Michele Bachmann and vaccination redux

Once again, an ill-informed public figure raises doubts about the safety of vaccination. Mrs. Bachmann called the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer “dangerous” and later suggested that HPV is linked to “mental retardation”, apparently because a woman she met briefly at a campaign event told her so. As discussed in Chap. 8, there have indeed been cases of vaccines causing damage, but gaps in public vaccination programs can do a lot of damage. For instance, in Japan in the 1970s, 2 children died within 24 hours of ¬†receiving the diptheria-tetanus-pertussis (DPT) vaccine. This led to the suspension of this vaccination, which was started up again 2 months later, but with the shots being given at 2 years of age rather than at the usual 3 months. A pertussis epidemic followed, involving 13,000 cases and 41 deaths. A similar scare in England in the late 1970s caused the rate of immunization to fall from 80% to 30%. Subsequent years saw 300,000 pertussis cases and 70 deaths. In the latest update on the vaccine-causes-autism controversy, the US Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released a new report clearing vaccines as an autism culprit (http://www.iom.edu/reports/2011/adverse-effects-of-vaccines-evidence-and-causality.aspx).

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2 Responses to Michele Bachmann and vaccination redux

  1. I came to this blog via passionless drone – http://passionlessdrone.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/the-interconnectedness-of-the-brain-behavior-and-immunology-and-the-difficult-to-overstate-flaccidity-of-the-correlation-is-not-causation-argument/ I get automatic updates whenever there is a message there.

    Your comment above about vaccines being ultra-safe, in view of your book (which I will buy a copy of) , is excedingly disappointing. I’m also presuming that you took no interest in any of the links in my comments.

    Here are three which have full text medical articles embedded:

    http://www.beyondconformity.org.nz/_blog/Hilary's_Desk/post/Vaccines_and_neonatal_immune_development/

    http://www.beyondconformity.org.nz/_blog/Hilary's_Desk/post/How_a_baby_fights_infection_and_develops_the_immune_system/

    http://www.beyondconformity.org.nz/_blog/Hilary's_Desk/post/Can_vaccines_become_cranial_and_immunological_cluster_bombs/

    Neither passionless drone, nor I, or any of the other commenters at his website, are medical people with fancy degrees, but we can think. You are a developmental neurobiologist, and I would have thought with the knowledge you might? have in relation to neonatal (In-utero and ex-uter) immunobiology, you might have had some good insight as to how it is that vaccines can and do alter the immune system inappropriately.

    for you to make such a blanket statement is astonishing.

    However, if your aim or posting over there was to promote sales of your book – you have succeeded in my case, and I have bought a copy. In particular, I’m always interested in looking into the mind of someone, who on the one hand, says “infection” creates “behaviour”, and on the other appears to feel that vaccines are without question.

    With regard to Gardasil, presumably you know that independant tests on Gardasil have resulted in the finding of genetically modified recombinant DNA in all vials tests from throughout the world? According to EMA that is an “expected ingredient” Funnily enough, thourough investigation of all documents submitted to regulatory authorities including EMA, FDA and NZ Medsafe has so far found no mention by Merck et al, that recombinant DNA is an expected ingredient in Gardasil. We see words like “water” and “amorphous alum… ” and “borate…” and “polysorbate…” but nowhere do we see as an expected ingredient, genetically engineered recombinant DNA.

    So as an immunobiologist, if you knew that Gardasil contained aluminium, onto which was tightly bound, rDNA, coated with virus-like particles, smothered in polysorbate, how would you would you expect a subset of girls to respond to that?

    Close scrutiny of VAERS will answer that question. Therefore, while Michelle Bachmann’s less than knowledgeable terminology may well have been unwise, might I suggest that your unbridled support for vaccination in general and Gardasil in particular is premature.

    At the moment, gaps in public vaccination programmes, are doing far less damage to children, than most of the vaccines are.

    I look forward to finding out from your book, just how much you do understand about what impact vaccines have on both the developing and mature immune system.

    • phpatterson says:

      Hilary, you and I must be reading different posts on my book’s blog site. In re-reading my post on Mrs. Bachman and vaccination, I do not see where I said or even implied something about “vaccinations being ultra-safe”. Nor do I find a basis for your statement, ” your unbridled support for vaccinations in general and Gardasel in particular is premature”. I took no position whatsoever on the safety of Gardasel. Rather, I made the point that completely uninformed comments by famous people regarding vaccine safety can and does have disastrous consequences for many children. I am also not at all sure what the basis is for your comment, “gaps in public vaccination programmes are doing far less damage to children than most of vaccines are.” I take it that you do not believe the statistics I quoted about the consequences of the gaps, nor probably the studies on measles hospitalizations and deaths due to lack of vaccination accurate. I am glad to hear that you will be reading my book, as you will find in Chap. 8 that I take a rather nuanced view of vaccination, citing both risks and benefits for both maternal and postnatal vaccination. Regarding my motive for posting a comment on the passionless drone website, I thought the author of the site might be interested to see the striking overlaps between many of his/her topics and comments and those in my book. If you see that as wishing to “promote the sales of [your] book”, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. My goal in writing the book was to inform the public about the fascinating science being done on brain-immune interactions, and the public health issues related to this topic.

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