Peter Doshi flu vaccine study – misused by anti-vaxxers

Anti-vaccine activists constantly look for any science that seems to support their beliefs about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Lately, they have gravitated to the writings of Peter Doshi, who has made a career talking about vaccines. Although Doshi lacks the credentials in any area of science related to vaccines – immunology, microbiology, virology, public health, epidemiology – the anti-vaccine forces embrace him like he’s a Nobel Prize winning scientist. Which he is not.

Let’s take a look at Doshi’s credentials and what he’s written about vaccines, specifically the flu vaccine.

Argument from Authority

Before we look at Peter Doshi, we need to start by looking how the anti-vaccine crowd depends on authorities, especially false authorities. Vaccine deniers rely upon the Argument from Authority, a logical fallacy which provides an argument from an authority, but on a topic outside of the authority’s expertise or on a topic on which the authority is not disinterested. Furthermore, the works of authorities, no matter how eminent or influential, is always judged by the quality of their evidence and reasoning, not by their authority alone.

For example, Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, has incredible credentials and would probably be considered an authority based on his academic credentials alone. Sadly, Duesberg claims that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, and that recreational drug use is more to blame for the prevalence of AIDS amongst the homosexual community.

Duesberg has also claimed that AIDS in Africa is largely misdiagnosed, and is not really AIDS but merely the accumulated affects of malnutrition and disease. AIDS deniers, like Duesberg, have little or no scientific evidence for their disputing that HIV causes AIDS, they are considered crackpots at best and harmful to the research to treat and prevent AIDS. A true scientific skeptic does not accept the statements of an authority figure just because they are an authority, but on the body of evidence, along with the qualifications, of said authority.

Another example of a false authority, specific to vaccines, is Tetyana Obukhanych, an immunologist who has become the darling of the anti-vaccine forces. The science deniers use Obukhanych’s anti-vaccine words as gospel, more so because she has the authority of a degree in immunology. However, she never did any research to support her beliefs, so the evidence does not support her actually being an expert in the field of vaccines.

Science deniers attempt to create a false equivalence, or even this false democracy of science, by cherry picking some “authority” that supports their point of view. Of course, they ignore the vast majority of “authority” figures who are on the other side of the fence. Once again, one authority person does not outweigh the vast numbers that are usually on the other side of the argument.

All about Peter Doshi

Recently, the vaccine denier zombie memes  have resurrected an “authority” named Peter Doshi, who has made a recent career of denying some aspects of vaccinations, specifically flu immunizations. An article in one of the crank online “medical” websites, NewsMax Health, that is being passed around again by the vaccine obstructionists, relied upon some statements by Doshi “of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.”

Promoting influenza vaccines is one of the most visible and aggressive public health policies in the United States, says Doshi of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Drug companies and public officials press for widespread vaccination each fall, offering vaccinations in drugstores and supermarkets. The results have been phenomenal. Only 20 years ago, 32 million doses of influenza vaccine were available in the United States on an annual basis. Today, the total has skyrocketed to 135 million doses.

“The vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and the threat of influenza seems to be overstated,” Doshi says. Mandatory vaccination polices have been enacted, often in healthcare facilities, forcing some people to take the vaccine under threat of losing their jobs.

Even when the vaccine is closely matched to the type of influenza that’s prevalent, which doesn’t happen every year, randomized, controlled trials of healthy adults found that vaccinating between 33 and 100 people resulted in one less case of influenza. In addition, says Doshi, no evidence exists to show that this reduction in the risk of influenza for a specific population — here in the United States, among healthy adults, for example — extrapolates into any reduced risk of serious complications from influenza, such as hospitalizations or deaths, among seniors.

Well, this sounds provocative. So let’s start at the top. First, let’s look at Doshi’s background. According to a report written for the National Academies of Science (and having absolutely nothing to do with vaccines), Doshi is

…a postdoctoral fellow in comparative effectiveness research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His over-arching research interests are in improving the basis for credible evidence synthesis to support and improve the quality of evidence-based medical and health policy-related decision making. In 2009, he joined a Cochrane systematic review team evaluating neuraminidase inhibitors for the treatment and prevention of influenza. Rather than focusing on publications, the review evaluates regulatory information, including clinical study reports. He received his A.B. in anthropology from Brown University, A.M. in East Asian studies from Harvard University, and Ph.D. in history, anthropology, and science, technology and society from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

For those of you who don’t know anything about scientific research (that would be every vaccine denier I’ve met), a post-doctoral fellow is not on the faculty.

Furthermore, Doshi was never on the faculty of Johns Hopkins, he was a post-doctoral fellow, meaning doing post-Ph.D. research, and did not teach. He is currently an assistant professor (non-tenured) of pharmaceutical health services research in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland. This field of study is not basic pharmacological and clinical research of pharmaceuticals–it is an economic based study for drug utilization and other areas. Pharmacy schools produce pharmacists, they generally don’t produce the type of basic biomedical research that is the basis of medical schools or basic science institutions.

As a post-doc at Johns Hopkins, he was doing research which extends from his Ph.D. research at the MIT. Moreover, he doesn’t have a science research background, it appears that his background is in the history of science, a fine field of much interest to many real scientists, but it isn’t hard science, that is developing a hypothesis based upon observations, then testing the hypothesis using the scientific method, and finally publishing it.

On the scale of educational background, Doshi would not qualify as a “scientist”, but people can claim whatever they want. As I’ve said, it’s evidence that matters. All of Doshi’s research are criticisms of vaccines, not based on his personal leadership in a clinical trial, but merely on his opinion. And he seems to enjoy attacking Big Pharma, a trite strawman argument.

