The Permissibility of Refusing the MMR Vaccine and the Issue of Blame

Since November 2012, there have been more than 1,100 cases of measles in the Swansea area. To put these numbers into perspective, in 2011, there were 19 cases of cases of measles in the whole of Wales. Measles can result in pneumonia, loss of hearing, and death. There are concerns that there will be another measles epidemic in the future.  One reason for the increase in number of cases of measles is due to a reduced number of children receiving the MMR vaccine. In Wales, the uptake of the MMR vaccine fell from 94% in 1995 to 78% in 2003. It has been suggested that this lower uptake of the MMR vaccine was in part due to parents’ concerns about a link between the vaccine and autism. It was also claimed that a local newspaper had an effect on the lower uptake in Swansea.

As it happens, Swansea is my hometown, and I’ve been working on a project related to vaccine ethics for the past few months. So, the ethical issues raised by the measles epidemic in Swansea are especially interesting for me. In particular, I’ve been addressing the following two issues. The first issue is whether it is impermissible for parents to refuse the MMR vaccine for their children. The second is whether the parents who refused the MMR vaccine should be blamed for the refusal.

The first issue might seem uninteresting. After all, it is uncontroversial to hold that, unless there are other weighty considerations to the contrary, it is impermissible for a parent to allow their child to be harmed. Are there any plausible weighty considerations to the contrary? This is tricky. First off, let’s set aside cases where the child has an allergy to the MMR, and assume that it is permissible to refuse the vaccine in such cases.

One possible consideration that could render an MMR refusal permissible is the value of autonomy. Although there are many accounts of what the value of autonomy entails, broadly speaking, it is the idea that it is good to make and act upon significant decisions about one’s own life, according to one’s own beliefs about what is valuable. Given that a relationship with one’s child is a significant part of a person’s life, it could be argued that the value of autonomy means that it is permissible for parents to refuse autonomously the MMR vaccine for their child, even though this refusal is bad for their child.

However, it seems unlikely that autonomy could render this refusal permissible for a number of reasons. One reason is that it is unclear why the importance of autonomy should outweigh concerns for the health of the child. After all, even if what brings significant meaning to my life involves autonomously planning to punch a stranger in the street, it seems implausible to claim that the value of autonomy renders the action that causes this harm to the stranger permissible. Yet refusing the MMR vaccine could result in far greater harm than my punch (there are, of course, a number of responses to this).

A further possible consideration that could render a parent’s MMR refusal permissible is the value of the parent-child relationship. As Brighouse and Swift have argued, this value makes a significant contribution to the lives of parents. Moreover, it is argued to be a unique source of flourishing. Nevertheless, it is difficult to see how a parent refusing the MMR vaccine for his/her child could have any bearing on the value of the parent-child relationship. Perhaps it could have some bearing in cases where a parent holds a religious view that forbids vaccines. But even in these cases, it is difficult to see why the importance of realizing this value would outweigh the value of the child’s health.

So, I think that neither considerations of autonomy nor the value of the parent-child relationship are convincing grounds to claim that it is permissible for parents to refuse the MMR vaccine for their child. There may be other, more persuasive considerations that I haven’t mentioned, and if you have any suggestions, let me know.

It could be objected that all of these points miss the most important issue about the parents’ refusal. It could be claimed that it is permissible for parents to refuse the MMR vaccine for their child if the parents believe that the refusal will be good for the child, even when the refusal will be bad for the child. It is very likely that in the cases where parents refused the MMR vaccine, they did so because they believed that the refusal will be good for their child. There are good grounds for doubting that a person’s beliefs affect the permissibility of his actions, but I don’t have space to get into this here (but if anyone knows a compelling argument why beliefs can render otherwise impermissible actions permissible, let me know). However, an agent’s beliefs are important when we assess whether a person is blameworthy for their impermissible actions, and it is not clear whether the parents who refused the MMR vaccine are blameworthy.

Whether we consider someone to be blameworthy for an impermissible action is important. For example, many philosophers think that it is unjust to punish someone who is not blameworthy for an impermissible action. A sufficient condition for a person not to be blameworthy for an impermissible action is an excuse. If an impermissible action is fully excused, then we should not blame the person who acted impermissibly.

Did the parents who refused an MMR vaccine for their child have an excuse? There are a number of conditions that determine whether a person is excused for an impermissible action. Probably the most relevant excusatory condition in this case is ignorance. Suppose that a person does not know that his action has harmful consequences. It is commonly held that this ignorance can excuse this harmful action.

So, given that (at least some of) the parents who refused the MMR vaccine did not know that their MMR refusal would result in harm in their child, does this meet the excusatory condition of ignorance? It seems plausible to think that they do meet this condition, and so (at least some of) the parents should be excused and not blamed for refusing the MMR vaccine. (However given the widespread publicity surrounding this epidemic, it is unlikely that future impermissible refusals would meet this excusatory condition). Nevertheless, it could be objected that parents should have known that refusing the MMR vaccine for their child could result in the harm of their child. But this does not seem clear. After all, the parents were faced with a variety of conflicting information concerning the safety of the MMR vaccine, both in a highly respected academic journal, and in their local newspaper. Sadly, there are a number of further responses and objections that I don’t have the space here to address, but let me know if you have any thoughts. I would greatly appreciate them!

 

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110 Responses to The Permissibility of Refusing the MMR Vaccine and the Issue of Blame

  • Sarah says:

    I suppose a complicating factor might be that if only a few parents refuse the vaccine then the child (or any other children) will not be harmed since they will benefit from herd immunity. It is only when, as in this case, many parents refused the vaccine that the herd immunity was lost and harm resulted to children refused the vaccine. So if the impermissibility lies in allowing the harming of the child then parents who refused their child to be vaccinated before the scandal broke would be acting permissibly, since no child would be harmed thanks to the actions of the majority- they are no more likely to get measles than a vaccinated child. But the same parents refusing to vaccinate a child after the MMR/ autism paper would then be acting impermissibly since there would then be a harm. Of course, the possibility has always existed that the high take up rate of vaccines would change for some reason, but given that it was rather unforseeable at that point I think that would be an excessively broad understanding of allowing their child to be harmed. For example, I might not teach my child to swim even though it might save his life in some circumstances since we live in a very dry area with no water nearby and those circumstances will not arise. Then the council decide to turn my town into a new Venice. Until I can teach him to swim he is in extreme peril every day. Does my previous action that was permissable then become impermissible or is its permissibility set at the time of acting (or not acting as the case may be)?

  • Douglas Carnall says:

    I suspect that this isn’t really an ethical question, but an epistemological one, because I don’t doubt that just about every parent has the best interests of their child at heart. But who to believe? And what to do? You allude to this difficulty in your final paragraph, but for me it is the heart of the issue.
    While the science underlying immunisation is not particularly abstruse, the rationale for immunisation programmes has a statistical basis, which, sadly, in the UK at least, probably puts independent decisionmaking beyond the majority. Thus are parents dependent on advisers. Who might they trust with their children’s lives? Politicians? Proven liars—Exhibit A: Gummer’s beefburger during the BSE crisis. GPs? Trusted, but, with respect to vaccination, a proven financial conflict of interest (‘target’ payment for >70% coverage £2000/year at the time). The medical press? The Lancet made a frightful mess of publishing Wakefield’s study, and dealing with the aftermath. Philosophers? With their “excusatory conditions” and “impermissibilities” that seem to be groping away from, rather toward, respect for individual autonomy… ?

  • David R. MacIver says:

    if anyone knows a compelling argument why beliefs can render otherwise impermissible actions permissible, let me know

    Not so much an argument as an example. Saying the sentence “This vaccine will harm your child” is permissible if and only if you believe that to be true. Being wrong is always permissible, telling lies with strong negative is not.

    Taking this one step further, how would the situation change if it was the child’s decision whether or not to get vaccinated and the parent merely presented this information to them?

    Incidentally, as a note on the consequences of failing to vaccinate, it’s not just children who didn’t get vaccinated because their parents refused who suffer because of the loss of herd immunity. It’s also children who are too young to have been vaccinated. So parents are making a decision that puts more children at risk than just other children whose parents have also decided to put them at risk.

  • Jana says:

    David, I agree with you. Our data from NY state shows exactly that. Exempted children put themselves and immunized children at higher risk of pertussis in communities with high exemptions. I don’t doubt that parents refuse vaccine because they want to protect children from perceived risk of vaccination. What I challenge is their right to make those decisions about complex issues such as vaccinations. They are not only making decision for their children, their choices impact all of us living around them. The science of vaccination is extremely complex and requires expertise in the production of vaccine, immunology, epidemiology, infectious diseases to name few. It is beyond my comprehension how parents can think that they ” know better” and go against the recommendations of people who devout their lives to study vaccines. Jana

  • Sheri says:

    Well, the parents have rights when it comes to the care of their child. No state/government has the right to mandate various health care decisions or drugs for people. And, There are NOT 1100 cases – As of 4 June 2013, the all Wales surveillance of laboratory confirmed infections has stated there have been 98 laboratory confirmed measles infections in Swansea, 162 in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board area and 303 laboratory confirmed measles infections for the whole of Wales, to date, since the outbreak began in November 2012
    http://www2.nphs.wales.nhs.uk:8080/CommunitySurveillanceDocs.nsf/%28$All%29/853E6689C7C8A1AE80257B80004FF334/$File/monthly%20lab%20201306.pdf?OpenElement

    Wales population estimated to be about 3 million –
    10 cases in Wales per 100,000 = approx 300

  • Keith says:

    Allowing your child to catch measles is neglect and I would even consider abuse.

    Neglect can be defiend as inaction leading to harm. Failing to have your child vaccinated unlees clear contra-indication fall sinto thsi category.

    In the past I have seen social services acuse patients of abusing their child becasue they hit their head and did not go straight to casualty, only later when they felt child was not right meant intentional injury. The fact I as a qualified doctor and two thers had seen the fall and checked the child and gave the correct advice seemed irrelevant to them. Their was more experince in that room than any doctor they would have seen in A&E.

  • Sheri says:

    And Keith – allowing your child to get a vaccine that is harmful is neglect. Neglect can be defined as action leading to harm. Do you know the reactions that are documented, to this vaccine? Do you know the number of court cases in the US and Italy that have compensated parents for vaccine harm for MMR? Just because you, as a doctor, think my child needs this, does not make it so. As a nurse, I know the doctors know very little about the vaccines, what is in the package insert and what the adverse reactions may be. And when there is a reaction, it is nearly always denied and blamed on something else. And not everyone believes in your version of science. I think the court is still out on that one. Are we to now be utilitarian? If you want to vaccinate yourself and your children, that is your choice. And my choice, and that of many others, is to not vaccinate. Health is not about injecting toxins to achieve it. I choose to enhance my health and allow my body to heal itself and be strong without the toxic assault of the vaccine antigen injected in (not nature’s way) along with aluminum (which passes the blood-brain barrier and takes other things with it), dna/rna, animal viruses, polysorbate 80, antibiotics and more. It is not a law, to exist, we must do everything that doctors and so-called science says.

  • Freda Birrell says:

    One point that confuses me is how can an unvaccinated child affect a vaccinated child? If the vaccine works properly then the vaccinated child should never be affected. But sadly what is becoming clear is that vaccinated children appear to be developing these illnesses, whooping cough, mumps and measles even although they are completely up to date with their inoculations. There should be more investigation into why this is occurring and not always lay the blame on families whose children have not been vaccinated. That could be at the heart of the problem.

  • John Stone says:

    There is a lot wrong with this. It argues the case for changing the law based on things which are very uncertain to say the least, like the claim there have been 1,100 case of measles in the Swansea area this year, when the governments published statitistics are very different from media reports. For instance, the BBC and the South Wales Evening Post were reporting 432 cases in Swansea for March, as of the 25th, when official notifications for the month were only 183 of which only 1 at the time was clininically confirmed [1]: it is notoriously difficult and unwise to diagnose measles without clinical corroboration [2, 3]. Of course, there were later statistics but official figures still failed to tally with media reports [4]. It is very troubling if people are being persuaded to actions on the basis of false reports, whether it is vaccinating their children or altering the law so that they are compelled to do so, or perhaps more importantly as a general principle.

    It is also necessary to point out that the claimed safety of the vaccine is a charade. The Cochrane review reported both in 2005 and 2012 “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR studies, both pre- and post marketing, are largely inadequate” [5,6]. It is also based on the systematic and ruthless denial of adverse reports [7]. Regarding the general standard of ethical decision making and vaccines in the UK, Lucija Tomljenovic’s “The vaccination policy and Code of Practice of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: are they at odds?” is essential reading [8].

    Citizens ought to be on their guard if people try and seize the political agenda on the basis of erroneous information, even dressed up in the guise of ethical projects.

    John Stone, UK Editor, http://www.ageofautism.com

    [1] http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2598/rr/644022
    [2] http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2598/rr/643742
    [3] http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/02/response-peter-fleggs-use-data
    [4] http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/extent-of-uk-measles-scam-unfolds-welsh-health-officials-issued-false-reports-to-uk-media-of-confirmed-measles-cases-which-did-not-exist/
    [5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16235361
    [6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22336803
    [7] http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2793/rr/649808
    [8] http://www.ecomed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/3-tomljenovic.pdf

  • John Stone says:

    My original comment failed to post: this is a version without links.

    There is a lot wrong with this. It argues the case for changing the law based on things which are very uncertain to say the least, like the claim there have been 1,100 case of measles in the Swansea area this year, when the governments published statitistics are very different from media reports. For instance, the BBC and the South Wales Evening Post were reporting 432 cases in Swansea for March, as of the 25th, when official notifications for the month were only 183 of which only 1 at the time was clininically confirmed: it is notoriously difficult and unwise to diagnose measles without clinical corroboration. Of course, there were later statistics but official figures still failed to tally with media reports. It is very troubling if people are being persuaded to actions on the basis of false reports, whether it is vaccinating their children or altering the law so that they are compelled to do so, or perhaps more importantly as a general principle.

    It is also necessary to point out that the claimed safety of the vaccine is a charade. The Cochrane review reported both in 2005 and 2012 “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR studies, both pre- and post marketing, are largely inadequate”. It is also based on the systematic and ruthless denial of adverse reports. Regarding the general standard of ethical decision making and vaccines in the UK, Lucija Tomljenovic’s “The vaccination policy and Code of Practice of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: are they at odds?” is essential reading.

