Sunday, December 18, 2011

Anti-Vaccine Nonsense on Facebook

An anti-vaxx post is circulating on Facebook that is completely unoriginal but is being disseminated by someone unknown to me and the content is humorously paranoid and wrong.
 This information is by a man who calls himself Dr. Michael Gaeta and fancies himself "a visionary educator, clinician, writer and publisher in the field of natural healthcare." He calls himself doctor, no doubt to pad his credentials but he is really an acupuncturist who "graduated" from a woo college in New York.  There is no recognised profession as "Doctor of Acupuncture" from any accredited institution or recognised organisation.  As such, Mr. Gaeta has not undertaken the requisite studies to allow him to be competent in matters surrounding vaccinology, considerably more complicated and attested than poking needles into "meridians".  Nothing more than a certification squatter really.

Of particular interest with regards to Mr. Gaeta and his "seminars" is his invocation of "an impeccably-credentialed, pro-vaccine PhD immunologist."  Who, of course, "confirmed what I and others have been saying for years."  She can be heard on an audio file but here is the text of her statements:
Q. So the science seems fairly clear that for the first year of life, probably, that the immunization is not stimulating the kind of response we expect it to stimulate.
A. True.
Q. So what’s the rationale for continuing to do that if it’s not doing what it’s supposed to be [doing]?
A. The vaccines are given at pediatric wellness visits, and the idea is that you are training the parent to bring their child in at all the pediatric wellness visits, and that it’s only the year visit that actually is truly important. But that for most parents you are not going to get them to bring their kid in if they don’t come in at two months, four months, and six months. And so it’s actually more of a training thing.
It’s interesting, I was on the phone with [?] county public health last week, with one of their vaccine nurses. She was like, ‘Oh, you’re talking about vaccines? Make sure you tell them they have to do that year shot because the first three [the 2, 4 and 6 month shots] don’t work.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ [laughter].
This is Mr. Gaeta's summary of her talk:
The first was that it is pointless to administer drugs intended to stimulate antibody production to babies who are too young to produce antibodies. Infants in their first year mostly depend on generalized, non-specific immunity, including (hopefully) immunoglobulins from breast milk, to protect their young bodies from infection. They do not produce antibodies of their own until about age one. Despite this basic fact, the medical establishment insists administering a total of 19 shots, containing 24 vaccines, to infants on the 2, 4 and 6 month pediatric visits (Source: cdc.gov). Somehow, the basic facts of human physiology and development do not apply to vaccines.
Of course it is demonstrably false that,  "So the science seems fairly clear that for the first year of life, probably, that the immunization is not stimulating the kind of response we expect it to stimulate." and , "The first was that it is pointless to administer drugs intended to stimulate antibody production to babies who are too young to produce antibodies. Infants in their first year mostly depend on generalized, non-specific immunity, including (hopefully) immunoglobulins from breast milk, to protect their young bodies from infection. They do not produce antibodies of their own until about age one."

These statements alone should be a glaring tip-off that the speakers don't know what they are talking about.  Mr. Gaeta is an acupuncturist so it is a given he is clueless about immunology and his "impeccably-credentialed, pro-vaccine PhD immunologist" either is not so impeccably-credentialed and/or has tired of languishing in obscurity and ineptness and jumped onto the anti-vaxx bandwagon for attention.  It is demonstrably false that infants don't produce antibodies until one year old.  All a layperson needs to do is look at a package insert for clinical trial summaries on infants less than one year old to see that there is antibody response.