Peter Doshi flu vaccines “study”

So using the Peter Doshi vaccine study as a “proof” that vaccines are bad because Doshi is a leading authority on vaccines and the flu? That isn’t going to fly. Doshi is not even close to having credentials of a real vaccine researcher.

A few years ago, a writer took Doshi to task for his lack of scientific rigor in his tactics to attack flu vaccines and preparation for potential flu pandemics:

The question is not whether the virus as it currently is constituted is a pandemic threat but whether it will become one. There are many reasons to think this can happen and happen soon. When and i it does, there will be no time to prepare, so waiting to do so is not prudent, although that is what Doshi is advocating. As we have emphasized here many times, and will do again, the way to prepare for an influenza pandemic is to strengthen a community’s social service and public health infrastructure. Concentrating on vaccines and antivirals is not a useful way to prepare because if there is no pandemic (we should be so lucky) it would be wasted and the use of either requires an infrastructure to distribute them. Instead the task before us is one of community mobilization but requires a proper appreciation for the nature of the threat.

Doshi’s view is very unhelpful in that regard, but not because he objects to scaring people as a tactic. I consider it a bad tactic, too. It is unhelpful because it doesn’t do what it should: provide people with a sane appreciation of the risk so they can start to develop the kinds of relationships, structures and orientations that will respond to widespread community illness by encouraging and allowing neighbor to help neighbor.

Worse yet, Doshi has attended crank science meetings, which push an antivaccine agenda without any pretense of using real science. For example, he attended and presented at a meeting sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a renowned vaccine denier group with a laughably obfuscating name. Maybe Doshi isn’t in agreement with NVIC principles of denying vaccines for children, but attending the meeting seems to indicate some level of support.

Now, let’s be honest. Despite Doshi overstating his credentials (it’s funny how antivaccinationists love his background, but hate others with much more brilliant scientific backgrounds), he does make some valid points about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. According to this flu-myth debunking article by Tara Haelle, the flu vaccine does reduce the risk of catching the flu. But, the issue has been that it’s difficult to precisely match the antigens of each season’s flu, so that there is a variability in effectiveness of the vaccine.

However, this is what makes science so energizing. Real scientists, who do real work with viruses and who actually have an education in real biomedical sciences, are actually trying to discover a flu vaccine that works better against all types of flu, mainly by trying to uncover the common antigen. This is hard work, not in the purview of pontificating fake-scientists who think that cherry-picking data and publishing it, makes them knowledgeable.

Doshi also vastly overstates the the risks of the flu vaccine while understating the benefits in saved lives. A real epidemiologist might have provided a better analysis of risk versus benefits, a hallmark of understanding evidence based medicine. In fact, a true skeptic weighs the evidence on the risk and benefit sides of the equation, then determines the value of the benefit to risk ratio.

The risks from the flu vaccine has been refuted, more than once. And the benefits of reducing the risk of catching the flu has overwhelmingly been established. These are infinitely better studies than opinion pieces written by Doshi.

One last thing. Peter Doshi is an HIV/AIDS denier, and has made his “belief” (unsupported by any science whatsoever) public by signing a petition along with some 2000 other scientists, artists, engineers, government lackeys and other individuals with no scientific background in virology and immunology (like Doshi himself).

These petitions, like a similar one for evolution deniers, are feeble attempts to show support for the denialist side of the discussion. First of all, science is not a democracy, it is not subject to a vote. Science relies on evidence published in peer reviewed journals. Second of all, if we eliminate all of the non-scientists from the list (goodbye Peter Doshi, because you’re no scientist), we’d have a list of a couple of hundred scientists who would make up less than 0.01% of research biologists, meaning if science were a democracy, these deniers would lose in an awesomely huge landslide.

Real vaccine authorities

Of course, there are authority figures in vaccines who have the background, education and expertise that should be appreciated and have provided evidence that overwhelms the biased and evidence-lacking beliefs of non-authorities like Doshi.

For example, Paul Offit is one of the leading experts on vaccines in the world. He spent years of his life being educated and trained to be a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist. He is currently the Chief of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has published over 100 peer reviewed articles, most of which are focused on vaccines. He has been a member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which establishes the recommendations for vaccination of children in the USA (and is followed by other countries).

Most importantly, he was co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, which protects children from the rotavirus, which causes over 2 million cases (most in the developed world) of severe diarrhea in children. Each year an estimated 450,000 children die of this disease, and the rotavirus vaccine will probably save most of those lives.

Think about that for a minute. A real scientist doesn’t pontificate about helping humanity with fake science, he actually does something about it, and is directly responsible for saving nearly a half a million lives every year. If I were responsible for honoring heroes for saving children’s lives, Paul Offit and Jonas Salk, who invented the polio vaccine, deserve statues in front of every hospital, every medical school, and every city in the world. They are real heroes, who saved millions upon millions of children’s lives.

But despite credentials that are worthy of being considered one of the top scientists on the planet, Offit is vilified, hated and despised by the antivaccine cult. It’s hard to determine the particular reason for this hatred, except that he invented a vaccine, which saved those half a million lives every year, so obviously (to the lunatic fringe) he is completely corrupted by Big Pharma. Instead of seeing the Appeal to Authority fallacies they have with their non-scientists inventing garbage science about vaccines, the vaccine deniers jump all over the argumentum ad hominem to attack Offit. Laughable and pathetic.


Here’s the point: we have evidence that supports the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, almost all vaccines. The evidence is based on clinical trials that are large, well-controlled, and published in peer-reviewed journals. They have been included in well-written systematic reviews. These studies have also been published in important peer-reviewed journals.

