Here we go again!

good pointAfter my last post, and follow up letters in the local paper, I hoped the anti-vax loon would give in. Of course, I was wrong.

“Vaccine dogma

THIS is in reply to people who criticised my letter on the ineffectiveness of vaccines.

The history of the flu vaccine reveals some huge gaps it in current vaccination mythology, essentially proving they don’t work.

In the history of flu vaccines, there were two years in which the formulated flu vaccine was a total mismatch to the widely circulating influenza that made people sick.

These years were 1968 and 1997. In both of these years, the vaccine was a complete mismatch for the circulating virus. In effect, nobody was vaccinated! Knowing this, if the vaccine itself was effective at reducing death rates, then we should have once again seen a huge spike in the death rates during these two years, right?

Seriously, if the vaccine reduces death rates by 50 per cent as is claimed by vaccine manufacturers, then these two years in which the vaccine completely missed the mark should have seen huge spikes in the winter death rates, right?

 But what really happened was.., nothing. Not a blip. Not a spike. Nothing. The death rates didn’t rise at all.

If vaccines really worked to save lives, then the more people you vaccinate, the lower death rates you should see, right?

But that’s not the case. Back in 1989, only 15 per cent of over-65 people got vaccinated against the flu. But today, thanks to the big vaccine push, over 65 per cent are vaccinated.

And yet, amazingly, death rates among the elderly have not gone down during the flu season. In fact, they’ve gone up.

Scientists who question the vaccine mythology are routinely shunned by the medical establishment.

Tom Jefferson from the Cochrane Collaboration is an epidemiologist who questions the claimed benefits of flu vaccines.

“The reaction (against Jefferson) has been so dogmatic and even hysterical that you’d think he was advoca

ting stealing babies,” said a colleague (Majum dar).

Jefferson is one of the world’s best informed researchers on the flu vaccine. He leads a team of researchers who have examined hundreds of vaccine studies.

To quote directly from the article: the vast majority of the studies were deeply flawed, says Jefferson. “Rubbish is not a scientific term, but I think it’s the term that applies (to these studies)”.

Even the people who manufacture flu vaccinations have criticised its over- promotion and effectiveness.

Report from The Independent, November 22 2013: “the flu vaccine given to millions of people each year in Britain is “over-promoted” and “over-hyped” and the protection it offers against the seasonal illness has been exaggerated, scientists claimed.

”Flu causes thousands of deaths, mainly among the elderly, in the UK each year but the vaccine is of limited effectiveness, especially for older people.

“One expert told The Independent the Government should be held accountable for “wasting taxpayers’ money” on the annual £120m national vaccination campaign.”

I have been accused of being irresponsible and scare mongering! Tell that to all the parents who’s children are vaccine damaged and elderly people who died as a result of vaccination complications.

It is people at the top of big Pharma and the government and the medical establishment that is irresponsible, not doctors and nurses,by letting this big fraud go on.

The vaccination dogma is so deeply embedded in the minds of doctors, journalists and the public, that any time

 a communicable disease starts to spread, everybody immediately leaps to the false conclusion that “more vaccines are needed”. This is very nearly a Pavlovian reaction in the minds of the brainwashed masses. Here are some web- sites for readers who want to know more:

http://www.naturalnews.com/042864_measles out break_mumps_vaccines scientific_fraud.html#jxzz2lZ0O MTpf

http://campaign fortruth.com/charter.htm

http://www.greenmedinfo.com          http://www.natural news.com/           http://www.mercola.com

http://vactruth.com                                 http://www.whale.to                                 http://drlwil son.com

http://drlwil son.com                          

PAUL BRYANT”

someone is wrong

Well, you know me, I can’t let that lie (sic):

I was hoping not to have to respond again to Paul Bryant’s poorly written anti-vaccine nonsense, but then I read the ‘Vaccine Dogma’ letter last week.

Firstly, let me say that there were two saving graces to the published views – he has backed away from the ‘weak scientific evidence for all vaccines’ statement and most of the website links don’t actually work (but more of them later).