It is well-known, although not to Mr. Gaeta and Mizz Impeccably-Credentialed PhD Immunologist, that:
Neonates develop the capacity to respond to foreign antigens before they are born. B and T cells are present by 14 weeks’ gestation and express an enormous array of antigen-specific receptors.5 Although the fetal immune system has the potential to respond to large numbers of foreign antigens, few foreign antigens are present in utero, and cells of the immune system are, therefore, primarily “na─▒ve” at birth.
That is from: http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/109/1/124 One can always look it up the references in the literature for that statement or even look it up in the many textbooks available.  I guess Mizz Impeccably-Credentialed PhD Immunologist slept during that portion of her education.  It is also untrue that paediatric well visits are "to train" parents.  If that is the case then every public health programme in the world is in on this great hoax.  Many infant vaccines are not fully effective until the full series are given, infants are particularly susceptible to complications from some of the vaccine preventable diseases thus are generally given from two to six months old.

Mizz Impeccably-Credentialed PhD Immunologist then invokes a nameless "public health vaccine nurse" in an appeal to authority and popularity.  This somehow induces laughter with the audience of "health professionals" which Mr. Gaeta claims he gives his seminars to.  But a glance at his testimonials reveals that the "health professionals" in attendance are also primarily sCAM practitioners such as chiropractors, naturopaths and nutritionists.  It is no small wonder that such a group would lap up unqualified, completely fallacious statements because they are notoriously anti-vaccine and such claims massages their confirmation bias.

What good is a great vaccine hoax messenger without the whiff of intrigue:
You can listen to an audio file of an exchange between an attendee and the immunologist about this question. She declined to be identified in my presentations, including this post, perhaps because she knows that anyone who speaks the truth about vaccines is savaged by the medical establishment and their compliant lapdogs in the mainstream media. It is professional suicide for anyone in conventional medicine to question the unquestionable (yet unproven) assumptions about vaccines: that they are effective, safe and necessary. I have stopped lecturing publicly on this subject for the same reason, because the attacks in recent years have become particularly vicious; and because my main message in my teachings is about personal responsibility, innate wholeness and opening to the largeness of who we are, not just vaccines.
I guess it has become fashionable to be persecuted by The Man™ and lends believability to the poor down-trodden speaker-of-the-truth.  But no, Mr. Gaeta and Mizz  Impeccably-Credentialed PhD Immunologist are free to make fools of themselves in any venue that will have them without any fear of retribution from the New World Order.

Of course it won't go unnoticed the response to this tosh that Dr. Bob Sears had:
This is interesting info. I agree that the general medical teaching on immunology is that infants don’t have much of their own immune system during the first year of life, and they rely heavily on the immunity they gain from mom through th...e placenta and from breastmilk. I don’t know whether babies actually don’t make ANY antibodies during this time, OR if they simply have a lower capability to do so. This immunologist seems to say that they don’t make any? My understanding is that it isn’t that they don’t have any immune system or can’t make any antibodies, but rather that these abilities are immature and lower than what it will eventually be, but that there is still some capability there.
What seems to contradict what this immunologist is saying is that the vaccine product inserts do provide data on antibody responses to vaccines, showing that infants do generate antibodies in response to the vaccines, and that the response increases after each dose.
Do you know if this immunologist addresses that specific issue? I’d be curious.
He almost gets it right but blunders with, " I agree that the general medical teaching on immunology is that infants don’t have much of their own immune system during the first year of life, and they rely heavily on the immunity they gain from mom through the placenta and from breastmilk."  What is so profoundly laughable, if not frightening about his response is that he wrote two books about paediatric vaccines and touts himself as a "vaccine expert" and doesn't really know how to answer the question.  I attribute this to part incompetence and part insecurity to disagree with a fellow anti-vaxxer.  It is a fringe science variant of "honour among thieves" and to quote Dr. James Laidler,  "Utter nonsense treated like scientific data, people nodding in sage agreement with blatant contradictions, and theories made out of thin air and unrelated facts—"

43 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, I got the same link on Facebook too.

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  2. If you guys think there isn't something wrong with what is going on with vaccines, you're being very naive. The whole vaccine business is just that, a business. Any validity it may have ever had has gone down the toilet with big pharma shoving vaccines into anyone they can get their hands on. This is a very broken system that has totally obscured any truth in deceit and greed. Good living, healthy food...and I mean REALLY healthy, like actual food and not processed 'health' food, is the best medicine on the planet, bar none.

