the great vaccine apocalypse cometh…

October 22, 2009

Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t it a bit disconcerting when comedians become the best source for news while the mass media is filled with promoters of woo and talking heads who either don’t have the backbone to do a fact check and upset the people they’re interviewing, or blab endlessly about political conspiracies, filling the rest of the time with hordes of sycophants? And it’s even worse when the subject being tackled is medicine as Jon Stewart skillfully shows in this segment about the H1N1 vaccine and the mainstream media circus around it.

Seriously, the constant panic and scandals about vaccines is just downright ridiculous. Doctors have studied vaccines, their safety and effectiveness for well over half a century now. They work. Ever wonder why measles, polio, diphtheria are either extremely rare or nonexistent in the developed world? And why smallpox, the killer that blighted humanity for thousands of years, is now extinct? Yeah, vaccines. This is why doctors want you to use them. Because they’re the safest and most effective way to immunize large populations. But no, we can’t just leave good science alone. We have to manufacture a controversy where there is none. We have to ignore the studies which show that vaccines don’t cause autism and that the much talked about autism epidemic is explained by the changes in how autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed.

So rather than listen to international experts in immunology, we’re going to listen to an adult magazine model who thought her kid was the second coming in that Lake Woebegone way that is the Indigo Child woo. Could anyone remind me what medical school did she finish again? Which was the one that teaches reliance on a set of random anecdotes from panicked parents being taken advantage of by unscrupulous quacks who say they can cure autism and put children through a torturous and unnecessary medical regimen which could run parents into the thousands of dollars every month? And the worst part is how anti-vax conspiracy theorists get caught up in their own emotions. In an expose on Wired, their comments say it all…

Aren’t the odds of this vaccine doing anything useful kind of low? How do they know they picked the correct strains? Where are the studies on effect on people of this vaccine? Oh wait….there aren’t any. Get is [sic] line Orwellians it’s time to shut up and do what the establishment wants…

The answers are as follows: no because they add to herd immunity and prevent the diseases from spreading around, because they’re experts who know how to track strains and just go to PubMed and look up the studies which interest you. But oh, of course, there can’t be any studies because we can’t have good anti-government or anti-science indignation if they actually happen to exist. This follows well in line with the comments of those who provided random stories that flooded anti-vaxers inboxes after they whipped up parents into a frenzy with alarming and reprehensible pseudoscience. I mean do I really have to explain how that works?

Vaccinations in and of themselves are not a bad idea per se. The problem I am having is with the sheer numbers of them being touted, recommended, and required for young children, even before they enter school.

Again, the vaccines keep getting recommended because they work. As simple as that. Seriously, we’re going to protest tempering children against the contaminants they’re going to pick up from other kids when they’re in daycare or school? Anyone ever live with kids and catch some of the nasty viruses they bring home along with their homework? Is being sick really that fun for you that you’re going to play doctor?

The FDA is owned lock, stock, and barrel by Big Pharma. That’s not conspiracy. That’s fact.

Sure it is. And I bet all the international immunologists who study vaccines and recommend regimens just as extensive as anything in the U.S. are also in on it too. So is the UN, the WTO, the IMF and the Trilateralists. Oh and let’s ask David Icke and the lizard people who rule the Earth while we’re at it.

… an article on vaccines that does not mention squalene? Pretty shoddy research and not what I expect from WIRED.

How could we ever forget squalene? Or, that’s right… It was last month’s culprit behind autism and whatever would fit under the term “vaccine injury.” That’s right folks, every few months we get a new culprit. First it was an infinitesimal dose of ethyl mercury, the compound that doesn’t cause toxic buildup. Then we had to panic about random, unspecified “toxins” in the vaccines. Then it was squalene. Then it was formaldehyde. Now it’s aluminum. What’s it going to be tomorrow? And what’s it going to be next month? To think that it all started by the discredited, shoddy research of Dr. Andy Wakefield who wanted to prove that thimerosal caused autism and slithered into the minds of countless terrified parents looking for something to blame. But today, the anti- vaccination movements are just the manifestation of visceral hatred of vaccines which have to be to blame for something. Anything. Anything at all.

Look, if you’re a parent and you think your bundle of joy is the most precious thing on the planet, great. But you won’t become endowed with decades of training and practice in immunology and pediatric care by some odd spark of magic. Why take your medical advice from airheads and quacks who constantly move the goalposts when doctors prove them wrong? Why trust people who couldn’t care less about science and are only trying to further a Luddite cult driven by fear and fueled by money made on selling bogus autism cures?

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  • It’s good to hear from the voice of reason and to know that Jon Stewart is there to back you up if need be. All in all a great rant.

  • colin

    Although i understand vaccines for polio, smallpox, diphtheria, but do we really need them for the flu. The flu is not that bad and to top it off the flu vaccine gives you the flu and then says now you wont get the flu anymore, and to top it off you get the flu anyway. Again I’m in favor of vaccines that do something but not all of them help.

  • Antaeus Feldspar

    Colin, gfish answered most of your objections here, so I’ll address just two that I don’t think were covered.

    the flu vaccine gives you the flu …

    You do realize that in most cases it is utterly impossible for this to happen, right? Not even in the “vanishingly rare” sense, but impossible. The only thing that can give you the flu is exposure to live viruses. The only vaccine that doesn’t use killed viruses is the nasally-delivered vaccine, so if you get the injected vaccine, and you get the flu, you didn’t get it from the vaccine. Even the nasally-delivered vaccine uses very weakened viruses, from which it would be exceedingly rare if anyone ever got a detectable case of flu.

    The flu is not that bad

    An average of 41,400 deaths a year in the United States alone is “not that bad”?

  • colin

    Antaeus, O.K. The vaccine does give you a virus, and you say it’s a dead virus but it’s a virus anyway, and taking into account human error you cant say that you’ll never get infected from a shot.

    Yes, people die from the flu. People die from all sorts of things, there are very few things that CAN’T kill us, and of those statistics how many of those people had a compromised immune system or were weak or were young? The point being is that we blow the flu out of proportion.

  • Greg Fish

    “… but it’s a virus anyway, and taking into account human error you cant say that you’ll never get infected from a shot.”

    Colin, so what you’re saying is that zombie viruses will somehow spring to life to grow into a colony big enough to cause a flu infection? How exactly would they get reanimated if you don’t mind me asking?

  • colin

    What I’m saying is that they won’t be killed in the first place, and though this won’t happen all the time a few virus’s will manage to withstand the white blood cell’s and manage to make the person sick.