And unless you like cherry-picking evidence to support your belief, rather than reviewing all of the scientific evidence and see what conclusion it would support, the antivaccine authority figures lack any standing. The weight and quality of the “evidence” presented by antivaccine so-called authorities is simply too weak to even consider, and it falls far short of evidence presented by the pro-science vaccine supporters. In other words, the vaccine “authorities” are actually authorities about vaccines.

The Peter Doshi flu vaccine study isn’t worth much, but if you’re going to use it as your argument for authority–it’s not going to work.

Editor’s note – this article was first published in December 2015. It has been updated with fixing broken links, new information, and formatting changes.

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The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!

318 Replies to “Peter Doshi flu vaccine study – misused by anti-vaxxers”

  1. My God, talk about verbose. How many words is this monstrosity? I couldn’t even get to the actual point. It was too torturous. The FACT is that the SCIENCE indicates that the FLU vaccine is not nearly as effective as most people assume. In fact, the SCIENCE suggests that in the target populations of people most likely to die from flu – the very old and the very young – the flu vaccine is NO BETTER THAN A PLACEBO. Now have some mercy and get an editor.

      1. What a tool! And you claim to be a proponent of science! But you’re just a shill! The irony is intensely humorous! Here’s the Scientific American article explaining the truth of the matter. I’ll expect a new blog post from you forthwith. On second thought, this doesn’t fit your predetermined view of reality, so you’ll ignore it. But whatever.

          1. Dear Mr. Pharma Shill, the “pop science” magazine article linked above cites a number of peered reviewed studies supporting the idea that the flu vaccine isn’t nearly effective as shills like you would like people to believe. Yours is a verbose, poorly written blog. Does this mean I should automatically disregard all the peer-reviewed research you cite? Of course not. Don’t shoot the messenger, idiot.

  2. the fda and modern medicine journals get the studies from the Rx’s companies themselves or a “independent” study funded by the Rx companies. So what do you think the studies will say? Anybody remember fin phen? Or about 80% of the medicines now. Every person that I know of that got a “flu shot” the past 6 years has gotten sick with the flu(flu and colds are totally different, but people keep thinking they are the same) every time they get the shot, so whats the point of the shot? I have never got one ever, and I have had the flu twice in the past 8 years!! I’ve had 3 different Dr’s that have many years under the belt all say these flu shots don’t work for kids or 2-50 year old. As long as they have a regular immune system. Just get 7-8 hours of sleep and drink WATER not pop or alcohol(or moderation) and ear somewhat right, and you will be fine. Oh I’m very active person to and I am around people that got sick and never got sick. yes some vaccines do work(polio ect..) but the modern ones are money driven. so be careful

    1. About 99% of real research supports HIV causing AIDS. Thus I’m so right that I can’t even see the stupidity of your point of view.

      Bring real research published in real journals that deny HIV causing AIDS. I’ll show you thousands that don’t deny.

      You’re just a lunatic.

      1. Dear anonymous moderator:
        Responding to my citing of hundreds of articles from mainstream sources by ad hominem reveals you as someone not bothered by the facts and who gullibly accepts whatever a current mainstream consensus is, evidently ignorant of the historical fact that science has progressed precisely by overturning consensus after consensus. As Michael Crichton put it, “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear that the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. . . . The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. . . . Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way” (“Aliens cause global warming”, Caltech Michelin Lecture, 17 January 2003;
        Henry H. Bauer,

        1. Oh for fucks sake, you’re hysterical.

          Bring real research published in real journals over the past few years.

          Literally half of your so called sources, were bullshit. They were not peer reviewed.

          Most of your other sources are from the 1980’s when our knowledge of HIV/AIDS was ancient.

          You’re a fraud. Go away and STFU.

          1. Such substance once again! When someone curses and avoids specific substance, it’s a clear indication that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about

            1. You’re a close-minded ignorant fool. You cherry pick bad science to “prove” you’re right. What the fuck could I say that would penetrate your thick skull.

          2. He is an idiot. He is just as bad as Anthony Colpo (charlatan Internet health salesmen/blogger) and Mario Coss ( fruitarian). They are loony cranks abusing appeal to authority and misusing the term ad hominem. You simply insulted him and rightfully so. No ad hominem occured. hhbauer does not even understand the ad hominem fallacy. He does not understand that mere insults themselves, even gratuitous abuse does NOT constitute an ad hominem fallacy. hhbauer actually commits the fallacy by incorrectly using it. These cranks never learned how science works. They never had access to real science educators like Alex Filippenko etc.

  3. You’re a dumbass troll who apparently has no morals, is uneducated, and who thinks that evidence can be cherrypicked. I’m going to do you a favor. How about I block your IP address, so you can troll someplace else?

  4. Troll, we’ve already gone over this. I know your moral and ethical standards are so low that you don’t understand humanity, but randomized clinical trials are unethical with vaccines. Why do I even bother to discuss this with someone with a little education as you.

  5. Once again Troll, you apparently will whore yourself out for a couple of dollars. But don’t apply your lame ethics and immorality on others.

    Sure, some tiny percentage of researchers embrace your low moral standards, but most don’t.

  6. I didn’t misunderstand your comment. You’re a liar, like most liars. You never gave a shit about vaccines, you just want to make up lies. If you care about protecting children, what would it matter what I sad. You don’t care. You’d rather have your children and others be at risk of dying.

    Too bad I can’t call CPS on you. One day, the USA will throw out the Republicans and become a civilized country, and those who refuse to vaccinate their kids will go to prison. I hope that day comes soon.

    So have a good day. Enjoy being a psychopath.

