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US News: Paul Offit says vaccines are safe

Apr 24

Although these outbreaks start outside the country, measles infection spreads rapidly among unvaccinated people, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said during an early afternoon press briefing. . . .
“This was a wake-up call and it impressed upon me how infectious measles is, because a single undiagnosed case in a hospital could result in dozens of secondary cases,” he explained.

The program also saves money, Frieden said. Fewer hospitalizations and more lives saved will cut nearly $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs, estimates indicate. . . .
“Measles caused about 3 million cases a year in the United States before there was a vaccine in 1963,” said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

We’re sick of hearing from Paul Offit while we’re not told about his vaccine.
We’re sick of the CDC caring more about vaccines than sick kids.
I posted comments.

Financial Post (Canada): The dubious history of the MMR

Apr 24

Clearly, the science is not settled, making for parents a numbers game of the decision to vaccinate their children. Some parents rely on the press or health authorities to interpret the numbers. Others defy the authorities and weigh the risks in the numbers differently, in deciding what’s best for their own families. Who are these others? According to a survey in Pediatrics, unvaccinated children in the U.S. have a mother who is at least 30 years old, who has at least one college degree and whose household has an annual income of at least $75,000. In the absence of studies showing vaccinated children to be healthier than those unvaccinated, the parents in these educated households have determined that the numbers argue against vaccination.

While there is no mention here of the link between the MMR and the epidemic increase in autism, I’m sure parents in the autism community will be interested in this.


Liz Szabo (USA Today) cites doctor but doesn’t mention pharma ties

Apr 24

Doubts about vaccines safety – and fading memories of vaccine-preventable diseases – have contributed to a resurgence of nearly forgotten diseases such as measles, which was officially declared eradicated in the USA in 2000. Numerous studies have debunked the notion that vaccines cause autism or other chronic diseases, says William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
Liz Szabo at USA Today cities Dr. William Schaffner as an expert who denies vaccines cause autism. She forgot to mention all his pharma ties. I posted comments.

News 9 Oklahoma City, OK: Funding For Oklahoma Autism Program Cut

Apr 24

A statewide program for children with autism could soon be eliminated. Critical funding for the program has been cut. Now The Oklahoma Autism Center is scrambling to keep its doors open.

The center was founded eight years ago. The organization says it offers support and services that autistic children can’t get anywhere else in the state.

“He started out, you know, everything was typical and then around 15 to 16 months, he stopped responding to his name and stopped making eye contact,” said parent, Kayleigh Brosh.

These stories of regression are so common now that no one is alarmed if their child suddenly regresses, especially the doctor. I posted a comment. I asked what legislators are going to do when all these kids age out of school Don’t worry about autism–YOU CAN’T PREVENT IT!

Apr 24

So just quit worrying about it! had two autism stories out in two days.  The first one denied a link to vaccines and the next day readers were told that the rate isn’t really increasing, and besides, there’s no way to prevent autism.
Although “autism” is scary, there are a few things about ASD that caregivers should keep in mind that can help ease their fears. To begin, we don’t know what causes ASD. It’s likely a combination of factors, including genetic and environmental, that caregivers, for the most part, don’t have control over. So worrying too much about ASD isn’t needed – if it’s there in your child, there’s no way you could have prevented it. . . . The “go-to person” on vaccine safety is Paul Offit

Apr 24

For kids’ sakes, stick to the vax

Thanks to the efforts of McCarthy, actor Aidan Quinn and reality-TV star Kristin Cavallari, who last month said that not vaccinating was the “best decision for her kids,” USA Today ran a big story on April 6 detailing that things like whooping cough, measles and other diseases are making a big comeback and sometimes causing death in children. . . .
My go-to person on how dangerously misinformed the anti-vaxxers are is Dr. Paul Offit, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Trusting Paul Offit on vaccines? It would have been legitimate coverage if we would have been told about Offit’s pharma ties. I brought it up in the comment section.

NYTimes Op-ed: Damn that Jenny McCarthy!

Apr 22

Frank Bruni wrote this.
Here’s his background: “Over his years at The Times he has worn a wide variety of hats, including chief restaurant critic (from June 2004 through August 2009) and Rome bureau chief (2002 to 2004).”
So how does this qualify him to pretend that the autism vaccine controversy is the fault of Jenny McCarthy, who “posed nude for Playboy”?
It’s bad enough when the medical community slams anyone linking vaccines to autism, but when the Times has to get a restaurant critic to attack McCarthy, they’re really scraping the bottom of the media barrel.
What would the mainstream media do if there weren’t McCarthy to blame?
This fraud will continue of course, until we finally understand what autism is going to cost this nation. Autism, the curious, mysterious disorder of childhood in America has no one really concerned at this moment. The eventual price tag will make us desperate for answers. That day is just about here.
Frank Bruni is the first one I’m going look to for answers.

What do you call someone who sows misinformation, stokes fear, abets behavior that endangers people’s health, extracts enormous visibility from doing so and then says the equivalent of “Who? Me?”

I’m not aware of any common noun for a bad actor of this sort. But there’s a proper noun: Jenny McCarthy.

For much of the past decade, McCarthy has been the panicked face and intemperate voice of a movement that posits a link between autism and childhood vaccinations and that badmouths vaccines in general, saying that they have toxins in them and that children get too many of them at once.

