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Put the Needle on the Record

Posted by Steve on June 4, 2009

I have debated for a long time whether to do this or not. It’s reached the point where I’m sufficiently angry enough to say something. By doing so I will no doubt lose some or most of my followers (since most readers will have seen my link on Twitter). I’ve decided I don’t care, because if anyone actually unfollows me after reading this, it’s more a comment about them than me.

Despite being a writer, after years of disappointment with regards to work I’ve largely lost my passion. Oh sure, if someone asks me to write something, I’ll leap on it and throw myself into the work with gusto and do a damn good job. However, actually writing for myself, I have almost zero enthusiasm for now. Merely reading this blog you can see it’s been a long time since I wrote anything. Mainly because I don’t like to write unless I have something to say. I have never been one for the self involved multiple paragraphs on the chair I bought today type person. Something really needs to get me extremely fired up and passionate to commit pen to paper. Or rather finger to keyboard. Today is one of those days. I have become sufficiently incensed that I’ve reached the point where I’m either going to rip someone’s head off or possibly start buying firearms. I decided that before I lose it completely, I would write my opinions and thoughts out. Sort of set myself off in a controlled explosion.

I might have a dairy allergy. Most of you reading this from Twitter are probably aware that I’ve had a problem with dizziness for some time. It’s been going on for five months now, and while it seems I may be getting somewhere, it’s still here. I’ve been attempting to run experiments on myself. It appears when I eat a large quantity of dairy, I get severe mucus and dizziness. If I asked you if it sounds like dairy causes the problem, if you’re a normal human being, you’d say at the very least that it sounds like it’s plausible.

Along similar lines I once had a car. Actually I’ve had a car more than once, but you get my point. One day I saw a garage selling this fuel additive that supposedly made the car run “better”. Being the sad little boy racer I was (after all I was 19), I bought it. Poured it into the fuel. I started the engine, hoping my somewhat docile Fiat would now exhibit the behaviour of a car from their OTHER company, Ferrari.

Sadly my wonderful but somewhat recalcitrant car started stalling, chugging, running like garbage basically. Once again, the obvious conclusion is that the “additive” (which was probably snake oil) caused it. It’s simply reasonable to, rightly or wrongly, believe that incident A leads to point B, regardless of evidence. It’s human nature.

Yet when someone says their baby or child was injured by a vaccine, in the majority of cases people will say “You can’t prove it”, “It’s just a coincidence” or “There’s no evidence” or some other condescending platitude that shows an utter lack of respect and decency both for the parent’s and child’s suffering and for their beliefs. It is rude. It is crass. It is mean. Dressing it up with “I’m sorry, but…” makes it no nicer and shows an even greater lack of class. It’s reprehensible behaviour from reprehensible people.

I’ve seen this increasingly on the net lately and it’s reached the point where I have had enough of seeing this rude, uninformed vehement opinion from people who are, in most cases, pretty much uneducated in regards to the subject beyond what they’ve read in the paper or what they’ve been told. I see so much venomous rhetoric spewed toward those of us who are anti vaccination, and it amazes and sickens me.

I reached breaking point this week where I could take no more. I am not giving the website any promotion, but there is a website I read which ran a story this week about vaccines, once again defending the vaccine industry. A story like this pops up every few weeks, generates a ton of comments, most of which are bashing people who don’t vaccinate. (The RIAA would KILL for these unpaid publicists!) Now this is a site filled with a lot of self important blowhards who think they know everything. Usually, however, they are fairly even handed. The vaccine issue, however, sends their common decency and logic out the window.

The few voices on there asking for investigations into vaccine safety and the like are shouted down. Those who have had a child who has suffered a vaccine related injury are told “I’m sorry, but…” People who are anti vaccine are accused of being child abusers, and the likes of actress Amanda Peet, a vehement pro vaccine celebrity, call us “parasites”. (We’ll ignore the fact a close relative of Amanda Peet works with one of the most prominent figures in the vaccine industry, Dr. Offit.)

There is absolutely no logic to the arguments and statements these people come up with, despite the simple fact that there is actual literature out there from both government organizations as well as pharmaceutical companies that lend credence to the anti vaccination statements and beliefs. Court cases are quietly hushed up and settled. Information is buried away in official documents and websites, however it IS there if you want to look for it, but because it doesn’t just pop up and go “Here I am!”, most of it receives zero attention from the vast majority of people. Items such as the CDC Pinkbook.

Contains lots of eye opening info. The book is meant for physicians and may make your eyes glaze over, but the information is in there. In a book. From the CDC. A government organization who promotes vaccine usage. Can’t get much more official than that.