    1. Wow! Vaccination IS child abuse you evil piece of scum. It’s YOU that wants children to die and suffer from lifetime chronic diseases. Vaccines are NOT proven to be 100% safe and never will be. Are doctors willing to be responsible if my child goes to their offices for 9 injections in one day and drop dead in their office or seize into vegetative state? I didn’t think so. Now move along and respect our freedom of the right to choose!

            1. This is hilarious. Someone who can’t figure out the difference between “your” and “you’re” is calling another person “stupid.”

              You’re a fraud.

          1. Why haven’t you presented any links to evidence that vaccines “weaken” the immune system? Where’s your proof that people who aren’t vaccinated and get the disease have “stronger immune systems” than those who are vaccinated?

            Come on, Somedolt. You should have this “proof” at your fingertips.

        1. No, I want YOU to provide evidence in the form of a scientific article published in a peer- reviewed, high-impact scholarly journal that NOT vaccinating is child abuse. You are incredibly ignorant. Vaccinations are a medical procedure with known risks. You have a product to sell and since I’m the consumer, I choose not to buy your product. Only the gullible buy into this propaganda

          1. Heh, crank commenter upvotes his/her own dumb comment.

            *Someone* needs to take some courses in basic science, before *someone* comments on a science blog.

            1. It’s clear from your posts, you asshat. You don’t even know how to write a coherent sentence. You don’t know the first thing about science, medicine, vaccines, or grammar.

            2. That’s hardly impressive. You don’t even know that “American” is capitalized. Then again, neither do most American first-graders, you putz.

            3. We really should refrain from anything-“tard.” That’s a pejorative that I’d rather not have used here.

              Yes, I know, I have an odd line that I draw in the sand about names. Fuckwit is fine. 😀

            4. Addendum, SR: please feel free to remove/delete that post. I won’t mind and understand your reasoning.

          2. Only the gullible don’t actually bother to think. That would be you. You are demanding that something be completely risk-free before you’re going to “buy” it. I’m guessing, then, that you don’t use electricity in your home, that you don’t go anywhere that requires the use of any kind of vehicle, that you never use any sharp implements, etc.

            You think SR is “ignorant,” but you’re the one who hasn’t read the studies, doesn’t understand the science, and dismisses the idea of risk vs. benefit. There is nothing that is 100% safe. Nothing. Do you think that having the diseases that vaccines prevent is “safe,” you simpleton? Why don’t you look up the frequency with which encephalitis, deafness, scarring, and other serious complications occur from these diseases and compare that number with the number of SERIOUS vaccine injuries?

            You won’t, because you are a conspiracy theorist who doesn’t believe anything you don’t read on “Natural News” or “Age of Autism,” or some other crack-pot pseudo-science site.

            What is really hilarious about your asinine spew is telling SR that you’re not going to “buy your product.”

            What “product” do you imagine he’s selling, you ninny? He’s writing about science.

            1. Your boring me. Your all so ignorant and gullible… You believe everything the church of western medicine tells you?

            2. I’m really getting on your nerves I see, since all you do is call me names and insult me. Your behavior is that of a first grader

            3. Nope. I’m just disgusted that someone like you is even allowed to post on a public forum. The only consolation is that you’re so stupid you do your anti-vaccine dumbass club more harm than good.

            4. Actually, we get so tired of close-minded thinking covered in ignorance that we just sort of give up. Real evidence will never convince you, because you have grabbed ahold of the most ignorant beliefs possible, and you hold onto it like the troll you are. Notation is merely pointing out the obvious and calling you what you are.

      1. I’m fairly certain that “government control” is neither a sign or symptom of psychopathy, but then again, I have access to real medical journals and books.

        I want the government to make sure stupid parents don’t harm children. That doesn’t make me a psychopath you dumbass.

  7. I don’t give two craps how many languages you claim to speak. You don’t have any evidence that you can cite in any of them, twerp.

  8. Why should I? You’re the one with a case to prove. Prove it. It’s not my job to help you. If you make the claim, the onus is on you to produce evidence. Do so.

  9. Try to google VIOXX

    OK. Do you have anything intelligent to say about it? What’s the toxicity for other NSAIDs? What happened to the numbers for serious GI events after it was withdrawn by Merck? Can you come up with a reasoned argument why this decision wasn’t a really bad one?

  10. Prove that drugs are being released without proper testing. Cite your evidence. Your opinion doesn’t count unless you can back it up with facts, studies, and science-based evidence.

  11. Yep, I can choose not to actually use any drug – in the case of antibiotics, it might be a bad choice, but there are many prescription meds that are more optional than necessary, or there are options within your choice of medication. My main point is – if I am taking a prescription medication, my money (and my insurance company’s money) is a relatively small amount, going to a specific company. If the government had to perform its own clinical trials for every new drug, my taxes (which are not optional) would be going towards additional testing of all new drugs – which is, in most cases, unnecessary. And when the government does something, it is almost always more expensive than when a private company performs the same function.

    It’s a cost-benefit analysis. Should the government spend an extra $5 billion in testing if it will not result in drugs that are really that much safer?

  12. Of course, if one is really going to “trust” CBS news investigation Sharyl Attkisson “more than,” ah, “phantom without real name,” one might want to take into account the commensurate problem with her frankly insane “report” of her irreplaceable prose’s being “wip[ed] at hyperspeed.” The latter term is apparently code for “in slow motion,” but whatever.

  13. I don’t know why, but I trust CBS news investigation homlogous recombinaltion tiniker more that a phantom without real name.


  14. Lying Troll, you’re just a lying dumbass Troll. 90% of drugs that enter Phase 1 trials never make it to market. I wonder why? Because clinical trials are the gold standard of research.

    On the other hand Troll, your gold standard is taking bribes because you lack morals. Sad Troll.