Because she posed nude for Playboy, dated Jim Carrey and is blond and bellicose, she has received platforms for this message that her fellow nonsense peddlers might not have. She has spread the twisted word more efficiently than the rest.

And then, earlier this month, she said the craziest thing of all, in a column for The Chicago Sun-Times.

“I am not ‘anti-vaccine,’ ” she wrote, going on to add, “For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, ‘pro-vaccine’ and for years I have been wrongly branded.”

You can call this revisionism. Or you can call it “a complete and utter lie,” as the writer Michael Specter said to me. Specter’s 2009 book, “Denialism,” looks at irrational retorts to proven science like McCarthy’s long and undeniable campaign against vaccines.

McCarthy waded into the subject after her son, Evan, was given a diagnosis of autism in 2005. She was initially motivated, it seems, by heartache and genuine concern.

She proceeded to hysteria and wild hypothesis. She got traction, and pressed on and on.

In 2007, she was invited on “Oprah” and said that when she took Evan to the doctor for the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, she had “a very bad feeling” about what she recklessly termed “the autism shot.” She added that after the vaccination, “Boom! Soul, gone from his eyes.”

In an online Q. and A. after the show, she wrote: “If I had another child, I would not vaccinate.”

She also appeared on CNN in 2007 and said that when concerned pregnant women asked her what to do, “I am surely not going to tell anyone to vaccinate.”

Two years later, in Time magazine, she said, “If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the measles.” I’ve deleted the expletive she used before the second “measles.”

And on The Huffington Post a year after that, she responded to experts who insisted that vaccines didn’t cause autism and were crucial to public health with this declaration: “That’s a lie, and we’re sick of it.” Over the last few years, measles outbreaks linked to parents’ refusals to vaccinate children have been laid at McCarthy’s feet. The British study that opponents like her long cited has been revealed as fraudulent. And she and her tribe have gone from seeming like pitifully misguided dissidents to indefatigably senseless quacks, a changed climate and mood suggested by what happened last month when she asked her Twitter followers to name “the most important personality trait” in a mate. She got a bevy of blistering responses along the lines of “someone who vaccinates” and “critical thinking skills.”

Jacksonville Florida Times Union: Guest column: Vaccines still are crucial to health

Apr 22

Health officialsbelieve that one of the reasons we are seeing measles outbreaks again is because parents are increasingly choosing to not vaccinate their children based on unfounded fears.


Based on their false beliefs that the vaccine is linked to autism in children, these parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children because they worry about the safety of the MMR vaccine, which typically provides lifelong immunity to measles, mumps and rubella.

There has been no credible research that has shown any link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Celebrities have used their fame to come out against the vaccine based on certain research.

Notably, these claims are based on faulty information as the doctor who has written about the supposed dangers of this vaccine has since been discredited.

His research has been retracted and in an attempt to support his claim about a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, he was found to have omitted important information from his studies.

I have so little respect for news outlets and this is a typical example. The guest columnist who wrote this is Rebecca Glassman who is  a graduate research assistant at the University of North Florida.

Autism is of no concern to her at all. Non-vaccinating parents believe an unnamed doctor who falsely linked vaccines to autism AND BOWEL DISEASE. Why is that never talked about?
Why is he not named?
Would ignorant, naïve parents research the issue and therefore he can’t be cited by name?
It’s a scary world when the next generation of educated denialists are already giving us the same old same old lies.
No comment section here.

BBC News: Study: “US is an oligarchy, not a democracy”

Apr 22

So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page.

This is not news, you say.

Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here’s how they explain it:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. . . .

I actually think this is a lot of nerve on the part of the BBC considering that the British medical community, the government and the media have vilified Dr. Andrew Wakefield for years for daring to talk about an association between vaccines and bowel disease and autism, all the while closing their collective eyes to an epidemic of disabled children.

April 21, 2014 Sharyl Attkisson Defends Reports on Vaccine-Autism Link: ‘Many Peer-Reviewed Studies’ Show It

Apr 22

Here’s an incredible interview where the former CBS reporter stands by her coverage of the vaccine-autism controversy.
CNN anchor: “The loudest criticisms I’ve heard about your reporting have been about a series that you did years ago. It was about childhood vaccinations and whether those are linked to a rise in autism. You portrayed it at different times as a debate that was continuing to happen in the scientific community.
“Do you regret those stories now, years later.”
Sharyl Attkisson: “No, I think those were some of the most important stories I’ve done and I would like to continue along those lines, at some point. It continues to be a very important debate.”
CNN anchor: “You hear doctors say framing that as a debate has hurt people, has damaged people’s understanding of medical issues by encouraging them not to get vaccinated.”
Attkisson: “Well, you can believe that. I’m not here to fight doctors. I’m just saying that factually I’m not here to advocate for one side or the other. I’m just saying that factually, there are many peer-reviewed published studies that do make an association and the government itself has acknowledged a link. And again, people can do their own research. They certainly don’t have to believe me or one doctor over another. I think they have to dig deep and look for themselves.”
She ended the interview saying, “There are sophisticated efforts to manipulate the images and the information you see everyday in ways that you won’t recognize. I think we could all be more savvy about that.”

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