Merck scientist denies vaccines – another anti-vaxxer conspiracy

merck scientist

Here we go again – a pseudoscience website claims that a former Merck scientist does not vaccinate his kids because of random reasons. But before you perk up and think that this is a real, we should start with “Merck scientist.” Yeah, those scare quotes have meaning.

When I first saw the story, I assumed it was about Diane Harper, an actual Merck scientist with no scare quotes, because she is an actual scientist who actually worked with Merck on the HPV vaccines. The anti-vaccine religion tried to claim that she was anti-vaccine and to be fair, she was somewhat ambivalent, but today, Dr. Harper is a firm supporter of the HPV vaccine as a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan’s medical center. She is also the physician director for community outreach and engagement at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center.

Anyway, this story isn’t about Dr. Harper, it’s about another “Merck scientist.” Let’s go there. Continue reading “Merck scientist denies vaccines – another anti-vaxxer conspiracy”

Nick Catone son dies tragically – blaming vaccines with no evidence

Nick Catone

On May 12, 2017, the son of retired UFC fighter Nick Catone, Nicholas Catone, by all accounts a healthy, sweet, happy, child, died in his sleep. It’s horrible to lose a child, and I want to start by extending my condolences to the family.

Sadly, I can’t stop there. His parents blame vaccines. The story is being spread in mom groups and understandably scares moms from vaccinating. But Nicholas’ tragic death is not a good reason to refuse vaccines. First, the alleged link to vaccines is extraordinarily weak. There is no good reason to blame vaccines for the boy’s tragic death. Second, even if this was linked to vaccines – and there’s no evidence of that – it’s still safer to vaccinate.  Continue reading “Nick Catone son dies tragically – blaming vaccines with no evidence”

HPV vaccine affects pregnancy rate – trash “study” from Gayle DeLong

hpv vaccine affects pregnancy

An economist, with absolutely no background in science, writes a lame article that claims that the HPV vaccine affects pregnancy rate. Somehow, because of reasons, unknown to modern science.

I thought I had read it all, but here comes one out of recesses of the anti-vaccine mind – where logic and science disappear into a black hole. Gayle DeLong writes another useless article that’s embraced by the anti-vaccine religion because they’ve got nothing else. 

The anti-vaccine religion definitely hates the HPV vaccine more than any other one out there. They invent more lies about it while ignoring the overwhelming scientific consensus about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. But relying upon facts is generally not something found in the anti-vaccine wheelhouse.

Of course, the false claims about the HPV vaccine often rely upon pseudoscience produced by anti-vaccine shills like the oft-retracted Shaw and Tomljenovic, the infamous Lyons-Weiler, and the preposterous Shoenfeld. Because the anti-vaxxers lack any evidence to support their dislike of the HPV vaccine, they require the appeal to false authority to claim that these discredited pseudoscientists’ work is somehow more important than all of the body evidence, from real, respected scientists, that supports HPV vaccine safety and effectiveness.

So, let’s take a look at this new study from a non-scientist claiming that the HPV vaccine affects pregnancy rates. I almost thought about ignoring it, but it’s just too funny. Continue reading “HPV vaccine affects pregnancy rate – trash “study” from Gayle DeLong”

Debunking myths about vaccine testing and safety

vaccine testing

The goal of this article is to respond to a number of recurring myths raised by anti-vaccine activists regarding vaccine testing and safety – a common trope used against vaccines.

The bottom line is that vaccines are extensively and carefully tested for safety, and that vaccine safety is shown by many, many studies from a variety of sources, reinforcing each other and all pointing to the same result – serious problems from vaccines are possible, but extremely rare. And those small, rare risks are far outweighed by the benefits vaccines provide by protecting us against much larger risks.

Continue reading “Debunking myths about vaccine testing and safety”

CDC tobacco science – discrediting another ridiculous vaccine myth

CDC tobacco

And today we have another vaccine myth to debunk – since the CDC tobacco smoking science was wrong 50 years ago, how can we trust them about vaccines? Of course, the problem with the myth is multi-faceted, typical of every anti-vaccine trope pushed on the internet.