    Citizens ought to be on their guard if people try and seize the political agenda on the basis of erroneous information, even dressed up in the guise of ethical projects. I would also be grateful for further details about the financial background of the Uehiro Institute.

    John Stone, UK Editor, http://www.ageofautism.com

  • John Wantling says:

    This issue of ethics concerning those who refuse MMR for their children is based on the idea that MMR will offer protection, that vaccines and immunity are inseparable. Let’s come back down to earth and look at this issue clearly. First of all, no vaccine can make anyone immunity, not even a pussy cat. David Birks is assuming that vaccines equal immunity, that they protect, but this is not the case at all, so his thinking is dreadfully flawed from the very beginning. It is based on a grand assumption that the science behind MMR is flawless.

    In fact, on a very basic cellular level, a vaccine is seen by the body as foreign matter, hence a poison, a grave threat, and so the body will concentrate its energies on the most serious threat to its survival. When this happens, it will put all other disease processes on hold, and this is homeopathic thought. A doctor will see this hold as immunity, but it is not immunity in any sense, it is no symptoms, or the suppression or the interference of disease symptoms. This is what happens when foreign matter contained in a vaccine is injected into the flesh with open access to the CNS and brain. This isn’t immunity, it is the effects of a poison and that poison can and will cause great harm aka vaccine damage.

    A recent article in Conscious Life News written by David Kirby (Huffington Post) states this….

    “The federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, better known as “vaccine court,” has just awarded millions of dollars to two children with autism for ‘pain and suffering’ and lifelong care of their injuries, which together could cost tens of millions of dollars. The government did not admit that vaccines caused autism, at least in one of the children. Both cases were ‘unpublished,’ meaning information is limited, and access to medical records and other exhibits is blocked. Much of the information presented here comes from documents found at the vaccine court website. Some observers will say the vaccine-induced encephalopathy (brain disease) documented in both children is unrelated to their autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Others will say there is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. What’s more, these cases fit the pattern of other petitions, (i.e., Poling and Banks) in which the court ruled (or the government conceded) that vaccines had caused encephalopathy, which in turn produced permanent injury, including symptoms of autism and ultimately an ASD diagnosis.”

    I myself know a young woman who had her baby vaccinated and that killed the child. She wasn’t happy about that, in fact, she then had a nervous breakdown all thanks to bad science and bad medicine. So this is the fundamental issue here, the choice to push disease symptoms back inside the body, the choice to poison our children, or the choice to kill our children. When we look at this vaccine issue in such brutal terms, then ethics take on a completely different train of thought.

    If we want to poison and damage our children, to suppress disease symptoms, then is it ethical to do that. Don’t forget that medical science made a monumental blunder with hiv and polio, both poison diseases, and in so doing, they threw toxicology down the drain, preferring to translate all the rotten science into a deeply flawed theory of germ. No one can make any sense out of the science or the medicine or the disease whilst we translate what we see through a germ, or for that matter, whilst we poison body and mind on a mass scale. Medical science is still making the very same mistakes – they never learn.

    What is autism now, 1 in 50, some say 1 in 25. Congratulations! I’m not saying vaccines are the only culprit as ultrasound scanning also causes brain damage on a mass scale, as well as other things, but we are on a course of self-destruction when we side with mass vaccination programs. They will interfere with symptoms, they will destroy natural immunity and in the long term, this will weaken and destroy the health of the nation, and that is madness.

    David Birks is asking the question if it is acceptable to allow parents to refuse MMR for their children, but I would say that those foolish enough to poison their children are making an even bigger mistake. So basically, when we talk about ethics, we have to base that argument on good science and good medicine. In the case of vaccination, this is not based on good science and it certainly isn’t based on good medicine. There is no sense discussing ethics under these circumstances. Dr. Sherri Tenpenny and other good doctors say that there is no short-cut to immunity or to human health, and we need to understand that. When we do, we might wake up from our deep vaccine damaged sleep.

    Question: If you were a betting person, where would you place your wager: on vaccines or on natural immunity? Why?

    Dr Tetyana Obukhanych, Immunologist: Betting on vaccines versus natural immunity to achieve what? Could you please specify the effect you are asking me about? If it’s about making the human race unfit for survival, then I bet on vaccines. (posted by John Wantling, Rochdale)

  • Kelly Y. says:

    It’s hard to take this article seriously because the underlying premise, that vaccines protect children and do not harm them, is just wrong. And, more importantly, we are crossing a very dangerous line when we start to think that it’s okay to force any kind of medical procedure on people. How many times has science had it wrong throughout history, causing great damage before realizing they had it wrong? Many people, including doctors, researchers, and epidemiologists are starting to realize that bolstering the immune system naturally is the best way to keep diseases at bay or to fortify your body to handle the diseases themselves rather than injecting poisons into your body to force the immune system into a fight. Any time throughout history when experts and lay people start to question the status quo based on new information, they are ridiculed, ostracized and even penalized by the current powers that be. THAT is what you’re witnessing now with people like the author of this article. But, make no mistake, progress WILL happen no matter how many uninformed people try to stop it. One day, people will look back in the history books and say “Let me get this straight, the government FORCED people to inject WHAT into their babies or denied them an education? And parents allowed this?” It will be seen for the barbaric act that it is. And, remember, today they might be trying to force me to inject something into my child, but next time they might force you to do something that you know is bad for you. You’re either for a free society or you’re not, you can’t pick and choose based on what your individual beliefs are.

  • Shawn Siegel says:

    Thanks, John, for a sober comment. Indeed, we need to re-set the compass, for once the truth is known about the effect of vaccines, perspective drastically changes, and the question becomes one of the permissibility of governments requiring vaccination.

    The mucosal immune system is located in the mouth, nose, gut and lungs, and one of its primary functions is to deal with disease pathogens – as is to be expected, naturally, since in the vast majority of cases, exposure to disease is through inhalation or ingestion. From the page linked below, one of the three main functions of the mucosal immune system is “to prevent the development of potentially harmful immune responses to these antigens if they do reach the body interior.”

    Vaccinations deposit all their ingredients – antigens, neurotoxins, DNA strands, hitchhiking viruses and other contaminants – directly into the body interior – into the muscles and the bloodstream. The mucosal immune system doesn’t see them – injection into a limb precludes the possibility. So vaccination does not afford the crucial protection against harmful immune response.

    Also from the linked page: “The mucosal immune system has evolved a variety of mechanisms to achieve and maintain tolerance against self-antigens and against the plethora of environmental antigens present in the microflora, in food and among airborne matter.”

    Tolerance against self-antigens equates to protection against autoimmunity. This protection is bypassed by vaccines. Tolerance against antigens present in food equates to protection against food allergies, which can be deadly – this protection, too, is bypassed by vaccines, many of which contain vegetable oils – which, in turn, are not even required to be listed as ingredients.

    The autoimmune nature of much of vaccine damage is subtle – not in its effects, because the effect can be, and in many cases is, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes, or a cascade of other possibilities, but in the most insidious aspect of such disorders: the delay of symptom display, making it very difficult to connect the fact of the vaccine to the illness – unless you’ve educated. Virtually immediate, catastrophic reactions occur too, certainly, as attested by thousands of parental anecdotes, in which a previously healthy child has a distinct, obvious reaction, such as the cri encephalique, an involuntary cry of great pain, spurred by a swollen or inflamed brain, caused by the vaccine. That these reactions occur is simply historical reality, and has been compensated many time by courts set up for that purpose. But the more subtle, delayed reactions are virtually never recorded, because of the temporal distance from the fact of the vaccine. This, despite the fact that immunologists tell us that the adjuvants alone, contained in most vaccines, can induce autoimmune diseases – indeed; incredibly, they are used to that purpose in lab animals – and that the attendant production of autoantibodies can be delayed as long as six months, and the resultant autoimmune disorders as long as eight years.

    You certainly don’t prevent illness by injecting toxic material – it’s a very dangerous paradigm. You minimize its occurrence through good nutrition, supplementation when appropriate, good rest, and the other components of basically a healthy lifestyle. This will result in a robust immune system, which will eliminate infection with little or no problem.

    Research, educate, and your perspective will change. Permissibility to refuse vaccines isn’t the question; there should be no laws requiring them.

    http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v11/n4s/full/nm1213.html

  • Jana Shaw says:

    I am appalled by the wealth of misinformation about vaccines. Vaccines save lifes, they do not take them away. Vaccines are not toxins, and they do protect children. It is as simple as that. You can choose to follow bad beliefs, opinions, myths or you can choose science. I choose science, I am pro-vaccine advocate. I immunize all my children, myself, my parents my sister and her family. I recommend it to all my friends and patients. All those people I care about deeply and want to protect. There is plenty of evidence that the myths published by the responder above truly result in deaths but it is deaths from measles, pertussis among children whose parents refused life saving vaccines. It is sad that vaccination is still such a polarizing issue when there is so much to support their use.

    • Jennifer Craig says:

      Jana, I am appalled by the misinformation you obviously believe. We are dealing with a medical treatment here, not a belief system. You say you choose science. In that case please post your answers to the following questions:
      1. List the contents of a vaccine. Explain why you think mercury, aluminum DNA from other species, formaldehyde etc. are not toxic.
      2. Cite one randomized controlled study that shows that a vaccine (choose any illness) prevented that illness.
      3. Give us the death rates from measles in the UK or US for the last century and include when the vaccine was introduced. These figures are readily available.
      4. Explain why all medical procedures require informed consent but not vaccination.
      If you can’t answer these questions you have not chosen science and should refrain from posting on lists like this.
      If you can’t find the answers to these questions on the internet then read my book, Jabs, Jenner and Juggernauts: a Look at Vaccination.

  • Mindano Iha says:

    Herd immunity relates to the population at large being naturally infected with diseases, this resulting in protection for the minority. However, it may not be assumed that vaccine induced herd immunity occurs at all.

    Naturally acquired immunity lasts for a lifetime whereas vaccine induced immunity may last for only a short time and this applies only to humoral immunity. Boosters may also last for a short time.

    At least half the US population has no vaccine induced immunity against the diseases they were vaccinated against as children – at least half or more of the population has been unprotected for decades. Vaccine induced herd immunity has not existed in US for decades and no resurgent epidemics have occurred.

    Infectious diseases repeatedly occur in highly vaccinated communities.

    It is certainly not necessarily the case that those who are vaccinated contribute towards protection for the unvaccinated. On the contrary, live virus vaccines may shed (refer to package insert information) resulting in the vaccinated becoming reservoirs of infection and thus a threat to the unvaccinated.

    Encouraging or attempting to force parents to accept vaccines for their children is scientifically unjustifiable and unethical. The social responsibility argument is nonsense.

  • John Stone says:

    Mindano Iha correctly puts the boot on the other foot when they mention the threat to the unvaccinated to the vaccinated through shedding. This is particularly high risk with the nasal flu vaccine which is about to be unrolled in British schools and nurseries. Astra Zenica’s information sheet warns [Fluenz is the same Flumist in the US]:

    “FLUENZ should not be administered to children and adolescents with severe asthma or active wheezing because these individuals have not been adequately studied in clinical studies.

    “Do not administer FLUENZ to infants and toddlers younger than 12 months. In a clinical study, an increase in hospitalisations was observed in infants and toddlers younger than 12 months after vaccination (see section 4.8).

    “It is not recommended to administer FLUENZ to infants and toddlers 12-23 months of age. In a clinical study, an increased rate of wheezing was observed in infants and toddlers 12-23 months of age after vaccination (see section 4.8).

    “Vaccine recipients should be informed that FLUENZ is an attenuated live virus vaccine and has the potential for transmission to immunocompromised contacts. Vaccine recipients should attempt to avoid, whenever possible, close association with severely immunocompromised individuals (e.g. bone marrow transplant recipients requiring isolation) for 1-2 weeks following vaccination. Peak incidence of vaccine virus recovery occurred 2-3 days post-vaccination in clinical studies. In circumstances where contact with severely immunocompromised individuals is unavoidable, the potential risk of transmission of the influenza vaccine virus should be weighed against the risk of acquiring and transmitting wild-type influenza virus.”

    In other instances (pertussis for example) the principle (at least publicly declared) has been to vaccinate to protect those too young to receive the vaccine but this flies in exactly the opposite direction: there will be vulnerable people both at school and at home who will be unnecessarily put at risk by this en masse vaccination. It might give one pause to wonder whether the only principle which links the two projects is the very great benefit to the industry and not to the population at large.

  • Kellie says:

    As a parent you have no way to know if your child will have an adverse reaction to mmr there are are thousands of reported cases of adverse and life affecting reactions to mmr , so by the same argument should a parent be held accountable if the child is vaccinated and has a reaction ? Should a parent be held accountable if a child catches chicken pox and that leads to complications, or flu, or food allergy ?

    Complications from measles are rare, and in all reported cases there have been underlying health issues, malnutrition or children have been living in squalor.

    As a parent who chose not to allow my children a vaccination that is widely reported to be dangerous, who read reports for and against the vaccination I find this whole argument ridiculous .

  • Kellie says:

    As a parent you have no way to know if your child will have an adverse reaction to mmr there are are thousands of reported cases of adverse and life affecting reactions to mmr , so by the same argument should a parent be held accountable if the child is vaccinated and has a reaction ? Should a parent be held accountable if a child catches chicken pox and that leads to complications, or flu, or food allergy ?

    Complications from measles are rare, and in all reported cases there have been underlying health issues, malnutrition or children have been living in squalor.

    Nobody allows their child to catch measles in fact the mmr vaccination does not guarantee immunity so in that case if your child is vaccinated and still catches measles are we to hold the NHS responsible ?

    I think any parent that stands in line to vaccinate a child without first spending time researching the drug is neglecting their duty as a parent.

    I believe in science and I believe in medicine , however I don’t believe in vaccination for profit. If said vaccination is so great for our children the why do we pay GP’s bonuses for giving it …. This in itself is unethical .