  15. Appeal to Conspiracy Troll.

    Again, you assume people have the same 3rd grade morals and ethics as you Troll. Just because you can be bought for a few bucks and a gram of coke, doesn’t mean the rest of the world.

    Aren’t you embarrassed that you have such low morals? Damn Troll, you should go to congress, they also have filthy ethics.

  16. Why get a flu shot if its effectiveness is 50 % or less. It’s like flipping a coin: I might get a flu or I might not.

    More accurately, it’s like weighting a coin that you’re flipping year after year. If your chance of getting the flu any year is 5%, how long after one bout is it until you have even odds of getting it again? Now what if you reduce that risk to 2.5% year over year? This is high-school algebra.

    I’d rather take couple days of sick leave (IF I do get flu) rather than increase even slightly my chances of getting cancer in 10-15 years.

    In other words, you can’t think.

  17. Hmmm, you may want to do some fact-checking before writing about “so many drugs that become approved.” The FDA approval rate has ranged from about 20% to 40% since 2000. So apparently there are plenty of clinical trials that are not making the grade for approval. And how many of the 1,400+ approved drugs have been taken off the market due to serious complications not identified in the clinical trials? I’m asking you this because you seem to be very concerned so I figured you would know.


    As an individual, I don’t *have to* buy prescription meds. I have that choice. But if, perhaps, the FDA had to do ALL of its own clinical trials, then I wouldn’t have a choice in whether I funded the trials.

  18. Not surprising since controlled trials are what is required prior to approval. I would rather have pharmaceutical companies paying their own way to do trials of a medicine or vaccine that may or may not be approved than have my tax money spent on the government doing those trials.

  19. And, we’ve been waiting for you to provide some links to citations and studies from reliable first tier, peer-reviewed science and medical journals to back up your comments.

    You do have those links….right?

    1. Trolls just throw out comments and run like the cowards they are. But it’s laughable that he throws out the pathetic ad hominem about Paul Offit, who is a hero to children worldwide. Like Salk and Sabin.

  20. Why is the (potential) declared Conflicts of Interest a problem for you? Those declared Conflicts of Interest are a requirement for all papers submitted to all science and medical journals.

    It’s apparent that you are unaware of the clinical trials stages and the entity who pays for those clinical trials of medicines and vaccines:

  21. Hey, author, instead of making your story look good by beating up on Doshi’s background, let’s apply the SCIENTIFIC METHOD and CONTROL groups to compare the effectiveness of those that took the flu vaccine over the last 20 yrs vs those who did not, and look at outcomes. What do the stats say? Ohhh wait, there have been no studies done using a true scientific method to prove *statistically significant*results of flu vaccines, or any vaccine, for that matter in America?

    Show me your evidence with complete design study details on flu vaccines effectiveness, and many will be eager to read it.

    And Paul Offit, you mean “Profit” Offit? How much does he receive from Merck every year to be their PR boy? Yeah, is he really objective with all that money for HIS ego-boosting vaccine creation? Why did you omit these details in your article? Let’s see if you have the balls to respond.

    1. Maybe I am a little confused, but it sounds like you are looking more for a study of a flu vaccine efficacy rather than effectiveness? It is my understanding that efficacy is the term used for a controlled trial whereas effectiveness is the term used for a study over the general population. Are you looking for something like this:

      Efficacy/effectiveness will change from year to year as the vaccines change. I would guess that the confidence intervals are a result of all the variables inherent in a large study over the general population. You can read all about how the CDC estimates effectiveness here:

    2. If you want statistics about the immune status of pediatric fatalities from seasonal influenza 2004-2012 inclusive, you could check out this article from the Pediatrics journal:

      Influenza-Associated Pediatric Deaths in the United States, 2004–2012


      BACKGROUND: Influenza-associated deaths in children occur annually. We describe the epidemiology of influenza-associated pediatric deaths from the 2004–2005 through the 2011–2012 influenza seasons.

      METHODS: Deaths in children <18 years of age with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by using a standard case report form to collect data on demographic characteristics, medical conditions, clinical course, and laboratory results. Characteristics of children with no high-risk medical conditions were compared with those of children with high-risk medical conditions.

      RESULTS: From October 2004 through September 2012, 830 pediatric influenza–associated deaths were reported. The median age was 7 years (interquartile range: 1–12 years). Thirty-five percent of children died before hospital admission. Of 794 children with a known medical history, 43% had no high-risk medical conditions, 33% had neurologic disorders, and 12% had genetic or chromosomal disorders. Children without high-risk medical conditions were more likely to die before hospital admission (relative risk: 1.9; 95% confidence interval: 1.6–2.4) and within 3 days of symptom onset (relative risk: 1.6; 95% confidence interval: 1.3–2.0) than those with high-risk medical conditions.

      CONCLUSIONS: Influenza can be fatal in children with and without high-risk medical conditions. These findings highlight the importance
      of recommendations that all children should receive annual influenza vaccination to prevent influenza, and children who are hospitalized, who have severe illness, or who are at high risk of complications (age <2 years or with medical conditions) should receive antiviral treatment as early as possible.

      Dr. Offit is the co-developer of a rotavirus vaccine, which has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of infants worldwide:

      Vaccine. 2012 Apr 27;30 Suppl 1:A7-14. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.12.096.

      Projected health and economic impact of rotavirus vaccination in GAVI-eligible countries: 2011-2030.


      Rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrheal disease in children under 5 years of age. It is responsible for more than 450,000 deaths each year, with more than 90% of these deaths occurring in low-resource countries eligible for support by the GAVI Alliance. Significant efforts made by the Alliance and its partners are providing countries with the opportunity to introduce rotavirus vaccines into their national immunization programs, to help prevent childhood illness and death. We projected the cost-effectiveness and health impact of rotavirus vaccines in GAVI-eligible countries, to assist decision makers in prioritizing resources to achieve the greatest health benefits for their populations. A decision-analytic model was used to project the health outcomes and direct costs of a birth cohort in the target population, with and without a rotavirus vaccine. Current data on disease burden, vaccine efficacy, immunization rates, and costs were used in the model. Vaccination in GAVI-eligible countries would prevent 2.46 million childhood deaths and 83 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) from 2011 to 2030, with annual reductions of 180,000
      childhood deaths at peak vaccine uptake. The cost per DALY averted is $42 for all GAVI countries combined, over the entire period. Rotavirus vaccination would be considered very cost-effective for the entire cohort of GAVI countries, and in each country individually, as
      cost-effectiveness ratios are less than the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Vaccination is most cost-effective and has the greatest impact in regions with high rotavirus mortality. Rotavirus vaccination in GAVI-eligible countries is very cost-effective and is projected to substantially reduce childhood mortality in this population.

    3. So, Jason thinks there should be trials where people are given the flu or something just as deadly, then some folks receive the vaccine and some receive a placebo. Perhaps Jason doesn’t see anything ethically wrong with that?

      1. Anti-vaxxers have no morals or ethics, lest they wouldn’t want their children to potentially die of vaccine preventable diseases.

        What they also don’t understand that a clinical trial, let’s say including 10,000 children, half in each arm, would have to be completely random. So half would be protected from disease and half could die. What parent would enroll in THAT clinical trial with their children? I wouldn’t. I tell the physician to go jump in a lake (well, it wouldn’t be THAT nice).

    4. As they say on Wikipedia “Citations Please.”

      And let me make one thing clear about Paul Offit. His vaccine saves about 250,000 children’s LIVES every single year. How many lives have you saved Jason? Any?

      Offit is a Hero, who deserves a statue in front of every Pediatrics hospital in the world.

      I know Jason, it hurts your feelings that you are too lazy and uneducated to have developed a medicine, device, or procedure that saves lives every single day.

      Oh well. Envy is really a horrible character flaw. But I guess living in your parent’s house with no prospects for a future makes you envious.

  22. This vaccine denyer doesn’t trust those that she doesn’t know or what they are pushing. Why should I? I developed Polio soon after the 3rd dose of the oral vaccine and have never been the same since. Coincidence? I think not!!!

    1. I’m sorry that you contracted polio from an oral polio vaccine.

      Could you provide some details about your infection, including the name of the particular OPV, the date you were diagnosed with vaccine-derived polio infection, the country where you resided at the time of your diagnosis, the degree of paralysis and the specific blood tests which were used to make that diagnosis?

      Thank you.

      1. I thought they can type the strain to determine whether it is vaccine derived and even the locality the wild strains came from.

  23. Then quit trolling here dumbass. You have no education, your morals include murdering children by forcing them into a clinical trial, and you aren’t an interlocutor. You are a lying liar who lies who has the morals of my left nutsack. Leave. Simply leave liar.

  24. Because they won’t get a “sugar pill.” They will be injected with a saline solution, because it won’t be blinded otherwise.

    So, we would take a random group of 6000 children, half would be injected with saline, half with the flu vaccine. We wait for 12 months after the flu season. But wait, we’re intentionally exposing kids to flu who could have been vaccinated. Not Institutional Review Board would approve that.

    49,000 annual deaths were the high over the last 25 years of study. You dumbass, flunking math again.

    So I guess because there are more deaths from cars than from flu, you don’t give a shit about those who die from the flu. What an unethical, immoral dumbass you are.

    Go away putz.

  25. Cherry picking again.

    Let’s discuss formaldehyde. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH.

    Again, simple math is over your simple mind. Our body produces more formaldehyde every day from simple biochemical cycles than you would ever get in a vaccine. If you think, and I don’t doubt it because you’re such a dumbass, that there’s some difference between “natural” formaldehyde and “vaccine” formaldehyde, you’d be wrong wrong wrong.

    Here’s a good article that mocks your dumbassery in mathematics:

    A child has 1,000,000X more formaldehyde floating in their blood than you’d ever find in a vaccine.

    Are you not embarrassed for being so stupid?

  26. Cherry picking a meta-review, which has been widely criticized, belies your confirmation bias.

    Simply, Tom Jefferson thinks that ONLY double blinded clinical trials provide data. He complete ignores the ethical problems with that (giving perfectly healthy children a placebo that might expose them to a perfectly deadly diseases which a nearly perfect vaccine can prevent). He ignores the fact that vaccine manufacturers have approximately 6 months to develop and produce a vaccine for each flu season. And he appeals to conspiracy that governments make money on flu vaccines (no one does).

    But we can give you hundreds of flu vaccine articles that show it’s safe, it’s mostly effective, and it prevents things like stillbirths. Huh. Amazing that.

    Oh one more thing. He whines that we have to give 33 shots to save one person from disease. In the USA, that would be nearly 10 million people saved from the disease. And that would mean 1 million fewer hospitalizations. That would mean 100,000 fewer deaths.

    I guess your unethical and immoral Tom Jefferson isn’t like the Real Thomas Jefferson who thought saving lives with the smallpox vaccine was a great idea.

    Damn you’re really kind of stupid about real science. But you do love eating cherries, because you pick them so much.

