Dr. Robert Sears vaccine info misleads parents about measles

This article is by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), 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 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.

Today, on Friday, January 16, 2015, Dr. Robert (Bob) Sears, a California pediatrician and author of a controversial book on vaccines (critiqued here, pdf, or here by the fine folks at Science Based Medicine) wrote in his Dr. Bob’s Daily and published on his Facebook page that measles is only rarely fatal in developed countries and that serious complications are rare. (In the likely event that Dr. Sears decides to delete his misleading comments, it’s archived here permanently.)

Dr. Sears’s comments were false. And they were irresponsible. In a way that can put people – including children, including his patients – at serious risk. This is not the first time Dr. Bob Sears has made inaccurate claims about a vaccine preventable disease, but on the background of the current measles outbreaks, the risk from his behavior is more imminent and more obvious. It is appropriate to react.

Duties, Responsibilities, and Ethical Failures

 

Dr. Bob’s home base–Orange County, CAhas seen over 21 measles cases during 2014, of which seven were hospitalized. As of now, a large and expanding measles outbreak has centered that part of California.

Dr. Robert Sears vaccine reputation is considered friendly to parents who delay, skip or refuse vaccines–his patient population includes many such parents. At least some of his young patients were not given the  MMR vaccine (for measlesmumps and rubella) or the MMRV vaccine (MMR plus varicella, also known as chickenpox), and are thus at high risk of measles. Children under five are at higher risk of measles complications than older children. By inaccurately downplaying the risks of measles, Dr. Sears is reaffirming these parents’ decision to deny their children the MMR. He is actively supporting leaving those children unprotected against measles, when there is an extremely effective, simple preventive medication at hand–the MMR vaccine.

Dr. Bob is not just another commentator on the web, or just another anti-vaccine activist. He is a pediatrician. This means two things. First, he has ethical responsibilities to his patients. His patients are the children whose welfare is entrusted to his care, and who deserve to be protected against diseases according to the universal recommendation of all professional bodies.

He also owes a duty to the parents who are their guardians: he owes them accurate information, and he owes them his best expert advice. Not catering to their misconception: he owes them the truth. When he says things that are false, he is failing his duty to them. He is undermining informed consent, because informed consent can only be based on true information. And he is failing his little patients by misleading their guardians about the risk of a disease they can prevent.

Second, being a pediatrician means that his opinions carry clout beyond what a lay commentator’s would–even when, as here, they are plainly wrong and against the evidence. He may not have an official ethical duty to those who read his comments on the web. But he has a moral duty not to mislead those who trust his professional accreditation and expertise.

How are the claims false?

 

Some of Dr. Sears’ claims are quoted below (in italics):

“…the lie is that measles has a high rate of serious complications. It doesn’t. It CAN, but it rarely does.”

“Potentially fatal? Technically true, but herein lies the lie. It’s been publicized as “the deadliest of all childhood fever/rash illness with a high rate of complications.” Deadly? Not in the U.S., or any other developed country with a well-nourished population. The risk of fatality here isn’t zero, but it’s as close to zero as you can get without actually being zero. It’s 1 in many thousands.”

In other words, Dr. Bob is claiming measles only rarely has serious complications, and is very, very rarely fatal. What does the data show?

The CDC has scientifically established the rate of complications from measles at 30% (pdf). That includes 6% of people getting pneumonia, about 1 out of 1000 get encephalitis, and around 2 out of 1000 die. Those numbers are not from the 19th century–they are based on the years 1985-1992, which included the latest large scale measles outbreak the United States has seen (since then cases have been rare, thanks to the MMR vaccine, and the free availability of children’s vaccines through the CDC’s Vaccines for Children Program).

In recent years, Europe has seen a large-scale measles outbreak–mostly in unvaccinated children–literally, thousands of cases. One article from France puts the death rate there at 3 out of 1000. Death rates from vaccine preventable measles is scary. In 2011,  Europe saw nearly 29, 000 cases of measles (pdf). Over 80% of those 29,000 cases were in the unvaccinated. What were the rates of complications? One table from the article provides the breakdown, though the article makes it clear the reporting of complications is incomplete:

Europe 2011 measles complications

So, we have 8 deaths, or about 1:3500; close to 1:1000 that got encephalitis, 4% that got pneumonia. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem like good odds to me.

And the results in 2011 are not the end of the story, because SSPE can appear years after the fact. In Germany during the last 6 years, there were 31 cases of SSPE, for a risk of 1:1700-1:3300 in children under five.  SSPE, or subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, is always fatal. And it’s a slow, lingering death in which the child slowly loses her capacity ( other stories here, here and here).

But the risk of fatalities is close to zero? One in many thousands? Not generally, and especially not if you’re under five.

Look at what is happening in the United States right now. As of January 13, there were 26 cases linked to the Disney outbreak, and out of those 6 were hospitalized–a rate of 23%. Complications are higher in adults and children under five.

But serious complications are rare? I guess it depends how you define serious and how you define rare. Raise your hand if you’d be happy with seeing your three year old in a hospital.

“Complications? … Pneumonia is next – also treatable.”

Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an attending physician in the Department of Infectious Diseases, an expert on vaccines and infectious diseases, disagrees. “You can support people with measles pneumonia (by ventilating them and giving them oxygen), but there is no treatment.”

Encephalitis? That’s much worse. Fortunately it’s extremely rare in well-nourished people.

Deadly? Not in the U.S., or any other developed country with a well-nourished population.

The numbers repeated in this article are taken from the United States and from Europe, certainly not undeveloped areas of the world with chronic malnutrition. Between the two, Europe has less income inequality and lower rates of poverty than the United States – and it has seen encephalitis and deaths. Roald Dahl’s daughter, Olivia, who died from measles encephalitis, was well nourished.

What basis is there for Sears claiming that these complications are extremely rare in the well nourished? He provides none, and his claims contradict the view of experts. Says Dr. Offit: “Sears implies that complications from measles can be avoided by being well nourished. This is certainly untrue. Measles hospitalizations and deaths in the US typically occurred in previously healthy children.”

Ask any Grandma or Grandpa (well, older ones anyway), and they’ll say “Measles? So what? We all had it. It’s like Chicken pox.””

Dr. Offit points out that the 400-500 people who did not survive their infection with measles each year are unlikely to agree. Unfortunately, interviewing those who aren’t alive to tell their stories may prove a bit challenging. But one parent who lost his precious, well nourished child–author Roald Dahl–eloquently disagreed.

 

“I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.

“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.

“I feel all sleepy,” she said. In an hour, she was unconscious.

In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.”

Roald Dahl called on parents to protect their children against this illness, which Sears dismisses as “so what”.

I asked a number of people from my mom’s and my grandmother’s generation. They disagreed that measles is “so what”–they didn’t share Dr. Sears’ opinions on measles (see here, here, and here).

This news story, published in the 1950’s well before the existence of the vaccine, disagrees with Dr. Sears’ off-handed dismissal of the dangers of measles’ epidemics.

Two research teams, a continent apart, are hot on the trail of poles-apart methods of combatting measles. Traditionally one of the “inevitable” childhood fevers, measles is widely underrated as a health menace. For children under three and for adults, it is a threat to life itself; at any age it can cause brain inflammation, which now (since Salk vaccine) kills more victims than does polio and handicaps about as many by damaging the brain.

And is measles like chicken pox? Let’s compare harms pre-vaccine:

Measles Chicken Pox
Deaths per year 450 on average Average of 103
Hospitalization per year 48,000 11,000

 

Chicken pox can harm you; but measles is much more likely to.

Dr. Bob is right that measles won’t spread through the United States and “kill people left and right”–mostly because most children are vaccinated. Get enough cases, however, and it will kill, and cause additional extensive suffering. Suffering that is preventable. Not giving his patients the full facts about that suffering – in fact, downplaying the rate of complication and the risk of death – is unfair towards them. It’s actively misleading them.

Dr. Bob is also failing his duty by not reminding his patients that this suffering can be prevented. We have an extremely effective–99% of people who get two doses will have long term protection (pdf)–and extremely safe vaccine against it. A vaccine many of Dr. Bob’s patients choose to delay or not get for their young children – something his post will encourage them in.

What can you do about it? 

Dr. Sears’s actions are irresponsible. They are a failure of his professional and ethical duty as a physician, and they actively mislead people.

There are a number of things you can do to respond.

A. File a complaint with California’s medical board. Here is the link for complaints:

http://www.mbc.ca.gov/Consumers/Complaints/

And here are Dr. Bob Sears’s details (all publicly available with easy searches – nothing here violates his privacy).

Sears, Robert William
License number: 60936

26933 CAMINO DE ESTRELLA
CAPISTRANO BEACH, CA
US 92624

(949) 493-5437

DrSears@askdrsears.com

B. File a complaint with the FTC. In response to a comment highlighting the inaccuracies and omissions in his claims on his Facebook page, Dr. Bob said:

Sears-buy-book

“Thanks for posting. Realize that this post was far from a complete discussion. It only focused on the topic in the title. That’s it. There’s no way for me to write a complete post on mealses [sic] – don’t have that much time. That’s what the measles chapter in the book is for”

When promotion of misleading claims is tied to the sale of a product – his book – there’s a colorable claim that he is using misleading and unfair practices in trade. This may justify filing a claim with the FTC. And to remind you, Dr. Bob Sears also sells medical services – and as the post demonstrates, makes untrue claims while doing so. In a previous post, our  gracious host provided a step-by-step guide on how to complain with the FTC about a different promoter of misleading claims.

The same steps can be used here.

C. Spread the word, and ask professional organizations to act. Write letters to the editor, and speak up in any forum you can, saying clearly that misleading claims of this sort, by a doctor, are inappropriate. And even more inappropriate when they put children, adult and the public health at risk.

This is not just an abstract failure of duty. I’m a California parent. Dr. Bob’s actions are increasing the risk of preventable disease and making my state less safe for my children. In 2015 my children should not have to worry about a preventable disease. Nor should the children of other parents. And parents shouldn’t have to see their children suffer from it, not the parents misled by Dr. Sears, not the parents who made the error of not vaccinating by falling for misinformation from elsewhere and are encouraged in their error by Dr. Bob, and not the parents of other children that may be infected because they’re too young, have medical conditions that prevent vaccinating, or suffer vaccine failure.

We all deserve better.

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss
This article is by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), 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 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.
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  • bilingualmom

    So can we assume that Ms. Reiss is against mandating the chicken pox vaccine, as it is pretty mild compared to measles, according to the information she posted in this blog? After all, 103 deaths of mostly immunocompromised people out of 226+ million people (pre vaccine era), at a time when pretty much everybody was getting it, shows that it isn’t really necessary.

    Especially when you look at adverse reaction rates, or realize that in 2014 there were 75 life altering reactions reported to the chicken pox vaccine, including anaphylactic shock and death. So shouldn’t parents really be allowed to make the decision for themselves when it comes to the chicken pox vaccine, considering there are risks to the vaccine? Would you support taking this one off California’s list of mandated vaccines?

  • bilingualmom

    I find it really funny that Ms. Reiss thinks that Dr. Sears has a conflict of interest and is guilty of misleading trade practices because he referred people to a chapter in his book that can be easily obtained at the library, but doesn’t think that Dr. Paul Offit, who has made millions off his Rotateq vaccine and has very strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry, has conflicts of interest that can mislead people.

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  • Sherry Van Valkenburgh

    Always wondered why you vaccine supporters use skeptical in your name. Skeptic- A person who questions the validity or authenticity of something known as factual. That definition is the opposite of your ideology! And exactly what people questioning vaccines are- Skeptics!! Just sayin.

  • Nikkin

    For a great understanding of why we OPPOSE MANDATORY VACCINATION, take a look at this video featuring Landee Crier, Brittney Kara, Shannon MKroner and Melissa Eliyahoo. These well-informed and educated parents discuss vaccine efficacy, vaccine dangers, parental rights, medical freedom, and a whole lot more! Please watch, share, and take action to stop mandatory vaccination! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpcbVVMKT8c

  • Kevin Johnson

    Brian Hooker comments below on the O.C. Register Article about crony capitalist CA legislators:

    “My name is Brian Hooker and I am a PhD Biochemical Engineer. 

    I am writing you specifically as a parent of a 17 year-old vaccine injured child, who under the current version of SB277 would not be exempt from receiving more vaccines that could risk his very life. SB277 is beyond a “bad bill” and will remove checks and balances necessary for parents to make medical decisions for their own children. 

