• Vaccinations

last modified May 20 by strypey


 Uncontested Facts about...

  • Vaccines are a medical intervention that routinely involve injecting substances directly into the bloodstream of patients, including infants as young as 6 weeks old. There are also some oral vaccines, but these are less common.

2017: NZ Ministry of Health, '2017 Immunisation Schedule Change'

  • "Vaccination" is the original term for the practice, dating back to smallpox vaccine inventor Dr Edward Jenner in 1800, and is the universally accepted term. Vaccine proponents also use the term "immunization", derived from the verb "to immunize", adopted into English from 1889, from a translation of a German article on the subject.
  • Vaccines are subject to the same patent rules as other medicines. For example, the University of Minnesota applied for a US patent on a vaccine for Lyme Disease, a consortium of Japanese researchers were assigned a US patent on an influenxza vaccine, and in 2017 an Austrian researcher applied for a patent on a vaccine for the common cold.

Claims and Counter-claims about Vaccination

  Healths Harms/ Benefits

 1. Vaccinations can make people very sick

 2011: CBS News - Feds Probe Post-Flu Shot Seizures Among Kids

 1. Vaccinations do not make anybody very sick

 2. Vaccines can cause autism  2. Vaccines cannot cause autism

 3. Andrew Wakefield's research provided evidence of link between MMR vaccine and autism

 3a. The revoking of Wakefield's license to practice medicine by the UK GMC (General Medical Council) was an injustice, as shown when his colleague John Walker-Smith was exonerated on appeal by Judge John Mitting.

 3. Andrew Wakefield's research has been debunked and is potentially fraudulent

 3a. The revoking of Wakefield's license by the GMC was proof of his wrongdoing.

 4. Wakefield's fraud was perpetuated to create supportive evidence for another vaccine he owned a patent for, and is in fact typical of the researchers that support vaccination  4. Andrew Wakefield's fraud is typical of the researchers who oppose vaccination

 5. People have died as a consequence of vaccinations

 5a. Vaccinations are the real cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ("cot death"), and other infant deaths 

 5. The risk of being maimed or killed by vaccinations needs to be balanced against the risk of being maimed or killed by the illness being vaccinated against - Dr Jennifer Ashton, CBS News Medical Correspondent

5a. Infant deaths are not caused by vaccinations 

 6. There are toxic metals such as mercury and aluminium, and other toxic substances like formaldehyde and mono-sodium glutomate in some vaccinations.

 2012: US Centres for Disease Control, 'Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary'

 6a. Aluminium is harmful to human health.

 1997: Nicholas J. Bishop, M.D et al, 'Aluminum Neurotoxicity in Preterm Infants Receiving Intravenous-Feeding Solutions', New England Journal of Medicine.

 6b. Aluminium in vaccines can cause illness in those vaccinated

2012:   L Tomljenovic, CA Shaw, 'Mechanisms of aluminum adjuvant toxicity and autoimmunity in pediatric populations', Lupus journal (member of Council on Publication Ethics)

 6c. The removal of the mercury-based preservative Thimerosal (or Thiomersal) proves that there were valid health concerns.

 6. These substances may be present in vaccines but their toxicity depends on the particular chemical forms they take, what other chemicals they are combined with, and the quantities, which in vaccines are so tiny they pose no health risk. The metals and compounds used in vaccinations are not harmful to human health.

 6a. Aluminium is only harmful in cases of very high exposure, so in normal household and medical uses, aluminium is safe.

 6b. Aluminium present in vaccinations is harmless

 6c. The removal of mercury-based preservative thimerosal from vaccines has nothing to with any claims of negative health effects.

 7. If vaccinations prevent infection of the person vaccinated effectively, there can be no benefit to 'herd immunity' to them, but they can still be carriers.

7. Vaccination must cover a high proportion of the population to create a 'herd immunity', where those for whom the vaccination is not effective (and those who are not vaccinated) are at less risk due to fewer potential carriers

 8. Deaths from many diseases were already declining before vaccinations were released for them, according to writers like Dr Robert Sharpe, due to a wide range of improvements in the standard of living.

