Vaccine safety – a huge systematic review says they don’t cause autism

vaccine safety

Not that most of us need to be convinced, but there’s another huge systematic review that examined vaccine safety. Unsurprisingly, it shows that there are no major safety signals post-vaccination, plus no vaccine is linked to autism.

It’s ironic that this study is a high-quality systematic review and meta-analysis, the top of the hierarchy of biomedical research, while anti-vaxxers rely upon retracted articles published in predatory journals.

So, I want to do a quick review of this new article so that we can continue to support the settled science of vaccine safety.

Continue reading “Vaccine safety – a huge systematic review says they don’t cause autism”

Autism and vaccines – 159 peer-reviewed scientific articles say no link

autism and vaccines

Autism and vaccines are not linked or associated according to real science, published in real scientific journals written by real scientists and physicians. But this false claim that vaccines and autism are related is repeated by anti-vaxxers nearly every day.

Let’s be clear – the lack of a link between vaccines and autism is settled science. There is overwhelming evidence, as listed in this article, that there is no link. Outside of anecdotes, internet memes, misinformation, and VAERS dumpster-diving, there is no evidence that there is a link. 

Ever since MrAndrew Wakefield published his fraudulent, and subsequently retracted, study that seemed to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the anti-vaccine crowd has embraced it as if it were a scientific fact. 

This Wakefield chicanery has spawned a cottage industry of other anti-vaccine zealots like Del Bigtree and his fraudumentary Vaxxed, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Christopher Exley, Christopher Shaw, James Lyons-Weiler, Tetyana Obukhanych, and many others. 

This article presents 159 scientific articles, published in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals. Almost all of them are either primary studies that include large clinical trials or case-control or cohort studies. They also include numerous systematic reviews, which represent the pinnacle of biomedical research.

All of these articles, from some of the top vaccine scientists in the world, show that there are no links between autism and vaccines. None. 

Continue reading “Autism and vaccines – 159 peer-reviewed scientific articles say no link”

Sharyl Attkisson says science-based websites are astroturfers

Once upon a time, I was told of an article published on the website of “journalist” Sharyl Attkisson where she accused a lot of people of being astroturfers, including this old snarky feathered dinosaur. Now I admit to not being up-to-date on every cultural term that flows through the internet every day (who could?), but I had to find out more.

Well, what is an astroturfer? Supposedly, it’s a pejorative term that describes a fake grassroots effort. Astroturf is fake grass, so that’s its roots (pun intended).

I’m not really sure of the logic of placing science writers and evidence-based websites into the “astroturf” category, but she does it. It’s like the Big Lie, I guess if she keeps repeating it, people will think it’s true.

Of course, let’s not forget that if we’re going to accuse any person or group of being astroturfers, we should straightaway look at anti-vaccine groups led by Del Bigtree and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. I mean they are the epitome of astroturfers. To quote Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Continue reading “Sharyl Attkisson says science-based websites are astroturfers”

Anti-vaccine Sharyl Attkisson threatens to sue Dr. Peter Hotez for defamation

anti-vaccine sharyl attkisson

This article about threats to sue Dr. Peter Hotez by anti-vaccine journalist Sharyl Attkisson was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

Litigation threats by anti-vaccine activists are not new, nor are they unusual. Recently, anti-vaccine journalist Sharyl Attkisson sent a litigation threat to Dr. Hotez, a threat she then published online. Her chances, if she actually sues, are slim, but that does not seem to be the point of such threats.

As best as I can tell, litigation threats by anti-vaccine activists serve two purposes, neither of which depending on the validity of the claims. First, towards the target of the threat, the threat can serve as a deterrent to engage with the anti-vaccine activist. Second, in relation to the anti-vaccine activist’s own followers the threats can both serve to create a narrative of victimhood (“I’m targeted by ‘them’), and second to present themselves to their followers as bravely fighting back against attacks.

This post will describe the events, then put them in the context of previous litigation threats by anti-vaccine activists and previous such behavior by Sharyl Attkisson, then make some suggestions to any reader targeted by similar threats. 

Continue reading “Anti-vaccine Sharyl Attkisson threatens to sue Dr. Peter Hotez for defamation”

ICAN claims win because CDC reformatted Vaccines and Autism page

ICAN claims win

This article about how ICAN claims a win as a result of the CDC reformatting its Vaccines and Autism page was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On January 21, 2021, the anti-vaccine organization Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) published an article titled “The CDC Finally Capitulated To ICAN’s Legal Demands and Removed the Claim that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism” From Its Website!”.

