50 #

    One must at times wonder how Schwartz spends the 19 hours per day that is not spent debating vaccine safety online, considering his intense concern for even the most minor threats to the safety of his children.
    I’m guessing:
    1-2 hours plotting the safest driving routes to the local park or soccer field, factoring in accident data from each intersection that could be included in the route.
    30-45 minutes on whether any genetically modified foods are offered in his local market.
    45 minutes on the impact of parental attention and interaction on the likelihood of anxiety or depressive disorders.

    Is there any time left just to be a Dad and a husband and a productive employee? Only Schwartz knows…

  42. Schwartz April 25, 2008 at 05:02 #


    Unethical for Pneummoccocal? Unethical for Hib? Unethical for Varicella? Unethical for Gardasil? Unethical for Flu shot — which has no proven efficacy in that age group? Give me a break. That’s pretty weak.

    What part exactly is so unethical:

    1) The short followup period on a new vaccine?
    2) Testing a vaccine against experimental vaccines instead of placebo?

    What goalposts are you talking about? This safety discussion has nothing to do with Thimerosal. That needs to be tested independently. Are you saying testing a Thimerosal containing vaccine schedule vs no Thimerosal is unethical because you know Thimerosal causes harm? Or that a toxicity trial of Thimerosal is unethical, even in adults? Or how about actually mandated tracking of ALL adverse events in vaccines?

    There are so many problems with the safety procedures that your “Unethical card” reeks of evasion. People like you using that argument think that safety is black and white. You’re right about one thing, it’s currently black, but we’re not all proposing it be moved to white, just a much lighter shade of grey.

  43. Schwartz April 25, 2008 at 05:14 #


    What’s with the personal attack on my family life that you know nothing about?

    Since you brought it up however, child car seat safety is another one of my huge pet peeves. I think that whole industry needs some serious revamping and regulation. I would love to see some tests/studies done on child survival rates of rear-end collisions where the car seat was facing backwards (my simple tests on the several car seats I’ve gone through didn’t bode well for the occupant).

    Testing of GM foods have the same problems as testing of vaccines. Not surprisingly, they are regulated by the same broken agencies. Testing of beef has the same problem (or did until more recently). The food regulatory agencies and medical community certainly still have a black eye over that fiasco in the UK.

    I certainly treat my family’s diet very seriously. Don’t you?

  44. HCN April 25, 2008 at 16:15 #

    It is unethical for pertussis, which is the subject of this blog posting. I asked you specifically about DTaP. As you can see in Japan they actually did do a type of RCT. They delayed the pertussis vaccine until age two. What happened? Over 40 kids died.

    The paper did not say they got autism, or some other neurological catastrophe: they died.

    What is the crap about thimerosal? How much is in the present DTaP? What did the levels of autism do when it was removed? They kept going up, which for those of us who do not need to read “Logic for Half-Wits”, means that thimerosal is not implicated. And it is now a non-issue because it is no longer in the DTaP. Especially for those under the care of Health Canada, because they started using single-dose thimerosal vaccines earlier than the USA.

    As I said, you are not only moving goal posts, you are adding more of them.

    I’ll ask you one more time: If you have any real documented evidence that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus or diphtheria, please present it. Don’t claim it has not gone through RCT tests, hasn’t been compared to something else, or that you want to talk about other vaccines. Check the several dozen papers on PubMed (just be sure to skip any in Medical Hypothesis, Medical Veritas, or written by the Geiers, lawyers or financial analysts like Blaxill).

    The blog posting, and my question are only on the DTaP vaccine. Nothing else.

    Funny about you mentioning Gardisil! There were several large RCT trials on that: … “More than 12 000 women in 13 countries were randomized, most from Europe.”

    Schwartzy, you have gone from half-wit to being a complete idiot.

  45. Anon. April 26, 2008 at 01:53 #

    While Schwartz obsesses over areas of marginal risk, those of us in the real world have to deal with different problems. To mince words like Schwartz does without actually being affected by vaccines or autism indicates a great deal of privilege. Not all of us are so lucky to devote our time to such matters. Many autistic people and the parents of autistic people have far more significant concerns, and promoting anti-vaccine and pro-biomed propaganda doesn’t address any of that. Seriously, on the list of Things Wrong With The World, “car seat safety” doesn’t come close to making the top thousand.

  46. Schwartz April 26, 2008 at 04:32 #


    You obviously have problems reading. First, I already outlined that Health Canada removed Thimerosal from vaccines long before the US, so why are you telling me the same thing again?

    I’m still wondering what goalposts you’re talking about, because I only brought up thimerosal due to your comment about goalposts.

    And as for Gardasil, you obviously didn’t read the details of the safety aspects of the trial — perhaps you were bamboozled by the marketing blitz?. The majority of the women studied for efficacy and safety were far older than the majority of the young women they have mandated the vaccine for. You should really do your homework before throwing around ignorant insults.

    As for DTaP. I’ve clearly stated numerous times: There is NO credible evidence of the level of risk, therefore there is NO credible evidence to say it’s more or less risky than the illnesses themselves. How many more times does this bear repeating? This is the basic principal of risk assessement. Credible risk profiles supported by credible safety trials.

    Of course you completely ignore the Japanese experience in studying safety and creating a safer vaccine. Something you and the CDC seem to have missed, maybe due to selective reading again.

  47. HCN April 26, 2008 at 18:53 #

    Schwartzy said “As for DTaP. I’ve clearly stated numerous times: There is NO credible evidence of the level of risk, therefore there is NO credible evidence to say it’s more or less risky than the illnesses themselves. ”

    That is where you are clearly wrong. There is lots of data, and even a half-wit can see where vaccination with either DTaP or DTP goes down, deaths from pertussis go up.