  27. I think you’d be happy to know that many of your questions can be answered by looking at the CDC reports for each individual flu season, like this one:

    There are links to data, and studies, and discussion of various strains, and confidence intervals, and limitations, etc. Generally, the CDC (the “Government”) is the entity that monitors the effectiveness rather than a pharmaceutical company. Remember that whole efficacy versus effectiveness discussion? Yeah.

    By the way, from what little I’ve read about Tom Jefferson (lead author of the BMJ article), he seems to be trying to make a name for himself as some sort of “maverick” so you may want to consider his agenda while reading any of his articles

  28. How the effectiveness is determined is not my “opinion”; it is estimated through an observational study each flu season. To support a statement of 100% effectiveness, it would be necessary to demonstrate it was 100% effective over years and years since the vaccine changes every year. Seriously, you can read all about how efficacy and effectiveness are determined on the CDC webpage; you don’t have to ask me about it:

    Oh, and, as you alluded to, with salt or water or almost anything else, dose does matter. Which is why the FDA has limits on thimerosal dosages.

    And, again, if you fear mercury, you can go preservative-free for your flu shot 🙂

      1. How’s your work toward that GED coming along? Squalene is a natural substance; there’s nothing harmful about it.

        Tell me, do you really think that more people are seriously injured by vaccines than suffer serious complications or death from the diseases the vaccines prevent? Because if so, you’re ignorant of the facts. The statistics show that serious vaccine injury is extremely rare, and that complications are far more common.

        But you’re so uneducated you don’t know what statistics or studies mean.

        1. Yes I do believe more people are injured by vaccination than suffer from death or complications from childhood disease . Any study that would show this would be swept under the carpet. Do you really think government would allow this to be known? They don’t want to have the people distrust them right?

          1. Well, you are simply wrong. The statistics show it. You’re too stupid to know how vaccines work because you never managed to get through a science class. You’re nothing but a tin-foil-hat-wearing dingbat. It’s a shame you have already reproduced.

            1. Really? I have a bachelors degree in science. I love biology and science. The science doesn’t support vaccination

            2. No, you don’t. You have nothing of the kind. You’re not even a college graduate.

            3. I treat 9-12 patients EVERY day in the practice I work in. Can’t due that with out a college degree and a license to do what I do

            4. The word is “do,” stupid ass. You don’t “treat patients” at all.

          2. By the way, how would EVERY SINGLE GOVERNMENT IN THE WORLD manage to sweep EVERY SINGLE STUDY that might show that more people die or are seriously injured from vaccines than from diseases they prevent?

            Do you have any idea how stupid this is?

            Look at facts. Not conspiracy theories. Look at science. Not nonsense.

            The fact is that vaccines save millions of lives. Millions upon millions of people get them all over the world. If more people were seriously injured or dying from them than would die from measles, polio, etc., do you REALLY think it could possibly be kept a secret? How friggin’ gullible are you?

            1. They try their best to keep studies under wraps but sometimes they get out due to whistle blowers and at that point the media destroys the reputation of that doctor, scientist, etc….. Read up on Dr shiv chopra

            2. Oh, bullshit. Your idol has feet of clay, and you’re an idiot. Anyone who is so delusional that he/she believes that there’s some enormous “secret society” of researchers, doctors, and other health care professionals from all over the globe trying to keep some mind-blowing revelation about vaccines from becoming public is too stupid for words. You’re a friggin’ nutcase. Do you realize how ridiculous your entire premise is? Politicians can’t even keep their illicit affairs a secret, you clown. Here, read about your favorite quack:





            3. Do tell. Then you should be able to post proof. Try doing that but first learn how to spell “Rockefeller.” It’s not rocket science, except for a high school dropout.

  29. No, I wouldn’t consider it 100% effective because I would want my analysis to be based upon the experience of thousands of people, across different demographics over many years in order to report that result. Your seven years worth of experience makes a nice story, but it is not evidence, like the type of evidence used when researchers use when they really-actually evaluate the effectiveness of a vaccine.

    I build my immune system every year by getting a flu vaccination, without all the coughing and aching and disease-spreading inherent in actually being infected with the flu 🙂

    And I’m not sure exactly what point you are trying to make with DDT. Scientific studies uncovered the potential problems with DDT (which is still used in some places, by the way) whereas scientific studies have supported the safety of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative. Removal of thimerosal from most vaccines (there are even thimerosal-free versions of the flu vax if you are afraid of the “mercury”) was a knee-jerk reaction to a fear of mercury, not based upon scientific evidence that it caused any problems.

    1. At 40 years old I had influenza once in my life when I was in 9th grade. I have never had a flu shot nor has my family and none of us has had a flu! Guess you could say that not getting the shot prevents the flu right?

  30. And I like how you shifted those goalposts! First you denied it was safe, I provided evidence that it was . . .then you denied that it was effective! Skeptical Raptor pointed out how you failed that math, so I’ll address the formaldehyde and “mercury.”

    Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen . . . if you inhale a massive dose! It is produced by your own body, so there is always formaldehyde circulating through your body. And by “mercury” I assume you mean thimerosal. Also safe in the dose level found in vaccines:

    I’m glad that you are confident that if you got the flu, you would only need to take a few days off of work. But, really, you just don’t know what complications you might have. And you are probably a bit too selfish to worry about who else you might infect before you show symptoms.

  31. Once again, you fail math. It’s not a flip of the coin. IF it was 50% effective, and it isn’t that low, unless you cherry pick data, it means that you have a 50% lower risk of contracting flu, 50% lower risk of hospitalization, and 50% lower risk of dying.

    In fact, in science based medicine, physicians will use treatments that reduce risk by only 5%, or even 1%, if that’s their only choice.

    You totally don’t get simple, and I mean very simple mathematics. You describe it as a coin flip as if the outcome is inconsequential. In fact, it a choice between life and death, because it is a reduction in risk.