The article is even less convincing than ICAN’s usual claims, because the CDC’s Vaccines and Autism page still, essentially, states there is no link between vaccines and autism, and that vaccines do not cause autism. The CDC just changed its title and reformatted it – probably for reasons that have nothing to do with ICAN.

I am going to review why ICAN claims a win, and why it really isn’t – the CDC hasn’t changed its view on autism and vaccines.

Continue reading “ICAN claims win because CDC reformatted Vaccines and Autism page”

Vaccines and autism – the 159th scientific study that says not related

vaccines autism

I am hoping that someday this vaccines-autism myth will disappear into the ether, but here we go again with the 159th peer-reviewed, published, and scientific article that says there is no link between vaccines and autism. OK, there’s probably more than 159, but that’s how many I’ve counted.

Why do I keep posting articles about vaccines and autism? Many of us, and I include me in that “us,” think that there’s no convincing the anti-vaccine zealots using real science, so why bother. It’s true that the pseudoscience-pushing anti-vaxxers are going to cover their eyes and just believe what they want to believe.

However, I’ve always felt that our job on the internet is to contradict the misinformation from the anti-vaxxers not to convince them, but to convince those who are on the fence – those parents who keep reading good and bad things about vaccines, trying to decide if they want to protect their kids.

Recently, I received a message on Facebook from a young mother that said she had decided to give her teen daughter the HPV vaccine just because of my relentless support of that cancer-preventing vaccine. It makes this worth the effort.

So, here I am talking about the (at least) 159th article that debunks the vaccines and autism trope. Maybe all of these articles will help calm the fears of a new parent wonder if they should vaccinate their child. Continue reading “Vaccines and autism – the 159th scientific study that says not related”

CDC vaccine patents – Robert F Kennedy Jr gets this one wrong too

CDC vaccine patents

If you follow the anti-vaccine world, you will hear Robert F Kennedy Jr often claim that there are CDC vaccine patents that are so valuable that the CDC itself sets aside all morality and ethics to endorse the vaccines developed through these patents just to make more money for the CDC.

Kennedy, who once threw himself at Donald Trump in an effort to head a Vaccine Commission, has made this claim for several years now, but repeated it in an interview, stating that, “the CDC is a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry. The agency owns more than 20 vaccine patents and purchases and sells $4.1 billion in vaccines annually.”

Typically, Kennedy provides absolutely nothing in the form of supporting evidence. It makes no sense to argue against an imaginary claim – this is a pretty good example of an opinion rather than facts.

But along comes Ginger Taylor, one of the most ardent and science-ignoring anti-vaccine activists around these parts. In fact, she inspired my article entitled, Vaccines and autism science say they are unrelated

Taylor, who apparently has an autistic child, believes that vaccines “damaged” her child because, as a mother, she knows more than actual scientists. She considers science to be an elitist pursuit, it’s not data and evidence that matter but only her opinion.

Seriously, Taylor has an utter lack of self-awareness, which apparently broke one of Orac’s favorite Big Pharma Irony Meters™. Her opinion of her own scientific knowledge, i.e. her Dunning-Kruger cognitive bias, is betrayed by the reality of the vast mountain of scientific knowledge supporting the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

So this same Ginger, the vaccine-denier that she is, decided to write an article with another torturous description of the CDC vaccine patents conspiracy theory, trying to support Kennedy’s outlandish claims. And she wrote this article in GreenMedInfo, one of the most ignorant anti-science websites on the interwebs, just a bit below NaturalNews in quality.

The problems with Taylor’s article are multi-fold – but generally, like so many other anti-vaccine zealots, they think they know a lot about a topic based on their 15 minutes of Google search time, rather than doing the tens of thousands of hours of actual vaccine research using science.

Taylor is utterly uneducated about and inexperienced with not only science but also patents – she gets nearly everything about her conspiracy theory totally wrong. 

So here we go, debunking the anti-vaccine myth of the CDC vaccine patents. Continue reading “CDC vaccine patents – Robert F Kennedy Jr gets this one wrong too”

MMR vaccine sytematic review – science finds no link to autism AGAIN

MMR vaccine systematic review

With so much sense and nonsense about coronavirus, I set to the side an important MMR vaccine systematic review that I’ve been wanting to review for a few weeks. Well, it’s time to focus on that.

