Monday, 27 June 2011

Following Vaccinations

Joan Campbell - a regular on the JABS forum has recently launched a new website

For the last few months, she's been collecting short anecdotes from parents worldwide about (ostensibly) how their children were damaged by vaccines.

Now - it's going to be very difficult for me - and other bloggers, no doubt - to pull this to shreds without being accused of being heartless bastards. If that's how any of this post comes across, it isn't meant to; as I've always said, I have nothing but sympathy and admiration for parents of autistic, and other ill children. The people I feel loathing for are those who are prepared to use those parents in order to further their own twisted, anti-vaccine agenda.

Mrs Campbell is a parent herself - her story is listed, among 900 others - but she's clearly had her head turned by the anti-vax zealots; the Wakefields, the Stones etc of this world, and her new site is deliberately playing right into their hands. For instance, Dan Olmsted has described it on Age of Autism as;

…one of the most important documents ever created about children's health


in this case, the plural of anecdote is the truth.

No Dan, it isn't.

While many of them are heart-wrenching stories - which was clearly the intention - there are a lot which don't mention vaccines at all, or do so only tangentially;

…but my son, looking back, showed signs from birth

I believe from the day he was born there was something wrong. He wouldn't breast feed, he wouldn't eat and now that he is 6 yrs old he does not chew at all.

Unable to pinpoint @ an infant which vaccine, but after diagnosed at age 12 with NLD versus Asperger's

the dates sound mysteriously made-up;

My son started having seizures after his one month MMR

or they're just repeating standard anti-vax rhetoric;

I don't think a specific vaccination causes autism. I think it's all the crap in vaccinations, like all the heavy metals that are loaded into it as they are very toxic.

As we're all aware - vaccines can produce adverse effects - no-one's denying this, so some of the stories are to be expected;

My son was always rushed to the e.r after his shots he was lethargic, it was scary.

There are a lot more stories that don't add up - or really have no place in Mrs Campbell's list - but there are an an awful lot more stories of ill children. It's telling that so few of them have mentioned that any kind of expert opinion has agreed with their decision that their children's conditions were in any way vaccine related.

While these are heartbreaking stories, they are not evidence that vaccines cause autism, or any of the other wide range of ailments that the anti-vax zealots like to claim they do.

In case Mr Olmsted is reading this, as you well know, the plural of anecdote, even heartbreaking ones like these, is not truth.

Note: Having just read this through, I just know I'm going to attract hate mail for this post, so I'll say it again - I have nothing but respect and sympathy for parents of ill children. I loathe the anti-vax brigade who've given you spurious information and a "reason" for their conditions, in many cases in order to line their own pockets.

Neither am I accusing parents of lying - although I suspect many of them may be mistaken about aspects of their children's experiences, and have, in their own minds, and with no intent to deliberately deceive, made those mistakes to fit the anti-vaccine story.


Chris said...

I understand. But I do have a disabled child, he had seizures because of a now vaccine preventable disease. I actually get hateful responses when I mention that.

I looked at, and it is just a list of stories. They are not real data.

It reminded me of the NVIC website where it has a "victims of vaccines" page. When I was first directed to it, the cover story was of a little girl with Down Syndrome. I am not sure how vaccines added an extra 21st chromosome.

mynotsofictionallife said...

I had an allergic reaction after having a meningitis c booster as a kid. Didn't stop me wanting to have vaccines as I figured death is worse.

gregthegreen said...

You can skip through all the arguing, and half truths from either side of the debate. There is no actual need for a forum like this. I bet I could stack 10 rooms full of arguments from both sides. It comes down to probability when i make a decision, not reading half truth forums / books from either side.

Info : -

England & Wales population 52,000,000.
Measles cases - On average 500 a year (374 in 2010)
My Toddler - Comes into contact on average with 50 people per day at the most - 365 days in a year.

Questions I asked myself -

1) If those measles cases were averagely spread out over a year, and assuming by just coming into contact with one of those infected, she would catch it, what would be the probability at the start of every day, that she would catch it today?
2) Probability that she would catch it over a year?
3) Assuming that government info is correct, and serious complications are 1 in 1000, taking into account the above probability, what would be the probability that she would be the unlucky one, again each day and over the whole year?


