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Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:07 PM

 

Congress Promotes Dangerous Anti-vaccine Quackery

Mostly republicans, of course, but it sounds like Dennis Kucinitch hopped on the crazy train too.

Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2012/12/03/congress-holds-an-anti-vaccination-hearing/

Commentary from Phil Plait on the Bad Astronomy blog: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2012/12/04/congress_hearing_on_vaccines_is_a_farce_of_dangerous_antivax_nonsense.html


From the Bad Astonomy post:

If you get the sense I’m angry, you’re damn right I am. Vaccine save lives, and antivaxxers put those lives in grave danger. These lives include people who are immunocompromised (people on immunosuppressants, for example, recovering from cancer or who have autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis). It also includes infants too young to get vaccinated, who rely on the rest of us getting our shots to increase herd immunity, reducing reservoirs for the infectious diseases to live.

And if you don’t think this has an impact, I urge you—if your heart can stand it—to read the story of Dana McCaffery, a perfect little girl who, at the age of four weeks—four weeks—died of pertussis, a disease she was too young to be vaccinated against and that she might never have contracted if it weren’t for low immunization rates where she lived.

Pertussis. Whooping cough. A disease that for years has been on the decline but has come roaring back—along with measles and other preventable diseases—because people aren’t getting vaccinated in high-enough numbers. I am a parent myself, with a fully-vaccinated daughter, I’ll add, and it breaks my heart when I think of what Dana’s parents, Toni and David McCaffery, went through.


This kind of stuff is an illustration of the Asimov quote currently on the front page of DU: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021925726

18 replies, 1485 views

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:15 PM

1. Was anti-'MERCURY' testimony that was heard,

Last edited Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:50 PM - Edit history (1)

and among other things asking what assistance is provided for those injured once they become adults.

EDIT, for those interested, a major supporter of careful examination and getting rid of mercury is a retiring congressmember, I forget his name, whose grandson was affected after innoculation. Its FOOLISH to accuse such people as being anti-science, they want the best science, AND protection and assistance for those affected.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:33 PM

4. First, someone would have to prove that vaccines or thimerosal hurt anyone.

People have been screaming "Vaccines cause autism - it's the MERCURY!" for years, but the fact is that a flu shot has about the same amount of mercury in it (in the thimerosal used as a preservative) as a can of tuna.

Scientists who've been hearing this screaming have been conducting research for years trying to determine if there's an actual link between vaccines and autism, and have found NOTHING! Granted, some people have problems - allergic reactions, rare cases of Guillain–Barré syndrome (less than one in a million, at most, and thimerosal's not linked to this), but nothing to autism, or to any of the known symptoms of mercury poisoning.

Vaccines do not cause autism, they're very safe for the vast majority of people, and the panic-mongering of the anti-vaxxers results in people dying.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:25 PM

9. Anti Vaxxers are anti science

The anti vaxxers are anti science. They are just as bad as the anti science republicans.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:16 PM

11. They're anti-science the same way 'creationists' / 'teach the controversy' folks are anti-science..

In that they're willing to give credence without sound scientific background, to damn near any woo they can find, as though ideas are equally valid, regardless of the underpinnings they have.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:14 AM

16. The only problem with this sweeping assertion is that mercury was never in childhood vaccines

or only appeared in minimal trace amounts at levels far too low to cause any neurotoxicity. This "retiring member of Congress" is Dan Burton of Indiana, whose grandson is autistic. Whether this autism manifested soon after vaccination is neither here nor there; the fact is that neurodevelopmental disorders often manifest at approximately the same age as vaccination (around 2 years); correlation is not causation, and there have been numerous studies which have found no link whatever between vaccination and autism (the vaccine most often mooted as a cause of autism, the MMR triple vaccine, never contained thimerosal). Indeed given what's known of autism and its complex aetiology it is a neurodevelopmental disorder which seems to be present from the period of gestation when neural tissue differentiates; the very significant differences in brain structure and proportion of white vs grey matter observed in autistics are not things that could possibly be vaccine-induced.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:18 AM

18. Autism advocates, NIH, CDC testify to Congress about research, autism increase.

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:19 PM

2. Lots of folks who should know better are anti-vaxxers and anti-tech.

Way too many.

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Response to GoneOffShore (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:34 PM

5. yup

all because they dont understand one major principle in science. correlations are not causation.

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:24 PM

3. Whooping Cough Epidemic: Blame The Anti-Vaccination Movement

A bit dated (piece is from 10/10) but pertinent in the long term picture -

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sciencebiz/2010/10/11/whooping-cough-epidemic-blame-the-anti-vaccination-movement/

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Response to Junkdrawer (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:50 PM

7. Thats not less bias in the least n/t

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:08 PM

8. Measles almost killed me when I was six

I was one of the unfortunate kids who got measles encephalitis. I was comatose for over a week and I didn't do well for months after I woke up.

I've had the MMR twice. I don't develop antibodies to the measles component. I consider myself wide open to reinfection.

Anti vaxxers scare the hell out of me.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:10 PM

10. I also had measles when I was six.

Fortunately, I had a relatively mild case with no complications. I had been vaccinated at the recommended time, but for me the vaccine didn't take. The anti-vaxxers like to pretend they aren't risking anyone but themselves and their own kids. They never seem to consider that some people can't have the vaccines, and some who do have them are still vulnerable.

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:28 PM

12. Anti-vaxers are nuts.

Period. It's woo of the highest order.

"Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It's just the best we have.

Science invites us to let the facts in even when they don't conform to our preconceptions."

- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World (A book that a lot of DUers could stand to read closely and think about deeply).

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:29 PM

13. Autism advocates, NIH, CDC testify to Congress about research, autism increase.

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:31 PM

14. Naughty, naughty vaccines!

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 02:58 AM

15. my son has autism and he is fully vaccinated

He has never had a bad reaction to vaccines and I felt a personal responsibility to the public to vaccinate him. I live in WA and there is a huge pertussis outbreak here. There is so much bad science going around these past few decades. How do we get back to pure science?

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Response to FreeBC (Original post)

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