    Currently, there is no recourse in the U.S. in the case of vaccine injury (such as that sustained by my son) as it is illegal to sue a vaccine manufacturer for a design defect or anything else except in cases of out-and-out fraud. Conflicts of interest abound in vaccine safety governing bodies: the CDC, the FDA and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Also, pharmaceutical companies own the press via advertising dollars as between $3.4 and $5.6 billion dollars per year are spent on pharmaceutical television advertising alone.

    In addition, religious exemptions, which will be eliminated by SB277, are necessary – many vaccines are manufactured from fetal cell lines resulting from elective abortions. WI-38 is a fetal cell line from an elective abortion and it is used in the MMR-II formulation specifically for the rubella vaccine. The abortion was done because the family decided they already had too many children. MRC-5 was taken from the lungs of a healthy 14 week old male fetus. The abortion was done for maternal psychiatric reasons. The chickenpox vaccine (Varivax®) is made using both the WI-38 and MRC-5 cell lines. There are no other vaccine choices that are not derived from aborted fetuses for these diseases (measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox) and thus, under SB277, individuals would be forced to receive these vaccines, regardless of their religious beliefs. Other vaccines (DTaP, rabies, HepA, HepB and shingles) are manufactured using these cell lines. However, there are alternative formulations in these cases or these would not be prescribed through SB277.

    Also, SB277 is not needed for protection of children in the State of California. Uptake rates for vaccinations among kindergarten children entering school in California is between 92 and 96%, well above the recommendation by CDC’s Healthy People 2020 program of 90% coverage to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity insures adequate protection on a population basis among vaccinated individuals. This will assure that vaccinated individuals in the population will be protected against infectious disease, even when exposed to unvaccinated individuals.

    Vaccine injury is real and not rare. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) which compensates for individuals who are permanently injured by vaccines has paid out over $3 billion in claims since its inception in 1988. Hundreds of thousands of adverse reactions to vaccines have been recorded on the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System and, for example, the Gardasil vaccine (against the human papilloma virus) has led to over 140 deaths alone. The current autism epidemic in the United States has reached proportions of one in 68 individuals and there are many scientific publications that show a strong link between autism and vaccine exposure. 

    The amount of mercury in the influenza vaccine (25 micrograms) consistently exceeds the EPA safe guideline for mercury exposure such that an individual would have to weigh at least 550 lbs to safely ingest the mercury in the flu shot. Other vaccines are reported to have only “trace amounts” of mercury (of up to 1 microgram per injection). However, these vaccines also contain aluminum at levels up to 800 micrograms. Aluminum is synergistically toxic with mercury causing the small amount of mercury to cause devastating damage to some individuals. 

    I’ve gathered a list of over 46 peer-reviewed scientific publications linking vaccine exposure to autism. These are published in highly reputable journals by individuals from Harvard University, UC San Diego, University of British Columbia and SUNY Stonybrook, among many others. Thirty-three of these papers consider thimerosal toxicity in the etiology of autism. The autism epidemic in California is real and not due to better diagnosis of autism, nor due to increased community awareness. A study from the UC Davis MIND Institute from 2009 by Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto showed that only 16% of the increase in autism diagnoses in California between 1990 and 2000 could be attributed to factors such as increased awareness and that the remaining 84% showed a real increase in autism numbers relative to the state population (Hertz-Picciotto et al. 2009 Epidemiol 20:84). 

    I have been personally investigating the CDC since 2002 and have seen evidence of gross malfeasance in the vaccine safety program, specifically related to vaccine exposures and neurodevelopmental disorders. The CDC Whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, spoke with me personally regarding this malfeasance in over 30 separate phone conversations we had between November 2013 and September 2014. In these conversations, he revealed to me the relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism in African American males, which he affirmed in a press release from his attorney on August 27, 2014 (http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/). Dr. Thompson also revealed to me a very strong relationship between thimerosal (mercury) exposure and tics specifically in boys.

    There have been four separate scathing reports regarding gross conflicts of interest in the CDC, citing that over 97% of the individuals on the governing bodies deciding the vaccine schedules for children and adults in the U.S. have specific conflicts of interest with vaccine manufacturers. This includes the 2003 Congressional “Mercury in Medicine” report, a 2004 report from the U.S. Senate, a 2008 report from the Office of the Inspector General and a 2014 report from the Office of Research Integrity. Even the former CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, after resigning from the CDC in 2008, became the head of Merck’s multibillion dollar vaccine division one year later in 2009, reflecting the incestuous nature between government vaccine regulators and the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. 

    Please support me and my family by opposing and fighting against SB277.”

    http://m.ocregister.com/articles/children-661886-school-year.html

  • Kevin Johnson

    VACCINE LEGISLATION BREAKS THE “GOLDEN RULE” at a time where no one trusts govt anymore & vaccine manufacturers have zero liability and the FDA/CDC are engaged in crony capitalism”

    Andrew O’Laughlin said about CA legislators:

    “With both of these bills, a line is being crossed, and I do not approve of it.

    I believe in the Golden Rule. My moral code is such that I don’t have a right to force others to take on more risk than they are willing to assume for themselves and their children in the off chance that it could make my life or my children’s lives slightly safer. I wouldn’t want others to force me in this manner if the shoe was somehow on the other foot. I don’t think the people supporting these kinds of vaccine mandate bills would appreciate being forced to adhere to an authoritative medical policy that they don’t agree with, especially if it has the potential to do harm to their children or conflicts with their philosophical/religious beliefs. It’s hard for some folks to see the double standards with vaccines, but vaccine mandate legislation violates the Golden Rule, and it therefore conflicts with my moral code.

    Vaccines, despite their benefits, are inherently risky (as they always have been if you take a good look at their history beyond just the selective history presented by the industry). Many risks are still unknown, and we don’t “have it all figured out already.” There is a risk/benefit determination for each vaccine that needs to remain up to the individual and his or her doctor. Blanket one-size-fits-all medical policies do not take the individual into account sufficiently, and therefore are not necessarily good for a society that is made up of individuals. 

    Furthermore, there is not a compelling beneficial need that outweighs the intangible costs of these bills to our American way of life. The government doesn’t have the right to strip citizens of their parental rights and of informed consent in the matter of medical interventions like vaccines that have risk for citizens and their children. That would be medical oppression, not all that dissimilar from the religious oppression we fled from that served as a basis for the founding values and identity of our country. The rights to bodily integrity and to informed consent in medical procedures are essential human rights, and these bills would be imposing a largely untested schedule of vaccines (that have risk) on unwilling participants, without informed consent. That’s a no-no in my book, and is fundamentally unethical. 

    People have a right to say no to one vaccine, several vaccines, or all vaccines, and to proceed with the timing of vaccines in accordance with their personal risk tolerance. The government does not have a right to take informed consent and bodily integrity away. Even if supporters of mandate legislation think vaccines are totally harmless, which they evidently aren’t (for everybody), the vaccines are likely harmful or potentially harmful in the minds of the people who mandate bills would be bullying into compliance. Imagine how that is from the perspectives of the people having mandates forced upon them. It wouldn’t feel so good, would it?

    Mandate bills are unnecessary and will only further fuel the fire of those who oppose them, thereby undermining the efforts of those who wish to maximize immunization rates through vaccines. More and more people will question vaccines, and lose necessary trust in authorities a result of these kinds of bills and as a result of the widespread evident media bias that serves to sever trust for people who have done even a small amount of their own thinking on vaccine-related matters. Trust is essential for the success of our immunization program, and for the relationship between authorities and the subjects of authority.

    The focus should be on solving the problems in our approach to vaccines that are turning people away or having them selectively vaccinate in the first place, not on trying to force those who question or dissent in any way into compliance. We must really listen to the concerns of those exercising exemptions (for one, some, or many vaccines) and take the actions to address the concerns of the “informed dissenters.” The dissenters are, for the most part, well-informed and well-educated. It is a consumer safety movement above all else, and there are legitimate concerns being dismissed that will keep coming back, and coming back, and coming back, etc., until they are properly resolved. 

    Ultimately, choice in the matter of vaccines is a consumer safeguard, and it’s essentially the only safeguard we have left as a captive consumer base for vaccines. Much of the media has not been a reliable safeguard as a result of silent censorship due to the influence of pharmaceutical advertising revenue. Trust in the CDC as a regulatory authority is being eroded as evidence grows of bad decisions they have made and their conflicts of interest, so that safeguard is on life support until they reform and make amends. Lastly, the safeguard of product liability is not in place to incentivize better products and better research. Perhaps the exemptions we should be looking at removing with legislative efforts are the exemptions from liability for those who stand to profit from vaccines…”

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  • Spencer James Smith

  • Spencer James Smith

    think AIDS began by people having sex with apes?

  • Spencer James Smith

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8uR7ooZa4Q dr wakefield on info wars – gardasil adverse effects, and autism link

    • Dorit Reiss

      I would encourage you to get your information from someone without Andrew Wakefield’s history of misrepresentation.

      • Spencer James Smith

        again, same as other comment. i side with what dr. wakefield has said. you can side with those against.

  • Spencer James Smith

    CDC Whistle Blower admits MMR Vaccine causes Autism

  • Spencer James Smith

    Robert F Kennedy explains vaccines and the autism coverup

    • Dorit Reiss

      It’s sad that, against the evidence, Robert Kennedy still believes the debunked notions about thimersoal. But stating his opinion on video doesn’t make it anymore true than when he wrote his misleading article.

      • Joe

        What about Ghandi? See quote. He’s a man of law (does that get a tick from you?) and of the utmost credibility…

        “Vaccination is a barbarous practice, and it is one of the most fatal of all the delusions current in our time, not to be found even among the so-called savage races of the world.

        Those who are conscientious objectors to vaccination should, of course, have the courage to face all penalties or persecutions to which they may be subjected by law, and stand alone, if need be, against the whole world, in defence of their conviction”

  • Spencer James Smith

    “Dr Tetyana Obukhanych is the author of Vaccine Illusion: How Vaccination Compromises Our Natural Immunity and What We Can Do to Regain Our Health. In her book, she presents a view on vaccination that is radically different from mainstream theories”

    • Dorit Reiss

      Sadly, Dr. Obukhanych’s book is wrong and misleading: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/why-does-this-immunologist-reject-vaccinations/

      Maybe that’s why she no longer works as an immunologist.

      • Kathy

        and quite possibly the reason she had to self publish her book. Because it’s so full of falsehoods no publishing company would touch it.

      • Spencer James Smith

        i believe its because she is right. so we will agree to disagree. also agree to disagree about dr. wakefield. things just go in a continual spiral of debunking. i have found it usually comes down to this. people that believe in conspiracy theories and people that dont. and unless that aspect is going to change, then theres no point in debating it in my opinion. cuz im probably not going to change my mind at least in the near future. and you probably will not either.

  • Spencer James Smith

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpQOnGJ7BFI

    “Expert Doctor Won’t Vaccinate His Own Children – Vaccine Is More Deadly Than Swine Flu Itself!”

  • Joe

    From that CDC report you linked to, it would appear that Dr Sears kind
    of has a point. Let me elaborate…

    (1)
    Doc statement: measles has a high rate of serious complications. It doesn’t. It CAN, but it rarely does

    CDC Statement: 30% of reported measles cases have one or more complications AND From 1985 through 1992, diarrhea was reported in 8% of measles cases, making this the most commonly reported complication of measles

    I’m not the best with data, I’ll freely admit that, but the CDC
    statement seems to support the Doc. Let’s work the CDC’s numbers into an
    example…

    2008 Example:
    120 = Number of measles cases
    36 = 30% suffer 1 or more complications
    2.88 = 8% that suffer diarrhea the most serious complication, from
    those that suffer complications
    304M = Population size (just for some perspective folks!)

    (2)
    Doc statement: The risk of fatality here isn’t zero, but it’s as close
    to zero as you can get without actually being zero

    CDC statement: Death from measles was reported in approximately 0.2% of
    the cases in the United States

    Let’s continue to work the above example…

    2008 Example continued:
    120 = Number of measles cases
    0.24 = 0.2% deaths from measles (that’s close to zero, right?)
    304M = Population size (kind of makes the above number look tiny,
    right?)

    So as you can see, based on 2008 and working the CDC numbers, then
    these particular statements from the good (or bad!) Doc do not seem so wild and
    whacky (or should I say Quacky :D). Obviously, as you have done, I’ve selected
    data to help the argument. The point is we can all pick sensationalist
    headlines to tarnish individuals when in reality we are simply cherry picking
    figures and statements to suit our own agenda, biases, further careers and
    personal gain. We’re all guilty of it, but when lives and livelihoods are at stake sensationalism is not the answer.

    I’ll now open the floor to criticism…

    • Spencer James Smith

      to go along with this i have heard many claims from politicians and doctors and nurses that vaccines are safe. what is that supposed to mean? meaning that they know there is some risk, but dont want to scare people and are annoyed so they say safe. well do they mean completely? i have heard from others that they are perfectly safe.