Well lets round 374 cases up to 730 to average it to 2 people per day.

1) 52,000,000 / 50*2= 1 in 520,000 chance of catching it per day.
2) 1 / (520,000 / 365)
= 1 in 1425 chance of catching it per year.

3) 1425 x 1000
= 1 in 1,425,000 chance of serious complications per year.

This is assuming that everyday, she meets 50 random people. In reality, she may meet the same 50 people everyday and she wouldnt be breathing all these peoples germs. Add to thatI constantly check the news for outbreaks. so the real figures would be MUCH LOWER than this calculated. Also the 1 in 1000 serious complications comes from the only studies done in 1963 and 1976. In reality, with modern treatment, and as statistics show by the number of people being killed or maimed, that figure is out of date. Add to that a healthy immune system and the probability is very close to zero for my child.

So its an easy decision in 2011 for me. Seeing as how there are 2000 families in the UK, who swear their kids were developing normally until MMR, if I use common sense and say lets say 20 are correct by the law of probability and looking at the history of modern medicine. Calculate how many children were given the MMR per year and work it out. I haven't done this, but I can see it would work out to more of a risk than the above. So an easy decision for me, but if everyone were like me, the risk would go up. Therefore scare mongering forums like this do a good job. Keep up the good work!

Becky said...

Yes Greg. That's because you're a selfish, ignorant arsehole.

1. You believe the scare stories put about by the anti-vaccine lobby

2. If every parent had your approach to vaccination, and didn't get the vaccines, the numbers of measles cases, and hence serious complications would be massively highter

You might also want to revise your maths, based on the following table, taken from another post on this blog:

Risk / Benefit analysis of vaccination vs measles (taken from a recent Guardian CiF thread, compiled by DeeTee from (I understand) HPA stats):
If one million kids are given vaccine (MMR):
1000 will have a febrile convulsion.
30 will get thrombocytopenia.
10 will get a severe allergic reaction.
1 will get encephalitis (ADEM).

If one million kids get measles (in Europe, in the 21st century):
200 will die.
100,000 will be ill enough to need hospitalisation.
90,000 will get otitis media.
80,000 will get gastroenteritis.
50,000 will get primary viral or secondary bacterial pneumonia.
5000 will have a febrile convulsion.
1000 will get encephalitis (ADEM or SSPE), 100 of whom will die and 2-300 will have residual brain damage.
1000 will get various other problems such as hepatitis, myocarditis, thrombocytopenia or miscarriage if caught in pregnancy.

Patricia said...

What exactly are you expecting to "convince" you that vaccines did cause the injuries listed on the blog? I don't get it. What was asked was a short 1 paragraph account of how a vaccine injured a child dx'd now with autism. Our story is very short and succint, but boy I can show you 2 thick binders of ER visits, lab work and reports showing a proven medical condition caused after a vaccination. I hope you don't think this is a "hateful" response but that injuries are real, they are!

Chris said...

Patricia, no one denies there are vaccine injuries. But it is not as simple as correlation to the timing of the vaccine. There are other factors, and often something else is happening at a similar time.

My son had seizures less than two weeks after his MMR vaccine. Do you think the vaccine caused the seizures, or the very serious but different disease he had (and I also caught)?

But you and I can only offer our anecdotes. Neither of them are real data. You have to know there is a risk to every medical intervention, but is that risk greater or less than not doing something? Would you not give your child antibiotics for a strep infection because there might be a small chance of an allergic reaction?

You have a proven vaccine injury. But how many of that particular injury are documented per year and for how many doses? What is the risk of the actual disease?

And since you have a child who cannot have vaccines (or at least that one particular type), which would be safer:

1) Telling everyone to get their vaccines to ensure he/she is protected with herd immunity.

2) Telling everyone that particular vaccine is dangerous because it hurt your son?

Lamb said...

Please read the papers written by many credible scientists on the autism causing effects of Aluminium Adjuvant and thimerosal. Also mainstream science has been telling people that thimerosal is perfectly safe for the past 70 years. Recently they have begun to remove it from vaccines (did they admit a mistake? Nope), but if you are sure that it's safe you could still take a thimerosal-containing vaccine in a third world country.