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The breadth and depth of vaccine research

I have frequently stated that the breadth and depth of vaccine research, which provides solid evidence on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, overwhelms the misinformation, logical fallacies, and conspiracies pushed by the Society for Promotion of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (that is, the antivaccine cult).

In other words, there is so much evidence, published in generally respected, high quality journals, that it is the basis of a pure, 24-karat gold scientific consensus about vaccine safety and effectiveness. Using just one search parameter, vaccines + efficacy + safety, there are over 4200 articles published over the past 55 years on vaccines. Other search parameters show even more results.

As I’ve said time and again, the only thing that matters to science is the quality and quantity of repeated evidence derived from a broad range of different studies. We’ve got that.

For a research project recently, I was looking into innovative treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS), a demyelinating disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, which results in numerous symptoms, including physical, mental and psychiatric problems. MS is probably an autoimmune disease caused by an infection, although a definitive cause has not been identified at this time.

In my research, I was reviewing research in new, innovative treatments, and ran across studies of a new drug called teriflunomide (trade name Aubagio, marketed by Sanofi, a large French pharmaceutical company), which recently received EU and FDA approval. The drug may have some benefits over current therapies in treating MS, but that’s not the point of this article.

When reviewing the research on terifluonomide, I ran across an interesting vaccine article published in a high quality journal, Neurology, by a group of French medical researchers, including a physician named Myriam Benamor, MD. As I mentioned in my other articles about how to research a topic, if I’m unfamiliar with a research topic, I tend to look at the author’s qualifications and background.


Dr. Benamor has a long history of research in various areas of medicine, with a lot of experience in new research in neurology. That’s impressive to me.

The vaccine and terifluonomide article was interesting, not because of the new MS drug (although for MS patients, it’s very interesting), but because the effectiveness of the flu vaccine was examined with use of this drug. This isn’t an article about the flu vaccine itself, but about how a new drug impacts effectiveness of the vaccine.

[infobox icon=”quote-left”]This study provides evidence that teriflunomide generally does not adversely impact the ability of patients with RMS (relapsing multiple sclerosis) to mount immune responses to influenza vaccination..[/infobox]

Here’s evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccine by examining how an important new drug may interact with flu vaccine. This is important information because someone with MS should be protected against vaccine preventable diseases, but more than that, most MS treatments may have an impact on the immune system. The results of this study support the effectiveness of this vaccine with this MS treatment.


The research team also looked at another vaccine, in this case,  rabies, to examine the same issue – effectiveness of the vaccine with terifluonomide. Same results, the vaccine works.

When I speak of the breadth and depth of vaccine research, I mean it literally. If the vaccine deniers want to refute every piece of evidence that’s ever been done on vaccines, well, they better find a group of neurologists to contradict this piece of the scientific consensus on vaccines.

Just one more point. The research used a Sanofi drug, Aubagio, along with Sanofi vaccines. Yes, you might invent some appeal to conspiracy, but that doesn’t constitute evidence. Get your MD and PhD in neurosciences and neurology, do the research, refute the high quality research here.

Setting aside the entirely predictable logical fallacies that will flow from the keyboards of the vaccine deniers, this research just forms a tiny portion of evidence that overwhelmingly supports the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. The research and evidence is so broad and so deep, that the only thing left for the anti-vaccination cult are lies, misinformation and logical fallacies.

I have found literally hundreds of other studies, similar to these, that support the effectiveness and safety of vaccines in unique medical situations. Refute that, vaccine deniers.

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Michael Simpson
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