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    1. Anonymous, do you have something to add with regards to the blogpost? How is this related to Gaeta's and his mystery immunologist's claims? Because otherwise, yours is just a tiresome little screed.

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    2. Are you vaccinated? Do you want polio? Would you travel to Africa or South America without a yellow fever vaccine?

      Don't be thick, sure vaccines are a business, everything is, the place you buy your organic chemical free beef is also out to cover their costs or they wouldn't remain in business very long.

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    3. @Anon

      I'm curious ... what are the statistical odds of getting polio in the U.S. if a person doesn't get vaccinated?

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    4. http://thespudd.com/man-doesnt-win-lottery-blames-vaccines/

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    5. @Chris

      That site is definitely on your level.

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    6. Yes, it is good satire. Because your tactic of depending on others who vaccinate is the same as playing the lottery.

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    7. Actually, the exact opposite is true. The fact is, I refuse to play the lottery. It's a terrible bet, and I am a very, very risk adverse person. And if I refuse to spend a buck on the lottery because the payoff is so terrible compared to the odds, how do you think I'd wager when it comes to the health of my child?

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    8. You are as innumerate as those who do play the lottery, even more so. Of course the lottery takes advantage of the innumerate, you just take advantage of the fact that most people vaccinate. That does not always work, especially since there are these things called "airplanes" that transport people here to the USA from places where diseases are endemic.

      So you are just playing the odds. The chances that you or your child will get a vaccine preventable disease in the USA is possibly higher than winning the lottery. Encouraging others to do as you do increases those odds.

      I believe you are adequately described in this article.

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  3. Anonymous, could you please tell us if it is cheaper to treat measles, pertussis, mumps, tetanus and other diseases than to prevent them? Please provide some actual evidence in lieu of general insults.

    Also, please show the actual evidence that measles, mumps, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, etc are adequately prevented though "Good living, healthy food." Thank you.

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  4. I am familiar with Dr. Gaeta and his seminars as I have attended one. While much of the information is true, accurate and helpful, there are always little tidbits like the one referenced here which make you scratch your head. My training in immunology is mainly from undergraduate school more so than chiropractic school, although we did have a class on immunology specifically.

    I think it is important to remember when discussing these issues which are so oddly filled with emotion, that no one profession or healing art as all the truth. All of them have value to add to a person's life in terms of health promotion and also in terms of disease prevention. This includes immunology and vaccines. While I personally am uncomfortable showering my kids with vaccines, I'm also uncomfortable not vaccinating them. I am fully vaccinated from youth.

    Also, Chris should keep in mind that maintaining a life full of healthy food and healthy living does, in fact, go a long way. We spend lots of money in this country with our county and city health departments trying to promote this and it works. The old adage, "we are what we eat" is definitely true. But at the same, time, that doesn't eliminate the need for modern medicine.

    By picking and choosing judiciously and with study, we can all receive the best care available.

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  5. Okay, so what? Provide the data that I requested: "Also, please show the actual evidence that measles, mumps, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, etc are adequately prevented though "Good living, healthy food." Thank you."

    The person I was asking was denying modern medicine, hence the words "prevented." So your advice to me was pointless with your little addendum: "doesn't eliminate the need for modern medicine."

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  6. mmmm - i'm very anti vax. i'm unvaxed myself and so are my 2 kids. however i dont believe that vaccines don't immunize against disease but i beleive their effect on the immune system is debilative and that "immunity" comes at too high a cost to general well being. i am also aware that there are a lot off kooks and wierdos batting for my team and a lot of people conflating and making stuff up as they go. but to be fair, the same can be said of big pharma, at least my kooks and wierdos are generally not lying intentionally.