Yet people continue to decry the anti vaccine people and think they know better despite clearly spending very little time researching the subject, reading studies etc… They believe what they’ve been told, or what they’ve gotten from a cursory read of the newspaper or Google and think they know better than those of us who have spent years and hundreds of hours researching, reading and studying the issues. In essence they are guilty of exactly what they are condemning the anti vaccination people of.

By far the most horrifying suggestion, the one which got me angry enough to start writing, was people advocating forced vaccinations against the parents wishes. We’ll get onto the issue of Informed Consent later, though any halfwit can see the dangers of forced vaccinations and where letting the government make medical decisions leads. I could paint some horror scenarios, but if you’ve got this far into this I assume you are an intelligent individual and can think of them yourself.

Sadly on the pro vaccine side there seems to be precious little actual thinking beyond a base emotional response. Being anti vaccine causes such a visceral reaction from people that logic and reason go out of the window. If you are against vaccinations, you are condemned because of the lack of easily available evidence that supports your opinion, but the pro vaccination folk can fall on that exact same sword. Oh sure, info on the “safety” is easily available. It’s when you know the flaws in that information and see how the dice are loaded that you start to question the ethics behind the entire industry.

First of all, watch this.

Now I realize there is no point in pointing to anything that doesn’t come with an FDA, CDC or scientific seal of approval, simply because that makes it far too easy for the pro vaccination crowd to ignore it.  I would say read that website and look at the pictures, but the sort of idiot who promotes forced vaccinations will cry “emotional manipulation” and instantly dismiss it all.

The fact is while medication has to carry warnings on inserts and in commercials, vaccines carry no such information. Or rather they DO, on their inserts, which are seldom ever actually shown to parents, but apparently the warnings of seizures, death etc from the vaccine manufacturers are not enough to get people to question vaccines. Nor the information that vaccines have not been tested for carcinogenic or mutagenic properties.

All medication has side effects. One of the most famous of recent medications, Viagra, was originally developed as a blood pressure treatment. Men getting erections was a side effect that became more profitable than what they were trying to treat, so Viagra is now used to treat erectile dysfunction; a problem that effects far more circumcised men than intact ones, but that’s a tale for another day.

Despite the evidence being out there that vaccines are far from 100% safe, people still blindly believe that vaccines are fine.

A link to an article about a CDC study that believes there is a risk of a Shingles epidemic from the use of the vaccine. I found that in under 30 seconds. A study showing a link was suppressed and the author threatened with legal action. That was just a random link I found. I am not denying there is a lot of bad information on the net. Far too many people are trying to sell you snake oil, or just simply repeating bad information. This noise sadly drowns out the actual good, reliable content out there. Verifiable informaton from the CDC, studies and papers from actual legitimate doctors and scientists.

Drug companies lie and wilfully mislead. This is not open to debate of any kind. A few years ago I was prescribed an anti depressant. Paxil. I never take any medication blindly so did research on it, read about the horrific withdrawal side effects (insects crawling under the skin etc…) and said “no thanks”. All this information had been surpressed by the manufacturer.

But according to court documents, an internal GSK memo from 1998 cited the mixed results of the various Paxil studies and set a goal to “effectively manage the dissemination of these data in order to minimize any potential negative commercial impact.”

Yep, those pharamaceutical companies really have our best interests at heart.

More recently there has been the legal action involving Merck and Vioxx. Over the last few months I’ve read of fake peer reviewed journals, suppression of information etc… This is a for profit industry just like any other. They have stockholders to answer to. They do not have your good health in mind. In fact it serves them better for you to stay sick all the time because then you’ll be a better customer. Merck are the company behind the Gardasil vaccine, one of the HPV vaccines being given to teenage girls around the world and being made mandatory in some parts of it.

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/latestnews/Cervical-cancer-jabs-cast-into.5251796.jp

http://www.sundayexpress.co.uk/posts/view/104443/EXCLUSIVE-Experts-cast-doubt-on-claim-for-wonder-cancer-jabs

Everyone seems to be able to see this with any other industry, that it’s merely out to make money. Yet for some reason, based on no evidence at all other than what they’ve been told by the company and their shills, more and more people are condemning those of us who question vaccines and the seeming rapid increase of vaccine related injuries and deaths.

What is annoying me most about this attitude is people are always pointing toward anti vaccination articles and condemning them, based on zero medical knowledge themselves. I’ve seen celebrities on Twitter (one of whom WAS somewhat of a hero of mine) tweet pro vaccination articles and rant about anti vaccination articles, when they are no more qualified to comment than I am. Actually I’ve invested time in watching lectures, reading etc… Which is a hell of a lot more than any of them have most likely ever done.