  • John Stone says:

    Kellie

    An interesting response, however, if your child has an adverse reaction you are exceedingly likely to know about it (including commonly the symptoms of measles). According to a study (LeBaron 2006) led by a Centers for Disease official about 6 in 100 infants will develop a temperature of 39.5C or greater (which would be hard to miss) from MMR2. What, of course, LeBaron failed to do was to follow up the children in his study beyond a month, so this is where it gets hazy. Perhaps if you took a professional interest in such a sensitive matter you might get hounded to Kingdom come, like Andrew Wakefield (at least in the UK).

    Of course, all vaccines can cause encephalopathies, as Vaccine Injury Compensation Program officials acknowledged to Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News:

    “The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

    And they might trigger mitichondrial disorder as CDC boss, Julie Gerberding (now head of Merck’s vaccine division) once told CNN:

    “….. if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”

    Such significant admissions seem all to often to get buried beneath bureaucatic fictions about effectiveness and safety, but if we are talking about the truth, and we do not indulge in semantics, then vaccines cause autism.

  • Victoria says:

    No one should be able to demand parents to bring a healthy child and subject him to procedure that has even slightest risk of complications. “Herd immunity” is a whimsy excuse. Keep hands off those children whose parents actually care about their health by not vaccinating them. Childhood diseases should be dealt with as they come, immunity created this way is more beneficial. This issue is not medical, it is economical. By vaccinating, medical community is able to double-dip on every baby – first get money for vaccination, then charge endlessly for chronic illnesses created by vaccination– create life-long dependency on the medical system. Vaccination is a business, nobody should be required to obtain services from any business.

  • Soroush says:

    There is a dispute in the reported number of measles cases – a large number may have suffered mis-diagnosis.

    The whole process of vaccination rests on the notion that vaccines are safe.
    A logical person needs to ask the question as to why is it that when a new vaccine is brought on the market it is almost always remarked that it is safer than the previous versions. It simply means that vaccines are not safe and the manufacturers know it.

    Not only the manufacturers knew about and a few years before Dr Wakefield voiced his concerns, we now know that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) was fully aware of MMR vaccine dangers as early as 1989, but covered them up!

    Freedom of Information Act has revealed what probably most people do not know and that is the fact that we have been LIED to for a long time and that this lie is being repeated daily through the media to hide the truth and cover up data to encourage vaccine compliance.

    The JCVI made continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates which they deemed were necessary for ‘herd immunity,’ a concept which … does not rest on solid scientific evidence,” explains Dr. Tomljenovic in the introduction to
    her paper.

    Learn more:
    http://www.naturalnews.com/038598_vaccines_medical_hoax_government_documents.html#ixzz2QorMSgG4

  • Soroush says:

    The reported number of cases of measles in South Wales are potentially suspect – there is already reports that a proportion of these may have been due to mis-diagnosis.

    When a new vaccine is brought on to the market, one of the first remarks about it is that it is safer than the previous versions. Logic therefore dictates that the manufacturers new that the previous version peddled as safe was not really safe!

    Now the Freedom on Information Act when it works is a lovely tool. What has been found is that a few years before Dr Wakefield VOICED his concerns, not only the manufacturers knew that MMR was not safe, The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) was fully aware of MMR vaccine dangers as early as 1989, but covered them up!

    Freedom of Information Act has revealed what probably most people do not know and that is the fact that we have been LIED to for a long time and that this lie is being repeated daily through the media to hide the truth and cover up data to encourage vaccine compliance.

    The JCVI made continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates which they deemed were necessary for ‘herd immunity,’ a concept which … does not rest on solid scientific evidence,” explains Dr. Tomljenovic in the introduction to
    her paper.

    Learn more:
    http://www.naturalnews.com/038598_vaccines_medical_hoax_government_documents.html#ixzz2QorMSgG4

  • tanya says:

    What a biased article! Full of assumptions based only on the need to enforce vaccination for profit and political cover.

    Vaccines have never been proven effective–they are suppressive at best. And when they fail, it is always the fault of the unvaccinated. An oxymoron in my book. If the vaccines worked, then those who had them should not get sick. But people do get sick, even sicker with the vaccine than without. One reason most likely is that unvaccinated children tend have stronger immune systems to begin with.

    In my own case, I was vaccinated with DPT as a child and had whooping cough when I was about 9 yrs old. It went undiagnosed for a year. They said it was because I also had bronchitis for the year and they couldn’t tell. Personally, with what I know now, it was just plain old denial. The records said the DPt was given, so it couldn’t have been that disease. More a case of medical cognitive dissonance than medicine science.

    In NYS there have been a few cases of measles but the press, like well conditioned seals, squeals about an epidemic. Since when do a few cases, even a few 100 cases make an epidemic of anything. 1:50 children are autistic in the US right now. I am still waiting for this to be classified as an epidemic. But a couple of cases of DPT is used to try and enforce even more vaccines onto families regardless of the health impact.

    And what has happened to the Nuremburg agreements after WWII that clearly specify that people cannot be forceably drugged. Since when are vaccines not a drug. And since when is it not an enforced drugging when people have no easy choice. In NYS it is almost impossible to get a vaccine exemption. Enforced vaccination is one of the main reasons many do home schooling which is still a very small movement.

    Lastly, but very importantly, since when is it abusive to allow a child to develop natural immunity by being sick. A study of the history of the economics and politics of the medical industry clearly teach us how political policy was developed/changed to accommodate the drug industry and medical industry. Even in dentistry, the ADA refuses to reject use of mercury in fillings for fear of legal backlash by the public if they realize how they have been poisoned with this toxic metal for at least 6 decades.

    Any independent thinking has got to critique the core paradigm of an article such as this and respond by questioning it and then reframing the issue, not maintaining the faulty premises being promoted.

  • Steven Scrutton says:

    Let’s be clear. All vaccines are known to cause serious adverse reactions, and even death. The manufacturers inserts tell us this. the MMR vaccine is known to cause death. The DPT vaccine is known to cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This is there for all to see, should they wish to know about it. Forced medication has always been an affront to human liberty, and when the possible consequences are so high, it is doubly, trebly so.

    The real issue is this. Given this information, freely admitted the drug companies in their vaccine package inserts, why are doctors, the NHS, the Dept of Health, the Government, indeed the entire Conventional Medical Establishment, not telling us? Further, why is it that the mainstream media, and particularly the public service broadcaster, the BBC, not telling us about this?

    It is little wonder that so many people are arguing here that everyone should have these vaccines. People who advocate this are making the assumption that these vaccines are safe, that they are effective, even that the diseases they protect against are ‘dangerous’ (like measles, which has not been ‘dangerous’ for a very long time). We are badly served by a Media who seem able to investigate failures of care within the NHS (which is good), but completely fail to inform us of the dangers of conventional drugs and vaccines.

    No-one is making an ‘informed choice’ about using medication or not unless we can compare the claims for the vaccines made by the Big Pharma companies, with the contrary information now known (but not publicised) about the dangers, and ineffectiveness of the vaccines. Most people are unable to do this as the ‘contrary’ side remains hidden. There is a conspiracy of silence around these matters that is quite alarming.

    For those who want to see the dangers of the MMR vaccine see my blog at
    http://safe-medicine.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-mmr-vaccine-our-gps-nhs-and-big.html

    Then ask why this information is not being investigated, and why people are not being told about it…..

  • John Stone says:

    Tanya

    Yes, I was vaccinated against whooping cough but still got it as you did (but a great many years ago). In 2006 a paper by Harnden in the BMJ warned that a diagnosis of whooping cough in a school population could not be ruled out just because a patient had previously been vaccinated. There followed a crop of diagnosed cases for which the government were promptly blamed by opposition parties. In 2007 I responded to a Nuffield consultation on Bioethics which proposed as an example of the benefits of vaccination that whooping cough had been eliminated by the vaccine, which simply was not true but a statement designed to elicit a certain favourable response. Although all submissions were supposed to be published on-line mine promptly disappeared.

    I think this is a considerable test for Dr Birks too. His conclusions are based on premises that are short of factual, and it would be remarkably honest if he were to modify his opinions on the basis that the truth is at very least rather messy, and objectors more informed than he apparently considered. To base arguments on bureaucratic constructions is not to serve either the public interest or academic truth, and great harm might follow for which he would bear considerable responsibility.

  • Stephen Herlihy says:

    Lot’s of anti vaccine comments on here using long words intended to impress that the commenters should be taken seriously. Given we are talking about medical issues here can the ‘Tanyas, Steves, sorushs set out for us their medical qualifications, backgrounds etc ‘ so those of us coming to this fresh might be able to give their comments some hearing. From what they have written they appear to be deluded even paranoid cranks and I think it only right they give us something we can use in their favour

    • John Stone says:

      Ah yes, and when argument fails resort to personal abuse: nothing like it.

    • Steven Scrutton says:

      We all know that the Conventional Medical Establishment are in denial. But even ordinary mortals know when somebody is damaged by drugs and vaccines.

  • Anne says:

    there is something missing here, and too many people getting bogged down in the MMR autism connection. When a child is seriously damaged by a vaccine they qualify for compensation. To prove this serious damage they have to show a deterioration in skills of something like 60/75%.
    my question is what is 10% damage, what is 20% damage, what is 30% damage. there are people saying my child was vaccinated and is fine, because that child does not show immediate signs of damage, like convulsions, encephalitis . But later they may show dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADD, hyperactivity, many behaviours suggestive of neurological damage. Ask any teacher if they have seen an increase in special needs in their classroom! there is evidence that vaccine adjuncts cross the blood brain barrier.
    And, for the chap who says those of us who are anti vaccine have no legitimate qualifications and so aren’t qualified to comment, I have an M A degree in Special Education. I have seen a real deterioration in ability and behaviours in the last 30 years in schools. And yes, I know this is anecdotal and learning difficulties are multi factorial, but this deserves study! research please, before imposing your beliefs on the rest of us!

  • Jean says:

    I would be very interested at statistics of any adverse effects of the recent massive MMR imunization drive. Surely if criticisms are valid there must be already some incidence .

    • John Stone says:

      Yes, but who is counting? Health officials are enthusiastic (over-enthusiatic?) counters of measles cases, but when it comes to adverse events and damage they are simply not interested. The monitoring, recording and investigation of adverse events simply does not happen – it is entirely up to the families to prove it. In the UK, given an extremely effective and cynical bureacracy, their chances approach zero. In the US with VICP it is just very difficult, and active monitoring by the authorities still does not occur.

    • Steven Scrutton says:

      When a parent says that their child is vaccine (or drug) damaged they are often told this is not so, it cannot be so; so it is never recorded. It has been estimated that only about 10% of adverse reactions to drugs and vaccines are reported because of the denial of the Conventional Medical Establishment.

  • jdc325 says:

    Regarding the Welsh measles outbreak: John Stone states that in March, “official notifications for the month were only 183 of which only 1 at the time was clininically confirmed”. Mr Stone cannot know how many cases were lab confirmed at that time, as the majority of lab tests of Welsh measles notifications at that time were undertaken in England and were not included in the figures in the Welsh lab reports that he relies upon.

    Mr Stone must surely be aware that much of the testing in the first quarter of 2013 was carried out in English labs and that the confirmed cases from those labs did not appear in the figures that he relies upon. I have certainly told him this before, quite recently, and I would be surprised if his memory were so poor that he has forgotten already.

  • John Stone says:

    JDC325 is surely trying to pull a fast one.

    1) The figures were published as complete.
    2) I am not sure how many millionths of a second it would take the English labs to communicate their results to the Welsh agency.
    3) Dr Salisbury’s Green Book used to warn about the danger of making a measles diagnosis without lab testing (for some reason no longer) after it was discovered by a government advisor, Dr Roger Buttery, that GPs were only making the measles diagnosis correctly 1 in 40 times.
    4) I’d also point out that the 183 notifications were very much less than the 432 cases (6 days before the end of the month) reported to media.

    My understanding is (although I haven’t had confirmation) that it is only in Wales officials are still allowed to count notifications as cases, so it was possibly an accident waiting to happen.

  • Mike Stanton says:

    I think that the issue of blame lies with those who spread misinformation against vaccines. There are some prime examples in the anti vaccine activists who have deluged this blog with their comments. Journalists without a background in science promoted their ideas in the interests of balance. The medical establishment was hopelessly inept in arguing its case against Wakefield. This led parents to believe that opinion was divided on the issue of MMR and autism. Autism was presented as a growing threat. Measles was largely unknown to most parents at the time. This was thanks to the success of the MMR vaccine in eradicating it. Vaccination rates fell and measles is once more endemic in this country. Now that Wakefield is thoroughly discredited I hope that the outbreak in South Wales acts as a wake up call and there are no more mass outbreaks. I hold out no hope for the anti vaccine activists to listen to reason and cease their scaremongering.

    • Steven Scrutton says:

      The statistics show, very very clearly, that the advent of vaccines did not alter the decline of infectious diseases that was already taking place. Graphs show clearly that vaccine made no impact whatsoever.

      What has happened since vaccines were introduced in great number is that there has been an epidemic rise is Autism (and cot deaths, and shaken baby syndrome) for which the Conventional Medical Establishment has not answer.

  • Sheri says:

    Actually the numbers here are per 100,000 and Wales is about 3 million so have to multiply X 30 – about 300 in 2013

    All Wales surveillance of laboratory confirmed infections
    CDSC Wales monthly report
    Report date: Tue 04 Jun 2013
    Data to end of week: 2013 Week 22

    See page 18 here http://www2.nphs.wales.nhs.uk:8080/CommunitySurveillanceDocs.nsf/%28$All%29/853E6689C7C8A1AE80257B80004FF334/$File/monthly%20lab%20201306.pdf?OpenElement
    in PDF
    Wales 10.03 X 30 = about 300 cases – (bottom chart is 2013)
    top chart is 2012 .6 X 30 = about 18 cases

    Still much less than the 1000-2000 they are reporting in news (and saying are confirmed, but aren’t – they mean reported but use the word confirmed.

  • John Stone says:

    Mike Stanton

    But here we go again. Instead of responding to the arguments you are just heading off into “bad people” territory. I don’t think JDC325 is right in his defence of the Welsh measles data, but at least he didn’t do that.

  • Jean says:

    I think in the best interests of all some attempt should be made to evaluate the safety or otherwise of the recent massive immunization drive. Perhaps a questionaire sent to the parents.