    I did not ignore the Japanese experience. I actually used it as an example. It is a case that clearly showed that the DTP did NOT cause SIDS, and if they had not decided to delay the over 40 children may still be alive.

    Plus, in the pages of pages of studies on vaccines for pertussis, it is noted that the DTaP is not quite as effective as the whole cell version. Plus, the dangers of the whole cell pertussis vaccine were not has dire as first thought. You’d know that if you actually looked at the information without filtering through your closed mind.

    The CDC and I are not ignoring anything. If anything, YOU are the one who is blind to obvious evidence, and the pages and pages of papers on the pertussis safety and effectiveness papers on PubMed.

    The reason you refuse to answer my question is not because there is no data, it is because the many many peer-reviewed papers, and the studies done in several countries (including Japan) do not say what you want them to say.

    You are being a complete idiot because you refuse to actually look and comprehend the real information. You have in your little pointy head the mantra “vaccines bad, disease good”, and no amount of research or data will change your very very wrong opinion.

    (A note on moving goal posts… you claim the HPV vaccine trials were faulty because the women were at the age where they could sign a consent form — that is called moving a goalpost. Also, some studies were on younger adolescents including boys. That was only one review.)

  48. Schwartz April 27, 2008 at 06:23 #


    You harp on the Japanese experience as being negative, yet they reduced their infant mortality rates significantly in the years following the changes in the schedule, they went to the top of the world in low infant mortality. Shall we bother comparing to the US rate which saw it’s first decline in 50 years — oh, that must have been the low rate of vaccination right? Give me a break. The US rate today is an embarrassment in the western world. So you propose we look to the CDC to help us manage safety?

    There is not a lot of credible vaccine safety data at all. What system is accurately tracking vaccine reactions? What long term studies have been done? None and None. What credible RCT trials have been done? None. So, where is this credible safety data you’re referring to? Excuses of ethics don’t cut it. Oh, we couldn’t do any safety tracking because it would be unethical?

    Are you placing your faith in epidemiology, the type that can’t detect problems in small percentages of people? Or the type that is prone to false negatives? Save your faith in the system for someone else.

    They didn’t even do basic toxicity tests on vaccine components. Systematic reviews have pointed out again and again that the industry sponsored trials are most often flawed in methodology, are almost always biased, and don’t allow a proper analysis of safety profile.

    So you can repeat your unsubstantiated mantra over and over and try to fool yourself that the safety aspects have been adequately tested.

    They don’t even test changes in the vaccine schedule or combinations of vaccines.

    And you really should do your homework on Gardasil — moving goalpost lol. Is that the goalpost asking for proper efficacy and safety trials to be done on women of the age where the vaccine is being mandated and given? Who moved that goalpost? Sounds like you put the goalpost on the wrong field.

    There were a lot of women below the age of concent in the study, but they were still older than the age being mandated now. And it doesn’t really matter why they weren’t tested, the point is they weren’t, unlike your claims to the contrary. Read the trials that resulted in it’s approval if you don’t believe me. You have a lot of faith in these organizations. You are clearly ignoring the evidence and history that surround drug safety.

  49. HCN April 27, 2008 at 17:54 #

    Schwartzy said “blah blah blah… You are clearly ignoring the evidence and history that surround drug safety.”

    Just a bunch words claiming stuff that isn’t true without a shred of evidence to prove it.

    I asked you repeatedly to show me the evidence you say I am ignoring… but you have refused to show it (you are allowed to post a URL link, or failing that you can post the author, title, data, journal of your evidence). Put up or shut up. Go away little pointy headed troll until you can show me the actual evidence that supports the stupidity you keep posting.

  50. HCN April 28, 2008 at 05:02 #

    By the way Schwartzy, all you managed to give in the way of argument is your opinion. Your opinion means nothing unless backed by real data.

    Also, your opinion deserves all the derision I can foist on it if you cannot fathom this logic:

    1) Vaccine may be implicated in two deaths.

    2) Vaccine delayed until child turns two years old.

    3) Disease returns, kills over 40 babies.

    4) Disease is definitely riskier than vaccine… back to previous vaccination schedule.

    But, you are special in your own pointy-head way in thinking that somehow the risks for DTaP far outweigh the risk of an infant getting pertussis, not counting herd immunity.

    Speaking of herd immunity, it is something you take advantage of due to the largess of Health Canada. Where preventative medicine is vaulted as a way of saving your tax dollars. (And trust me I know how Health Canada loves to save money! I’m married to a Canadian with lots of family in BC… I’ve seen and heard about the limits of therapy for stroke recovery, the waits for surgical procedures, the random policies of speech and physical therapy for one disabled child of a cousin, and on and on… my mum-in-law’s siblings have been succumbing to cancer in the past decade, oh and one of hubby’s cousin at the age of 45… half of his jaw was removed due to mouth cancer — smoking kills, doncha know?).

    Anyway, since you’ve set yourself up as smarter in risk assessment with your own special kind of logic (akin to Bizarro World) than the CDC, the World Health Organization, Health Canada and almost every public health agency on this planet… I have a suggestion for you:

    Write up your resume and tell them exactly how you can make immunization policies so much better for Health Canada and send it to:

    Public Health Agency of Canada
    Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control
    Dr. Frank A. Plummer
    Director General
    Tel.: 613-941-4339
    Fax: 613-957-0183

    Office of the Director General
    100 Colonnade Road
    AL 0601D
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0K9

    Oh, and put this on your calendar for a trip to Ottawa: June 4-5, 2008

    That is when there will be a National Advisory Committee on Immunization meeting. I am sure they would all love to hear all about what things they are ignoring. They would especially value your input when you tell them how the CDC (from that evil country to the south of them) is so wrong on everything.

    Here is their website:

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