Friday, June 3, 2011

Bob for hire...suggested topic "Vaccine Myths and Questions"

Hat tip to Liz Ditz, who found out that if you are on Dr. Bob withdrawals after his recent disappearance from the new Ask Dr. Sears website, you can still hire him to speak at your event (birthday party maybe?!):

The site advertises Dr. Bob Sears:

Acclaimed Pediatrician & Vaccine Expert
Once considered a routine and mandatory part of pediatric health care, vaccines are now constantly surrounded by debate and controversy. Parents are bombarded with well-intentioned medical advice from family, friends, advertisers, and even pediatricians who mean well but might be too busy to provide all the answers an anxious parent needs.

Dr. Robert Sears, M.D., F.A.A.P. one of the most trusted names in childcare today (1), provides clear, concise answers to the countless questions parents have about vaccines (2). He offers the most up to date information in the latest addition to the Sears Parenting Library, The Vaccine Book (3).

"Dr. Bob," as his young patients call him, has studied every article, vaccine product insert and case study available (4). Nine years spent in private practice have taught Dr. Bob what questions and concerns parents have, what aspects of vaccines they don't understand and which topics need more clarification - all so that he can sift through the noise to give parents the peace of mind they need when making sure their child is well cared for (5).

Dr. Bob does not tell parents which decision is right for them, he simply gives them the information and the tools they need to make the right decision for their particular child and situation (6).

Dr. Bob is a board-certified pediatrician in practice with his father, William Sears, M.D.. and the co-author of several books in the Sears Parenting Library (7). He lives in Dana Point, California.

At the podium, Dr. Bob discusses vaccine myths and questions, vaccine ingredients (which harmful ingredients are still in vaccines and what parents need to know to protect their children), and the current vaccination schedule. Dr. Bob presents his own alternate vaccination schedule that is more effective and less likely to create harmful side effects than the current one (8). (my footnotes)

(1) actually, I would doubt that - Sears maybe, but that is Sears the elder, or Sears the brand, not Bob.

(2) I wish I had saved more of his posts from his board. Dr. Bob often either didn't answer, or totally hand waved his replies. He often suggested that parents with children with ASD, AD(H)D, or sensory and/or speech issue not be vaccinated at all, without a clear rationale (gut feeling, extracted rectally?).

(3) The Vaccine Book appeared in 2007.

(4) I wonder why he would still make totally outlandish claims then. Recently, he told the mother of a 7 months old ex-preemie to rely on maternal immunity after measles exposure, which isn't really a testimony to his knowledge in the field.

(5) Except when they go abroad and bring back measles, that is...

(6) Yes, right, he instead pulled the "I tend not to vaccinate in this kind of situation, but of course it is totally your choice..."

(7) ...books which are no longer mentioned in his family's web shop.

(8) Bob's alternative schedule has never been tested for efficacy or safety. On his board, he appeared generally unaware of studies on alternative schedules (e.g. the Swedish schedule). His ideas on MMR efficacy were totally evidence-free.

"suggested topic" for a talk by Dr. Bob Sears is:

Vaccine Myths and Questions:
What's True, What's Hype, and What You Need to Know

I need a new irony meter...


  1. Heh. I just brought up Dr. Sears and his contributing to a measles outbreak on a thread over at Bad Astronomy.

    Perhaps a local skeptics group should bring him in for a talk. Or maybe the Skeptics Guide to the Universe could have him on their podcast.

  2. Would be a better crowd than the folk Andy hangs out with these days... I bet he is expensive...

  3. Do you suppose he'd be available for a journal club?

  4. actually, that would be a really expensive journal club...

    OK then, how much do speakers cost?

    Speaker fees vary widely depending on the demand for an individual, his or her availability, and the services required. Generally, fees for keynote speeches begin between $5,000 to 10,000 and can go up to $100,000 or more, and our account executives have access to a wide variety of speakers that can accommodate a broad range of budgets. In most cases, travel and lodging expenses are in addition to the speaker honorarium, including first-class travel, accommodations and limited out-of-pocket expenses.

  5. It is a pity that his blathering come at such a high price. What I would like to see is him being invited to give his "Vaccine Myth" talk at a conference of immunologists, pediatrics, epidemiologists, public health employees, infectious disease doctors and others with a similar background. Then I want to see him get nailed at the question and answer session, and have it posted online.

  6. Great idea, Chris! BTW, the same agent does Christopher Hitchens and Michael Moore - I think I might spend my journal club money for another speaker :)

  7. This is the Hachette Speaker's Bureau. It's the publisher's speaking agent.

  8. You are right Allie - I guess we can't begrudge them their enthusiasm.

    Found Bob on the sMothering forum "ask the expert". I skimmed a couple of posts, in which he admitted he doesn't know the SSPE risk, missed that poster is living in France, estimated the US population at 150 million AND had Mamakay tell him:

    "Please stop talking down to me. I apparently know a lot more about this one particular subject than you do."

    (you go Mamakay! See, Bob doesn't really read about VPDs, at least not the pertinent biomedical literature and he doesn't seem to remember what he reads either).

  9. Bob doesn't really read about VPDs, at least not the pertinent biomedical literature and he doesn't seem to remember what he reads either

    In addition to more than halving the US population, I am wondering if there is something else going on with him. It seems as if he may have an actual medical memory problem, which might have been a catalyst for the revamping of the family website.

  10. "Dr. Bob," as his young patients call him, has studied every article, vaccine product insert and case study available.

    Oh this is rich. I have forgotten about more studies than he has ever read and while I'm at it, he hasn't even read the studies, just abstracts or intros and discussions. The rest of that stuff is so haaaard after all.