      • Dorit Reiss

        Meaning serious problems from vaccines are extremely rare, and the risks of not vaccinating much higher: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/26/peds.2014-1079.abstract

      • Kathy

        I wish people would saying vaccines are safe and instead say vaccines are as safe as they can be and far safer than not vaccinating. Because the latter is truly backed up by science. I think, sometimes, it is just easier to say safe. But then antivaxers nitpick that to death. Therein lies one of the problems.

        • Joe

          “antivaxers nitpick” – um, parents with dead or injured kids and families broken as a result, might just have an issue with the word “nitpick”. Unless of course you think vaccines are harmless and have only done good, in which case “nitpick” is an excellent choice of language!

          • Kathy

            Joe, most claims of vaccine injury or death are wrong. I’ve read hundreds of vaccine injury and death stories and most of them have to do with SIDS or autism, neither of which is caused by vaccines.

            I have tremendous empathy for anyone who has a family member with health issues or who loses a loved one but it does not help anyone at all to be irrational about the causes of these health issues, injuries or deaths.

            So, yes, when I say people opposed to vaccines nitpick things like the word “safe” I mean that vaccines are as safe as they can be, far safer than any other drug and far far safer than disease. They are not 100% safe but they are far safer than not vaccinating. There are some very rare incidences where vaccines do harm people. We have a system in place to help compensate people when that happens. If we did not vaccinate, we would return to a time when thousands of people a year in the USA alone would die and millions would be sick every year of VPDs. Compare that to 3900 claims paid out in the last 26 years for vaccine injuries. That comes to about 150 a year. 150 a year compared to millions. It is a tragedy anyone is injured by a drug but it happens. It’s about risk analysis. Vaccines are far safer than disease.

            • Joe

              Fair enough. But on the contrary, the Antis believe that vaccination has little do with the decline in disease. Data suggests that most diseases were practically eradicated prior to the introduction of vaccinations. Have you heard of the ‘Leicester Experiment’? http://www.localpopulationstudies.org.uk/PDF/LPS30/LPS30_1983_60-66.pdf

              I came into this debate with an open-mind trying to find out why some people have an issue with vaccinations, what I personally have found (call me ignorant as Skeptical Raptor implied) is that the antis are very calm and measured and seek to provide data from unbiased sources. However, Pros come across very angry, very pro industry, and often point to the CDC or corporate sponsored journals as sources of truth… that’s like me asking you to ask my mother if I’m a super-awesome guy (98% of the time she’ll say yes, lol).

            • Kathy

              When you spend more time in this debate, I think you will find that there are crass, obnoxious and angry people on both sides. I don’t think of CDC as “industry-sponsored” though. For example, this list of vaccine safety studies is on the CDC website but most all of these studies are not funded by pharma companies.

              http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/library/vsd_pubs.html

              This link, also, is a fabulous source of information. You will find data for all VPDs, including mortality and morbidity rates. Mortality is death and morbidity is incidence of disease. In some cases, thanks to improvements in medical care, mortality rates were already decreasing prior to vaccines but morbidity was still very high. Like with measles, for example.

              http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/index.html

              Finally, you won’t catch me calling anyone names or even implying it. Dorit is same.

            • Joe

              Hi Kathy, thank you for your response. You come across very cool, and I’m just speaking from my own experience when I say that this is ‘rare’ among Pros (I have no feelings of malice towards anybody). Dorit has certainly helped me and she is far smarter than I will ever be. I’m going to read these links when I get a minute and will probably be back with more questions.

            • Kathy

              Leicester Experiment was an interesting read. Makes a strong case for quarantine of everyone in contact with a serious disease.

            • Mike Stevens

              Can you cite these examples of a provaxer here citing a “corporate sponsored journal”, and explain what you mean by that term?

      • Unless you have a firm foothold in the Nirvana Fallacy, which states if it’s not perfect, it’s shit, real medicine is based upon risks and benefits. Do vaccines have some risks? Yes, but they aren’t as serious as the risks from the diseases they prevent.

        As far as we can tell, there are 0 deaths from vaccines over the past 25 years. Maybe there’s one or two that got missed, but statistically it’s as close to 0 as you can get.

        Yet, Dorit and I have written articles about two children who died from SSPE, one of the serious complications from measles. And most of the first world has a >90% vaccination rate for measles. The point is, if we suddenly stopped MMR vaccinations, the risk from the disease skyrockets, so the USA could see 2,000-20,000 deaths per year. And untold costs of hospitalization.

        In the world of medicine, vaccines are amongst the safest procedures.

        Too many people overstate the risk and understate the benefit.

    • Dorit Reiss

      I suggest you read the actual data above. Over 20% hospitalized in this outbreak; deaths – and I’m not sure why you calculate it out of a number of cases in an outbreak that’s not done, and is still relatively small. You have no basis to assume it will end with 120 cases – it’s way past that.

      The reason cases are limited is thanks to high vaccination rates – but the risk isn’t equal among everyone: the unvaccinated, including those too young to vaccinate, are much more at risk.

      In short, the report counters, not supports, Dr. Sears’ misleading comments.

      • Joe

        “I suggest you read the actual data above” – woooaah! So fiery, so angry. I think you may have actually mis-read or not understood my comment, but I won’t get mad. You will note that I wrote “2008 Example”, so I’ve used figures from 2008 as that was the last complete data for a year I could find. So I guess… in short, the report supports, and does not counter, Dr. Sears’ comments. Happy for you to provide numbers for another year and we can then do some more magic number crunching. Let’s work together (or do you hate me for questioning your views?).

        Btw, where do you stand on some of the great ideas being thrown around by Pros, in particular jailing of Antis and forcefully vaccinating their children? It would be kind of fun to jail everybody that disagreed with me… [runs off to make a list]

        • Dorit Reiss

          The article above discusses the complications of measles. It shows Sears is wrong. Your choice to ignore that information is your own, of course. The Pink Book – the link – does not address 2008: it addresses the last major outbreak, and that did include deaths. There is also data from Europe. 2008 still had a small number of cases – it’s not a good set of numbers, and your choice to do so, ignoring the rest of the data that drew on large scale outbreak, is more than problematic.

          Frankly, I do think ignoring data provided, as your comment has done, is worth of criticism. And if that’s the only way you can support Dr. Sears’ comments, well, that’s telling.

          You can find my views on any of these issues by looking at my articles. Our host does provide a link to a list of them.

          • Joe

            “Your choice to ignore that information is your own, of course” – Nice to know that I’m able to have a choice. I’ve been having nightmares about the Pro Police turning up at my door and taking away my right to have a choice. I’m starting to think I’m pro-choice, does that mean you loathe me? I’ve not ignored anything; in fact I’m right here having a friendly debate about your very words (man, I need to get a hobby).

            “And if that’s the only way you can support Dr. Sears’ comments, well, that’s telling” – That sounds chilling. You work fast and hard, and seek to label quickly, kind of a wild-west attitude of “you’re either with us or against us”. Note that I simply took the CDC’s actual figures and applied them to the last year of complete data. No malicious intent (although I’m sure your incoming seething rebuttal will make it seem this way), just trying to find out whether you or him were right or wrong. You write blogs, you’re single-minded, you’re in law, you support a controversial industry and this ultimately means you’ll have extremely strong, sensitive and well-articulated subjective views. The goal of the reader is to not to blindly follow but to question and to draw one’s own conclusions… no?

            • You have a choice to do whatever you want with your own body. We’re protecting children from ignorance, lies, misinformation, and stupidity. Children have no choice, so unless you actually have real evidence, published in real scientific journals with real peer-review, we’re going to take the default position that children should be protected from vaccine preventable diseases.

              I have no time for ignorant fools.

              And THAT was angry and fiery.

            • Joe

              “You have a choice to do whatever you want with your own body” – Thanks dude.

              “We’re protecting children from ignorance, lies, misinformation, and stupidity” – That’s a relief. I can’t imagine the CDC, the government, the for-profit pharmaceutical companies, the private-sector-sponsored education establishments, being ignorant, full of lies and stupid. We’re in great hands and no need to question a thing… oh wait, the mantra of science is…

              “I have no time for ignorant fools” – Why do you have a blog then Mr Raptor? Are you not trying to educate the ignorant? Or is just for your one-sided rants? I was guided to this blog for intelligent debate, but as the guardian of this blog your interjections are not following this pattern.

              “And THAT was angry and fiery” – Grrrr…. [if you could see me now, I’m snarling right back at you kiddo]

            • Kathy

              I think you need to divorce the marketing of products from the development of cures. What I mean is that the marketing of products in the USA leaves much to be desired but that does not negate the value of vaccines or other drugs. The science can be examined separately from the marketing intentions and thus is not tainted as you seem to think so.

              Also, don’t let Skeptical Raptor get you down. He has a passion for this topic and sometimes words things strongly. Look behind the passion at the science he is sharing.

            • Joe

              “that does not negate the value of vaccines or other drugs” – If you look at my posts you’ll notice that I have not stated that vaccines provide no value. We hold these discussions to understand the value/benefit vs risk that vaccines provide. I think that what often gets lost is that Antis feel just as strongly as the Pros do, but the Pros seem to not appreciate divergent views (and it’s an odd stance to take given that all medicines have potentially severe consequences).

              “Also, don’t let Skeptical Raptor get you down. He has a passion for this topic and sometimes words things strongly” – passion exists on both sides. I see nothing wrong with passion and in fact fully embrace it, but we shouldn’t let passion get in the way of objectivity or allow it to give us the feeling that we are morally superior (Skeptical Raptor, I promise I’m not looking at you :D).

              We’ve become too fixated on vaccines and they are not the real problem. We should be asking why diseases are prevalent, but this question does not make $$$ and neither does it help the largely ignorant (in the nicest possible sense) population to calmly cope with the marketing-driven fear and urgency of non-vaccinating.

            • Kathy

              Well, you have to realize that there is no valid reason not to vax other than proven medical contraindications. So, there is not a divergent view. There is scientific consensus versus pseudoscience. It’s important to make that distinction. As to why diseases are prevalent, there will always be bacteria and viruses and some of them make humans sick. With medicine, we have the means of preventing some of them. That is with vaccines. One thing that helps me is to realize that every country on earth is provax but not every country allows marketing of vaccines the way we do in the USA. So, even though I do not appreciate advertisements for medicine and I firmly believe we should not mass advertise pharmaceuticals at all, that does not negate the science.

            • Joe

              I used “divergent” because most commentators are so wrapped up with emotion that they cannot hear nor understand other views (this is on both sides, but more so on the Pros). The general public are not as studious as you; they hear horror stories or more likely gather their views from some means of marketing from powerful corporations. Most Antis I have conversed with do not negate the science, rather they are pro choice, this I believe is an important distinction. They also tend to believe in the power of a properly maintained immune system, something I’ve learnt through my own experience (I’m not a tree-hugger either, I’m as alpha male as they come). Our subservience to science and vaccines is taking us in the wrong direction as it is a temporary measure with long term affects that are not well understood.

            • Kathy

              I think you will find that most pro science advocates also believe in the power of the properly maintained immune system but we know that even the healthiest body is not a guarantee of surviving VPDs. I disagree about us being subservient to science and vaccines. Science can be very helpful in improving the quality of life, understanding the environment (including our own body), and making valid decisions because science is about evidence. All the evidence indicates vaccines have greater benefits than risks. You are correct on one part – most antivaxers do not understand the science but are heavily swayed by antivax horror stories.

              I am just highly rational, particularly in my conversing on this topic. I believe that is very important. I don’t think anyone who is passionate on either side is ever going to be swayed but I know from experience that thoughtful, rational, respectful conversation can help people who are hesitant make the right choice to vaccinate.

            • Joe

              I maintain that we have become subservient to science and vaccines and this can be both good (I agree) and bad, but the issues arise where we don’t analyse the questionable, but instead follow without regard as to whether something is truly right or wrong for you based on your personal history or that of your family. I don’t believe I said “most antivaxers do not understand the science” that would be doing a dis-service to many intelligent people some of whom come from the medical industry (well, unless I was drunk, midnight ramblings have been known to occur :-). I would agree that you are rational but to a limited extent in that your rationality comes from an ingroup bias. I do not know your background, nor with whom or where you ‘hangout’, but I’d bet my measly savings that these are likely to be people and places where you have shared views, perspectives, experiences and background. Therefore in your mind rationality = vaccinate.

        • “So fiery, so angry?” Methinks you are looking at a reflection of your own issues.