Ever since MrAndrew Wakefield published his fraudulent, and subsequently retracted, study that seemed to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the anti-vaccine crowd has embraced it as if it were a scientific fact. Of course, they ignore over 150 published scientific articles that show that there are, in fact, no links at all.

This Wakefield chicanery has spawned a cottage industry of other anti-vaccine zealots like Del Bigtree and his fraudumentary Vaxxed, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Christopher Exley, Christopher Shaw, James Lyons-Weiler, Tetyana Obukhanych, and many others. 

And now we have a new, large, impressive MMR vaccine systematic review that once again provides affirmative evidence that there are no links between ASD and the MMR vaccine. None. Continue reading “MMR vaccine sytematic review – science finds no link to autism AGAIN”

Bill Gates vaccines – causing hate across science deniers everywhere

bill gates vaccines

Bill Gates vaccines are one of the biggest shibboleths of the anti-vaccine world.  Of course, he is one of the world’s leading sponsors of vaccine research along with healthcare (including vaccinations) to underdeveloped countries.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), founded by Bill & Melinda Gates using their vast Microsoft wealth. I have always favored capitalism, and believe there is no particular moral code associated with accumulating wealth. It is, however, wonderful that they have decided to use their wealth to help humanity.

As strong supporters of vaccines, the Gates and their foundation have become one of the leading targets of the vaccine denialists who use a bunch of outright lies to attack his good works. Bill Gates and vaccines is a constant drumbeat from the anti-vaccine world.

Most of us know that Bill Gates did not invent these vaccines, but the attacks on him make it seem like he did.

These personal attacks remind me of Ernst’s Law, which states “If you are researching complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and you are not hated by the CAM world, you’re not doing it right.” 

For vaccines, I guess we should create a corollary of the law, “if you are supporting the safety and efficacy of vaccinations for children, and you are not hated by vaccine denialists, you’re not doing it right.” I think I want to call this corollary “Offit’s Law,” named for Paul Offit, a tireless supporter of vaccines who has been the target of lies and hatred, or even “Gate’s Law.” 

So, let’s talk about Bill Gates vaccines. They are amusing. 

Continue reading “Bill Gates vaccines – causing hate across science deniers everywhere”

Ethylmercury and blood-brain barrier – bad vaccine “science” from the Geiers

ethylmercury

This post examines a newly published article that claims that ethylmercury (in this case, thimerosal or thiomersal) crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Of course, it comes from anti-vaccine non-scientists.

As we recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the retraction of the fraudulent study from Andrew Wakefield and colleagues [1] (retraction notice), this celebration is only half-tone as we have seen more and more an influx of junk studies coming from a new breed of anti-vaccine “scientists” (such as Christopher Exley, Christopher Shaw, James Lyons-Weiler, Romain Gherardi, Yehuda Shoenfeld, Walter Lukiw, citing the most prolific of the bunch) take over the torch and publish deeply flawed studies, if not completely fraudulent in peer-reviewed journals.

Worse, we have seen indeed that some journals, such as the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry or Journal of Trace Elements, have become a hive of anti-vaccine pseudoscience for studies as presented in their published form. They should not have passed a peer-review filter.

Yet, these journals have accepted these articles, despite their important factual errors, botched experimental design and inaccurate conclusions which are not supported by the experimental results. I recently got wind that the infamous Geiers are up into flogging a dead horse once again, this time with the benediction of the journal Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology [2].

If this article was published in a low-tier or a predatory journal, I would understand. But seeing a paper authored by a quack doctor that lost his medical license to practice in 2012 (you can read the detailed case of his disciplinary action here), as well as the recent retraction of a study, with three out of the four authors accused of gross negligence on the claims made and failure to disclose a conflict of interest.

This should have been a red flag for the editor-in-chief and reviewers. Yet, we have a situation similar to the canary in the coal mine, this time about the canary slowly suffocating from the methane slowly leaking into the shaft, but no one taking action.

Seeing the field of academic publishing allowing such biased and non-sequitur review to be published (albeit being in review/revision for 4 months) is concerning. Quacks and charlatans are invading peer-reviewed journals, with the dangerous blessing of their editors and reviewers.

Does this review which was written by the Geiers, the Thenardiers of “autism treatment” (see Note 1), hold up or is completely full of logical flaws?

Let’s give it a read. Continue reading “Ethylmercury and blood-brain barrier – bad vaccine “science” from the Geiers”