 2010: International Medical Council on Vaccination - Graphic Reality: The Charting of Truth, Raymond Obomsawin, PhD

 8a Prevention of non-lethal infection by Measles does not justify giving children a vaccine that can permanently maim or even kill them (see #5)

 8b The 1979 pertussis epidemic was a global phenomenon, producing over 100,000 cases worldwide, and cannot be blamed on changes in Japan's vaccination program. Proving a connection would require a statistically significant difference in infection rates between vaccinated and non-vaccinated Japanese.

 8c. In 1975, Japan stopped all vaccinations to children under 2, resulting in a huge drop in infant mortality

 8. Vaccinations were responsible for almost wiping out many diseases in industrialised countries

 8a Although deaths from Measles were already tailing off in the US before vaccination, the overall number of cases dropped off massively when the Measles vaccination was released there

 8b Vaccination for pertussis (whooping cough) in Japan dropped to 10% in 1976, this resulted in a major pertussis epidemic in 1979, with 13,000 cases, and 41 deaths (up from 393 cases and no deaths in 1974)

 8c. There is no evidence of a causal link between the changes to Japan's vaccination schedule and the improvement in infant mortality

 9. The bodies of babies under one year old do not produce antibodies, so vaccinations before that age cannot be effective.

 9a. Multiple vaccines administered at the same time can overwhelm and compromise children's immune systems 

 9. Vaccinating babies under one is important for getting parents into the habit of taking their children in for vaccinations

 9a. There are no valid health concerns for giving children multiple vaccines simultaneously 

2002: US Institute of Medicine, 'Immunization Safety Review: Multiple Immunizations and Immune Dysfunction

 10. In healthy people, intestinal flora accounts for up to 80% of immunity
 10. Intestinal flora has no impact on immunity
 11. It's not necessary to have all the vaccinations available, or to have them in the order prescribed by public health officials
 11. It's necessary to have all the vaccinations in the order recommended by public health officials
 12. Babies in the womb are exposed to any bacteria present in their mother's bodies, including intestinal flora   12. The womb is a sterile environment, in which babies are not exposed to any bacteria
 13. Vaccinated children are less healthy in general than unvaccinated children   13. Vaccinated children are no less healthy in general than unvaccinated children 
 14. Fainting after vaccination can have serious long term effects 

 14. Fainting after vaccination is probably not caused by the vaccine and is not a serious health concern, requiring patients to sit or lie down during and after injection of vaccine is all that is required to prevent lasting harm.

1997: Braun et al, 'Syncope after immunization'

 15. There's no point getting a tetanus shot after an injury, tetanus is killed by oxygen if the would bleeds, and if the injury had given you tetanus, the vaccine wouldn't have time to work.
 15. It's a sensible precaution to get a tetenus booster shot if you are injured by a foreign object, especially rusty metal.

 16. Vaccination rates are not falling significantly in post-industrial countries ("developed countries")

 16a. To the degree that vaccination rates are falling in post-industrial countries it's because of a range of factors, including increases in the price of health care, reductions in community-based health care services, and general scepticism about an industrial health care system heavily distorted by the interests of multinational drug companies.

16b. The re-emergence of preventable diseases in post-industrial countries ("developed countries") is caused by a wide range of factors, including; poor quality housing, overcrowding, and homelessness; dismantling of public health care, price increases, and reduction in community services; an increase in diets that are high in sugar, salt, fat, and synthetic additives, and low in whole vegetables, fruits, and other high nutrient food; increases in the quantity and variety of environmental pollutants, including agricultural poison residues on food.

 16. Vaccination rates are falling dramatically in post-industrial countries ("developed countries")

2017: European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 'Ongoing outbreak of measles in Romania,  risk of spread and epidemiological situation in EU/EEA countries'.

16a. The "anti-vaxx" movement, led by celebrities like actress Jenny McCarthy, is responsible for falling rates of vaccination in post-industrial countries.

16b. The re-emergence of preventable diseases in post-industrial countries ("developed countries") is caused by falling vaccination rates.