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  7. *at least my kooks and wierdos are generally not lying intentionally*

    if they are lying, that implies intent, or? And if they are not lying, they are unable to see the facts, which is not very flattering either. How do you tell who is thick, lying or trustworthy amongst your sources?

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  8. however i dont believe that vaccines don't immunize against disease but i beleive their effect on the immune system is debilative and that "immunity" comes at too high a cost to general well being.

    People who broach the subject as a "belief" and makes this kind of statement belies any knowledge on the subject.

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  9. "however i dont believe that vaccines don't immunize against disease but i beleive their effect on the immune system is debilative and that "immunity" comes at too high a cost to general well being."

    I find it hard to believe that a fever and some aching at injection site is more debilitating than a case of small pox. Granted, there are a very small percentage of children who will be allergic to a vaccine, but then those children should not have them - and not be exposed to the illness from children whose parents refuse to be educated and won't get their kids vaccinated. My daughter is so allergic to pennicillin that one dose will send her into anaphylaxis - does that mean penicillin is evil and the makers are selfish bastards? No - it has saved millions of lives. It's just bad for my daughter. And luckily, other antibiotics are not. My mother's eyesight was ruined by measles, she lost an uncle to polio and a cousin to dyptheria - they would've given anything to have a vaccine. Anyone who says vaccines ruin your immune system badly needs to take some college level classes in immunology and stop endangering our society by eschewing the gifts of modern medicine.

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    1. Smallpox? So, you believe that in a discussion of the current childhood vaccine schedule, it's relevant to mention smallpox? Well, thanks; that firmly establishes your lack of credibility on the topic. LOL

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    2. I don't know what comment you are referring to, but yes - it is relevant. Smallpox was a disease that, even in the 20th Century, killed upwards of 400 Million people.

      It was also eradicated using a fairly primitive vaccine.

      Today, there are a number of diseases on the US Pediatric schedule that can also be eradicated (like Measles) - which would mean one less vaccine.

      Isn't that what you want?

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    3. Jessica, your comment on an almost three year old thread is the first one that has mentioned smallpox.

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  10. There are actually many federally accredited Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degrees all over the US. They are licensed by the state they practice in and have very strict requirements. However, most acupuncturists have only a masters but are still held to strict licensing standards. You should try it, it's very effective. Have some homeopathy to cure your overzealous skepticism while you're at it.

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    1. An appropriate comment to post on April Fools Day.

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    2. No kidding Chris. 'Effective', 'Doctor of Acupuncture' and 'Homeopathy' all used together.

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  11. If you're interested in evidence based information regarding immunization policy, written by a 'real' Dr then I would recommend reading the following paper:

    http://www.ecomed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/3-tomljenovic.pdf

    It relates to the UK but many of the points raised would relate to the US too.

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    1. She is not a real medical doctor, but a post-doctorate student of Christopher Shaw at UBC. And that is not paper on a study, or the actual study, but an editorial.

      Shaw and Tomljenovic have not been published in high quality journals. First there is the discussed on And global warming is caused by the decrease in the number of pirates or: Why an inorganic chemistry journal should not publish a vaccine epidemiology paper, and more recently on a "pay to publish" journal, OMICS Group, see comments in The “toxin gambit,” resurrected.

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    2. Yeah, Tomlijenovic and Shaw. Two folks who can't seem to understand basic epidemiology or how to properly utilize control groups.

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  12. These discreditations of the author do not, in this case, undermine the message of the article linked to. It is, as you say, an editorial which could have been written by anybody and does not need any medical understanding to have constructed it. It is a desk-study; an examination of official documents obtained through Freedon Of Information Act requests, which demonstrates the UK Government's commitment to vaccine policy in spite of safety concerns, and decisions to keep information about safety issues out of public circulation.

    It would perhaps be adviseable to read the material and decide whether attempting to discredit the author is remotely relevant to the content...?

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    1. It would perhaps be adviseable to read the material and decide whether attempting to discredit the author is remotely relevant to the content...?
      And what makes you think we haven't done that? Just because we don't agree with them?