I mean even writing this, I realise I’m not going to change any minds. However, if I can make one person question the issue and do some research, then I have achieved what I wanted. If they decided, BASED ON RESEARCH RATHER THEN MEDICAL HEARSAY that vaccines are safe for their children and themselves, then more power to them. You say tomatoe, I say tomato. I have no problem at all with people who vaccinate their children AFTER they’ve researched the issue thoroughly. Do I think they’re wrong? Absolutely. Will I condemn them for their choice? Absolutely not.

This is where we come back to INFORMED CONSENT. Morons like the ones who inhabit the  previously mentioned website and promote a forced vaccination regime are even more stupid than the people who don’t vaccinate based on what their friends have said.

Yes, there are most likely a lot of people who don’t vaccinate purely based on the “MMR causes autism” hype and the likes of Jenny McCarthy; even if McCarthy ISN’T actually promoting that, but is actually promoting safety in vaccines. (But let’s not let facts get in the way when we can bash dear old Jenny.)

This is not about Andrew Wakefield. This is not about whether or not the MMR causes autism. This is about ignorance, pure and simple. If you’re pro vaccination, I have some questions for you.

How much research have you done? How much reading have you done on the subject of vaccines? How much have you studied? Have you seen or attended lectures? Read books on the subject? Please note here I am talking about CDC and FDA documents, as well as books and lectures by actual qualified medical professionals, and not some random blog.

The fact is, we’re all idiots. Both sides. Oh sure, we can look back and laugh at medical treatment and what was considered good for you 100 years ago. Ho-ho, look at the leeches; The laughing stops when you realise leeches have now come back into vogue as a medical treatment to prevent clotting, as well as putting maggots in wounds to remove dead tissue. Look at the drinking of radioactive beverages a hundred years ago. Oh we’re so much smarter now.

Yes, we are. But in a hundred years time, people will be looking back and calling the medical establishment of now barbaric and simple minded. We are not at some pinnacle of research here. We have not achieved medical enlightenment. Only the names of the mysteries have changed.

The vaccine industry have actually been very clever. The recent MMR stuff couldn’t have landed more favourably for them. By making this little crack in the anti vaccine armor, the floodgates open as every pro vaccine person out there lumps all of us who are anti vaccine after actually researching the issue into the same pile as those who are anti vaccine because the Daily Mail told them to be.

The MMR controversy has worked wonders to paint all of us as crackpots. The sad thing is, for a lot of people, this isn’t simply about MMR causing autism. It’s about honest and open research. Honest studies as to efficacy and side effects.

For the record, I was given the measles vaccine when I was young in the mid 70’s. It worked really well. I almost died of the measles six years later.

Unlike the pro vaccine crowd who seem to take great joy in promoting vaccine usage, I am not for one second going to sink to their level. I am not saying “DO NOT VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN” or “YOU ARE KILLING YOUR CHILDREN” like so many of the pro crowd do. I am saying RESEARCH. Get informed. Not from your Doctor. Certainly not from drug literature by the likes of Merck or Dr. Offit, people who make money from vaccines, but from other doctors who have studied the issue. Everyone approaches a subject with certain biases. Some are more biased than others however, and it’s common sense figuring out who benefits. Like the studies that show the baby sleeping in the same bed as the mom is more dangerous than crib sleeping, which turned out to be financed by a crib manufacturer.

My wife has always been more anti vaccine than I am. This stems back to when we had our oldest, B, vaccinated. We had delayed his first shots until he was 6 months old. At that time  the nurse said she had “caught him up”. To this day we’re not sure if that meant he was given his 2, 4 and 6 month shots at the same time or not. All we do know is our little boy who had started babbling suddenly stopped. For six weeks. Now B is almost eight and has various issues. Anxiety disorders. ADHD. He had exhibited a few of the signs of autism when he was 2, but thankfully isn’t autistic. Our almost four year old, completely unvaccinated, has no such mental issues. Since then, we’ve learned of 3 other families whose baby did the exact same thing after the exact same shot.  Anecdotal? Yes. But no less valid than the validity of “safety” studies of vaccines. (More on that below.)

Despite this incident when B stopped babbling, I wasn’t vehemently anti vaccine but respected my wifes wishes to not have our children vaccinated as I know she’d spent a hell of a lot more time researching the issue than I had and I trust her judgment. My wife has literally spent hundreds of hours reading on the subject. Medical texts, lectures, studies etc… And not just reading someone elses intepretation but reading them for herself. She also read lots of it to me. A lot of it is really heavy, dense medical stuff as you’d expect. Not the sort of reading most people are willing to do.

What swung it for me was the following video. I begrudgingly said I’d watch it when my wife bugged me to do so. I’m glad I did. Sherri Tenpenny is a doctor, and has spent thousands of hours digging through studies, papers from the CDC etc… And it’s all documented in the video. (As someone who has had a fair few Tetanus injections, the segment on Tetanus is eye opening.)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7018835240451107552&ei=7CgnSsGDCIi0-QHatLWmCQ&q=sherri+tenpenny

Sherri has other videos on Google including this one about Gardasil. (I’ve not actually watched this one myself. I link to it merely because I mentioned Gardasil earlier. I am not endorsing this video.)