          • Joe

            Hi Skeptical Raptor (cool name, sounds like a Transformer). Angry, I’ll take, but I’m not having fiery, no way. Perhaps anger is needed in the fight to maintain basic liberties and I’ll work on the fiery whilst looking at my reflection.

  • joy

    Dr. Sears is a wonderful doctor who cares for his patients in every respect. This is such a false article and is completely one-sided. You should be ashamed of yourself. He speaks the truth that there are side effects that can be VERY serious. The are many reports of serious illness and death in some people. That is why 6 billion dollars have been paid out to vaccine injury. The doctors and manufactures are not held liable for any injury or death from vaccines!!! 2011 us supreme Court:
    “Vaccines are unavoidably unsafe therefore there should be no product liability lawsuit against manufactureres even if we provide evidence that vaccines could be made safer.”
    He is looking out for the best interest in every individual. Don’t let this article fool you.

    • Dorit Reiss

      I think misinforming people is not treating them with respect. Dr. Sears, as the article documents, misinformed his readers.

      You have point to nothing inaccurate in the article.

      Dr. Sears uses VAERS reports – which do not show causation – to address vaccine injuries. That’s misleading and untrue. He ignores studies on vaccine studies – like this: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/26/peds.2014-1079.abstract – that show that problems are very rare.

      The National Vaccine Compensation Program paid somewhat over 3 billion dollars – but that number is the wrong measure. In 25 years, the program only compensated a little over 3600 cases – somewhat over 100 a year – in spite of having a relaxed burden of proof and millions of vaccines given each year. That’s a tiny number. And many of those cases were for things vaccines were later shown not to cause – like seizure disorder.

      And the Supreme Court actually rejected the application of the unavoidably unsafe terminology in this context: http://www.redwineandapplesauce.com/2014/07/17/guest-post-vaccines-and-unavoidably-unsafe-products/

      I would strongly urge you to make sure the information you receive is reliable.

    • Kathy

      Dr Bob is part of the reason measles is back in North America. His own patient was patient zero in the San Diego outbreak a few years back.

      • joy

        You are full of it!!! The measles outbreak was confirmed by the CDC to have come from another country. How many foreigners do you think go to Disneyland everyday?

        • Kathy

          ” a few years back” You missed that part. it was 2008 and Bob’s patient went to Switzerland unvaxed, brought back measles, and started an outbreak in his wait room.

          http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2011/04/2008-measles-in-dr-bob-sears-waiting.html

        • Kathy

          The Disney outbreak was confirmed as genotype B3 which is a problem in The Phillippines. It was imported in but patient zero has not been confirmed. However, all outbreaks of measles in last few years in North America are always imported in by unvaxed and most victims are unvaxed. That is why we advocate for vaccines.

          • joy

            You said it, “Patient zero has not been confirmed”. How do you then know it was from a unvaccinated person? You don’t! Most of the individual’s who got the measles were in their 20’s. It is interesting how in the last week the CDC changed the efficiency of their MMR vaccine. Now all of a sudden it has a lower efficiency rate. It used to be 95% and 99% by the second shot.http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/faqs-dis-vac-risks.htm

            It is no wonder that even in highly vaccinated populations that there are still outbreaks all the time. Maybe they need to make safer and more effective vaccines and stop blaming the unvaccinated for outbreaks that the vaccine was supposed to protect against in the first place!!!

            • Kathy

              Because these outbreaks are always caused by unvaccinated who have travelled abroad or have had foreign visitors. Google CDC MMWR measles and then a year 2011-2015. Pick any year or read them all. They all say the same thing.

            • Kathy

              Where are there currently outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations? All the reports of that I have read are from the 80s or before, when there was only one MMR on the schedule. And this is why there is now two on the schedule.

              And the China study, before you cite that, is about an on going effort to conquer measles that is successful. They still have outbreaks but the number is decreasing thanks to their immunization plan.

            • joy

              Lol, China is successfully conquering measles?published in the highly authorative Bulletin of the World Health Organization, looked at recent measles occurrences throughout China and found that there were 707 measles outbreaks in the country recorded between 2009 and 2012, with a steep trend upwards in 2013: “The number of measles cases reported in the first 10 months of 2013 – 26,443 – was three times the number reported in the whole of 2012″. This is all the more odd considering that since 2009 “.. the first dose of measles-virus-containing vaccine has reached more than 90% of the target population”.
              One would expect with increasing measles vaccine uptake there would result in a decrease in measles incidence.
              Clearly the vaccines aren’t as effective as claimed, nor is the concept of herd immunity. This observation is supported unequivocally by the epidemiological evidence.

            • Kathy

              I think you need to read the actual documents.

              http://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.13.130195.pdf

            • joy

              I think you should!

            • Kathy

              I did. It doesn’t say what you think it says

            • Kathy

              Okay, let’s read it together, shall we? First page conclusion says that there is progress towards elimination of measles even though some kids still get it. Immunity gaps need to be identified and filled. First few pages talk about how measles cases have bee decreasing since immunization began in 2006. Page 8 starts to talk about how measles resurged in 2013 and what they are doing about it. It resurged “mostly among young, unvaccinated children.”

              This article is a clear indication of the success of measles elimination programs via immunization.

            • Dorit Reiss

              It’s true scientists are not sure about this specific outbreak, but the history shows that outbreaks generally are caused by unvaccinated people bringing it in.

              To remind you, people could be in their 20s and unvaccinated or under vaccinated. The move to the two-dose regime was in the 1990s.

            • joy

              If outbreak are “generally” caused by the unvaccinated then why is the measles itself listed as a side effect on the insert? Just for fun?

            • Dorit Reiss

              To remind you, insert lists everything reported after vaccine, caused by vaccine or not – it says that expressly.

              There have been very, very rare cases where someone vaccinated developed measles from the vaccine that I have heard of. Again, super rare – and these cases do not mention transmission: in other words, no outbreak. In 2011, the first ever cases of a vaccinated person getting wild virus measles – i.e. vaccine failure, not from vaccine – and infecting two others was documented.
              In other words, generally measles –
              A) is caused by wild virus, not vaccine, with freakishly rare exceptions.
              B) Generally is transmitted by the unvaccinated, and most outbreaks start from them.

            • Dorit Reiss

              And to remind you again, most outbreaks of measles are actually in unvaccinated communities.

            • Kathy

              I am seeing that median age is 22. That does not mean most patients were in their 20s. Also, keep in mind that 90% of unvaccinated exposed to measles will get measles whereas only 1-5% of vaccinated will get it. Since most people are vaccinated for measles, this still means there could be more vaccinated cases but the unvaccinated are more affected and always the source of these outbreaks. Also, if people were vaccinated more, we would not have measles in N. America at all!

              http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6406a5.htm?s_cid=mm6406a5_w

          • joy
            • Kathy

              That is a press release from Weston Price. Not science.

            • joy

              Is science god? Science also said the world was flat. Things change.

            • Kathy

              Religion said the world was flat. Science proved them wrong.

            • joy

              Since we take Genesis “literally”[1] we must also believe in a flat earth.[2] The Bible consistently points to a spherical earth. Isaiah 40: 22 reveals that God sits “above the circle of the earth.” Jesus said that he would return when people were in bed, working in a field, and grinding at a mill (Luke 17: 34 – 36). He is referring to one moment in time but it is during different times of the day for various people. He knew all about the spherical nature of the earth because He is the One who created it.

            • Kathy

              You do realize we are discussing science, not religion?

            • joy

              You do realize that you blamed it on religion right? Saying science proved them wrong?

            • Kathy

              You said science said the world was flat. That is inaccurate. Then you quoted from the bible, which is moot point because we are talking science. During Columbus’ time, most people in Europe thought the world was flat. But, in fact, scientist Eratosthenes, an ancient Greek astronomer, had proposed the roundness of our globe 2000 years ago. It just took a long time for the average person to understand this. It wasn’t until the Catholic church officially stopped teaching that the earth was the center of the universe and when explorers sailed around the world and actually came back, instead of falling off, that the average person began to understand the shape of earth and it’s placement in the universe. We have science to thank for this, not religion.

              http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/09/21/who-discovered-the-earth-is-ro/

              There is a fabulous book everyone should read called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

            • joy

              I do believe YOU are the one who said religion is responsible for the belief that the world was flat. The bible says no such thing!

            • joy

              Further more, I am not getting paid to comment on here like you are. Good day!

            • Kathy

              oh no! Joy gave up! Used the pharma shill slur. That means you have nothing else to add to this convo and I won. And, by the way, nobody pays me a thing to post.

            • Kathy

              You quoted from the bible, not me. The Catholic church squelched scientific advancements for hundreds of years, so yes religion in Europe was responsible for the masses thinking the world was flat. Science is responsible for discovering it is round and proving it with evidence.

              You wrote “Is science god? Science also said the world was flat. Things change.”

              Scientific consensus on immunizations (as well as the roundness of earth) supported by thousands of studies and 99% of scientists and doctors on earth is not going to change.

              You really need to read the book I suggested.

            • joy

              You are sadly mistaken,Catholic civilisation has made a remarkable contribution to the scientific investigation and mapping of the earth, producing great explorers such as Marco Polo (d 1324), Prince Henry the Navigator (d 1460), Bartolomeu Dias (d 1500), Christopher Columbus (d 1506) and Ferdinand Magellan
              (d 1521). Far from believing that the world was flat (a black legend invented in the 19th century), the Catholic world produced the first modern scientific map: Diogo Ribeiro’s Padrón Real (1527). Fr Nicolas Steno (d 1686) was the founder of stratigraphy, the interpretation of rock strata which is one of the principles of geology.

            • Kathy

              You really need to study history.

            • Kathy

              Look up Galileo and the church’s early opinion on heliocentrism.

            • joy

              In Christian medieval Europe, Bede (7th century C.E.), a scholar and a Catholic monk, produced an influential treatise that included a discussion of the spherical nature of the world. This work, The Reckoning of Time, was copied and distributed to clerics across the Carolingian empire. Later, in the 1300s, Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy also describes the Earth as a sphere.

              The Catholics weren’t the only religious sect that thought the world was round.  The Islamic world is known to have consistently maintained the scientific knowledge of the Greeks and Romans, preserving the works of Aristotle and Ptolemy, among others. They were well aware the Earth was round, having calculated with relatively good precision its circumference in the early 9th century.

              As historian Jeffrey Burton Russell stated,

              With extraordinary few exceptions, no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the Earth was flat.

  • Lisa

    I am appalled at the outright slander of Dr Sears name and the one-sided view of this article written against him. The person who wrote it is a lawyer! How ironic to speak against a persons rights when you are a lawyer. Dr Sears is a well-respected doctor who is is simply an advocate of children and parental rights. He educates his patients and allows them to choose. He will vaccinate if a parent chooses and will not if a parent chooses not to! Parents, protect your rights and unite!! Do not fight amongst yourselves out of panic and ignorance. There are those who choose to exercise the right to vaccinate and those who choose to exercise the right to NOT vaccinate. One side should not advocate to FORCE the other side to do what they choose to to do! Do not advocate FORCING parents to immunize their children. This will, in the end, only hurt EVERYONE! Once the right to choose whether or not to vaccinate is gone, what is next???? VERY scary! Alarming! Dont people see the possibilities here? Doctors are caregivers. They are not gods who know all and deserve our unquestioning and unconditional trust. The pharmaceutical companies want to rule the world and control the medical industry, AND the HUGE profits are there! Our government wants eventual total power and control over our lives and will say and do almost anything to be able to have it. There is far too much greed and selfish agenda out there to blindly trust everything we are told. That includes this measles out break. It is an untruth to claim that the cause of the California measles outbreak is because of those who do not vaccinate their children. Doctors, those in government office, the media, they are all running with this one, each with their own agenda and it has nothing to do in the end with concern for people. It is an impossibility to pinpoint un-vaccinated children as the cause of this latest outbreak. I have even heard someone say that those who do not vaccinate their children are evil and deserve to die. There is not only ignorance spreading over this issue but hatred too. What a perfect way to steal away the right to choose to vaccinate or not AND to open the door wide to more and more control over the health of the American people and their children and to use that to manipulate and control. Just use the panic, the worry, and false information to sway the American people to turn against eachother, and then slowly, but very surely the people will give it all away, including parental rights of all kinds. Not just medically. Parents, unite to protect ALL of your rights over your precious children. Get educated on this vaccination issue. Do your own research. And dont just research one side of it. Dont just find research to support your own “opinion”. Carefully choose your resources. The media is not reliable. The pharmaceutical companies are not to be trusted. They actively go after and run down anyone who will not agree with their agenda. Look very carefully at the side that says to vaccinate AND look very carefully at the side that says not to! Learn for yourself and make a decision for your kids that you can live with. You dont have to be a doctor to understand what needs to be understood or to make good decisions for your children. You dont have to be an expert to “get it”. Look at this in a balanced way and make your own decision and respect the decisions of others instead of being hateful and wanting to bring on FORCE against them because you just dont agree. Why wouldnt you want to research this? Dont go by just what you want to hear or read. For those who feel that parents should be FORCED to vaccinate you really ought to re-consider. Dont open the door to your OWN loss of rights for YOUR kids through agreeing to FORCED vaccination for OTHER kids. Every parent must protect the right to choose above all else. If a parent chooses to NOT vaccinate does it really make sense that they are forcing you to put your kids in danger? After all, if a parent is so confident that vaccinations truly protect their children from contracting a disease, why would they be worried that some un-vaccinated kid is going to come along and cause their kid to contract a disease? Has anyone else thought of that? There are actually a ton of people who vaccinate their child because they believe that vaccines totally protect them, yet they are concerned that their child is in danger because they will contract measles through an un-vaccinated child. Does that make sense? If anything, wouldnt the un-vaccinated child be the only one in danger from getting the measles?? (research does not show that being un-vaccinated causes one to contract the disease) Such a ridiculous thing. I have found that most parents who dont vaccinate have done their research. Find out for YOURSELF and look carefully and deeply into this vaccination issue before you blindly support FORCING anyone to make a medical decision for their own children!! Or your own kids may one day be in danger when the next right to choose regarding other issues gets taken away from all. Do you want doors to control over us to be opened because you were part of supporting that someone elses rights be taken away? Above all, protect your parental rights. PARENTS UNITE! Protecting eachothers rights will protect EVERYONES rights!