  • Oliver Dowding says:

    Interesting article, but much more interesting debate. Particularly as nobody has offered a reason why an un-vaccinated child is a risk to a vaccinated one. Or does the vaccine alter the defence of the vaccinated child to render them less resistant?
    One other statistic I rarely see mentioned or quantified is this. Of all those vaccinated – any age, for any disease – what percentage of adverse reactions (any reaction at all) are reported to doctors, and of those what percentage are reported onward to either the overseeing (er, if they actually oversee what they don’t want to see) authorities or to the drug company itself?

  • Slipp Digby says:

    It is telling that John Stone makes no attempt to refute JDC325’s statement that not all laboratory confirmed cases are included in the ‘All Wales Report’ for the simple reason that he cannot. The figures were indeed published in a confusing manner but now PHW have confirmed they are incomplete, any error in interpretation of this data would seem to be deliberate.

    I also wonder why John Stone puts forward the figure that GPs only make the correct diagnosis of measles 1 in 40 times when in the context of the current welsh outbreak we know this is incorrect?

    For example: Wales CoSurv notifications Jan – May 2013 = 1,103. Wales Laboratory confirmed (excluding those sent to UK labs) = 279. Assuming all notifications were tested (they aren’t) the worst case figures would be 25.2% of notifications are confirmed, or 1 in 4. Somewhat different to 1 in 40!

    It is also important when talking about misdiagnosis to acknowledge that GPs have a statutory duty (NOIDs) to report ‘suspected’ cases of measles and they must do this without waiting for laboratory confirmation first.

    • John Stone says:

      Slipp Digby

      It is obviously the government’s problem that they cannot put out credible and consistent reports, not mine. Getting it right only a quarter of the time would not be particularly impressive and it also does not get you to 1100 genuine cases (moreover they were obviously under pressure to produce something) nor does there seem to be anything they can do to convincingly patch up the record even months after.

      All in all I would suggest it points to massive incompetence and opportunism.

  • John Stone says:

    On the shortcomings of passive reporting systems.

    “Spontaneous adverse drug reaction (ADR) reporting is the mainstay of national and international drug safety evaluation in the post-approval phase. A major criticism of the method has been a high, but essentially unquantifiable, level of under-reporting by doctors. A direct comparison has been made between spontaneous ADR reporting and an observational event monitoring system for a group of more than 44,000 patients receiving one or other of a group of seven new drugs. The data suggests that under-reporting by the spontaneous system may be as high as 98% for several clinical events believed to be associated with drug treatment.”

    A P Fletcher, ‘Spontaneous adverse drug reaction reporting vs event monitoring: a comparison.’ J R Soc Med. 1991 June; 84(6): 341–344.

    “James Froeschle, Connaught Laboratories, Swiftwater, Pennsylvania Dr. Froeschle gave information about adverse events following diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DT) that had been reported to Connaught. From a comparison of spontaneous reports with postmarketing surveillance data, the company estimates about a 50-fold underreporting of adverse events in the passive reporting system. The distribution of types of events, however, was found to be approximately the same; in both cases, the majority of reported events were local reactions or fever. The company has seen a marked decrease in adverse event reports since the inception of VAERS late in 1991, because physicians are now requested to send reports directly to the VAERS contractor.”

    Connaught testiimony to the Institute of Medicine (Presentations May 11, 1992 Washington DC).

    “Although the FDA receives many adverse event reports, these probably represent only a fraction of the serious adverse events encountered by providers. A recent review article found that between 3% and 11% of hospital admissions could be attributed to adverse drug reactions. Only about 1% of serious events are reported to the FDA, according to one study.”

    David Kessler statement in JAMA – June 2, 1993,vol.269, No.21, p.2785

    Curious that all these commentaries date from about 20 years ago. No one seems to have wanted to stare into this peculiar abyss since then. Also, the statements don’t even take into account the huge institutional and cultural hostility to reporting adverse vaccine events and their sequelae, as represented in so many comments here.

  • Sheri says:

    Well, only about 300 confirmed in Wales –
    The numbers here are per 100,000 and Wales is about 3 million so have to multiply X 30 – about 300 in 2013

    All Wales surveillance of laboratory confirmed infections
    CDSC Wales monthly report
    Report date: Tue 04 Jun 2013
    Data to end of week: 2013 Week 22

    See page 18 here http://www2.nphs.wales.nhs.uk:8080/CommunitySurveillanceDocs.nsf/%28$All%29/853E6689C7C8A1AE80257B80004FF334/$File/monthly%20lab%20201306.pdf?OpenElement
    in PDF
    Wales 10.03 X 30 = about 300 cases – (bottom chart is 2013)
    top chart is 2012 .6 X 30 = about 18 cases

    And since the above, I haven’t been able to find any page with confirmed cases – only reported cases – and that makes a huge difference. Reported does not mean confirmed. All kinds of things with rashes are now being diagnosed as measles – in US, in Texas, someone I know of had her child diagnosed as measles, when it was clearly Roseola.

  • Occam says:

    So what would have us believe Mr Stone, there wasn’t an outbreak of measles focused in South Wales, or just a small one? What action would you have suggested Mr Stone in the face of reported cases of measles showing a very steep rise in an under vaccinated population; I’d like to hear your suggestions! The medical profession deserve our thanks in stopping this outbreak spreading further, not your bean-counting nit-picking approach which could have many reasons for discrepencies between numbers that seems to cause you so much distress. Have you forgotten what happened in France & the Low countries in the past 3-4 years: 28000 cases of measles, when the French examined the vaccination history in detail of 5000 odd cases in one Department only 3% of the cases had received the 2 MMR injections, they got it under control by a massive vaccination effort aimed at particular communities where it was prevelant, still a dozen or so deaths from that outbreak, hundreds hospitalised, cases of SSPE in children too young to be vaccinated, so come on Mr Stone in the face of that reality give us your considered opinion in precisely what they did wrong and also what you would have done (with some evidence to back it up).

    @ Mr Dowding the hazard of an unvaccinated population is the risk they present to infants too young to have been vaccinated, the immunologically compromised and to the small % of people who wont actually gain immunity from 2 courses of MMR (about 1% before you ask) all groups who need to rely of herd immunity to protect them.

    @ Mr Scrutton I think you mean the mortality from infectious disease, not the incidence go and check your favourite measles graph, I’m sure you know the one, the incidence didn’t shift until vaccine introduction, sure mortality declined, due to better overall health & health care facilities, just don’t confuse incidence and mortality

    • John Stone says:

      Occam

      Frankly, I think we can do with a lot less rhetoric. As to infants (too young to be vaccinated) getting measles, or the terrible condition SSPE this would perhaps be less likely to happen if their mothers had been able to pass on measles anti-bodies undisrupted by vaccination – I don’t make this as an anti-vaccine point but just to point out that these are complex and messy issues without black and white answers. I am not an expert on the French figures – I don’t for instance know how many of the cases in which there had not been a second jab there was one overdue. My guess is that jab is increasingly less effective (when it was introduced in 1988, it was as “a jab for life”). There was also an outbreak in North East England earlier this year which Mr Fergus Walsh of the BBC put down to “bad luck” (ie vaccine failure).

    • copernicus says:

      No Occam.

      You over-reach. Measles mortality decline in the western world had ZERO to do with “better health care facilities”, so remove that from your thoughtless repertoire.

      Most of the death decline was even before the massive cod-liver oil campaign in UK for rickets. Incidence has nothing to do with anything. After all, the “incidence” of colds hasn’t reduced, but there’s a lot you can do to mitigate the severity of colds, just as there is a lot you can do to reduce the severity and impact of measles.

      It can be claimed in the third world countries….( once the medical authorities came up for air and realised a few decades later….. what had been proven since 1920,) that vitamin A radically decreases complications and deaths. Not only that, but vitamin A can reverse measles induced xerophthalmia (blindness) even when a child has been blind for years!

      So yes, during the cod liver oil years, measles incidence might have remained steady, but as would be expected, deaths continued their previous declines, and textbooks of the time noted clearly that measles was no longer the killer and maimer of the past. Just maybe the vitamin A in that Cod liver oil had something to do with it.

      It’s a shame you don’t have a collection of those textbooks, Occam. Oops. You just might have. In which case, you should look them up. Study measles in the broadest possible context. And while you’re at it, read up on how and why children who were incapable of making any forms of antibodies, managed to survive measles with a normal course of the disease and no later recurrence. You should know who wrote that up most extensively, surely?

      There is more to “immunity” than antibodies, and there is more to death and complications, than just the disease.

      It’s also not possible to classify Vitamin as a “facility” but as a blindingly obvious un-patented, cheap intervention, which the medical profession should have known better than to withhold for such a long period of time.

      Which leads anyone who knows the medical literature to ask, “How could doctors be so blind?” Perhaps they too were vitamin A deficient from measles vaccine induced metaphoric xerophthalmia?!

      Being able to wave around a long list of complications and deaths in places like Africa and claiming incorrectly, that there is no other solution to deaths and complications … …. is a much stronger argument for a vaccine isn’t it?

      If vitamin A had been used in the under-developed world, from much earlier, it would have been much harder to persuade people of the value of a needle.

      Which raises the issue that there is also plenty in the medical literature to show that children hospitalized with measles in developed countries, very often have vitamin A deficiency, and while administering vitamin A to any child admitted with measles is now hospital protocol in some countries, even in those countries, the medical profession take great pains to “accidentally” (??!!) NOT tell parents that the medical literature shows that children with measles should be given vitamin A.

      Why is that? Does the medical profession deliberately want people who do get measles to get it more seriously, so that they can smack them over the head with the, “Well, you should have vaccinated, shouldn’t you!!” argument?

      Was there any media campaign in Wales or anywhere else, detailing to parents, the ONE known intervention, studied to death and repeatedly reported in the medical literature as being capable of reducing measles complications and deaths? …vitamin A???

      Why is it PERMISSABLE for doctors to NOT TELL parents about vitamin A use in measles resulting in parents not making informed choices about treatment…, but NOT PERMISSABLE for parents to make informed choices about measles vaccines?

      I’ve watched this blog in semi-disbelieve at the number of people with selective deafness, who believe it’s PERMISSABLE for doctors to say and do anything to children, and that parents should just roll-over and obey, otherwise it’s child abuse. Isn’t withholding information on vitamin A child abuse? Isn’t prescribing dangerous drugs for no good reason, child abuse? (And the list of those would be legion).

      Your problem Occam is that you, along with all the other pro-vaccine people who dog-pile of people whose choices you disagree with, use only have one hammer and can only see one nail.

      What amazes me more, is that the pro vaccine can’t see that that is what will be the undoing of them in the end. For those with eyes to see and brains to think, the answers are all there in the medical literature.

      Were the medical profession brave enough to tell the truth and nothing but the whole truth about both diseases and vaccines, parents would be able to see right through the provaccine rhetoric. And that’s why “truth” has become a commodity protected by a vanguard of medical misinformation.

  • jdc325 says:

    John Stone, I don’t think that any shortcomings of Public Health Wales justify your continued use of an unreliable statistic. It almost seems as if you believe that two wrongs make a right. I don’t expect you to agree with me, nor do I expect you to stop using that unreliable statistic in arguments online. Perhaps we should leave that to one side for the moment and move on to something else?

    You said:

    As to infants (too young to be vaccinated) getting measles, or the terrible condition SSPE this would perhaps be less likely to happen if their mothers had been able to pass on measles anti-bodies undisrupted by vaccination – I don’t make this as an anti-vaccine point but just to point out that these are complex and messy issues without black and white answers.

    It seems likely that while maternal antibodies from naturally infected mothers last longer than those from vaccinated mothers, in neither case do they last long enough: BMJ 2010;340:c1626

    Presence of maternal antibodies endured for a median of 2.61 months—3.78 months for infants of naturally infected women and 0.97 months for infants of vaccinated women. At 6 months of age, more than 99% of infants of vaccinated women and 95% of infants of naturally immune women had lost maternal antibodies according to the model.

    It seems the difference between naturally acquired and vaccine acquired maternal immunity amounts to around two to three months extra protection. Instead of being unprotected for around 12 months, these infants would be unprotected for 9-10 months assuming vaccination by 13 months of age. I’d say that was a fairly modest improvement in protection.

    There’s also the problem that in order to pass on antibodies from naturally acquired measles, the mother will have had to contract the disease at some point – risking death (mortality rate in the Green Book is given as 1 in 5000). Not to mention: “otitis media (7 to 9% of cases), pneumonia (1 to 6%), diarrhoea (8%) and convulsions (one in 200). Other, more rare complications include encephalitis (overall rate of one per 1000 cases of measles) and sub-acute sclerosing pan-encephalitis (SSPE).” (Green Book).

    • John Stone says:

      It is not just one unreliable statistic, however. David Birks began with a statistic of 1,100 cases – someone trying pull me up (posting under the name Slipp Digby) comes up with a figure in which a quarter of those cases have been verified, but then perhaps three-quarters were something else. Nor did I see the Welsh agency rushing in to correct errors in reports by the BBC and the South Wales Evening News, presumably because it suited their agenda to continue. But if they operated according to proper rules cases would only be cases if lab confirmed – also the fact that the confirmation rate suddenly shot up drastically between March and April looks dodgy. The claim that real results were somehow lost in English labs looks pathetic.

      • Slipp Digby says:

        David Birks post has a link which shows that “over 1,100 cases” refers to reported notifications from November 2012. I think at times we are all guilty of using less than precise language about the outbreak, even you use the term ‘genuine cases’ above which should be ‘laboratory confirmed cases’. But lets not confuse errors or imprecise language with hidden agendas and deception.

        Firstly Mr Stone I didn’t “come up” with any figures. I took the notifications and laboratory confirmed figures directly from the same source which you quote above – Public Health Wales. I would invite readers to look at the raw data for themselves and form their own conclusions.

        http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=457&pid=27920

        Current data (Jan – May 13) is 303 laboratory confirmed, 1267 notifications. Noting, of course, that not all laboratory confirmations are included and not all notifications are actually tested. I make no claim about the status of the other three quarters, but deal only with the known published figures.

