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    • Thanks for the pointer to the CNN article. One thing this conversation has helped me understand is how legitimately scary the issues sound. For example, injecting aluminum directly into the bloodstream.

      Perhaps I never understood this because of my peculiar background as an earth scientist who worked in water testing for years. We're so casual about aluminum that it's everywhere — in Coke cans, antacids, deodorant, foil, food, machinery, etc. — so it gets in some water supplies too.

      Some percentage of the roughly 8 mg of aluminum the average person ingests every day ends up in our blood and urine, which is a scary thought. The blood and urine tests tell us the highest amounts end up in people who are aluminum welders, workers in factories that produce aluminum powder, and people who have impaired kidney function (for example, the elderly and premature infants).

      I don't know how clear it is what the effects of elevated aluminum are. They are elevated in Alzheimer's patients.

      What's hard for me as a cold-blooded insensitive scientist is to try and link scariness with real effects. The dose of aluminum salt in a vaccine of less than 1 mg is so small it can't be measured in blood or urine tests. It's microscopic in scope since we get so few vaccines compared to the aluminum we take in every day. So we end up having to rely on the big studies about the effects of vaccines on health.

      I think that by the numbers, you can probably conclude that choosing aluminum welding as an occupation, consuming an excess of antacids, or letting your kidneys get to a bad state could lead to negative health outcomes. But overwhelmingly large, careful studies indicate vaccines are safe.

      If someone can find good data that indicates otherwise, however, I for one would embrace it.

    • The article is one-sided, of course. True articles from the other side are not ever published in the mainstream media.

      Are we sure this is true? The opioid segment of big pharma is very profitable but the mainstream media is brutal in calling them out for it, as they should.

      Administering vaccines isn't profitable for doctors and most vaccines have been unprofitable for pharma. The big money is in medications to control chronic diseases because you have to take them every day for the rest of your life.

      For most vaccines I can think of, it would be much more profitable for both the medical and pharmaceutical industries if fewer people were vaccinated because there is so much money in the care of people who get the diseases that vaccines prevent, no?

    • I like to read articles written by data journalist Mona Chalabi because she has interesting ways to illustrate data to visualize it. She used to write a column for Nate Silver's statistics 538 blog and she had a way to look at very human, very personal topics with data. At The Guardian she has written about vaccinations sometimes. This visualization put things in perspective for me, I hope it helps other parents too.

    • I've been struggling to understand why there is such a big movement around vaccines but not around painkillers or antibiotics — which are absolutely necessary sometimes — but are demonstrably less safe than vaccines.

      What are we not understanding as scientists? Emotional contagion? We are not good at emotion.

      Someone said the original topic of this conversation is about Facebook Groups so maybe there is something to be learned from the parallel dramatic rise of flat earthers. One of the flat earth groups went from 0 to 121,000 members in the last 18 months, they have regional monthly meetups in most cities, and they just launched a big annual conference.

      So I watched this:

      There are a lot of parallels with anti-vaccination groups. It has become a huge movement, they feel like a scarlet letter is attached to them, they don't trust the mainstream press or the science community, and there is not a single scientist in the movement. By and large they are white and middle class.

      They are gobsmacked that the science community cannot listen to them with an open mind. The scientists are gobsmacked that anyone could believe the earth is flat. There is simply no common ground.

      The movement has gotten big enough that they have been able to raise funding to explore for the edge of the earth and they're optimistic. They have embarked on experiments with lasers to show the earth is not curved. They're understandably excited that when they prove no curvature, it's game over for this brainwashing that has gone on for 450 years.

      I can't understand it but if they do find the edge and prove no curvature, I commit to changing my beliefs.

    • I too am glad this conversation kept the rhetoric in check. A formerly vaccine-hesitant mom spoke at a Canadian immunology conference last December and said it's important to tone down the rhetoric because harsh rhetoric only drives vaccine hesitant people away from the health system.

    • Umm, someone please tell me the image below ⬇️ is untrue.

      The contributor went on to say that the number of measles cases this year is on pace to be DOUBLE the biggest year since the measles was eliminated.

    • That's a horrible outcome of a stupid decision, but at least he recovered. Question is, who absorbs the costs and why, vs. some poor average folk with less stellar insurance, that did get vaccinated yet falls prey to some other illness (not necessarily vaccine related).