    • Dorit Reiss

      Misleading patients is not part of a doctor’s rights. It’s a violation of his professional and ethical duties.

    • 1st) This is printed so if it were incorrect, it would be libel not slander.

      2nd) Vaccines are a profit loss not a gain. Thus, “Big Pharma” stands to make money through efforts like yours and Sears, not those like Professor Reiss’s.

      3rd) “There is far too much greed and selfish agenda out there to blindly trust everything we are told.” ROFL. Do you not see the irony in this? You blindly trust those with things to sell you from their websites, rather than those who spent close to 20 years of their lives studying this or history.

      • Spencer James Smith

        there is money being made somewhere. and if there is not, then big pharma is doing it because they are told to for the sake of the agenda.

        • What agenda? Saving lives? Preventing harm? Those are both good.

    • Andrew Lazarus

      Web sites are probably libel, not slander, although IANAL. I don’t expect Dr Sears to sue either way. Truth is defense.

    • joy

      I agree completely! We need to stand up for our rights before they are all taken away. People wake up!! Do you want your freedom taken away one by one. Remember they divide then conquer. Wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kathy

      Dr Bob Sears called another well-meaning doctor “dr phrophet” and worse, as seen in the screen shots. So, how is this one-sided? These are screen shots of his own posts? Mature, thoughtful, caring adults do not call people names like that.

  • Pingback: Sears and Gordon: Should Misleading Vaccine Advice Have Professional Consequences? | Equities Canada()

  • Joe

    Ok so I’m back with more questions. Again they are likely to upset many but as they say in science, “Question everything” (or is the topic of vaccines exempt?). Anyway, onwards…

    1) If the “immunity” provided by vaccines is only temporary and 98% of the population is vaccinated, then do the vaccinated not present a bigger risk then the unvaccinated who can achieve life-long immunity? (Bit of tongue twister that one)

    2) Why are vaccines considered an “uninsurable risk”?

    3) How can the Tetanus vaccine induce immunity, when contracting the disease naturally does not give immunity?

    4) If diphtheria vaccine, which I understand is a toxoid, works against the toxin produced by the bacteria, and not against the bacteria itself, then how can this vaccine help in the decline of diphtheria?

    5) I personally would never choose to put the ingredients listed in vaccines in my body, so why put it in my kid?

    6) If the vaccines are so safe, why is there such a strong “anti” movement? There are many things in this world that are not safe for both adults and children, so why does this particular topic cause strong emotions?

    7) Why are the victims prohibited from suing the makers of vaccines? Surely if they were safe the antis would never win a case??

    8) Dr Sears apparently “misrepresents facts about vaccines”. Are you seriously, no seriously, really seriously telling me that the Pharmaceuticals have never mis-represented facts about vaccines?! The compensation scheme, the angry parents, the growing mob of antis and the whistle-blowers would seem to suggest that they do. In fact history suggests that they do and will likely keep on doing so whilst there is profit to be protected.

    9) Why has there never been a test of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children over a period? This is so obvious that I’m starting to think that I’m mad (wait… my body is itching :D). This would end the debate and argument once and for all, and I cold then leap off the fence! I don’t buy the argument about leaving children at risk hence we can’t do such a test, because the vaccines themselves leave the children at risk. This seems a no-brainer.

    That’s all for you brainy folks 🙂

    • Dorit Reiss

      1. Whether immunity from vaccine is life long or temporary varies by vaccines. That, by the way, is true of the disease too. The evidence is that immunity from MMR to measles and rubella is “probably lifelong” – they can’t exactly measure immunity at point of death – but very long term. From the acellular pertussis it’s short, but the disease doesn’t give you lifelong immunity either. From tetanus, the disease gives no immunity and the vaccine over a decade.

      Part of the problem is if you try to talk in absolutes on these issue. The only generalized point is that no vaccine is approved unless its benefits far outweigh its risk. Besides that, just like each disease is different, each vaccine is different.

      2. What makes you think vaccines are considered an uninsurable risk? Can you give the source for that? Your health insurance would cover harms from vaccine injury, and before NVICP, manufacturers paid for those suits via liability insurance.

      3. That is a little beyond me – the specifics of the how. The evidence is that it does, but I’m no doctor. I will ask.

      4. That’s a great question, and I asked it myself. The explanation I received was that without the toxin, the bacteria is less able to colonize the back of the neck, and hence less able to get to the levels that allow it to spread.

      5. You put almost all these ingredients in you routinely. These are all ingredients that are part of our environment – and our bodies were designed to deal with them, as long as the amounts are small. The amounts in vaccines are tiny, and each ingredient is there for a reason. Here are some sources to start this – but each ingredient actually deserves a full discussion:

      http://www.immunize.org/concerns/vaccine_components.pdf

      http://vec.chop.edu/vaccine-safety/vaccine-ingredients/index.html

      6. To remind you, we have not seen the diseases enough to be aware of the relative safety. But the truth is there was always an anti-vaccine movement, since there are always those who mistrust. Under Jenner, the argument was the vaccine will turn people into cows. Paul Offit’s Deadly Choices will give you a good overview of more modern developments. It’s also a good read.

      7. You’re not arguing our courts are infallible, are you?

      In the 1980s, suits increased. At the time, it was thought the DTP vaccine caused rare cases of brain damage. Studies since disproved that. But the profit margin from vaccines is low, and a few wins were enough to cause manufacturers to leave.

      Both to protect the vaccine supply – and to make it easier for plaintiffs – congress created the NVICP. Not manufacturers. It may interest you to know that a no fault program was suggested as early as the 1970s by AAP, and is in place in Europe earlier.

      8. Manufacturers do not have a monopoly on the data about vaccines – far from it. Our knowledge of vaccines comes from studies from a variety of sources, including governments, non profits, universities. When all those independent sources show the same, assuming it’s wrong is problematic. Of course manufacturers may abuse the market and may hide information; but they’re not alone here, and subject to penalties.

      Dr. Sears doesn’t have that kind of accountability and oversight.

      9. First, there has been at least one study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057555/. But you are actually wrong about the ease of doing it. Since we have strong evidence that vaccines prevent dangerous diseases, denying them to children – making it a double blind clinical trial -is unethical.

      To do it with existing unvaccinated children raises serious problems. The number of completely unvaccinated children is tiny, and pretty constant around 1%. And they are not a random population. So controlling for confounders would be an issue. Further – there are a lot of studies about vaccines addressing every anti-vaccine claim raised: do vaccine cause SIDS (no), allergies (no), and so forth.
      Anti-vaccine activists are asking for an expensive and very hard to do study without pointing to any biological basis for it. What won’t be done when we do that? What really burning question, potentially life saving intervention will be left unfunded – since research dollars are limited? And why? It’s not as if the people who reject tens of thousands of studies because they don’t like the results will accept this one, if it goes the other way.

      • Dorit Reiss

        Hope this helps.

      • Joe

        Thanks, yes your answers did help. Long answer, snooze time…

        I was thinking you come across like quite a bada$$ hard-core Pro-vaccinator. So, I did a little Googling and um, I was right (either that or you just love vaccines :D). I didn’t realise quite how hard-core you are, like wanting to shut people down wherever dissent occurs (or is it just Jen and Sears that you save your cage rage for? lol). I also noted that people are questioning your ties and whether you’re paid by the industry to be a hard-core Pro. Honestly, I don’t care who you represent nor whether you’re paid, I simply want information so I can make decisions on how best to take care of my child. BUT… the USA Today article (“Jail ‘anti-vax’ parents”) and the tendency of the Pros to promote shutting Antis down seem to be unnecessary malicious attempts to silence critics, when in reality there are always two sides to a story. Think about the messages carefully i.e. jail non-conformists and don’t give them a platform to air their opinions. Is that what we really want? Does that sound like a democratic country or a repressive regime? I guess the mantra of science to “Question everything” is perhaps not so applicable to vaccines.

        The fact is, all medicines have side-effects and vaccines are no different and from my experience the body heals from the inside-out (I don’t need a guy in a white-coat to tell me that. The human race has been around far longer than vaccines), so questions should be raised. What if you and USA Today win this battle (you are quite the hardened battler) – do you think disease will be eradicated? Do you think people will have feelings of freedom or of angst that civil liberties are being eroded? Do you think there will be no more vaccine related injuries to children? Do you think the bugs won’t mutate and turn into superbugs with every vaccine that’s introduced? Most events in history are marked by those whom serve to protect the rights of the people, should the Pros stamp out the pesky Antis we could look back at this moment with regret.

        I also think the debate has become too intellectualised and complex and complexity is often used as a guise to conceal home truths or the reality, so that confusion reigns amongst the masses. You’ve got a fantastic way with words, almost lyrical, but potentially to your detriment. I am a simple man and no doubt so are many of the men and women who want to understand vaccines. Parents are not stupid, we can determine whether Dr Sears is an a$$ or has genuine concern, we can discern whether the messages in media seem genuine or are corporate-sponsored, we can tell when science is straight up good or questionable and we know when something is wrong with our child (we hug them every day and night and observe their every change). We need facts (not attacks) laid bare, by those whom we deem as sincere and then left alone to make decisions.

        Allow me to respond to your responses, which were very interesting:

        1) I didn’t realise that vaccines could provide “life long” immunity. This is contrary to everything I’ve read. I’ll revisit this. “The only generalized point is that no vaccine is approved unless its benefits far outweigh its risk” – I can understand this. But the risks exist and they aren’t small fry.

        2) I was asking the question as I had seen it mentioned a number of times. But re-visiting it, I can see that without a compensation system, it became difficult for vaccine manufacturers to predict their exposure to lawsuits. Accordingly, insurers increased prices based on worst-case estimates. So it was more a question of cost for the manufacturers. Although it does make you wonder why insurers were making the premiums so expensive.

        3) Thanks for looking for an answer. This “can infer protection” I don’t understand.

        4) I appreciate the answer, as I couldn’t find one. But it doesn’t fill me with confidence (soz).

        5) I see your point but to knowingly consume mercury, formaldehyde, aluminium, live viruses and unknown live viruses, is a different matter.

        6) I think I’m aware of Paul Offit, who apparently is a multi-millionaire from vaccines – same guy? It would be hard for me to take him too seriously knowing that his bank balance is ticking up with every injection. It’s like a farmer writing about the benefits of dairy.

        7) I’m not that clever. Just raising an obvious query. Thanks.

        8) “When all those independent sources show the same, assuming it’s wrong is problematic” – You’re not arguing that these organisations are infallible, are you? From what I’ve seen “governments, non profits, universities” share the same opinion, but they are not the only opinion and they are all backed by funding from Pharmaceuticals. We’re all susceptible when a few dollars are thrown our way.

        “Dr. Sears doesn’t have that kind of accountability” – He’s a doctor, surely he has a high degree of accountability?? He’s much like you; he’s passionate in his beliefs and seemingly sincere – who are we to trash him?! Again give credit to the ordinary laymen to be able to make judgements about people’s characters, yes we can get it wrong, but so can you guys in the business.

