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
2. Vaccines can cause autism
3. Andrew Wakefield proved the link between MMR vaccine and autism
4. Wakefield's fraud was perpetuated to create supportive evidence for another MMR vaccine, and is in fact typical of the researchers that support 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
2012: US Centres for Disease Control, 'Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary'
6a. these metals can cause illness in those vaccinated
6b. the removal of mercury-based preservative thimerosal proves that there were health concerns
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
8. Deaths from many diseases were already declining before vaccinations were released for them
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
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
11. It's not necessary to have all the vaccinations available, or to have them in the order prescribed by public health officials
12. Babies in the womb are exposed to any bacteria present in their mother's bodies, including intestinal flora
13. Vaccinated children are less healthy in general than unvaccinated children
14. Fainting after vaccination can have serious long term effects
1. Vaccinations do not make anybody very sick
2. Vaccines cannot cause autism
3. Andrew Wakefield's research has been debunked and is potentially fraudulent
4. Wakefield's fraud is typical of the researchers who oppose vaccination
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. The metals and compounds used in vaccinations are not harmful to human health
6b. the removal of mercury-based preservative thimerosal from vaccines has nothing to with any claims of health effects
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 immunised) are at less risk due to fewer potential carriers
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. 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. Intestinal flora has no impact on immunity
11. It's necessary to have all the vaccinations in the order recommended by public health officials
12. The womb is a sterile environment, in which babies are not exposed to any bacteria
13. Vaccinated children are no less healthy in general than unvaccinated children
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'
Propanganda and Misinformation
Science does not take political positions
. People have the right to hold and express unorthadox or unpopular opinions, without interference by government, or their ability to make a living being attacked.
2. 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
3. There are many medical doctors and people with strong academic credentials who are critical of vaccination, including those involved with the International Medical Council on Vaccination
1. People who campaign against vaccination should be criminalised and imprisoned, or at least be kicked out of professional organisations.
2. 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.
3. Anti-vaccinationists are "loons", "quacks" or "conspiracy theorists". None of them are qualified to comment credibly on medical science
Points of Interest
- At a BSEM (British Society for Ecological Medicine) conference in March 2011, entitled The Health Hazards of Disease Prevention, Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD (University of British Columbia) presented a paper in March, 2011, entitled 'The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds?'. The article examines transcripts from meetings of the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, and claims this committee mislead both the public and officials about both the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. She and Chris Shaw, Phd have published a number of peer-reviewed papers investigating the alleged health effects of vaccines (such as links with lupus and autism) and the practice of childhood vaccination.
- Respectful Insolence is a blog on ScienceBlogs written by "Orac" (surgeon David Gorski), which takes a strongly pro-vaccination position
- One source of claims and evidence against vaccination is Chapter 5 from Bette Overell's book 'Animal Research Takes Lives - Humans and Animals Both Suffer'
- Another referenced source that argues for an individual rather than a population ("herd") approach to decisions about whether to vaccinate is 'Vaccines' by Miguel A. Faria, Jr. MD.
- A source of claims for the "established scientific consensus about vaccine safety" is the blurb for the PBS Frontline program 'the Vaccine War', see also the comment thread for more claims and counterclaims
- Another source of claims supporting vaccine efficacy and safety is the VaccineTimes blog
- Another source of claims for vaccination harm is 'Six Reasons to Say No to Vaccination' from the Heatlhy Home Economist website
- 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.
- 'Here Be Dragons' is "critical thinking" documentary by Skeptoid podcast host Brian Dunning which takes a pro-vaccination position.
- In 2014, Deborah Bailin published a blog piece on the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists called 'New Vaccine Misinformation Book Gets the Science Wrong' challenging the claims and methodology of the 2014 book 'Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak' co-authored by Robert F. Kennedy Jr,