        I note Mr Stone makes no reference or retraction of the incorrect assertion that only 1 in 40 notifications are subsequently laboratory confirmed. In the current outbreak this is demonstrably wrong and more like 1 in 4.

        I’m also rather confused – I’m not sure anyone has claimed that results of laboratory tests were “somehow lost in English Labs”, merely that the figures are not included in the all Wales reports complied by CoSurv. Perhaps Mr Stone would be kind enough to verify exactly who has been making this claim about lost results?

  • Occam says:

    What do with less rhetoric like this Mr Stone “All in all I would suggest it points to massive incompetence and opportunism” what a good idea!
    Unfortunately the data doesn’t support your assertion that “As to infants (too young to be vaccinated) getting measles, or the terrible condition SSPE this would perhaps be less likely to happen if their mothers had been able to pass on measles anti-bodies undisrupted by vaccination ” Look at the facts SSPE has consistently declined by c90% in countries that have introduced an effective MMR vaccination program, the data is there, doesn’t fit at all with on your logic Mr Stone that “less likely to happen if their mothers had been able to pass on measles anti-bodies undisrupted by vaccination” sorry but 100% wrong SSPE has reduced dramatically with effective MMR vaccination.
    As the UK Editor of the “Age of Autism” can I ask why you do not know some of the data from the recent French outbreak of measles, I’m sure it’s been pointed out to you several times, but for the avoidance of doubt here’s a good summary http://pediatrics.about.com/od/measles/a/measles-outbreak.htm & “Of the 7 757 cases for which information on vaccination status was available, 82% were unvaccinated. In the target group for routine childhood MMR vaccination (1–4-year-olds), 78% of the cases were unvaccinated” from http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/Forms/ECDC_DispForm.aspx?ID=1124

    So John if you don’t have a valid alternative to control what was clearly a large outbreak of measles in an under-vaccinated population stop criticizing what has been a very effective disease control situation, or would you prefer the scale of the French outbreak?
    @ Copernicus please give 1 peer reviewed reference that there is widespread vitamin A deficiency in Western european countries and a credible study that demonstrates its value in the absence of prophylactic vaccination. What precisely do you mean by “Incidence has nothing to do with anything” who’s “over-reaching now”??

    • John Stone says:

      Whether I am “Mr Stone” here or “John” there, I certainly don’t think we should have public misinformation campaigns in order to obtain compliance. If erroneous statements were put out they should have been retracted, not compounded.

      • Slipp Digby says:

        In the light of this then Mr Stone, would you retract your above claim that only 1 in 40 notified cases are subsequently laboratory confirmed as measles?

        As I have pointed out, this assertion has no relevance or applicability to the current outbreak in Wales where the actual figure show it to be more like 1 in 4.

        It would seem rather hypocritical to make the above statement and not correct your misinformation, would it not?

        • John Stone says:

          Slipp Digby

          I did not make any such claim (this is a problem with your comprehension): I was talking about obsevations made in the 1990s which sensibly affected government policy – you might very well expect it to vary but it was a warning that it was not possible to make the diagnosis without laboratory confirmation, and patently this remains true.

          • Slipp Digby says:

            Mr Stone, you have been attempting to argue that high levels of notifications and relatively low levels of laboratory confirmation are somehow evidence of incompetence, or spin to increase MMR uptake.

            You failed to acknowledge when challenged the fact that the laboratory confirmed cases are incomplete (the majority are sent t the UK).

            You also failed to acknowledge the simple fact that the primary purpose of the notification system is not accurate diagnosis. Its primary purpose is speed of detection of suspected outbreaks to enable intervention. As I pointed out previously, GP have a statutory duty to report within 24hrs without the benefit of laboratory test.

            You are criticising it on the basis of something it was never designed to do (this is a problem with your comprehension).

            • John Stone says:

              Slipp Digby

              No, it remains a problem of your comprehension. The point is not that there is anything wrong with the notifications system, what is wrong is when notifications are confused with actual cases (as is this case here) plus the fact that the Welsh agency apparently put out to the media the number of cases as 432 as of 25 March as against only 183 notifications all told for March in the official figures (and never put out a correction). But there is something else very weird about this because when I posted about these anomalies in BMJ Rapid Responses in early May the Welsh agency did not put out a clarification, they left it in the hands of ‘JDC325’ and latterly ‘Slipp Digby’ to explain the situation.

              • Slipp Digby says:

                I thought it worthwhile digging out the original press release (Press release 7, March 26th http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/news/26536) from Public Health Wales to see exactly what they said and comparing it with your above statement.

                “Public Health Wales is urging parents, carers and communities to ensure that all children are given the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab as cases in the outbreak centred on Swansea reach 432.”

                Mr Stone, you claim that:

                “the Welsh agency apparently put out to the media the number of cases as 432 as of 25 March as against only 183 notifications all told for March in the official figures”

                This first thing to note is that the press release says the outbreak is “centred around Swansea”, but it doesn’t say only within and limited to the Swansea LA. You quote the March 2013 figure which is the absolute number of notifications only for the Swansea LA (183). You cannot know this is the only area they refer to and include in their figures, in fact “centred around Swansea” implies other area were effected, as borne out by the official figures. For example there were another 55 notifications from Bridgend, Neath and Port Talbot during the same month (there are three LAs in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University LHB centred around Swansea and all of them also notified cases).

                The 432 figure reported is also very clearly cumulative total notifications for the outbreak “centred around Swansea” and not just the absolute figure for March 2013 for Swansea LA. This becomes even more obvious when you read the press release which continues

                “Case numbers have more than doubled in the last three weeks, up from just over 200 on 4 March.”

                Your comparison of 432 to 183 notification is therefore highly misleading (and a massive comprehension fail).

                It’s also worth considering the context of this outbreak “centred on Swansea”. From the Public Health Wales timeline (http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/66806) it is obvious that the outbreak actually began in November 2012 and the press release most likely refers to the cumulative notifications in the period November 2012 to March 2013. This would explain why notification were “up from 200” on March 4th.

                The official figures for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University LHB: Total notifications recorded by CoSurv (November 2012 – March 2013) = 395. Source http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=457&pid=27920

                Its also worthy of note that Swansea wasn’t the only area effected and some neighbouring LAs to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University were also reporting significant numbers of notified cases. This is why the press release goes on to say

                “Although cases have been reported across Wales, the majority are in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, Powys and Hywel Dda and Local Health Board areas.”

                Perhaps these were included? Hywel Dda includes an LA which is directly adjacent to Swansea – Carmarthenshire.

                Oh look here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/66389#a

                This strongly suggests that when they refer to outbreak PHW are talking about notifications in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB, Hywel Dda HB and Powys Teaching HB. These areas also show around 200 notification to march which then more than double during March.

                In short we don’t know exactly how PHW came up with the 432 figure precisely. But in the correct context, rather than your erroneous one, the press release and official figures tally reasonably well. It is feasible that in the “outbreak centred on Swansea” there could easily have been 432 notifications, and that this doesn’t in any way conflict with the 183 notification in Swansea LA in March alone.

                • John Stone says:

                  So, we don’t know how many cases over how wide a region over how many months, or how many were real cases. In this case “Slipp” seems to be a really apposite pseudonym (apologies in the unlikely event that it is your real name).

                  This is the opening of the ‘This is South Wales” report from 25 March, which includes comments from HPA Head of Immunisation Mary Ramsay:

                  “A measles epidemic is spreading in Swansea at an alarming rate, putting every baby in the area at risk.

                  “Health chiefs say 432 cases had been reported as of Monday this week — up from just over 20 on March 4.”

                  • Slipp Digby says:

                    Oh dear, its come to ad hom, slurs and blunt contradiction without evidence has it?

                    The PHW timeline and measles outbreak data is very clear about the outbreak in wales. Do you have some firm evidence to oppose the view it began at the start of November 2012?

                    The biggest uncertainty is what areas they have included in reach the figure of 432 by the end of March. As I show, its perfectly feasible for the LHA around Swansea to easily get to around 400. Its ok to admit when you don’t know something.

                    The main issues with the data appears to be your incorrect interpretation and rather bizarre attempt to tally the absolute figure for notifications in the Swansea LA in March, with the figures of 432 from the press release which is clearly a cumulative figure related to a much wider area over a longer period.

                    You then change the subject to “real cases”. Ignoring the sloppy language, we know the laboratory confirmed numbers from here http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=457&pid=27920 although why this is relevant is not clear, as the press release never claims confirmed, only ‘cases’?

                    • John Stone says:

                      Slipp

                      Obviously, it would be a personal comment if it was your real name rather than one borrowed from a BBC comedy show. The trouble is every time you advocate for something you seem to make the position worse. I don’t claim – never have – to know everything about this (in fact it would be impossible without a genuinely independent inquiry), but David Birks fell for the 1,100 cases in Swansea which was patently spurious, and based his opinion on it. In my view he was rather at fault: he seems somewhat short on philosophical argument (which goes so far as I can see something like ‘if people won’t do what you want and don’t believe what you say they should be forced to obey anyway’) but he could at least have done a bit of documentary research instead of just believing media reports. Fundamentally, if you are going to argue that people should be forced to do things you had better be a master of the evidence.

                      But, to be fair, I do not know what his current thoughts are in the light of these interesting discussions.

                    • Slipp Digby says:

                      Mr Stone,

                      Nobody expects your to “know everything”, but if you wrongly put forward suggestion of anomalies with PHW figures which are due entirely to your shoddy interpretation then the onus is very much on you to correct that.

                      You said

                      “the Welsh agency apparently put out to the media the number of cases as 432 as of 25 March as against only 183 notifications all told for March in the official figures”

                      I’m still waiting for you to explain why in your opinion the figures in the PHW press release (7th March) should tally up with the number of notifications for just the Swansea LA in March 2013?

                      It seems like a rather fundamental misunderstanding if it is one.

                      Slipp

  • Mike Stanton says:

    @Sheri
    As a homeopath you may believe that diluting medicines increases their potency. But diluting the figures for the Swansea measles outbreak will not increase the potency of your argument. Using a rate of 10 in 100000 to describe the outbreak ignores the fact that in the Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot the rate was more than 40 in 100000. And to refer to “only 300 confirmed cases in Wales” displays a callous disregard for the suffering caused by a disease that should have been eradicated by now.

    You, John Stone and others of your ilk are anti-vaccine zealots who cherry pick the literature to support your beliefs. You spread misinformation about vaccines and bear some of the responsibility for the fall-off in vaccination rates that has led to the resurgence of measles in the UK.

    • John Stone says:

      Mike Stanton

      Or, perhaps, you are pro vaccine zealot who will not see that the record is full of holes, some of which I have pointed to here. I think perhaps David Birks might be grateful to me if he was going to publish an academic paper stating that there were 1,100 cases, and he should also be very concerned that this was misleadingly reported: he is after all an ethicist. Of course, if misleading people is price to paid for keeping vaccination rates up then perhaps that’s what we should be having a discussion about.

  • Occam says:

    Again Mr Stone to make things unequivocally clear for you here’s an excellent review of the effectiveness of a good MMR program on reducing SSPE incidence in W Europe, Israel, the US etc etc http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/36/6/1334.full strange but it doesn’t mention Vitamin A……

    • John Stone says:

      Occam

      But I doubt whether there is any evidence that MMR is better at preventing SSPE than single measles vaccine (the paper is about measles vaccine). The authorship of the paper does not particularly impress me – anyone who would like to know my reasons should read my Age of Autism article ‘The British Dimension – the WHO Mercury Cover-Up and the CDC’. I notice that as per usual Elizabeth Miller does not list competing interests, though her lab used to enjoy the sponsorship of Aventis Pasteur, Wyeth Vaccines, SmithKline Beecham, Baxter Health Care, North American Vaccine, Wyeth- Lederle Vaccine, and Chiron Biocine.

    • copernicus says:

      Occam, you are a member of the medical profession, with liberal free access to medical literature.

      You say in a retort to John Stone, that:

      “strange but it doesn’t mention Vitamin A……”

      As you should know, but continue to avoid, the medical literature avoids talking about many things.

      Perhaps the most interesting comments on measles comes from the man who invented the vaccine. In his seminal 1962 article, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1522578/ the figures clearly show that US measles incidence had actually declined somewhat. But that deaths were long gone before the vaccine.

      He was, of course, very proud of his accomplishments. But note that he did NOT say, that the measles vaccine is vital because it’s one of the most dangerous diseases on the face of the earth. In fact, he ranks other diseases as far higher, including the common cold.

      But his most telling comment is the last one.

      “Thus in the United States, measles is a disease whose importance is not to be measured by total days disability or number of deaths but rather by human values and by the fact that tools are becoming available which promise effective control and early eradication To those who ask me, “why do you wish to eradicate measles?” I reply with the same answer that Hillary used when asked why he wished to climb Mt. Everest. he said, “Because it is there.” To this may be added, “… and it can be done.”

      Furthermore, in 1967 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1919891/ Langmuir started his article called “Epidemiological basis for eradication of measles in 1967” by saying:

      “for centuries, the measles virus has maintained a remarkably stable ecological relationship with man. The clinical disease is a characteristic syndrome of notable constantly and only moderate severity. Complications are infrequent, and, with adequate medical care, fatality is rare.”

      A far cry from the pro-vaccine hysteria exhibited by this blog and those who think that the only “values” that matter are their own.

      But more interestingly he finished the article by saying:

      “Effective use of these vaccines during the coming winter and spring, should ensure the eradication of measles from the United States in 1967”

      Of course, he wasn’t to know that his first measles vaccine was a dog (actually that’s an insult to a dog, but never mind) , which cause both Original Antigenic Sin, as well as Antibody Enhanced Disease, and would leave a trail of desecration in it’s wake. Even to this day, people who received that vaccine, will never forget it’s effects. This measles vaccine fact, is something the medical profession buries in the “no fishing” pond with the hope that no-one actually looks too hard that that – or the similarly blighted respiratory syncytial virus vaccine which caused so many problems, and which most parents today, have no idea even existed.

      Most parents here, will also have no idea that there once existed a Scarlet Fever vaccine, which maimed and killed so many people including the nurses who it was administered to against their choice. Yes, there was compulsory vaccination back in those days! One of the reasons “compulsion” was moved away from at that time, was that the people of the day saw, noted and were not impressed. And those reminders piled up, one on the other, with the measles vaccine, the respiratory syncytial vaccine, the adenovirus vaccine disaster, the swine flu vaccine disaster of 1975.