        9) “Anti-vaccine activists are asking for an expensive and very hard to do study without pointing to any biological basis for it” You’re talking in absolutes and I’m sure the Anti crew wouldn’t share your view here. I can accept there would be challenges but again I think this is an issue of masking things in complexity… humans have put man on the moon, mastered flight, built nuclear weapons and yet a study like this for a $300 billion business is too hard.

        By the way somebody recommended a book, which I’m certain you will absolutely detest and can shoot all points down blindfolded, but I thought I’d run past you anyway, it’s called “Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History” – what do you reckon? Is it total trash, hit me with it!

        • Cairenn Day

          Follow the recommendations of the consensus of pediatricians. Not enough, ask your doctor if their children were vaccinated.

          I am in my 60s. My dad was a pharmacist when the final testing for the Salk polio vaccine. He could get me vaccinated then or wait to see if it was fully approved. He asked the doctors that he trusted if they were getting their children vaccinated and EVERY single one of was and doing there best to get sibling’s and friend’s children vaccinated. I am glad they made that decision. To this day, it is an example of how much they LOVED me

          • Joe

            Hi Cairenn, thanks for your input, it’s much appreciated. In terms of LOVE I have yet to meet a parent that has made a decision based on NOT loving their child – that would be kind of weird (unless they were psycho). So I’m not too sure why you’ve emphasised LOVE.

            I have spoken to various doctors and my neighbour, whom I shared a beer with on Thursday, is a doctor. I can confirm that they are all pro-vaccination… in fact show me a doctor and I’ll show you a pro-vaccinator. This might bore you, but I recently had a period of illness and sort the advice of three doctors; the medicines and advice all failed me. I was perplexed and obviously unhappy. I decided to take the matter into my hands and managed to heal myself very quickly through over-looked but simple steps to naturally boost my immune system and cleanse my gut. (You’re probably thinking I’m over-weight and indulge in chocolate in my spare time, well you’d be wrong. I’m slim, athletic and devilishly handsome – ok, not the last part :D). Through my experience I learnt three key things:

            1) Doctors focus on medicine to heal our woes – that’s just what they do. Hence they will all always preach medicine.

            2) Doctors lack knowledge about the body’s ability to self-heal and nutrition. No disrespect, but they just do.

            3) As one doctor admitted to me, the public rely too heavily on doctors and I was one of them… why? Because that’s the status quo. We need to take control of our health to a much larger extent and do you know why? Because we’re all different! We all react differently to medicines, we have different diets, we have different ancestral history, some are fitter then others, and on and on. And a doctor cannot find out this kind of detailed information from you in a 5 min appointment.

            So whilst I respect doctors and will always seek their opinion, I now play a greater role in the understanding and up-keep of my health and since doing so I have not suffered any flu, cold or illness, and all without medicines. Perhaps I’m crazy and wholly misinformed and should surrender more readily to doctors without questioning their authority nor the medications they prescribe.

    • Dorit Reiss

      I have an answer to your tetanus question: “Tetanus bacteria produce a toxin (tetanospasmin) that can induce disease at sub-immunogenic levels. So the vaccine (which is a harmless form of tetanospasmin at levels great enough to induce protection) can infer protection. But it’s not life-long, requiring booster doses. “

    • Dave S.

      Well said Joe!
      Here’s my take on Vaccines and a little bit more.

      More Disease scares to push an agenda known as Vaccinations to make multi-Billions if not Trillions of dollars while weakening the human population via poisonous chemicals in the vaccines.
      Weaker people (or is it sheeple) are easier to control. Proof . . . look at all the people that are pro vaccine and pro gun control. “Conditioned/Brainwashed”!
      It’s easier and faster to simply believe the T.V. and the Doctor. Going on the internet and researching the truth takes time and when finding a truth that goes against all we have been taught (conditioned to believe) we tend to feel sad and angry and it hurts so, since most people want happiness, most people don’t search for the truth but, instead; take the easy path of going along to get along. I know, I was one of them. Waking-up to the real truth is hard to accept but, not impossible.
      Hey, you know the words! “Ask Your Doctor”. “Your Doctor Knows Best”. “Did You Get Your Flu Shot?” and you know your doctor always has a big pharma drug for whatever ails you, it’s how they keep their job.

      Why Vaccines Are Scientific Fraud
      http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/why-vaccines-are-scientific-fraud/

      Arizona Cardiologist Responds to Critics Regarding Measles and Vaccines
      http://vaccineimpact.com/2015/arizona-cardiologist-responds-to-critics-regarding-measles-and-vaccines/

      What causes flu season?
      http://tv.naturalnews.com/v.asp?v=AF36B271EF61579BEAD6969F6DEC763D

      Secret government documents reveal vaccines to be a total hoax
      http://www.naturalnews.com/038598_vaccines_medical_hoax_government_documents.html

      The Vaccine Hoax is Over. Documents from UK reveal 30 Years of Coverup
      http://nsnbc.me/2013/05/10/the-vaccine-hoax-is-over-freedom-of-information-act-documents-from-uk-reveal-30-years-of-coverup/

      American Cancer Society opposes vitamin D
      http://www.naturalnews.com/021892.html

      CDC lies: Measles outbreaks confirmed among children already vaccinated
      http://www.naturalnews.com/048391_measles_MMR_vaccines_Disneyland.html

      ZERO U.S. Measles Deaths in 10 Years, but Over 100 Measles Vaccine Deaths Reported
      http://vaccineimpact.com/2015/zero-u-s-measles-deaths-in-10-years-but-over-100-measles-vaccine-deaths-reported/

      The Truth About Measles the Mainstream Media is Suppressing
      http://vaccineimpact.com/2015/the-truth-about-measles-the-mainstream-media-is-suppressing/

  • lcdrrek

    I would have more respect for antivax loons if they would have Measles,
    Mumps, Rubella, Pertussis, Polio…. parties for their kids so they
    could ensure “natural” immunity.

  • Shelby

    The author doesn’t know what Dr Sears means by “nourished”. It doesn’t mean not starving to death. At a minimum, it means getting enough vitamin A & D, and minerals. Most American children aren’t nourished.

    • Dorit Reiss

      If most American children aren’t nourished, his attempts to reassure parents that they shouldn’t worry about the side effects is even weaker.

      That said, if you are claiming most American children have insufficient levels of vitamin A – which is the one usually raised in the context of measles – I’d like to see some evidence for that.

      • Shelby

        Then go search for it. You’re the one saying Dr. Sears should have his license revoked, but you haven’t shown anything to refute his statement. You can’t say a statement is false if you don’t understand what the speaker is saying. I know my town isn’t the only one where kids don’t take cod liver oil or eat liver regularly. Dr Sears’s audience is parents who feed their children properly so they have adequate vitamins and minerals in their diets. They have less to worry about than parents who feed their kids processed foods every day.

        • Dorit Reiss

          A. If I understand correctly, your assumption that most children do not have sufficient level of vitamin A, then, is based on a view that most parents do not feed their children liver or cod oil – because you are assuming that is the only way to get sufficient levels of vitamin A. I’m not sure why you think that. Vitamin A is found in a lot of other foods, and your assumption that someone who eats a regular diet without adding liver or cod oil doesn’t get enough needs some support. Right now, it’s unsupported. See: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/#h3. And hence, so is your claim that most American children aren’t nourished, if by that you mean not getting enough vitamin A.

          B. And again, if you – or Dr. Sears – want to claim the statistics about complications above are less in a certain kind of children, please provide evidence. The numbers above are from the U.S. and Europe – privileged, first world countries. If Dr. Sears thinks the children under his care are a special brand and are not going to be affected by the disease the way other well-off children in first world countries are, he has neither said so nor supported it. Until he does, reassuring parents that the risks that apply to other first world children do not apply to theirs is highly irresponsible.

          • Dorit Reiss

            And burden of proof works this way: you want to claim most American children have insufficient levels of vitamin A, you need to provide proof for your claim. Facts are not something you can just assume.

            • Dorit Reiss

              One final point: I certainly think a doctor that is saying things that go against the evidence, that is misleading his patients in way that put them at risk, should be sanctioned.

      • joy

        Look at the health of most children today. They have never been more sick and obese. There is your evidence!

        • Kathy

          And 100 years ago, more than half of them would have died in childhood.

    • joy

      You are absolutely correct. They recommend vitamins and different supplements in their office because there are so many kids that don’t eat properly. The rate of health in our children has gotten worse, there is a reason.

  • kfunk937

    Dr Reiss,

    I don’t really have anything substantive to add. But as always, find your articles informative and thought-provoking.

    Using FTC rules to fight woo absolutely warmed the cockles of my cold, cold heart, and put me in mind of my schadenfreude when RICO was applied to certain abuses in the insurance industry. And also of Capone’s pinch by the IRS. Thinking outside the box and all.

    I look forward to more of your guest posts @ SR

  • Peter

    You know, I’ve been on the sidelines reading these comments for a long time now. I’ve read comments from people who think they are experts and refute study after study that links vaccines to autism. You know what matters most to me? My son. My son was a bright precocious 2 year old. We took him in to get his booster shots and brought him home. Within 4 hours he was screaming uncontrollably. He then started banging his head against the wall, flapping his hands, walking on his tippy toes. He no longer smiles, he no longer laughs, he no longer plays with his brother. I did some research and found that I am not alone. In fact, parent after parent that I have talked to repeats the same story over and over again. To all you people I have one thing to say. YOU are to blame for my child’s autism! Because of people like you we have not addressed the true causes and millions of families like mine suffer the consequences.

    • Dorit Reiss

      I am sorry to hear you think that. I can understand why you’d believe in the connection, but the science is very clear, and does not support your claims. The science does not support the claim that vaccines cause autism.

      It’s natural, if you ask in the closed groups devoted to parents who believe that their child’s autism was caused by vaccines, that parents there would think that: other parents aren’t part of those groups. But belief isn’t evidence.

      I would urge you to try and join some of the more scientifically oriented autism group, like the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and here from parents there – some of which initially believed like you did – how they came to the conclusion that it was not the vaccines.

      • Peter

        Dorit, there is something wrong with you. Did you not read my comment? 4 hours after vaccinating my son! I have talked with countless other parents who have the same story. You are a disgrace to people like me.

        • Dorit Reiss

          I read what you said. And responded. Inconsolable crying is a side effect of DTaP – rarely. http://vec.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/a-look-at-each-vaccine/dtap-diphtheria-tetanus-and-pertussis-vaccine.html

          Autism is not. I follow the data, and I hope you too would consider the evidence.

          • Dorit Reiss

            Again: I can understand why, if your son cried inconsolably after the vaccine, and you noticed the symptoms of autism right after, you would think it’s the vaccine. That doesn’t make the evidence – from many studies, many teams all around the world – go away.

            • Peter

              There is no study that will make what happened to my son go away. Why don’t you prove that mercury and aluminum in vaccines are safe. Show me a study that unequivocally proves they are. Show me how they are not known neurotoxins.

              You see how insane your reasoning is? Don’t you think 1 in 50 is enough. Do you really need more evidence before you question the cause? You make no sense whatsoever.

            • Dorit Reiss

              You are right that your son’s autism is probably not going away. And if you say the uncontrollable screaming, you’re right there too. The question we are disagreeing on is whether vaccines caused his autism – and the studies show that that’s not the case.

              Thimerosal in vaccines does not affect neuropsychological outcomes: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa071434

              The tiny amounts of aluminum salts in vaccines has never been associated with anything but local reaction, and several studies show they’re safe:

              Mitkus et al “Updated aluminum pharmacokinetics following infant exposures through diet and vaccination.”Vaccine 29 (2011) 9538-9543
              doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.09.124

              Baylor NW, Egan W, Richman P. Aluminum salts in vaccines — U.S. perspective.Vaccine. 2002;20:S18-S23.

              Flarend, R. E. et al. In vivo absorption of aluminium-containing vaccine adjuvants using 26Al. Vaccine 15, 1314–1318 (1997).

              Keith LS, Jones DE, Chou C. Aluminum toxicokinetics regarding infant diet and vaccinations. Vaccine. 2002;20:S13-S17.

              Cochrane Review: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(04)00927-2/fulltext

              While highlighting that data was limited, review concluded: “We found no evidence that aluminium salts in vaccines cause any serious or long-lasting adverse events.”

              The question whether vaccines cause autism has been researched from all directions. The answer of all credible evidence is a clear, consistent and resounding no.

            • Peter

              Those studies do not prove that mercury and aluminum in vaccines are safe. Not even close to complete proof. “While highlighting that data was limited” is the best you can offer for what was done to my son? The best you can offer for the millions injured by vaccines?