    • I wish I understood the economics behind U.S. healthcare, but try as I have all these years, I haven't been able to figure it out. We're all familiar with the fact that our healthcare costs per capita are 2.6 times the average of other industrialized nations, we have 40 million uninsured, and our outcomes are lower. But we fiercely and very emotionally cling to our setup.

      It must have to do with the economy, wealthy people comfortable with being able to buy their way into the best care, insurance company lobbies...I don't know, it's too hard for me to unravel.

    • Responding to the original post, the fly on the wall would be looking at something vaguely reminiscent of the daily Page One meetings I attended at the Detroit Free Press in the 1980s. They were not unlike similar meetings at similar newspapers around the country. You might have seen reasonable facsimiles in theaters or on television. Only difference is that the newspaper meetings had people known as "editors." A dying breed, they had a place in the world. And the number and power of the good ones, back then at least, far outweighed the number and power of the bad ones. Look no further than this thread, as well as the Times today or the New Yorker last month for documentation of what happens when you erode the Fourth Estate with little to no thought given to what shall replace it.

    • Important to read. One day many will realize that vaccine manufacturers lied about safety the same way as tobacco companies did but it may be too late for many who got injured.

    • That’s a press release from Del Bigtree. He was a super successful TV producer before going into vaccine activism. He’s talented, charismatic, beloved by aggrieved parents who ascribe vaccines as the cause for their child’s health problems.

      I do think he has good intent. Here is the best thing that I’ve found written about him, despite this description:

    • Can you help me find the FDA disclosure? I don't seem to be able to find where Del or ICAN linked to it.

      I wasn't sure I understood what Del was getting at with the claims in the press release so maybe reading the source material would help. For example, he felt that there were not enough children tested in the clinical trials the FDA based their recommendation on, which sounds like a legit question. The source material should reference the studies he was referring to so I'm anxious to see it.

      He didn't mention the huge numbers of children who've been tested by other governments and universities around the world and I'm wondering why. For example, this study of Danish kids published in 2002 was of 527,303 children vaccinated in the 90s. The Danish follow-up study they just released was for 657,461 children. The UK study had 10.4 million doses. Does he have concern that they are part of a coverup too?

    • So is this one. The problem is that the mainstream media these days covers only one side. Our side is simply attacked. That is a shame and not at all representative of democracy

    • Can you help me find the FDA disclosure? The press release you linked made some important claims I’d be happy to read about.

      I’m not ignoring or attacking these videos but they don’t seem related. They’re decades old and making the argument that a child had a vaccine then was diagnosed with something so it must be the vaccine. If that’s true then there should be some data somewhere to support it and I think that’s all we’re asking for. That doesn’t seem like an attack.

    • there has to be a dialogue asking why there are kids who get injured. Why some but not others. When you get penalized and attacker for just asking questions about vaccine safety, It starts to feel like living in authoritarian regime where any alternative thinking was heavily penalized. Maybe some want to live in such society, but not me.

      I saw the link to FDA disclosure but didn’t save it. I will see if I can quickly find it.

    • Yet you cannot claim vaccines are 100 percent safe and this is what we keep hearing day in and day out. Two Merck scientists filed lawsuit in 2010 against Merck for falsification of MMR efficacy. The lawsuit hasn’t yet been dismissed yet you don’t hear about it in mainstream media.

      US military ship has been recently quarantined and cannot get to any port due to its mumps outbreak on board despite all personnel having been vaccinated. Why don’t we hear about this in the news? Maybe because it means that even 100 percent vaccination rate doesn’t guarantee immunity from disease. And getting mumps as adults is way more problematic than getting it as a kid.

      CDC gets 4.9 bln out of their 11 bln budget from selling vaccines. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Who has patient’s interest in mind when so much money are at stake?

      Would you buy a car from a manufacturer if you know this manufacturer cannot be sued in case of your car’s malfunctioning? If vaccines are 100 percent safe, why did Congress provide vaccine manufacturers complete immunity from lawsuits in 1986? How about getting rid of this clause since their vaccines are safe and efficient and only one in a million can ever have a reaction. If this is so, you wouldn’t need immunity from lawsuits.