      Oh yes, there is a lot that the medical literature avoids talking about, quite APART from their deliberate avoidance of discussing vitamin A and measles in a meaningful way, publicly.

      FACT: Anyone with a brain, can find all the medical articles on measles and vitamin A through pubmed. You should try one day.

      But more importantly, let’s get back to these reasons Langmuir stated for making a vaccine for something which didn’t even rank in the top 20 when it came to diseases. The fact that “measles” was ‘there’, and because ‘it can be done’.

      There are a lot of things that are “there” that the medical profession decides “can be done”. Like the caesarean section which a friend of mine had, which she didn’t need, and when she challenged the obstetrician, he said that he did it because he thought it would be easier for her, but later added under pressure… “I had problems at home and needed to go home”.

      Yes there are a lot of things that can be done. Like the abusive prescription of antibiotics, over the decades, when the doctors prescribing them, had they read the medical literature, would know from the constant warnings, that indiscriminate use of antibiotics would lead to a situation which we are now very close to.

      Langmuir’s values, are not my values. You values, Occam, are certainly not my values.

      It is my right, to chose what I use for myself and my family. The fact that measles “is there” and ” the technology exists to do something about it” doesn’t hold any sway in MY values.

      What holds sway in my values, is that when information is given to me, that it is utterly truthful, not neurotically inflated with paranoid inaccuracies, for the aim of achieving control and compliance of a disease which can and has been controlled very successfully with other things.

      One of the greatest epidemiologists in the UK, Major Greenwood, in his 1935 book called “Epidemics and crowd-diseases” said this on page 75:

      “It is fortunate for the world that pre-immunisation against the typhoid group was not discovered in the days of Laissez-faire; had it been, many more thousands would have died of typhoid than actually did. Eighty years ago, it would have been hard to persuade the possessing classes to spend money on safeguarding water supplies if so cheap an alternative method of protection could have been provided.”

      I would add to that, that in 2013, we would NOT be having this discussion today, if the medical profession had employed vitamin A with measles from the time it’s effect was first noted around 1920. And if some clever clogs had come up with a vaccine against rickets, it would surely have been employed rather than such a sensible option as improving nutrition and using cod liver oil!

      That lesson reverberated down decades, because many of those born in the fifties and sixties were lined up by parents who remember, and dosed on cod liver oil and blackstrap molasses. Today’s parents by and large, haven’t a clue about that, and they are the worse for their ignorance.

      It is very much cheaper to just needle everyone isn’t it. That way, you can leave people in utter ignorance about what is good health – the important things which positively ramp up the innate immune system which is so important in the defence against measles. And besides, by needling everyone and leaving people in ignorance, that makes sure that all the other health conditions apart from measles, which could be helped by cod liver oil, or vitamin A, and decent nutrition, are still there for doctors to treat with other “inappropriate” drugs.

      Not treating fundamental causes of infection (bad water – typhoid/measles – vitamin A deficiencies – many conditions listed in the medical literature) means that the medical profession continues to be, in their eyes, “meaningfully” employed.

      Greenwood had the right of it.

      And so actually, did Langmuir. In the bigger picture, treated properly, measles is nothing.

      What we have today is a medical profession, who consider that ONLY their values and choices matter. It is a generation that has been educated in such an aberrant way that they honestly think they can ride roughshod over everyone else, and in the arrogance of their ignorance, think it’s alright to tell parents what is permissible and what is not.

      That will be your undoing.

      Just as Paul Offit writing a book about vitamins and alternative medicine has shot two bullets in his right foot. I look forward to his next book, which will hopefully shoot some bullets in his left foot and leave him legless.

      Too many people have got to the point where the medical profession has said, “There is nothing we can do for you…” I’m included in that list. I should be dead.

      Too many people have been forced to look elsewhere for answers, and found them in the very places where the medical profession said would be “the death of you.”

      This includes many parents who believe that vaccines for their children, have been a disastrous trade-off, swapping dubious “protection” against infection, for what you term impossible, and coincidental serious, chronic ill health.

      The medical system has no answers for most of those children. Those parents, by the millions have gone elsewhere and many of them have found answers, and have their children back in one bit.

      Those parents will look at people like you, and Paul Offit’s latest rant against vitamins, and think, “Wow, they had nothing to offer me, yet vitamins did the trick. If Paul Offit knows nothing about vitamins, maybe he also knows nothing meaningful about the real problems with vaccines either.”

      All that compulsion, and telling parents that “not vaccinating is IMPERMISSABLE” will do, is back parents against the wall, and then they WILL band together and fight you front on, because they have nothing more to lose.

      I would have thought that the small numbers of medical profession who have bothered to study UK history, would see the similarities of today, with what happened in the 1870’s with the huge revolt against the smallpox vaccine, and the reasons why Leicester not only “rebelled” but succeeded in eliminating smallpox there, while it raged all around them. And even the other vaccines disasters of the 1900s…

      It seems not. It seems that history from the 1800’s and 1900’s may have to repeat itself. It seems that the medical profession will have to learn again that dictatorial imperialism and lording it over other people’s choices, doesn’t work in the long run.

      There is one big difference this time. And that is that the “damage” to these children today, will reverberate down the next three generations. Huge amount of taxes, and the energy of millions of healthy people will be required to look after these children, unable to work and contribute taxes themselves, until they die. That’s a disaster that either the medical profession choses not to see, or else considers it an advantageous commercial opportunity for themselves.

      And I lay the resp0nsibility for that, not only at the feet of anyone who dares to say to parents, “Thou shalt do this, and if you don’t, it’s child abuse.” Or…. “Thou shalt NOT use this vitamin/alternative medicine, because it’s child abuse.” Or…. “Thou shalt NOT use this vitamin/alternative medicine, because it’s child abuse.”

      No-one but no-0ne (in case you missed the first “no-one”) has the right to state what is, or is not permissible to anyone, about anything, when it comes to what the medical profession wants to put in their own bodies, or their family’s bodies.

      The sooner the medical profession listens to parents, and get’s that, the sooner doctors might actually start to find some meaningful solutions to real health issues. The quicker they do that, the more likely they are to actually retrieve a smidgen of the “respect” which has long since gone from the minds of people who have been serially run over by a profession which only seems to care about their own agendas.

      For anyone here, wanting a starting place by reading a book by a doctor who learned that the hard way, this book might be a good starting place:

      http://www.amazon.com/Doctor-Doesnt-Nutritional-Medicine-Killing/dp/078528883X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372199526&sr=1-1&keywords=ray+d+strand

  • Sheri says:
  • John Wantling says:

    There is a big difference between natural immunity and the interference or suppression of disease symptoms. I am not absolutely sure what a so-called ‘infectious disease’ such as measles is, because I do not think that we understand the mechanism of disease to state that measles is caused by a germ. I tend to feel that there may be some kind of infection taking place, but certainly not the simplistic idea of germ cause disease. I feel that infection sets off a process in the body that we call measles, which is based on immunity, detoxification and childhood developmental (Viera Scheibner). This process isn’t something to be ‘got rid’ of, it is something to be understood and managed safely. Is it permissible to vaccinated against disease when we don’t know the mechanisms of the disease and we don’t know what damaging effects the vaccine will reap on the individual.

    It is easy to defend vaccines when we side with ‘artificial immunity’, but we think like this because we have been conditioned into the theory of germ, and so we mindlessly translate no symptoms as immunity – the reality is that this can never be. The medics do not understand the mechanisms of disease and those who follow are no different, so we jump on the ‘get rid of symptoms’ bandwagon and then we take away human rights and resort to using force.

    Allopathic medicine is based on the treatment of symptoms. To treat measles symptoms, we simply use a drug regime that makes the symptoms disappear into thin air – the suppression of disease symptoms, pushing the rash back inside, lowering the temperature by force. The medical profession doesn’t know anything about the mechanisms involved; they are not interested, they merely want to ‘get rid’ of symptoms to justify their existence.

    The real issue is the permissibility of allowing parents to vaccinate with MMR basing that decision on bad science and bad medicine. Vaccines are not what they seem, MMR is an artefact conjured up in a laboratory; a witches brew of no relationship to the natural functions going on inside of the human body. When a vaccine is injected into the flesh, this opens up a Pandora’s box of highly toxic reactions containing all the evils of the world. The phrase ‘to open Pandora’s box’ means to perform an action that may seem small or innocuous, but that turns out to have severe and far-reaching consequences. Brain injury is one of those consequences.

    The problem with vaccines is that the masses turn to blind faith as opposed to rational thought. Jumping on the pro-vaccine bandwagon is easy, you can do it in your sleep. Medical doctors are good at that.

    Victoria says that childhood diseases should be dealt with as they come, immunity created this way is more beneficial. This is excellent advice, and what is the effect on the immune system when we vaccinate and vaccinate. If natural immunity is interfered with or disease symptoms pushed inwards, this tells me that the immune system will not learn, hence it will not adapt and/or mature, it will be weakened and in time be unable to survive in this world. A vaccinated mother will not be able to pass on vital information to her child, and when this happens over the generations, a catastrophic human disease will likely follow.

    Jana Shaw’s comment is based purely on petty emotion, blind faith and a blind belief that vaccines are good medicine, regardless of all the human damage that has been done. MMR does not protect against any disease, but she cannot accept this because she has jumped on the vaccine bandwagon with eyes closed with the added comfort of medical dogma. I mentioned in my first comment a ‘vaccine court,’ awarding millions of dollars to two children with autism for ‘pain and suffering’ and lifelong care of their injuries, which together could cost tens of millions of dollars. This isn’t a myth as Jana believes; it is nothing more than bad medicine based on bad science. We also have the McKinley report…

    “It is estimated that at most 3.5% of the total decline in mortality since 1900’s could be ascribed to medical measures introduced for the diseases considered… “furthermore that medical measures were introduced several decades after marked decline had already set in having no detectable influences in most instances.”

    The Sociology of Health and Illness” study. 5th edition of John & Sonia McKinley.
    http://www.childhoodshots.com/

    I doubt that McKinley’s 3.5% total decline in mortality involved mass vaccinations, which doesn’t say much for ‘life saving vaccines’ as Jana Shaw believes, and may I also say that concerning measles deaths, I suggest that most of these deaths are not caused by measles, but by bad medical treatment. When a doctor treats measles through suppression, he/she may well kill the child. He will then cry out over the rooftops that measles killed this child, this is a terrible disease, go get your shots, but in most cases, death was probably caused by the doctor’s ignorance in disease management. Safe management of measles is taught by Dr Jayne Donegan. If the madmen vaccinators listened to the likes of Dr Jayne Donegan, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Mary Tocco, and Sheri Nakken, children would be far healthier and be far more robust. Is it permissible to allow medical doctors to use MMR under these very ill circumstances – I think not. (posted by John Wantling, Rochdale)

  • John Wantling says:

    There is a big difference between natural immunity and the interference or suppression of disease symptoms. I am not absolutely sure what a so-called ‘infectious disease’ such as measles is, because I do not think that we understand the mechanism of disease to state that measles is caused by a germ. I tend to feel that there may be some kind of infection taking place, but certainly not the simplistic idea of germ cause disease. I feel that infection sets off a process in the body that we call measles, which is based on immunity, detoxification and childhood developmental (Viera Scheibner). This process isn’t something to be ‘got rid’ of, it is something to be understood and managed safely. Is it permissible to vaccinated against disease when we don’t know the mechanisms of the disease and we don’t know what damaging effects the vaccine will reap on the individual.

    It is easy to defend vaccines when we side with ‘artificial immunity’, but we think like this because we have been conditioned into the theory of germ, and so we mindlessly translate no symptoms as immunity – the reality is that this can never be. The medics do not understand the mechanisms of disease and those who follow are no different, so we jump on the ‘get rid of symptoms’ bandwagon and then we take away human rights and resort to using force.

    Allopathic medicine is based on the treatment of symptoms. To treat measles symptoms, we simply use a drug regime that makes the symptoms disappear into thin air – the suppression of disease symptoms, pushing the rash back inside, lowering the temperature by force. The medical profession doesn’t know anything about the mechanisms involved; they are not interested, they merely want to ‘get rid’ of symptoms to justify their existence.

    The real issue is the permissibility of allowing parents to vaccinate with MMR basing that decision on bad science and bad medicine. Vaccines are not what they seem, MMR is an artefact conjured up in a laboratory; a witches brew of no relationship to the natural functions going on inside of the human body. When a vaccine is injected into the flesh, this opens up a Pandora’s box of highly toxic reactions containing all the evils of the world. The phrase ‘to open Pandora’s box’ means to perform an action that may seem small or innocuous, but that turns out to have severe and far-reaching consequences. Brain injury is one of those consequences.

    The problem with vaccines is that the masses turn to blind faith as opposed to rational thought. Jumping on the pro-vaccine bandwagon is easy, you can do it in your sleep. Medical doctors are good at that.

    Victoria says that childhood diseases should be dealt with as they come, immunity created this way is more beneficial. This is excellent advice, and what is the effect on the immune system when we vaccinate and vaccinate. If natural immunity is interfered with or disease symptoms pushed inwards, this tells me that the immune system will not learn, hence it will not adapt and/or mature, it will be weakened and in time be unable to survive in this world. A vaccinated mother will not be able to pass on vital information to her child, and when this happens over the generations, a catastrophic human disease will likely follow.

    Jana Shaw’s comment is based purely on petty emotion, blind faith and a blind belief that vaccines are good medicine, regardless of all the human damage that has been done. MMR does not protect against any disease, but she cannot accept this because she has jumped on the vaccine bandwagon with eyes closed with the added comfort of medical dogma. I mentioned in my first comment a ‘vaccine court,’ awarding millions of dollars to two children with autism for ‘pain and suffering’ and lifelong care of their injuries, which together could cost tens of millions of dollars. This isn’t a myth as Jana believes; it is nothing more than bad medicine based on bad science. We also have the McKinley report…

    “It is estimated that at most 3.5% of the total decline in mortality since 1900’s could be ascribed to medical measures introduced for the diseases considered… “furthermore that medical measures were introduced several decades after marked decline had already set in having no detectable influences in most instances.”