Let’s start right at the top – is there any evidence whatsoever that the CDC tobacco science was anything but what we know today? Spoiler alert, nope, nothing there. 

I have kind of written about this subject recently, but that article focused more on the claim about “doctors endorse smoking” rather than the CDC. This is a more specific article debunking the old CDC tobacco claim – so annoying.

So, let’s get into another ignorant anti-vaccine trope/myth/lie that is used constantly used by the anti-vaxxers to dismiss anything the CDC says. They do this because they lack any evidence supporting their claims, so inventing a conspiracy is so much easier than accepting the truth. Continue reading “CDC tobacco science – discrediting another ridiculous vaccine myth”

Postponement of a vaccine forum – anti-vaxxers hate science-based facts

vaccine forum

One of the things that the anti-vaccine zealots hate is a science-based vaccine forum. They cannot tolerate accurate and unbiased information being disseminated about the settled science of vaccine safety and effectiveness. Rather than have accurate facts being presented to parents, they would much rather do their best to suppress this information to make their cult of lies seem more impressive.

On 15 August 2019, Loma Linda University Humanities Program, part of the school’s College of Religion, was going to host a program, The Vaccine Mandate – Faith, Liberty, and the Pursuit of the Common Good. The two participants were Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, and Assistant Professor Wonha Kim, MD, who is the Director, Institute for Health Policy and Leadership at Loma Linda.

vaccine forum

As the title of the program suggests, this vaccine forum was to be a discussion of vaccine mandates, exemptions, and related issues. I had planned to drive from my home to attend the lecture since I thought it would be both interesting and enlightening. 

Unfortunately, for safety issues, mostly in the form of “protests” from the science-denying anti-vaxxers, Loma Linda University decided to postpone this important forum until a later date. With the mass murders of people in El Paso and Dayton, at roughly the same time, I’m sure that the university was worried about the somewhat violent tendencies of the anti-vaccine nutjobs played a significant role in the decision process.

I was genuinely worried about violence from the anti-vaxxers towards Professors Reiss and Kim. And against those in the audience who are strongly pro-vaccine, myself included. Although California does have strong anti-gun laws, that doesn’t mean some crackpot from another state could carry a weapon here to do harm to those of us who speak about science. We live amongst some awful human beings who place little value on human life – why else would they want little children to be a risk of horrible vaccine-preventable diseases. 

Larry Cook, whose anti-vaccine Facebook page was removed, threatens people with guns. Because that’s all that the anti-vaxxers have going for them, hate and violence.

There are literally dozens of Facebook posts from anti-vaxxers who have threatened harm towards Professor Reiss, Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. David Gorski, and many others that have put themselves at the forefront of supporting the science behind vaccine facts. These anti-vaxxers, who have nothing but fear, uncertainty, and doubt to support their pseudoscience need to resort to violent metaphors and hatred, just to make sure others support their cult of bovine fecal material.

If they had real scientific evidence supporting their claims, they would, of course, engage in civil discourse. Well, if they were actually capable of understanding those words.

An open vaccine forum, like this one at Loma Linda University, would have provided important information to parents so that they understand why mandatory (not really mandatory) vaccinations are critical to the well-being of not only their own children but all of the children in their communities. Sadly, the anti-vaccine religion cannot abide by accurate information, because it negates their lies.

Typical anti-vaccine protest – no science, no logic, no civility.

I am hoping that Loma Linda decides to bring back Professors Reiss and Kim to lead this vaccine forum in a safe manner sometime soon. And I will, once again, ride by horseback from my isolated cabin, where I observe Sasquatch, to attend the discussion. Because I like fact-based information, as opposed to the anti-vaccine, pseudoscience-loving, hate-filled, pro-disease, bogans that make up the anti-vaccine mob.

Vaccines save lives. Period. End of story. 