 17. Even if vaccination works according to the theory, giving people a boosted immune resistance to a bacteria so it can't make them badly sick, it can still live in and on their bodies, as long as it can move from host to host before a strong enough immune response wipes out the population in their body.

 17. If vaccinations for a given disease are used widely enough, eventually the disease can be completely wiped out. Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980.

 18. People can still get very sick from diseases they have been vaccinated for.

2012: Albert E. Barskey at al, 'Mumps Outbreak in Orthodox Jewish Communities in the United States', New England Journal of Medicine

18a. Each vaccine has a period of effectiveness, for the discontinued smallpox vaccine it's estimated to be about ten years. This is why "booster shots" are included in the schedule for some disease, tetanus booster shots are given when people are injured by foreign objects, and influenza vaccines are administered every year.

 18b. The need for "boosters" shows that vaccines is not as effective as proponents claim.

 18. Being vaccinated for a disease makes the vaccinated person immune to that disease.

2012: Vittorio Demicheli et al, Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group, 'Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children'.

 18a. One a person is vaccinated for a disease, they are safe from it for life.

 18b. Some vaccines need "boosters" delivered later to continue being effective.

 19. Governments and non-profits could spend the money they currently pay to drug companies directly on research into disease prevention, including research on the efficacy and safety of existing and proposed vaccines, as they did in the case of the polio virus invented by Jonas Salk.

 19a. Development of the polio vaccine was publicly-funded from both public health budgets and charitable donations. When asked why he didn't patent the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk said "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”.

 19b. The layers from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis did investigate the patentability of Salk's polio vaccine, but "there is no indication that the foundation intended to profit from a patent on the polio vaccine", and it's likely this was to ensure that it couldn't be patented by another company, which could then monopolize manufacture of charge royalties to other manufacturers..

 19c. If drug companies can invent a new enough version of the vaccines for each disease roughly every 20 years, as in the new polio vaccine patent GlaxoSmithCline applied for, they can use their lobbying power to keep the vaccinations on the public schedule under patent indefinitely.

 19d. 20 years is long enough to create a first-mover advantage in the market for the company that initially develops a vaccine.


 19. Allowing drug companies to patent vaccines, and charge governments and non-profits market rates to supply them, is essential to create economic incentives for them to invest large chunks of capital in the development of new vaccines.

 19a. All important vaccines have been resulted from the incentive created by allowing them to be patented.

 19b. Lawyers for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis investigated the possibility of applying for a patent on Salk's polio vaccine, and concluded that it probably depended too much on 'prior art' to be patentable.

 19c. Eventually vaccine patent expires, and governments and non-profits can organise their own manufacturing, or buy cheaper generics from a competitive market.

19d. 20 year patent periods should be extended to increase this incentive.

 20.Safety testing of vaccines is neither thorough nor rigorous;

 "The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with the MMR vaccine cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases."

 2012: Vittorio Demicheli et al, Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group, 'Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children'.

 20a. It's a good idea for governments to have advice on the safety and efficacy of vaccines that are totally independent from the companies that develop and own the patents on them, such as the US Vaccine Safety Commission.

 20. Thorough and satisfactory safety testing is done on all vaccines prior to, and during their use.

 20a. Independent government appointed bodies like the US Vaccine Safety Commission "cause unnecessary confusion and adversely impact parental decision-making and immunization practices" - 2017-01-10 press release by the American Medical Association (AMA)

 Promotion, Propaganda, and Misinformation

  1. It's a basic feature of a functioning democracy that Doctors and other professionals can hold and express dissenting views, however unorthadox or unpopular, without fear of prosecution or losing their ability to make a living.

 1a. Science does not take political positions . People have a basic right to hold and express controversial  opinions, without being dogpiled by defenders of the status quo, and without interference by the state.

 1b. This is the same Arthur Caplan who was a founding member of the Food & Nutrition Advisory Panel, formed in 2008 by the corporate PR company Edelman, who are well known for representing climate change "skeptic" groups.

 1. People who campaign against vaccination should be criminalised and imprisoned, or at least be kicked out of professional organisations.

 1a. It's important to defend science by attacking people whose views contradict the scientific consensus of the day, and the state has a responsibility to enforce the correct scientific view, as determined by respected scientific institutions.