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    2. What makes me think you have not done that, is your focus on the credentials of the author, with no referece to the material. As does your remark that you don't "agree", when what the article presents is not theory or biased experimentation, but an account, through official meeting records released only through FOIA requests, of the UK government's concealment of vaccine dangers. This is not the subject of bias or opinion but a matter of record.

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  13. Anonymous, reading comprehension seems to fail you. We are all well aware of their droppings and Chris did mention that it wasn't a study at all but an editorial. How much detail does one require in a comment section about two notorious unethical researchers?

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    1. I also noted that the paper that I mentioned, and that was ridiculed by Orac, was sponsored by the Dwoskin Family Foundation. They are closely associated with NVIC:
      http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/10/06/the-2011-vaccine-safety-conference-in-jamaica/

      Chris (sorry about the anon it, but Google decided without my permission to use my full name)

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    2. And yet still nobody cares to address the content of the piece, addressing the uk government's concealment of vaccine damage, exposed through the simple quoting of meeting minutes and records.

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    3. Just to be clear, the piece is not 'editorial' in the sense of comment, but nor is it a scientific study. Therefore refusing to read it because you know the author holds opinions different from yours, or because the author has prevoiusly conducted flawed science-based studies. As already explained, this is an examination of official documents. A desk study, not a lab study. Insulting the authors and insulting me, are not relevant comment on the MATERIAL.

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    4. (Sorry that should read: "...flawed science-based studies, makes no sense in this example." Reading comprehension does not fail me, but I will admit that my tablet keyboard sometimes does ...)

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    5. I read some of it. It was silly cherry picked six degrees of separation speculation. Nothing more.

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    6. First hint the opinion piece is fractured: references to "5.d. Comments on Professor Stewart’s letter". There is no reference on who this person it, or notes as to where that letter is. It most likely refers to Gordon Stewart who made a name for himself with badly done work trying to prove the DTP vaccine caused encephalitis. His "expert witness" career in court ended when he testified that a study was done on American children, when it had actually been done on mice. He is now an HIV/AIDS denier.

      Next she starts to ramble on about Urabe mumps strain, which was never in the American MMR and was removed in the UK versions in 1992 (do a bit of math, that is a while ago).

      She then has a section on "Persistently relied on methodologically dubious studies, while dismissing independent research, to promote vaccine policies." Yet her references include papers by Wakefield, and friends (like Singh and Balzola, which this site has deconstructed).

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    7. Thank you Chris for these observations.

      Would you consider that the introduction of the Urabe strain MMR into the UK, despite the UK government's prior knowledge of its dangers, should NOT be cosidered an example of flawed vaccination policy, and that parents trying to weigh up whether official lines on vaccination are to be trusted should not be influenced negatively by this example?

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    8. You know it was in two of three MMR vaccines in use. It is considered more effective than the Jeryl Lynn strain, plus the level of meningitis it caused was much less than actually getting mumps (which is about one in ten). Since they had not had a mumps vaccine before, they were already having to deal with the actual mumps meningitis.

      And it is hypocritical to bring up two MMR vaccines used for less than four years in the UK in light of Wakefield tell parents to get single vaccines in 1998, without any evidence. Because there had never been a single mumps vaccine licensed in the UK, some enterprising private clinics imported one, a Urabe mumps vaccine. It prompted this warning: The Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) has advised that Urabe mumps vaccine is associated with an unacceptable risk of aseptic meningitis and that the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) should object to importation of unlicensed mumps vaccine containing the Urabe strain of mumps virus. On the basis of that advice, the MCA has today contacted importers notifying them that the vaccine should not be imported.

      So what was more "flawed", the vaccination policy or Wakefield's call for single vaccines in 1998... a full six years after all MMR vaccines in the UK had a Jeryl Lynn mumps component?