Christopher Bunch – another tragedy blamed on the HPV vaccine

christopher bunch

On 14 August 2018, fourteen-year-old Christopher Bunch died from acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), leaving his loving, devoted family reeling. The family blamed his death on the HPV vaccine that Christopher received, and they were quickly surrounded and courted by anti-vaccine activists.

My heart goes out to Christopher’s family. I followed the case since he was in the hospital, hoping and praying with them for a good outcome, and I feel their heartbreak. I was also deeply impressed by their initial reaction, which was to create a positive legacy for Christopher, making him visible and famous.

I would rather not write about this, which is why this post is so long after the fact. But Christopher’s death is since being used to try and scare people away from HPV vaccines or vaccines generally, putting others at risk of cancer and death. With very little basis: the timing and the epidemiological evidence do not support a link between Christopher’s death and HPV vaccines. Christopher Bunch deserves a better legacy than that. Continue reading “Christopher Bunch – another tragedy blamed on the HPV vaccine”

Glyphosate causes autism – another debunked vaccine myth

glyphosate causes autism

Another one of those pseudoscientific tropes from the anti-vaccine religion has reared its ugly Bigfoot head – glyphosate causes autism. And, of course, the anti-vaxxers believe that vaccines are filled with that nasty chemical, so by some weird transitive logic, they think that vaccines cause autism because of glyphosate.

Yeah, no.

Of course, the belief that “vaccines cause autism” has been thoroughly debunked by powerful, robust, repeated clinical and epidemiological studies. It is “settled science” (and read the link, so that you actually understand what is meant). Now we have the oft-repeated myth that glyphosate causes autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The evidence that supports that claim is fairly weak, possibly nonexistent.

Even if it did, and most scientists are highly skeptical of the claim, we still know that there is almost no glyphosate in vaccines. And once again, even if there were and even if glyphosate causes autism, we know that there is no link between vaccines and autism. None. 

A few years ago, Emily Willingham, Ph.D., whom I consider to be one of the leading ASD scientific experts on this planet, wrote a hysterical and scientifically skeptical article about all of the popular causes of ASD – Dr. Willingham noticed that there were new claims about what causes autism. Parents need to blame someone for their child’s neurodevelopment, so that’s how vaccines got into the crosshairs.

But let’s look at some of the science, and figure out if there’s any mechanism by which glyphosate causes autism. Continue reading “Glyphosate causes autism – another debunked vaccine myth”

Pesticides cause autism – the scientific evidence is quite weak

pesticides cause autism

Along with the thoroughly debunked “vaccines cause autism,” a related trope is pesticides cause autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The evidence that supports that claim is fairly weak, possibly nonexistent, but that’s what we do here – examine the evidence.

For reasons beyond the scope of this blog and my interests, parents need to find blame for why their children may have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.  A few years ago, Emily Willingham, Ph.D., whom I consider to be one of the leading ASD scientific experts on this planet, wrote a hysterical and scientifically skeptical article about all of the popular causes of ASD. Older mothers. Older fathers. Depressed mothers. Fingers. Facial features. Facial features?

Today, I keep seeing the new claim that pesticides cause autism. Time to see what kind of science supports this claim. Continue reading “Pesticides cause autism – the scientific evidence is quite weak”

Samoan vaccine tragedy – two nurses sentenced to five years in prison

samoan vaccine update

Recently, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss wrote an in-depth article here discussing the Samoan vaccine tragedy – two children died within minutes after receiving the routine MMR vaccine. The government reacted to the Samoan vaccine issue almost immediately, and they opened an inquest into what may have killed the two children – spoiler alert, it wasn’t the vaccine.

At the time, the story was picked up by the anti-vaccine religion as evidence that the MMR vaccine kills children while claiming that nefarious forces are conspiring to hide the truth about the vaccine. Except that is the farthest thing from the truth. Continue reading “Samoan vaccine tragedy – two nurses sentenced to five years in prison”