      I now understand why it is called herd immunity. They relate to people believing in vaccine safety as if it is a religion. In true science you continue questioning, you never settle especially when so many unknown causes of auto immune diseases and neurological disorders are among younger generation, when this generation for the first time in recent history is expected to have shorter life span than their parents. Despite very high immunization rates, we have the sickest kids. Look at school statistics and check how many kids now have special needs and aides assigned to them. While there are unanswered questions, we have to look everywhere. When we compare vaccines we received as children, it is like comparing apples and oranges. I got maybe three or four vaccines as a child with no more than 12 doses which were well spread. Today’s kids get 65 doses on average with the first dosage administered at the age of few hours after birth and usually 3 to 4 vaccines at a time.

      Now think just logically. Let’s say you got a small pox vaccine in the past. Your body recognized this as a pathogen and got programmed to fight it. It got one and only. I am sure even then were people who reacted adversely but maybe majority benefited from it.

      Now kids get 3-4 vaccines at a time with various pathogens plus adjuvants. The body’s immune system isn’t designed to fight multiple diseases plus adjuvants (unnatural for us) all at once. On top of it, vaccines are nowadays administered even when you fighting cold or flu (in the past it was not allowed), so the body is already fighting some virus. As a result, it often overloads immune system and if you are lucky you develop allergies and if not so lucky, some other severe conditions.

      Just study vaccine inserts, they are available online and see what you think about ingredients. Would you give your baby formaldehyde in formula? How about aluminum, bovine serum, polysorbate 80? Maybe you will be ok with that, but somehow for me it is a big no-no. Even vaccine inserts require that a pediatrician discuss associated risks with parents, yet I was never offered this information.

    • I'm probably one of the last few people who are still following this conversation, but I think it might be time for me to give up on it.

      All of this purely anecdotal stuff, all the references to outdated, taken-out-of-context or potentially even forged studies, all the "look up this information that I'm only hinting at but not providing a link" schtick - it is getting a bit old, to be honest.

      In other news, I got a measles and a hepatitis vaccination last week. I'm still alive. Hooray for science!

    • All of this purely anecdotal stuff, all the references to outdated, taken-out-of-context or potentially even forged studies, all the "look up this information that I'm only hinting at but not providing a link" schtick - it is getting a bit old, to be honest.

      I was also tempted to respond to this conversation, @Factotum . Because like you I feel frustrated for the same reasons. Your response captured exactly my feelings about what this discussion has devolved into. Every time Chris patiently responds with facts to a false or misleading statement, his response feels glossed over and five new statements are made with no support to back up the claims.

      There is a wonderful author by the name of Steven Hassan and he writes about cults and fringe groups: he was high up in the leadership of the Moonies and so speaks with authority of the manipulative practices that such groups engage in to maintain compliance and acceptance of the group beliefs.

      One of the biggest challenges in getting someone out of a group is the “vacuum” caused if they leave. If the life they will return to is worse than the group, such as family sexual abuse, they will stay in the group. Similarly, if they leave the group then they have to accept all the harm they caused while in the group. That’s why getting someone to change their anti-vaccine views is so hard: if they decide that they were wrong, then they are also having to admit that they harmed their child by not vaccinating.

      I will continue to follow this conversation because I view it through that lense and find it fascinating. I also find some of the comments made alarming, but that doesn’t reduce my curiosity.

    • So I read the 215 page FOIA. The first thing that jumps out is it's from the 70s when mothers like mine were terrified of measles. A lot of parents had been losing children to it recently (chart below). The FDA was under pressure in those days to do fast approvals (like the agencies are now for cancer), hence only 875 children tested. But they were led by different credible teams like in Children's Hospital Philadelphia. The 8 independent studies were consistent, not done by pharma, and those doctors had no reason to falsify data.

      It's true the upper respiratory infection rate was high post vaccines but from what I can tell it was the normal rate independent of vaccinations for the time and places these tests took place. There were various other complaints like teething, but I don't think anyone thought the vaccines were causing common colds or teething problems.

      It's actually a pretty confidence-inspiring read. We have a modern example of nothing-to-see-here (the Barr letter) but then you read the actual report and get a different picture. This seems to be the reverse. I wonder how many people actually read it.

      I also wonder why it's a thing 50 years later that only 875 children were represented. We've since collected data on millions of vaccinations.