Sherri has also written this piece on the belief in vaccines which goes nicely with this and highlights the difference in attitude and discussion between regular medication and vaccines.

For those to lazy to read that, I’ll copy this little bit with full credit to Dr. Sherri Tenpenny.

With only a cursory review of the literature and CDC documents, one will
find the following facts:

1. No vaccine has ever been proven to be completely safe. Safety studies
are small and only include “healthy” children. However, after a study is
completed, vaccines are given to ALL children, regardless of underlying
health conditions or genetic predispositions. We have a “one size fits all”
national vaccination policy; one that does not allow for personal choice or
individualized options; and one that has caused a myriad of health problems
for many.

2. Observations for side effects continue for a maximum of 14 days during a
“safety study”. Complex problems involving the immune system can take weeks
or even months to appear. This arbitrary 14 day cut off set by the FDA and
the pharmaceutical industry stops the observation long before complications
are likely to appear. This is the basis for their “vaccines are safe”
mantra but the long term and relatively unknown complications from vaccines
reveal that no vaccine is safe.

3. A vaccine “safety” study compares a new vaccine to a “placebo” to
determine the safety of the new vaccine. When we examine the study a little
more closely, we discover that the “placebo” is NOT a benign, inert
substance, such as saline or water. The “placebo” is another vaccine with a
“known safety profile.” So if the new vaccine has the same side effects as
the “placebo”, the new vaccine is called “safe.”

4. Vaccines are said to confer protection by causing the development of
antibodies. However, there are many references in CDC documents (the
Highest Authority in the land regarding vaccines) which reveal that
antibodies don’t necessarily protect us from infection. Here are a few
examples from medical journals and CDC documents:

Pertussis: “The findings of efficacy studies have not demonstrated a direct
correlation between antibody response and protection against pertussis
disease.” MMWR March 28, 1997/Vol.46/No. RR-7, p.4

H. Flu (HiB): “The antibody contribution to clinical protection is unknown.”
—HibTITER package insert
“The precise level of antibody required for protection against HiB invasive
disease is not clearly established.”
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/pink/hib.pdf.

Smallpox: “Neutralizing antibodies are reported to reflect levels of
protection, although this has not been validated in the field.” JAMA June
9,1999, Vol. 281, No. 22, p.3132

5. We want to “believe” that if we receive a vaccine, we will be protected
from the infection. Several medical journal articles document that this is
not necessarily so. Here are a few examples:

Pertussis Infection in Fully Vaccinated Children in Day-Care Centers, Israel
(Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 6, No. 5; Sep-Oct 2000)

Pertussis in the Highly Vaccinated Population, The Netherlands
(Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 6, No. 4 July-Aug 2000)

Pertussis in North-West Western Australia in 1999; all vaccinated.
(Communicable Diseases Intelligence 2000 Vol 2  4 No 12)

The debate surrounding the use of vaccines goes back and forth with “data”
and “studies” used to support both sides. But the bottom line is this:

Vaccination has been “accepted” as safe, effective and protective for
nearly 200 years. It is a “sacred cow” and with all “sacred cows”, people
react with a visceral response, when someone suggests that the “cow” should
be “sacrificed”. There are many examples of this over the centuries:
Copernicus who insisted that the Sun is the Center of the solar system and
Semmelweiss who showed that doctors performing hand washing saved women’s
lives. Both men were ridiculed in their day. It is heresy to suggest that
the “status quo” is wrong.

That last line says it all. We mock those a hundred years ago for their medical treatments. Let’s not forget antibiotics didn’t exist then, and now, a hundred years later, we’re seeing increasing numbers of antibiotic resistant bacteria infecting people putting us in a worse situation than we were before.

So really, what I’m saying is this:

Why are you being free marketers and publicists for the vaccine industry? Why are you bashing those who are anti vaccination? There is clear proof the pharmaceutical industry lies. There’s clear evidence that vaccines are not 100% safe. Why do you feel the need to be so vehemently pro vaccine? It seems in many cases that the pro vaccine crowd who gleefully tweet and post pro vaccination articles have done the same amount of research as the worst of the anti vaccine crowd. That being none.

It’s down to education. The information on the risks is out there, and it’s not that hard to start finding it. It’s on the damn inserts with the vaccines for god’s sake.

So, one final time to all the pro vaccination people: Exactly how much research into the subject have you done? How informed are you? Because if you’ve done almost none as I strongly suspect, stop promoting a product you really know nothing about.

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