      Perhaps the UK should have adopted the American version of the MMR vaccine closer to 1971 when it was licensed, instead of waiting almost twenty years. There would have been fewer cases of measles, mumps and rubella.

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  14. Of particular interest with regards to Mr. Gaeta and his "seminars" is his invocation of "an impeccably-credentialed, pro-vaccine PhD immunologist." Who, of course, "confirmed what I and others have been saying for years." She can be heard on an audio file but here is the text of her statements:facebook

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  15. Ever heard of the Strawman Fallacy? Attacking ones character, instead of their argument? The OP is just flaming that someone made another anti-Vax post and wants to piggyback off their successfull post. Smart, I suppose, since most people won't catch the fact that you spend a whole chapter attacking the persons claims, profession, background. What's next? Discredit them cause they're a year younger than you? Cause they're fat? Cause they've got darker skin? Welcome to immaturity at its best.

    Now, for real truth to come out, truth must be spoken, instead of argument being made. If you truly wish to show people what you're saying is true, try answering these questions, WITHOUT going into counter arguments for the point I'm making and without bashing me or other people. Just give a straight up honest answer, type a period, hit send. Simple right? On to the questions.

    Have there been real studies to show that vaccinations are safe? And I'm not talking about the millions of people subjecting their babies to untested chemical and viral compounds and saying "well my neighbors baby didn't die, so mine won't either! Vaccines are safe!". Or the ONLY other test performed, on RATS. Injecting the rats belly with the vaccine and as long as it continued to gain weight and if it didn't outright die, then it was passed as "safe". Any other tests? I'm not saying just cause it's untested it means we can do it. It's just something people need to be informed of to make their choice. So... cite some tests please?

    Furthermore, do you have evidence to suggest that BECAUSE of Vaccines, infection and mortality rates from diseases have dropped? Seriously, go look up any graph on deaths from any virus that we vaccinate. Then look up the date the vaccine was created and released. In EVERY case, the vaccine was only created after the numbers of mortality had already substantially dropped or even become dismissable. So unless that can be proven, people need to know that vaccinations are NOT what caused the diseases to leave. I'm not going to say my opinion as to what it was that DID, cause that's mere speculation, but please stop misleading people into thinking Vaccines have done $2 worth of help for us.

    Finally, why would you be worried about me not vaccinating MY kid if yourso is already vaccinated. That means your kid is immune, does it not? Which means only unvaccinated people get sick with those diseases (with minor exceptions) isn't that correct. If so, then you have nothing to worry about when disease strikes.

    Another thing I might want to mention. 95% of polio cases show the following symptoms:slight fever, malaise, headache, sore throat, and vomiting. These symptoms clear within 3-5 days and then you would be immune for life. Stop using Polio as a way to scare people. Even in a dirty, unhealthy, unHEALTHY, 3rd world country with lack of clean water or medicine, Polio rarely effects people in a way worse than the common cold. The diseases have been steadily dropping as the wealth and cleanliness of the world improves. Vaccinations did not stop the diseases, and hardly have contributed to it. Please do not spread misinformation, and especially don't attack the person who made the statement, rather than their argument themselves. Even if I was a dirty, unknowledgable homeless bum on the street, if I spoke truth, it is truth. When someone makes an argument, stop calling them names and take some time to really answer the questions their argument poses.

    Remember, I posted 3 questions. I'd expect no less than 3 answers. Please refrain from injecting your own opinions with your reply, you tend to get overly emotional when you do so. Just state the fact, back it up with real studies where we can read the data ourselves, and then end it.

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  16. #1 - Link to the FDA Clinical Trial process for vaccines:

    http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/developmentapprovalprocess/biologicslicenseapplicationsblaprocess/ucm133096.htm

    #2 - Question is invalid, because mortality and incidence are two different things. Since one is affected by modern medical care, while the other is only affected by the prevention of infection.

    #3 - Vaccination status is not the only variable, since age is a determining factor here (i.e. children younger than the age for vaccine are vulnerable to infection).

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