    The Sociology of Health and Illness” study. 5th edition of John & Sonia McKinley.
    http://www.childhoodshots.com/

    I doubt that McKinley’s 3.5% total decline in mortality involved mass vaccinations, which doesn’t say much for ‘life saving vaccines’ as Jana Shaw believes, and may I also say that concerning measles deaths, I suggest that most of these deaths are not caused by measles, but by bad medical treatment. When a doctor treats measles through suppression, he/she may well kill the child. He will then cry out over the rooftops that measles killed this child, this is a terrible disease, go get your shots, but in most cases, death was probably caused by the doctor’s ignorance in disease management. Safe management of measles is taught by Dr Jayne Donegan. If the madmen vaccinators listened to the likes of Dr Jayne Donegan, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Mary Tocco, and Sheri Nakken, children would be far healthier and be far more robust. Is it permissible to allow medical doctors to use MMR under these very ill circumstances – I think not. (posted by John Wantling)

  • Mike Stanton says:

    @John Stone
    Would you like to see vaccination rates decline? If so, what is your alternative?

    • John Stone says:

      Mike Stanton

      I would like to see an honest public discourse. Just shouting down anyone who dissents, for whatever reason, does not ensure public safety, it only ensures compliance (and the interests of the manufacturers). Anyone who believe’s their child’s safety is always paramount should read Dr Tomljenovic’s JCVI paper:

      http://www.ecomed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/3-tomljenovic.pdf

      The approach of the media, under the influence of industry funded lobby organisations like Science Media Centre and Sense About Science, has become shamefully “Four legs good, two legs bad”.

  • Occam says:

    Mr Stone “Dr Tomljenovic’s JCVI paper” is not a peer reviewed paper published in a scientific journal, it is a copy of a presentation given at a meeting of the “British Society for Ecological Medicine” and as such would not have been subject to any form of review.
    However you state “Anyone who believe’s their child’s safety is always paramount should read Dr Tomljenovic’s JCVI paper”unlike the SSPE article which reviews epidemiological data gathered independently from many countries, all coming to the same conclusion that measles vaccination dramatically reduces the incidence of SSPE, but you summarily dismiss this objective database of independent evidence because “The authorship of the paper does not particularly impress me”, but then you want “an honest public discourse”, perhaps only on your terms discussing data that you approve of.
    In the interests of this discourse that you want I’d really like to hear your ideas of how you would have handled the measles outbreak in South Wales

  • John Stone says:

    Occam

    It is a ridiculous point – the Tomljenovic paper is a matter of meticulous historical documentation. It stands on its own. People do not always need a committee of time-servers to decide what they are allowed to read.

    As to the SSPE paper, I was simply pointing out that there were major irregularities apparent in an earlier papers of two of the co-authors, which I had documented.

    The Swansea measles outbreak – what would I have done? First of all I do not believe even now it is clear what the truth of this incident was. Secondly, I do not believe it is right to invent fairy stories to make people vaccinate, and it will not lead to trust. Thirdly, I would have offered single measles vaccines to those that wanted it in preference to MMR.

    • Occam says:

      No its not a ridiculous point with a statement like this on page 1″….were necessary for “herd immunity”, a concept which with regards to vaccination, and contrary to prevalent beliefs, does not rest on solid scientific evidence as will be explained” the paper would not have got through a rigorous peer review process, but I’ll read and critque her “essay”, but not today.
      Re your comment on the Swansea outbreak interesting to see that you admit the only control option was mass vaccination, but please give any evidence that supports the fact that single vaccines are safer, because the evidence actually points that analphylaxis has a higher incidence with the single vaccine: Erlewyn-Lajeunesse M, Manek R, Liungham R, Finn A, Emond A (2008). Anaphylaxis following single component measles and rubella immunization. Archives of Disease in Childhood 93:974-975.
      Now having admitted that you would vaccinate against measles to control the outbreak would you also include single rubella immunisation for those who, for no rational reasons, chose the single vaccine route?

      • John Stone says:

        Occam

        It is impossible to imagine how – other factors being equal – a trivalent vaccine would have lower risk than a vaccine containing a single component. It might however be less effective against measles and more expensive:

        http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2793/rr/650036

        I cannot access this paper at the moment but I imagine that senior author Alan Emond followed his usual practice of not disclosing his JCVI membership as a competing interest.

        Your quibble about Tomljenovic just illustrates your devotion to a particular ideology.

  • Sheri says:

    I am wondering the age of Mike Stanton and Occam? Measles was handled well but most who came down with it – see all my links above mortality decreasing long before the vaccine. In my generation it wasn’t considered something you had to do anything about, in the US. I am a Peds nurse, my mom is a Peds nurse – and we find it ludicrous.

    In my experience, the children I know having measles in the last decade, that I was in contact with all did well with high doses of Vitamin A for 2 days (many studies available on a search), and many also added homeopathic treatment which served them well (whether you believe in it or not). And everyone in my family, neighborhood, school had measles and we never heard of any case that turned deadly or serious.

    And as a pediatric nurse, graduating in 1971, still saw measles and never saw any complications (not that there aren’t some sometimes, but the norm is children do fine). And none of us or them had Vitamin A to go along with it. So this fear of measles really is insanity in the US and UK. And don’t mention the 3rd world as we know it is very different there with malnutrition and contaminated water and vaccination over and over for many things – you can’t vaccinate these children to health. If you cared so much, you would be working on that issue for them, not adding insult to injury with vaccines.

    I have many OLD m medical books dating back to the early 1900s – that’s where you will find the reality of measles without fearmongering (and this before the mortality rates were as low as the became in the 50s and 60s.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=2194128&dopt=Abstract
    A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Vitamin A in Children with Severe Measles
    N Engl J Med. 1990 Dec 20;323(25):1774-5. CONCLUSIONS. Treatment with vitamin A reduces morbidity and mortality in measles, and all children with severe measles should be given vitamin A supplements, whether or not they are thought to have a nutritional deficiency.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1625097&dopt=Abstract
    Arrieta AC, Zaleska M, Stutman HR, Marks MI. Vitamin A levels in children with measles in Long Beach, California. J Pediatr 1992;121:75-78.
    Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Orange, California 92668.

    Studies from Africa suggest that vitamin A supplementation may reduce morbidity and mortality rates associated with measles among poorly nourished children. We studied 20 children with measles in Long Beach, Calif., and found that 50% (95% confidence interval; 28% to 72%) were vitamin A deficient. This frequency among presumably well nourished American children supports evaluation of vitamin A status as a part of acute management of measles in the United States.

    http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/vad/en/ Combating vitamin A deficiency
    and even though nutrition, in some ways, is better in UK and US, we still have Vitamin A deficiencies, and never is this mentioned.

    http://www.who.int/pmnch/topics/part_publications/essentialinterventions14_12_2011low.pdf see how often Vitamin A is mentioned, from 6 months of age

    And right here in Oxford Journals.org – http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/39/suppl_1/i48.full “Conclusion Measles vaccine and vitamin A treatment are effective interventions to prevent measles mortality in children. ”

    And if other countries are doing this with MMR, why not here in US or UK? http://www.who.int/vaccines/en/vitamina.shtml “Since 1987, WHO has advocated the routine administration of vitamin A with measles vaccine in countries where vitamin A deficiency is a problem” and “There is a well-established scientific basis for the treatment of measles cases with vitamin A supplementation that is recommended by WHO as part of the integrated management of childhood illness.

    The recommended doses of vitamin A supplementation for the prevention of vitamin A deficiency are indicated in the following table.”

    Sheri
    You can find much more

  • Simon Rippon says:

    If the topic of child mortality and morbidity wasn’t so serious, I would amused by the amount of quack science, bald assertion of falsehoods, and grand conspiracy theorising in the comments here. Yes vaccines very rarely have adverse effects, no vaccines do not always provide 100% immunity. So what? In this respect they are like seatbelts, which may fail to stop you being killed in a crash, and may even trap you in your burning or sinking car, but have been proven to save lives much, much more often. How many people have been killed by smallpox lately? One other important point: David’s post argued that it may not be morally permissible for parents not to vaccinate their children. This is entirely separate from the claim that it would be permissible for the state, or anyone else, to coerce them to do it.

    • Jennifer Craig says:

      Simon, are you suggesting that vaccines had anything to do with the reduction in small pox deaths? If so, then please provide mortality statistics to prove it. UK mortality stats were well kept and easily available.

  • Simon Rippon says:

    PS And just like vaccines, seatbelts are safe, in the following sense – they very rarely harm, and they are much, much safer than the alternative. (but don’t seatbelts cause autism? look at how autism has increased over the past 40 years, just like seatbelt use! Are car and seatbelt manufacturers not engaged in a money-making conspiracy?)

    • John Stone says:

      Simon Rippon

      I note all the ad hominem which does not really contribute to an argument.

      No it is not like seat belts, because the results are much more open to interpretation and ideological manipulation. One problem I highlighted above was hostility to monitoring, recording and investigating of adverse events. I also cited sources for the unsatisfactory nature of passive reporting.

      The “seat-belts” cause autism analogy is deeply silly and insulting. Vaccines can and do cause encephalopathies which can lead to an array of conditions including autism, as acknowledged under pressure by VICP officials to Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News (see above), so the question would be how often, and of course you will only find out if you deal with the matter in an unprejudiced way. The attitude of the US government is deeply prejudiced – their only response is the ‘hit and run’ one of “Okay then, prove it!”.

      The US actually have a system in which some of the vaccine damaged are quietly compensated and there have been billions of dollars of pay outs. Of course, you might consider that vaccines are much safer in the UK because most years there are no pay outs at all from the VDPU.

  • Simon Rippon says:

    Jennifer, you may as well argue that the Nazis had nothing to do with the mortality rates of Jews in the 1940s.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_smallpox

    • Jennifer Craig says:

      Your reference is NOT data but a biased account. Provide the UK mortality statistics for smallpox and leave out the smart-ass remarks which add nothing to the debate.

    • Jennifer Craig says:

      Years Vaccinations per cent of births Deaths from Smallpox
      Deaths from Smallpox per 100,000 population Deaths from cowpox and other effects of vaccination
      1872 – 1881 85.5 1999 15.2 497
      1892 – 1901 68.0 436 1.4 366
      1902 – 1911 67.4 395 1.2 17.7
      1912 – 1921 43.5 12 0.1 83

      I realize your research skills are limited so here is one set of figures. You can see that as the vaccination per cent of births went down, so did the death rate. These are official figures provided to parliament by the British Minister of Health on July 16, 1923.
      This is not the only example but serves to show you what I mean by data.

  • Simon Rippon says:

    John, the suggestion that seatbelts may cause autism was of course intended to be silly, but not insulting. The truth is that you have no more evidence that vaccines are having any significant impact on rates of autism than that seatbelts, bananas, or epidurals are. Citing very rare known cases of encephalopathy and ‘autism like symptoms’ won’t cut it.
    Moreover, I shouldn’t have to repeat this but you continue to attack a straw man version of David’s argument in the post. David argued only that parents who fail to protect their children by vaccinating them act in a morally impermissible way. He did not argue that anybody should be forced to do anything. If you are this careless here, why should readers take seriously any of the arguments you make, bard on your conclusions from what you claim to have read elsewhere?

  • John Stone says:

    Simon

    No doubt the Uehiro Foundation is a rarified clime, but if something is not (morally) permissible, what – please – is the consequence of that? Off hand, I can see two possiblities: either the parents have to be forcibly re-educated until they agree with the official dogma, or their views have to be forcibly over-ridden (or perhaps a bit of both). Perhaps they also have to be prevented from articulating their views. I stand to be corrected.

    Regarding causation, you have deliberately side-stepped my point. The fact that vaccines actually do cause autism on occasion is not disputed (under protest) by the US government, or by the Italian, or just possibly the British: it can happen and many families believe it has happened to them but they are not being listened to, and the institutions are unsympathetic (that is bias and they have immense conflicts). If, indeed, something happens I am not clear what science or philosophy here demonstrates that it only happens rarely (particularly when we have millions of cases without any officially acknowledged cause and many witnesses to adverse vaccine reactions). I also pointed out how, in concrete terms, institutions could evade the evidence through simple policies, and you have ignored this. For a little piece of the history of this I recommend googling “Jackie Fletcher Re: Measles in the UK: a test of public health competency in a crisis”.

    You also seem to be unaware that autism is a non-specific diagnosis: it is entirely defined by its symptoms – there is no essential difference between “autism” and “autism like symptoms”.

    The seat belt example? Yes, of course, it is deliberately insulting because it substitutes a plausible hypothesis (vaccine induced encephalopathy – brain damage -autism) for one which as you admit is “silly”, with the implication that people who believe the one would be just as silly as people who believe the other, but that obviously is not true. It is a false analogy (and insulting).

  • copernicus says:

    You amuse me Simon Rippon, …. about as much as Hitler did.

    You say, “If the topic of child mortality and morbidity wasn’t so serious, I would amused by the amount of quack science, bald assertion of falsehoods, and grand conspiracy theorising in the comments here.”

    Only one example from a long list of possibles: If the topic of child morbidity and mortality is so serious, then UK obstetricians would have stopped immediate cord clamping decades ago. But no…. the medical system continues to consider gold standard, a morally reprehensible practice which the literature condemned long ago. Then have the gall to tell parents that their immediately clamped baby with patent ductus arteriosis has a “genetic defect”. It’s okay for the medical profession, to follow up medical malpractice with bald-faced lies.

    And

    “One other important point: David’s post argued that it may not be morally permissible for parents not to vaccinate their children. This is entirely separate from the claim that it would be permissible for the state, or anyone else, to coerce them to do it.”

    You know as well as David, that those people who put themselves on pedestals and pronounce with dripping distain, what is NOT MORALLY PERMISSIBLE are usually the very people who sanction medical and political directives to coerce parents into conforming to the medical profession’s unethical dictates.

    Then

    “Jennifer, you may as well argue that the Nazis had nothing to do with the mortality rates of Jews in the 1940s.”

    Really? Okay, so you want to argue in that vein?