              I went to review the vaccines that were given as the booster shots to my son during that visit. It turns out DTaP was not even one of them. He had received that booster at a visit 3 months prior. You have to ask yourself what is it in a vaccine that could cause an emotional response like crying uncontrollably? It would have to be something that affects the brain right?

              Again you fail to back up your claim that the “evidence is clear”. The only thing that is clear is that vaccines are causing injuries and people like you see fit to blindly support it.

            • Dorit Reiss

              If DTaP booster was not one of the vaccines your child got, I do not know what caused screaming. I just gave that as a possibility.

              The studies show that neither the tiny amounts of aluminum nor the tiny amounts of thimerosal in vaccines are an issue. When you talk about “millions injured by vaccines” in this context, you are speaking against the evidence. The evidence is that serious problems from vaccines are extremely rare – and again, do not include autism. E.g.: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/26/peds.2014-1079.abstract

              Nothing is 100% safe, and vaccines can, rarely, cause serious harms – but again, the evidence is that that’s exceedingly rare. And not vaccinating is much more likely to cause harm.

            • Peter

              Point made. You should rethink your position on what is and is not safe. You obviously have no clue what you are talking about. Your only solution is to point to irrelevant studies to skew opinions while millions suffer. We are done here.

            • Dorit Reiss

              Your choice to dismiss the evidence that vaccines do not cause autism is yours, and I’m sorry for it. The belief that your child’s autism is from vaccine can only hurt you, your child and others who may be convinced not to vaccinate because of it.

              It’s non-vaccination that increases suffering, as this recent measles outbreak shows.

            • Peter

              Well we vaccinated and paid the price. I doubt any of those recent cases of measles has suffered what my family has.

            • Dorit Reiss

              A. Here is an example of what measles can do: http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2009/04/medical-care-for-unvaccinated-children.html

              B. Since vaccines don’t cause autism, not vaccinating won’t prevent autism. Adding preventable diseases on top of autism is not a good outcome.

            • joy

              Since you seem to have the answer to every comment, can you please explain the extreme rise in autism in children these days?

            • Dorit Reiss

              I don’t know, and scientists don’t either – if there is a rise: much of it is expansion of diagnostic expansion and better awareness. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25108395

            • lilady R.N.

              Have you filed a claim on behalf of your child with the Vaccine Court?

              Let us know when the Court rules in your favor and acknowledges that the vaccines your child received immediately changed him.

              Until that time when you produce the proof, you’re just an anonymous fact-free rants on the internet.

            • Cairenn Day

              Would you rather lose your child to a preventable disease? Of course that wouldn’t happen to you, would it?

              You are blaming vaccines, the same way that in the Middle Ages, folks blamed the ‘strange old lady’ for making their get sick or for a disease. You are just as foolish as they were.

              Or is your REAL problem that you don’t want to admit that your GENES are faulty and that is why your child has autism?

            • joy

              Actually it was not the” non-vaccinated “that caused the recent measles outbreak. The CDC confirmed it was from the Philippines and they never confirmed it was a unvaccinated person.

            • lilady R.N.

              You’ve made the assertions about vaccine ingredients being unsafe…it’s up to you to provide proof for your assertions.

              You’re on a science blog, not any crank anti-vaccine, anti-science blog.

              Please provide PubMed citations and links to studies which have been published in first tier, peer reviewed science and medical journals, to back up your statements.

        • lilady R.N.

          I feel sorry for you if you have the false belief that your child suffered a vaccine injury.

          Please refrain from attacking people on this blog and get some professional help to parent a child with special needs.

    • Moose

      Peter, if I may ask, what booster shots did your 2 year old receive? Ordinarily there are no immunizations given to two year olds, unless he was behind for some reason. Why was he behind on his vaccines?

      • Moose

        I see that when politely pressed for details, when I pointed out the simple fact that two year olds don’t typically receive any vaccines, “Peter” seems to have disappeared.

    • Seth

      Peter-

      Your story is a little too “by the book” for me. So much so, really, that I don’t believe it. So I think you should prove it. Prove to me that you have a son in the first place. Prove to me that your son was completely normal prior to receiving booster shots on such-and-such date. Prove to me that he had actual, diagnosable symptoms of autism immediately afterward.

      I’m sure that the readers of this blog, most of whom are trained medical professionals and scientists, would relish the opportunity to pore over the data of your case. I’m sure Skeptical Raptor would help in making the records available while not compromising your privacy.

      Have some conversations with your “countless” other parents about sharing their identical stories as well. We’ll make an internet repository right here on this blog.

      • I never believe stories told by anti-vaxxers about how their children are harmed by vaccines. Either, they’re lying, or to offer good faith, they observed non-related health issues and link them to vaccines because that’s how humans work. That’s why they believe in gods who split the Red Sea, and not an earthquake or tsunami.

        Because of their observation bias, they fail to ask the millions of parents who had NOTHING happen to their children after vaccines. Well, except that they didn’t have to worry that their kids would be crippled by polio, or die of numerous other diseases.

        • Seth

          So you’re telling me you have little expectation of your blog becoming a repository of records of vaccine-related autism?

    • Kathy

      There is a very interesting case with a similar story to yours in the book The Panic Virus. It is the case of Michelle Cedillo. Her own parents were found to have missed early warning signs of autism. That was not proven until they took the case to court and experts analyzed their early home videos. I would urge you to read this book.

  • Joe

    Firstly I want to state that I’m no science-guru and no doubt don’t possess the superior intelligence many commentators on this blog seem to have (cue public thrashing and booing). However, I do like to think that I’m capable of putting emotions to one side (sad fact that my partner often points out) when it comes to debate. I’m a new parent and the type of person that never blindly follows, and so out I went on a merry journey of vaccination fact-finding. To-date I have found the journey strange, amusing, frustrating, alarming, engaging, frightening, mind-boggling and even comical. Below are some of my observations and questions (warning: there’s a strong possibility that you won’t like some of the things I say and so if you’re having a great day, then please do not read on… well, I did warn you).

    – The debate is surprisingly ferocious and split into two camps Pro vs Anti. Cool, calm public debate seems to have left the building and instead friend can become foe, and your neighbour your enemy. Any topic that creates wide-spread concern amongst the public needs cool heads.

    – The evidence is unconvincing on both sides. Via a few clicks of my mouse I can easily find so-called facts and evidence that refute the other side’s claims.

    – Local doctors and nurses seem to have limited knowledge on the topic beyond that of their initial education. I’m normally met with cold hard stares or sheer fright.

    – The Pro camp is waaayyyy scarier. Hell hath no fury like a Pro-vaccinator. If a Pro-vaccinator preaches vaccination then they are generally left to go about their business happy as you like, job well done. But when an Anti-vaccinator takes to the podium they seem to be hunted, disgraced, struck off, called “Quacks” (great word btw) and their homes looted and burnt to the ground (ok not the last bit). Freedom of speech seems limited when it comes to vaccinations. Strange. On that note…

    – …I don’t really get this level of reaction to what Dr Sears said (*leaps behind the sofa*). If he’s wrong, tell him he’s wrong and ask him to pull out some scrumptious facts that we can chomp on. I find that with Dr Sears there are many things I agree with and many things I don’t. But I won’t hound him and rip off his white lab coat. Seems a bit childish, when I can simply ignore him or challenge him.

    – Natural immunity seems to be a dying art. I was never really into the word “natural” as it seemed to be for hippies, and I was seriously cool and was hanging with the dairy-kids, sweet-shop-boys and chiselled-faced-chip-eating mafias. Pfff… natural. Until I was brought to my knees by illness and where doctors failed me repeatedly, eating healthier resurrected me. I am a believer and I’m also rarely ill. Natural immunity warrants more investigation in this whole debate. Just my view (*hides behind closet*).

    – Why are the vaccinated so worried about the unvaccinated? They have immunity, right??

    – Pharmaceutical companies are like investment banks. They are powerful, rich, secretive, insidious, unsympathetic, and old-school. Should I be placing my child’s well-being in the hands of these guys? I once ran a small company and we certainly wouldn’t promote bad news, so I fully expect that as Pharmaceuticals are dealing with human life, they have a landfill of buried bad news.

    – There’s not enough regular data from the Pharmaceuticals. If I had a winning product that was saving and pro-longing lives, I would promote the hell out of it! I would throw numbers at you like nobody’s business, like… “Look at this you loathsome Antis!”

    I was directed to this blog because of its apparent impartiality, but it definitely errs towards the Pro camp for me. Perhaps, if I’m not hounded out and called a “Quack” (still a great word) I might hang around a bit and offer a different view point. Let us embrace debate and not proliferate hate. Go easy.

    • Dorit Reiss

      I’ve no doubt it’s extremely hard to be a new parent today. And I completely agree that the debate is not conducted with decorum, and that it’s painful that the level of hostility is so high. I will try to answer as many of your questions as I can. But let me be very clear on this: all health authorities, all around the world, support vaccinating – at local, state, national and international levels. They do so because the evidence is overwhelming. Vaccines are not perfect – they are neither 100% safe nor 100% effective. But generally modern vaccines are both very effective and very safe.

      A. I agree that many doctors and nurses are not well versed in the pro and anti-vaccine debate. That does not mean they don’t know the main points above vaccines, but they may not be familiar with the usual anti-vaccine arguments and the problems with them – and they may well feel threatened.

      B. As someone who has been called a variety of names, had people complain to my work place and had phone threats, I disagree that it’s the pro-vaccine camp only that engages in aggressive behavior. You won’t see it on many anti-vaccine pages and sites because they simply do not engage in debate: they ban dissenters. But go to where they speak up on forums they do not control, and observe their behavior. Or read Age of Autism. Our host has a post where he addressed – and I’m sorry about the personal tone – some of the attacks on me: http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/hate-debate-antivaccination-cult/

      Others have had much worse. Look up the attacks on Dr. Paul Offit. Up to and including death threats.

      C.Why the anger at Dr. Sears? Because he’s a doctor. And when he misrepresents the facts about vaccines – as he does, as this post demonstrates – and he plays on parental fears and encourages them rather than correcting them, parents listen, and leave their children at risk.

      D. Natural immunity requires getting the disease. With its risks. Paying a cost in life and disability each generation.
      To remind you, out of the many germs in the world, we vaccinate against a very small number. And those are the ones with a history of killing and maiming people. For most germs, we still have to get natural immunity.

      E. Why are the vaccinated worried about the unvaccinated? Well, partly it’s because children left unvaccinated don’t have a choice – and are left at risk. And we care. Partly it’s because an increasing number of unvaccinated people undermines herd immunity, and because they can infect those too young to be vaccinated, too ill, or the few that suffer vaccine failure.

      F. Pharmaceutical companies are for-profit, and I would give them very limited trust.
      But vaccine recommendations don’t come from them: they come from government agencies and professional associations, and the science about vaccines comes from a variety of sources, including companies, non-profits, governments, and universities. When so many sources all over the world come to the same conclusion, it’s problematic to reject it.

      G. There are tens of thousands of studies about vaccines. I’m not sure why you think there’s not enough data.

      I tried to keep my answer mostly link free – but let me know if you want direction to specific resources.

      • Joe

        The emotions certainly do run high with this topic. Some very interesting responses and that’s much appreciated. I will investigate each point over the coming weeks. Sorry to hear about the behaviour towards you from the Antis.

        Ref data I was specifically referring to the pharmaceuticals. I’ve read many reports and data both for and against vaccinations.

        I’m currently a fence-sitter (nobody likes them). Just a quick point on large organisations – I don’t tend to see them as an indication of what I should be doing, I certainly listen to them, but many of those you mention are often backed by money-throwing pharmaceuticals. I prefer to talk to real people or engage in discussions, such as this. It could be to my detriment but this has not yet proved to be the case.

        Thanks 🙂

  • Maggie Howell

    Thank you, Dr. Dorit Reiss, for another cogent, articulate post refuting the so-called “safe schedule” for vaccines. Dr. Sears is doing serious damage to thousands of children by his reluctance to vaccinate properly on time.

  • Liz Ditz

    Somebody hit a nerve.

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=836160899755729&id=116317855073374&fref=nf

    DR. BOB’S DAILY:

    PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: GET YOUR VACCINE

    So, I broke one of the cardinal rules of infectious disease journalism, a rule that I didn’t know existed, but in hindsight is now as obvious as the nose on my face (ya, I was teased a lot about that as a kid). Apparently, the rule is this: When one writes anything about a vaccine-preventable disease, one MUST, without fail, include a statement reminding people to get that vaccine; failure to do so will be interpreted as a declaration against said (or NOT said, I guess) vaccine. People are generally stupid, so one must remind them frequently about vaccines.