 1b. Arthur L. Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Department of Population Health, believes that any doctor who opposes vaccination should have their license revoked.

 2. The American Medical Association (AMA) advocates for compulsory immunization, in violation of basic medical ethics, specifically the right to refuse treatment.

  2a. It is a basic principle of medical ethics that all medical interventions, including vaccinations, should only ever be performed with the informed consent of the patient (or their legal guardian)

 2b. Where they cannot use the threat of legal punishment, health authorities exploit fear and prejudice to bully parents into vaccinating their children.

"A special place should be reserved in Hell for people who want to kill or maim children by preventing them from receiving vaccinations." - Peter Bowditch

 2c. In 'Beyond the Vaccination Rift', social anthropologist Elisa Sobo discusses evidence from her studies that vaccination choices by parents, whether for or against, are based more on peer pressure than personal research.

 2. The right of an individual patient to refuse treatment is over-ruled when a medical intervention is in the public good, and determined by the state, in consultation with medical bodies like the AMA.

 2b. If public health campaign are not successful in achieving ever increasing rates of vaccination, it is legitimate to make it compulsory. 

  2b. Health authorities run campaigns to inform people about the benefits of vaccination, and encourage uptake by making it easier to get vaccinations, to counteract the unscientific propaganda of "anti-vaccinationists.

 2c. When parents choose to have their children vaccinated, or get vaccinations themselves, it's a sign that the public health education message is getting through.


 3. There are doctors who give vaccines in their practice, but are still opposed to certain vaccines, or are critical of the number of vaccines children in the schedule, or critical of how early the schedule recommends vaccinations begin. Doctors may also support the use of vaccination for diseases that can maim or kill, while opposing its use for viruses like influenza that usually only cause mild illness, and only cause serious illness or death in extreme cases similar in number to the serious illness or death caused by vaccination.

2008: Dr B Shantharam Baliga, Professor of Paediatrics, 'Vaccines: Propaganda and Practice', editorial in the Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences.

 3a. There are medical doctors and other people with strong academic credentials who oppose some or all vaccination. Living examples include Dr Lucija Tomljenovic, Dr Sherri Tenpenny, MD, Dr Richard Moskowitz, MD, Dr Meryl Nass, MD, nephrologist Dr. Suzanne Humphries, and neurosurgeon Dr Russell Blaylock. Deceased medical critics of vaccination include Dr. Gerhard Buchwald, Robert S. Mendelsohn, and Dr. Andrew Moulden.

 3b. In 2013 a list was assembled of 150 health professionals and scientists who express concerns about vaccines.

 3c. Medical organisations who oppose vaccination include the International Medical Council on Vaccination (IMCV), the US National Vaccine Information Centre (NVIC), and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

 3d. The information concealed from doctors by pharmaceutical companies has been written about in depth by Dr Ben Goldacre, a British epidemiologist, author of the Bad Science column in the Guardian newspaper, and a book of the same name.

 3. All credible doctors support vaccination, and they support any and all vaccinations.

 3a. Anti-vaccinationists are "loons", "quacks" or "conspiracy theorists". None of them are qualified to comment credibly on medical science. For example, Dr Sherri Tenpenny is an osteopath, not a proper medical doctor.

 3b. These people are all quacks or their scientific speciality is not in an area relevant to medicine.

 3c.The IMCV was a tiny group of "natural health" practitioners (osteopaths, naturopaths, chiropracters and so on), not proper doctors. It has has been inactive since 2015, after one its two Directors, Dr Mayer Eisenstein, died in late 2014.The NVIC and AAPS are fringe groups with no serious medical standing.

 3d. Doctors are given all the relevant information they need to make informed medical decisions about the user of pharmaceutical products.

Points of Interest

Improvement Notes

2017-05-12: There are two things this page definitely needs. The most urgent is to mine through all the links here so far, find abstracts for any peer-reviewed articles and other credible references, and add them into the table in the appropriate place. The other thing is that the main table is getting big and disorganised, and needs to be broken up into at least two tables (one on Efficacy, one on Safety), and possibly re-ordered further to keep related claims together.