Mr Bryant is very good at throwing out statements as ‘facts’ without really referencing their source or country they refer to. I will assume, as the laughably biased sites he references are US based, that it is North America. So, let me try to explain the background:

1968 was the year of Hong Kong flu, so the vaccine used was ineffective. However, similarities to the 1957 pandemic virus,the fact that school children were on holiday,and improved health care/antibiotics for secondary infections all could explain the greater survival rates.(Source: http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/). 1997 is more of a mystery. All I could find was to do with the H5N1 (avian flu) outbreak in Hong Kong, not the USA.

In both these years, however, people did still have a degree of immunity, possibly aided by earlier vaccinations.

In terms of how effective the flu vaccine is, the Center for Disease Control (CDC – US) state a figure of about 60% for the general population (www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm). This better than halves the chance of falling victim to the virus – not to be confused with preventing deaths, a claim I find hard to find evidence for.

Like most typical ‘anti-vaxers’, he likes to exaggerate and misrepresent the views of those who have expertise in this matter (a ‘Straw Man’ fallacy). In any case, his comment “If vaccines really worked to save lives, then the more people you vaccinate, the lower death rates you should see, right? “ sort of argues against his own point. As we see across the world, vaccinations against all sorts of diseases are much more effective than doing nothing, wishful thinking or prayer.

As to his assertion about flu deaths in the elderly rising – where does that data come from? Even if true, it doesn’t necessarily mean the death rate is due to flu, it could be other factors. The data here is unclear, however we do know that although the flu vaccine is very safe, it is not nearly as effective as other vaccinations.

Paul then falls into the trap of referencing Tom Jefferson and his views (as reported on the Gary Null show – a man who is a well-known alternative medicine, anti-vax advocate).  Dr Jefferson’s statements have been generally misrepresented, even though it is true that some of the studies carried out were of a low quality (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/01/25/cochranes-tom-jefferson-on-gary-null-show/)

The Independent article (November 21st not 22nd) does state what he quotes, but of course he ‘cherry picks’ what reinforces his prejudices. The full article can be found in their archive (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/scientists-urge-ministers-tell-truth-on-overhyped-flu-vaccine-8336184.html).

I will reiterate the fact that he is being “irresponsible and scaremongering”, and will add dishonest/deluded (delete as appropriate).  He needs to try a different search engine to get a wider view of these issues, not to rely on Google’s algorithm which feeds the user with similar sites to their earlier searches.

There will always be a risk of any medical intervention causing injury or death – the human body is a very complex biochemical organism. However, it’s all about weighing up risks against likely benefits. There is absolutely no doubt that vaccinations have saved millions of lives, and will continue to do so!

Finally, he throws out the usual conspiracy nonsense (“It is people at the top of big Pharma and the government and the medical establishment that is irresponsible… nearly a Pavlovian reaction in the minds of the brainwashed masses”). Unfortunately it is he, and those who promote those ridiculous websites he tries to reference, that are the brainwashed, deluded or dishonest. I urge you to look at them and see how many promote their own supplements, books, courses or treatments. They are all willing to take as much of your money as the ‘establishment’.

As a final comment, and a suggested exercise for the reader, you can see how many anti-vax sites also reference alternative medicine therapies, supplements, em fields, water therapy, etc,). They all reference each other, and generally have a strong anti-science agenda. I use RationalWiki (http://rationalwiki.org/) to check most of their claims.

Other references:

http://www.vaccinestoday.eu/diseases/influenza-pandemics-a-brief-history  and http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/11November/Pages/Claims-flu-jab-is-waste-of-money-misleading.aspx

I will not be replying to any more of Mr Bryant’s anti-vaccination nonsense in the future, he will not be convinced as he does not seem to be able to apply critical thinking in this matter. Most of us involved in the Skeptical movement are very willing to accept that ‘Big Pharma’ and governments are not to be taken at face value. We are willing to do a bit more hard work in investigating these matters for ourselves.

Ben Sagan, West Cumbrian Skeptics

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About bensagan

Co-founder of the West Cumbrian Skeptics

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