    So, when I posted a very brief discussion of the disease measles on Friday, which, in no way, claimed to be a complete discussion of all the issues, but failed to remind people there’s a vaccine (because everyone probably forgot about the vaccine, I know), what I was really saying in secret, if you read between the lines, is “don’t get the vaccine.” At least, that’s how stupid people took it.

    I know I know. My mom taught me never to use the “S” word. But isn’t it ok to use when people really are stupid? I don’t know. You decide. Oh, and since I did mention the “M” word in this post, let me also remind everyone that there is a vaccine against measles. Get it.

    Oh, and just to be complete, since I mentioned the “S” disease as well, let me remind you that there is a vaccine to prevent stupid. If you haven’t gotten it already, you should.

    Dr. Bob

    • Dorit Reiss

      Because he does not realize that many of his patients would take his misleading reassuring comments as legitimating doing just that?

  • Heather Vanderweide

    Sorry, this is a bit off-topic, but I was thinking about how the FTC reporting could also be used to report the likes of Tenpenny & such for some of their claims about various products (I remember the previous post about Mercola).

    And then that made me think of the FDA. Tenpenny advertises breast thermography for breast cancer screening as part of her Integrative Medicine Center (or whatever), a claim that got Mercola in trouble with the FDA a few years back (http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm257499.htm). From what I can tell, thermography can be used in conjunction with mammography, but cannot be advertised as a stand-alone for screening. I’ll have to investigate that a little more . . .

    • kfunk937

      Thermography has also been promoted in woodom for breast cancer *treatment.* ~shudder~

      To my knowledge, sparse/outdated though it may be, thermography is limited to imaging only, and that primarily in experimental settings.

      Sounds like a job for the FDA. Pity they’re so underfunded, understaffed and otherwise overburdened. Although since the interwebz cross state and national boundaries, perhaps the FTC is an appropriate venue – complaints against anyone peddling it commercially for unapproved or overhyped uses.

    • Dorit Reiss

      It can, if they make misleading claims about trade or commercial activities.

  • So this Sears fellow is definitely an actual doctor? Then he should be able to be charged criminally, right? I mean, his words and “medical advice,” seem pretty clear evidence of negligence, malpractice, and conspiracy to commit harm. Also, if any of his patients die due to VPD, couldn’t that also fall under the purview of manslaughter, if not outright homicide?

    (sigh)

    • Lawrence McNamara

      He’s never answered if any of his patients were among the infected….

      • A court order could get those records opened, though, right? I think the California DA should definitely look into this.

    • Dorit Reiss

      Charged criminally for just making statements would be an issue. Even just making statements that lead to someone getting hurt, when it isn’t actual treatment. The criminal law is a heavy tool, and the first amendment a strong barrier. If a patient chose the course of action, it would be even harder.

      Disciplinary action and tort liability are much more likely.

  • lilady R.N.

    Dr. Paul Offit provided an excellent analysis of Dr. Bob Sears Alternative Vaccine Schedule (link provided by Professor Reiss above).

    After opening that link and reading it, I suggest you read Dr. Sears rebuttal, here…

    http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/vaccines/response-dr-offits-misleading-inaccurate-review-vaccine-book-pediatrics-january-2009

    If I wasn’t such a genteel lady//sarcasm, I might provide my opinion that Dr. Sears’ weaselly words, indicate to me, that he has no valid defense for the content of his vaccine book. Dr. Sears claims he wanted to present “both sides of the arguments for and against vaccines” so that parents can truly make informed decisions about vaccines. He’s written the perfect anti-vaccine playbook…and every one of his two-sided topics is used by crank anti-vaccine groups.

    Sears recent rants on his Facebook page, in the midst of measles outbreaks, are an indication, IMO, that he has no intention of backing down from his pseudo-scientific stance on vaccines…to the detriment of his loyal parents and his young patients.

  • lilady R.N.

    Another Spam Alert Above

  • lilady R.N.

    Spam Alert, Above.

    • Deleted. I figured that a three day weekend would have low readership, so I didn’t manage the comments. My mistake. Forgive me.

  • Kathy

    All done. Thanks for writing it all up so clearly Dorit.

  • Christopher Hickie

    I hope they will listen to a pediatrician from Arizona who has seen a pertussis outbreak in 2013 tear through my practice area driven by clusters of non-vaccinating parents who used to come in to my pediatric practice quoting from Sear’s “book” as if it was fact. Well, I don’t take non-vaccinating parents in my practice anymore, but Sears continues to lie about vaccines, give malpractice-level advice to his patients and be a menace to public health across the US, so I will be filing a complaint as well. I encourage all other physicians who have been impacted by Sears to do the same.–Chris Hickie, MD, PhD.

    • Dorit Reiss

      I hope they do listen. Thank you!

    • Chaosfeminist

      Dr Hickie,

      As a registered nurse I am horrified that this quack continues to practice. I place my license in jeopardy every time I advocate against this type of medical misinformation, as it is very easy for a nurse to be investigated by the Board. If physicians like you were to hold this man accountable it would be far more effective.

    • kfunk937

      Dr Hickie, would you consider reposting the links to your ipetitions (one each for HCWs and laypersons) calling on the AAP to publicly oppose the anti-vaccine misinformation of Robert Sears, MD, FAAP and Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP? I signed recently as a result of reading older threads at RI, but am having some trouble navigating and would dearly love to see your efforts gain more traction now.

      Perhaps this link will work http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/request-by-non-pediatricians-for-the-aap-to/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=button

  • lilady R.N.

    Another excellent blog post, Professor Reiss.

    Dr. Bob and the doctors on his “Vaccine Friendly Doctors” list do not practice evidence-based medicine and they violate the AAP Standards of Care for complete and timely vaccinations.

    I know at least one of those “Vaccine Friendly Doctors” certainly is aware that he is on Dr. Bob Sears’ list and he is just as intransigent as Dr. Sears about delaying vaccines, or not giving vaccines, according to the AAP Childhood Vaccine Schedule.

    It is high time that we as child advocates, inform the California Medical Licensing Board and the American Academy of Pediatrics about these pediatricians who have forgotten who their patients are (which are not vaccine-phobic parents), and their responsibility to provide their young patients with the best preventive care

    • Dorit Reiss

      I agree with you generally, obviously. Just one comment about reporting: Looking at the AAP, I found nothing in their rules that would allow them to take action against a physician over something like this – though I suppose rules can be changed, and at least a public statement of condemnation of this behavior would help. That is why I did not include them as a reporting option. I may well have been wrong not to call on people to write to the AAP as well.

      • Christopher Hickie

        Dorit–on my effort to get Sears (and Jay Gordon) expelled from the AAP (www.stopsearsandgordon.org), I give the reason told to me by then-AAP-president Dr. Block–that the AAP would not speak out against Sears or Gordon out of fear of being sued for libel (http://stopsearsandgordon.org/history.html). I asked him how stating fact/truth could be construed as libel–Dr. Block never did get back to me on that. I was told at one point (not on the web site) that any motion to even consider this would have to come from the the district or state level AAP chapters (http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/chapters-and-districts/Pages/District-Map.aspx). I complained about Sears/Gordon once and all they did was kick it up to the national level, where they blew me off. I am extremely disappointed that so few AAP pediatricians seem at all bothered by Sears & Gordon being AAP fellows–especially from the California AAP chapters.

        • Dorit Reiss

          Interesting. Maybe I should ask around in California, then. Thanks for this info. Sigh.

        • Chaosfeminist

          You are a damn good doctor. In Arizona. What insurance do you take? Maybe I will commute lol

        • Andrew Lazarus

          All professions that self-discipline have problems with ostrich imitation, and I don’t think libel is the only reason. (It took a state law, for example, to make it a crime for a psychotherapist to sleep with a patient.)

  • AlphaCentauri

    What are the legal rights of third parties who are harmed as a result of his activities? He knows full well that Disneyland is full of chronically ill children through the Make A Wish foundation, and he also knows that the migrant worker camps in California are unhygienic and also an ideal way to transport diseases from one community to another. I know it is hard to say he has a duty as a physician to succeptable children whose parents never listened to his advice. But are there other torts that cover this? If he left his swimming pool unfenced and kids trespassed and drowned, he would be sued. How is he less culpable here?

    • Dorit Reiss

      That would depend. At least in theory, there may be a claim. A duty of a doctor to third parties has been acknowledged in the case of infectious diseases in some cases.

      Here is an article that also addresses this, but it’s long: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2495971

      I think my best answer to you is that it would depend on the details.

      • AlphaCentauri

        Long, but it looks like a good read. I like reading 🙂

        • Dorit Reiss

          We’ll be sending it out in the February submission cycle, so comments are welcome.

          • AlphaCentauri

            Not reading carefully, but I noticed a couple minor typos and sent to the email with the article.

            Back on topic: What thoughts do you have about the legal rights of a child injured by a vaccine-preventable disease when that child reaches majority? If the parents are vaccine-deniers, does the doctor have any liability to the child if the parents sought out that doctor particularly due to his views? What about classmates who were exposed to a non-vaccinated child, who have parents who don’t want to create hard feelings at the PTA and don’t initiate any legal actions at the time, but who are facing lifelong medical expenses themselves when they reach adulthood?

            Also, given that these anti-vaccine doctors are profiting from this anti-vaccine advice, and given that they are referring visitors to one another’s websites, are there any laws covering conspiracy that apply? Could one doctor be held liable for the actions of others within that network of inter-referral? I am thinking in particular about the book, “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles,” which might lead parents to believe that not only are measles harmless to their own children, but that they are actually providing a benefit to other children by exposing them without their knowledge.

            • Dorit Reiss

              I saw you found my email – thank you for your comments. To address your question one by one:

              A) Whether a child can sue her parents for not vaccinating would depend on the doctrine of parental immunity in that state. In most states it would probably be a bar – but not in all, for example, not in California or Pennsylvania. I addressed this here: http://shotofprevention.com/2014/02/18/the-rights-of-the-unvaccinated-child-tort-liability/ (sorry for the self-references – I am trying not to make the comment too long).

              B) There have not yet been any suits of a family against another child, but I think that’s possible. There are some legal obstacles. Here is the blog post on that: http://shotofprevention.com/2013/09/12/legal-responsibilities-in-choosing-not-to-vaccinate/ and the full article: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/research/JLPP/upload/Reiss-final.pdf

              C) The profit issue might be a good reason to complain to the FTC – see above. But I do think there is a strong medical malpractice claim here, too. Sorry, again, but here is a blog post:

              For a book publication it will be harder than direct advice, because of the 1st amendment. http://shotofprevention.com/2014/04/18/the-cost-of-vaccine-misinformation/

            • AlphaCentauri

              Hmmm, minor-kids-suing-parents can be a way to get homeowners’ policies to send the parents money. Would homeowners’ policies cover this type of liability? And might those insurers assess the vaccination status of the subscriber’s children in setting rates, and therefore provide some incentive to vaccinate?

            • Dorit Reiss

              My reading is that right now the policies cover it. Policies can change, of course.

              There is nothing, as far as I know, preventing insurers from charging higher premiums for residential insurance for non-vaccinating families,a nd it’s a good idea, I think. There is a barrier for health insurers to do so under the ACA.

  • Heather Vanderweide

    Dr. Bob is incredibly irresponsible. He is older than I am and should be able to recall the measles resurgence in the early 90’s that killed 123 people (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/551272_5). That was 25 years ago, with well-nourished kids, clean water, modern medicine, etc. Foolish man.

    • Dorit Reiss

      Yes. Dr. Offit gave a recent presentation on this outbreak in Philadelphia, where 9 children died. http://vimeopro.com/uclahealth/mattel-childrens-hospital-grand-rounds/video/108484371

      Dr. Sears graduated from med school in the mid 1990s. He was an adult then.

      • AlphaCentauri

        In fairness, a lot of the deaths in Philadelphia were among religious groups like Faith Tabernacle that don’t believe in antipyretics or IV hydration, either. (They won’t even pass you a grocery bag if they know there is a bottle of tylenol in it.) When a disease has a high rate of complications, and parents don’t provide the most basic supportive care, a child who would have survived with hospital care ends up dead. At least one set of parents were charged with criminal neglect for failing to get their children medical care (rather than for failure to vaccinate).

        OTOH, the same people saying vaccines are dangerous are telling parents not to put “chemicals” in their children’s bodies. People are already frightened of acetaminophen because of the pharmaceutical company marketing trying to make other companies’ (or generic) products sound more dangerous that their own. And Dr. Sears knows very well in what soil he is sowing his seeds of misinformation.

        • Dorit Reiss

          That is true, but remember that in the U.S., we also have high income disparities and families without easy access to health care. And we still have those kinds of religious communities. In other words, there are a lot of factors that can increase death rates today, too.

          And I completely agree with your point about chemicals.