    Does the medical profession have nothing to do with preventable medical error causing millions of needless nosocomial infections, and thousands of needless iatrogenic deaths, and plain neglect, in the UK’s NHS every year? Does the fact that the sins of the medical profession is a huge black hole swallows up billions of taxpayer’s pounds needlessly, actually reach the moral radar of those who define the word “permissible”? Is the morbidity, mortality and the cost of medical profession’s sins of omission and commission, just some conspiratorial delusion from outside? Are the daily headlines throughout UK constantly screaming about the apparent willful incompetence of some in the NHS, just figments of the newsmedia’s imagination?

    David’s blog is akin to having two planks in each eye, while waxing lyrical about the speck in someone else’s. The medical profession bangs on about everyone else’s “moral” duty, while publicly, consistently, deliberately, avoiding the fact that they, throughout their own history, have caused far more morbidity and mortality than Hitler or wars ever did. Even worse, those facts are intentionally hidden from the public.

    If there was any real compassion and concern for morbidity and mortality, the medical system would clean up its own house up, practice ethical medicine, tell the truth, and stop kicking the very people who foot the bill for their sins.

    The real problem here, is that those here on self-appointed pedestals, so concerned about child morbidity and mortality, who accuse others of “conspiracy theories” and point the finger at non-vaccinating parents, never consider the three fingers of reality pointing back at them, and seriously believe that someone did die and make them God.

  • John Stone says:

    This journal or blog and the institution which sponsors it bears the title “Practical Ethics” so presumably if something is not permissible and it is a practical issue the question arises how it could be prevented – for Simon Rippon to come back (presumably with the authority of David Birks) to indicate that it somehow was not meant in that way (an abstract inquiry, not practical at all?) is paradoxical to say the least. Obviously, it presently remains the right of citizens not to vaccinate their children, so considering how they might be judged – if that’s all it is – seems somewhat whimsical, and when I read it I read it as an implied future threat. Apart from this Birks’s assumption of omniscience in making such a judgment seems jejune: the reality messy, compromised, not clear cut at best.

    Birks asks whether there is something that he has not considered. One thing which comes to mind is the objection of vaccine advocate Dr David Elliman. When asked about introducing coercion of some form – which was being heavily promoted by the BBC – he balked at the sheer unpleasantness: in human terms it was not worth it.

  • Sheri says:
  • Sheri says:
  • Simon Rippon says:

    Some of the commenters here seem convinced that vaccination is always, or at least by and large, either ineffective, or harmful, or both. I am merely a philosopher and have no special training in, nor knowledge of, medicine, epidemiology and statistics, so I cannot respond with personal authority to any of the many empirical claims made by commenters. However, the view that vaccines in general are both effective and safe is the publicly expressed view, supported by reams of published evidence, of the overwhelming majority of those qualified to judge the matter: medical professionals and scientists. (Let us remind ourselves that “safe” here is meant in the same sense as when it is said that seat belts are safe – and seat belts do sometimes injure or rarely even kill people in unfortunate circumstances) The opposite view, that vaccines are ineffective and/or dangerous, must therefore overcome a very high burden of proof, and to seriously maintain it, you must either posit a grand conspiracy to deceive the public, or claim some special scientific insight that has eluded all or virtually all of the professionals in the field – many of the world’s brightest minds, that is – for decades. I do have personal knowledge that the Uehiro Centre is no part of such a conspiracy. Neither, presumably, are the many thousands of medical professionals and scientists who choose to vaccinate themselves and their own children. So personally, I find the conspiracy theory deeply implausible, even while recognizing that the medical profession is imperfect and made up of imperfect people, like all human institutions. If you believe not in a conspiracy but rather in your own special scientific insight, I would suggest that as a service to humanity you go and pursue a career in scientific research forthwith, and stop wasting your very valuable time here. Einstein published his most brilliant and revolutionary papers when he was just a clerk in a government office, a complete outsider to the academy.

    John, philosophy may be “whimsical” generally, in your terms – truth, beauty, justice and all that. Even the part of philosophy that we call “practical ethics” or “applied ethics”- which is distinguished from the more abstract “normative ethical theory” and “metaethics” in that it studies how to think about the ethics of particular actions and circumstances – might not be so very practical. After all, at bottom it concerns what ought to be the case, morally speaking, rather than what is the case. The fact, if it is a fact, that parents morally ought to vaccinate their children, does not tell us that they in fact do so, nor that they will do so, nor offer any advice on how to convince them to do so. Nor does our real or purported discovery of this fact, on its own, license the state or anyone else to make parents do it, nor license us to suppress the expression of any view to the contrary. (Similarly, the fact that you morally ought to own up to it when you know you have stated a falsehood does not license anyone else to make you own up to it – say, by imprisoning or torturing you, or suppressing your speech until you do so). For these further moral claims we would need some kind of additional moral principle, such as this one: the state may always prohibit morally impermissible actions. But good (though sadly non-omniscient) philosophers, like David, tend to be wary of additional principles like that, and recognize that they cannot simply be assumed but must at least be argued for independently. Anyway, regrettably I lack the authority of David Birks, and although I very much like his posts, my comments have been entirely my own.

    I regret also that I lack the time to respond further to the admirably energetic commenters still here, and this will be my last contribution on the thread. Have at it!

  • John Stone says:

    Simon

    I am not exactly a stranger to philosophical discussions. But I notice a shift in you presentation of the issue here from “what is permissible” to “what people ought to do” and the first more than hints at constraint (at a time when constraint is being much publicly discussed), and of course that’s very different. Apart from that, if people are going to pronounce on great ethical issues it should not be based on a naieve, “tabloid” account of them (moreover, we are talking about real events not theoretical ones).

    Some of the “vaccine row” has been removed to margins of the mainstream, but for instance there has been major disagreement going of for years about influenza vaccination, in which the British and American governments stand criticised both for hyping flu deaths (sometimes to hundreds of times actual levels) and for promoting interventions which are entirely ineffective. The Cochrane Collaboration have not stuck their necks out that far over MMR but they did warn that safety studies were largely inadequate (on the basis of which hundreds of millions of rounds have been administed apparently on a hunch that they are safe anyway). Sometimes even the peer review science is nowhere near as clear cut as you seem to think, just because a number of rather weak epidemiological studies have been hyped by the British and American governments – above I published the link to 90 studies evidencing the danger of thimerosal which is still very much present in the global vaccine supply thanks to heavy lobbying from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If you take a simple view you will come to simplistic conclusions, but in fact we are talking about complex global politics and not all of it is pretty. If you are just going to take things at face value before coming to moral judgments then you are almost bound to make bad assumptions (we don’t live in that kind of world).

    Also, I illustrated in concrete terms how easy it was for governments to overlook vaccine damage, how the bias is built into the system, so what do you do, you overlook it as well (you cannot even acknowledge the point) and then move swiftly on.

  • Mike Stanton says:

    Simon,
    thank you for your contribution. I do not think you will have persuaded anyone to change their mind. It is always difficult to use reason to persuade people to drop unreasonable beliefs.

    • Alessandro says:

      Agreed. It is extremely difficult to shift people from deeply held beliefs and also to shift health officials from claims they make as the official line which are not true. And here we see the same old same old from the same old same old folks.

      When under pressure CDC Director and the US HRSA confirmed any vaccine can cause autistic conditions in 2008 when the Hannah Poling story broke over 9 vaccines in one day causing an autistic condition leading to a US$20 million settlement that simultaneously blew a massive hole in the claims that epidemiological studies demonstrated no link between the MMR vaccine and autistic conditions.

      If looking for a link for just one vaccine, MMR, but comparing populations which have all the other vaccines, no link will be found – guaranteed. If you compare like with like you will always find like – not different.

      That is one reason why statistical studies can only ever show the presence of an association and can never demonstrate there is no link. Yet that is BS the world’s public are presented with.

      Surely a philosopher should know about logic and logical fallacy? But perhaps not – as DC Colquhoun blogged “Why philosophy is largely ignored by science”:
      http://www.dcscience.net/?p=4813

      And of course statistical studies are not epidemiological studies – if there is no assessment of detailed clinical histories of cases and the application of the Bradford Hill and US Surgeon General’s criteria then you have absolutely nothing upon which to base a claim that studies have found no link.

  • copernicus says:

    You baffle me Simon.

    You call to your defence the many flawed fallacies of authority, the faggot fallacy, the consensus fallacy and all the other fallacies (tip – research Dr Skrabanek) which resulted in the so-called experts of past eras creating numbers doctrines, resulting in huge morbidity and mortality.

    One of many: the Lord High Pooh-Bahs of the day, ignoring Ignaz Semmelweis and Oliver Wendel Holmes resulting in 70+ years of death and destruction of post-partum women from puerperal fever, with the additional resultant morbidity and mortality of their surviving babies, and young children forced into child slave labour in UK . Courtesy of the ignorance of the medical authorities of the day. Even back them women tried to avoid having babies in hospital. They knew that hospitals meant death, despite the false claims of the day!

    That century of medical disasters alone, knocked at least 30 years off individual life expectancy data… yet if you believe the Paul Offit’s of today, the extra years expectancy since that time is a result of vaccines!!! Of course, they never discuss the fact that the medical profession caused much of the reduction of life expectancy in the first place.

    Example Two: Paediatricians today, hail the “back to sleep” campaign as the biggest success story when it comes to reduction in SIDS.

    The bit they never tell parents, is that for 30 years, parents tried to forcefully resist doctors from 1940 onwards, who forcefully counselled and harangued parents to sleep their babies prone on their fronts! The medical profession published long lists of all the terrible things which would happen to babies if they were slept on their backs. All that too, is written up in the medical history.

    So we now have a generation of parents who subconsciously think, “how marvellous that these paediatricians corrected the errors of OUR ways, and our babies no longer die of SIDS.”

    Far from pulling out a plum and saying, “What a good boy am I!” the medical profession should admit with humility, that parents were right to sleep babies on their backs; the medical profession was wrong to make them change, yet no,…..the medical profession has the temerity to take credit for “solving” a problem, which they caused!

    Then there are the blindingly obvious medical flaws of medical history, like lancing, blood letting, just to name two of many many more. But of course, they were considered the height of technology in their time.

    All these and more are important in a social context, and should fascinate any philosopher.

    Shouldn’t the institutionally-ignored historical problems which result from the opinions and practices of the “top brains” in medicine… which continue to this day, serve as a warning that there is a philosophical issue here? Why should trust be vested by parents into such a “broken” system which doesn’t learn from either it’s history or ignorance?

    Perhaps you’ve not bothered to study medical history. Perhaps you should. And don’t you think that medical ethicists, should be grounded in an awareness of the systems’ mistakes and flaws? Should not these issues alone, justify any informed parent the right to say no?

    Ignoring the philosophical implications to society of two centuries of scumbagism, leaves any philosopher with a huge black hole when it comes to determining how much “stock” should be placed in the collective “expertise” of 2013. Isn’t history there, to learn from?

    Isn’t trust earned through exemplary behaviour, honest disclosure and respectful partnership and respect for informed choice?

    Wouldn’t all that lead any sane person, to hesitate to suggest that it’s good enough that the medical system tell anyoney what to do with regard to your health, let alone determine what is permissable or not?

    Further, it seems om your comments that your philosophical musing haven’t extended to researching what has happened to all the scientists and doctors who have spoken out over the centuries, some of whom have paid with their lives, and others who have, as a result, being branded “disreputable” and thrown into the oblivion of medical epithet.

    Perhaps you’ve not looked at who is disembowelling the current crop of dissidents, and compared that with the way the “experts” disembowelled their historical counterparts.

    Perhaps you think that if valid dissidents did exist, you would have heard about it?

    Perhaps a new hearing aid would help, or a new “radio” which tunes to a wider range of listening stations?

    You say, “After all, at bottom it concerns what ought to be the case, morally speaking, rather than what is the case.”

    Touche. Doesn’t that apply to everything in medicine practice both in the present and the past? Is it not the case that to know, morally speaking what OUGHT to be the case, requires considerable study to determine the ACTUAL facts of the case in the first place?

    Real facts, do not equate to dogmatic fallacies masquerading as “facts”.

    Unfortunately for the population at large who naively think that the experts are God, the medicine of vaccinology currently successfuly expounds so many fallacies that, even ethicists like David appear not to know they are fallacies, and are therefore unable to see the wood for the trees.

    There is good factual reason why some here express more than frustration. it’s called an understanding of the reality in Pubmed, and a rejection of the medical mirages perpetrated in blogdom.

    You say, “For these further moral claims we would need some kind of additional moral principle, such as this one: the state may always prohibit morally impermissible actions.”

    So tell me.

    Who defines what is moral and what is not? (Hitler?)

    Who defines whether the ethicist or philosopher, is indeed “good”?

    and who defines the “ought” of anything? You?

    It would appear that you think that is your right, when you, a philosopher (who admits to ignorance on these issues) would suggest to someone, “If you believe not in a conspiracy but rather in your own special scientific insight, I would suggest that as a service to humanity you go and pursue a career in scientific research forthwith, and stop wasting your very valuable time here.”

    Who defines the value of anyone’s time, or what career to pursue? Why contradict what you also stated, which is that even a knowledgeable clerk who was never brainwashed by any system…. can have a valid opinion…. ?

    You say, you are a “mere” philosopher, “so I cannot respond with personal authority to any of the many empirical claims made by commenters.”

    So… why cast judgment on others, when by your own admission, the “ought” of the case is outside your own personal research or knowledge?

  • copernicus says:

    @ Mike Stanton.

    Since when can self-admitted ignorance of facts, be accurately defined as “reason”?

  • John Stone says:

    Noting the Japanese association of the Uehiro Foundation I am reminded of the image of the three wise monkeys. I am sure that in origin the significance of “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” was about not having truck with evil (and I am sure philosophers should be above it all) but it carries the fatal ambiguity that people might not choose to hear things, see things or comment on them because it is easier to tow the official line.

  • Ann Davies says:

    Only one person died in Swansea of measles and he had been immunised with the MMR. The number of people that were confirmed as having measles was significantly less than what you quoted as shown on the NHS website. History has shown that people who have received the MMR are still getting measles. The vaccine does not work as well as we are told. Try searching Google for vaccine failure rates and you will be surprised.

  • Ann Davies says:

    Can anyone let me know if there has been a recent study comparing the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children?

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