    Once again, you are evidence that vaccine deniers don’t get simple math. What a maroon.

  32. And if it matters, I happen to agree with you on the reasoning of the people who are scared of vaccinating their children. Autism is diagnosed about the time of the last vaccine runs in children. Given decades of vaccination in the general population and no real uptick in autism (it’s more prevalent diagnosis because MDs literally do not use the diagnosis of mental retardation anymore, but it’s not apparent percent numbers have really changed), it’s stretch to me that there’s anything but a coincidence in timing.

    Even if it were true, I’m far more scared of the diseases that are vaccinated for than of an outside chance of autism development. Better to have a live child with issues than a dead one.

    The risk/return of annual flu vaccine for healthy people is another story. I have no problem with companies making gobs of money if my life is actually better. I see how even done with little actual effect in hospital/nursing home settings a flu vaccination is the conservative choice. But I remain a bit unconvinced that it’s a an effective idea for an otherwise healthy people not in contact with populations with weakened immune systems.

      1. You have a very valid line of reasoning about it. And I totally agree it’s affordable. Personally I get impatient with arguments about how the evil pharmaceutical companies are out to get us. If they make the world a better place (and they do), why shouldn’t they make a profit??

        I actually get a flu shot, too, because my Mother is in a nursing home. I also am much more rigorous than I used to be about hand washing when we go visit.

        I’m only pointing out there’s a reasonable, logical line of thinking wondering if the flu shot is all it’s being promoted as that does not “deny” science.

        1. This reply is specifically to the “why not make profit?” This is a philosophical reply not a scientific one for it has to do with human behavior and social psychology. Profits should be a reward for good products and services not the goal. Big Pharma has to make profits to pay off shareholders and their research. So when you mix a profit based publicly traded business model and medicine you increase the risk for corrupted behavior to keep the economical growth going. The intention could be to make money then choose what is the biggest thing people will want help with. If money can be made who is to stop a cooperative effort to pay off all the peers that review results to just agree for profit? The corporations are responsible for doing their own research. Our government doesn’t check their tests. As for corruption, congress does it all the time when they pass bills. Many don’t even read bills they sign because of the special interest they serve. That’s how business works.

          Western Medicine for desease is more business than it is a genuine intention to finding real cures. Probably because its common to hear this phrase. “We don’t know what causes..(insert disease here).” But we have this ( insert drugs) that deals with the symptoms but be warned that the relief comes at a price; a slew of side effects and high costs.” Why don’t these scientists know the cause of anything? Do they not study the entire body and its reactions to what causes imbalances in our major organs? Or are they focusing on one part that keeps people on medication for the rest of their lives?

          I am skeptical about the flu vaccine and its claims because I factor in the placebo effect. I am skeptical on vaccine deniers because I was vaccinated in my youth and I still have a strong immunity system and rarely get sick. I remain a skeptical person because we live in a society full of corrupt institutions whose focus is to make profit by controlling our behavior. Nothing is sacred in the eyes of a business man or politician. Everything is for sale.

        2. From what I’ve read of Doshi, he doesn’t seem like he’s the one representing the “logical line of thinking” about the flu shot. He’s hyping the data with a kind of they-won’t-tell-you-this attitude about it all. In fact, the actual data that he uses is available to anyone with a bit of curiosity and Google skill. It’s not hidden data, and it’s not *his* data from his own research. He’s contributing an opinion that discounts human lives.

          In doing so, he’s put himself in the position of being trotted out as some kind of expert on the subject to those who are desperate to add another name with credentials to their list of supporters.

        3. Pharma makes the world a better place? Really? Iatrogenic deaths, the need for more drugs to suppress the side effects of the first drug, the VIOXX disaster, antidepressants and increased risk of suicide, abuse of antibiotics, etc. wow! A better place for making a killing off sick people right??

            1. Well, call me crazy if you will, but I think I am less crazy than I would be if I had to worry about my kids dying of diphtheria, or being paralyzed by polio, or getting encephalitis from a measles infection 🙂

              In fact, I do wonder if so many folks who go on about evil Big Pharma will stick with their convictions when they or a loved one get in an accident or get sick. Having had two babies go through the NICU, I generally say, “Hooray, modern medicine!”

            2. Absolutely, modern medicine has it’s place but unfortunately it has been corrupted by greedy corporations and government. You shouldn’t worry about your children contracting normal childhood diseases. In most cases children and adults recover just fine and in fact have healthier, stronger immune systems because of it. I’d be more concerned about my children suffering from cancer, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders, asthma and allergies. We have traded normal childhood disease for chronic lifetime diseases that require medications and western medicine intervention for life. I would advise you to read up on Dr. Shiv Chopra. He’s a brave, brilliant man.

            3. Ha! Now I can call you crazy! Those “normal childhood diseases” killed a lot of kids, and left even more permanently disabled. Some diseases, like heart disease and cancer, more prominent now because people are living long enough to have them because they are not dying young from infectious diseases. Read some history.

              And I’ve never seen any evidence to link vaccines or medications with any widespread increases in any of the disorders you list.

            4. There are higher rates of cancer in children than ever before and the number of younger people with cancer is increasing so it’s not because people live longer. 1 out of 2 men will get cancer in their lifetime and 1 out of 3 women.

            5. Citations, please. If you are going to make claims like that, you need to provide a credible source.

            6. Goodness gracious, no need to be so rude! Your comment re: your “source” did not load on here, but I have it in my Disqus account. Your source references NCI and EPA publications (some of which are almost 20 years old, so hard to verify), not the CDC. Assuming that your “source” gives an accurate interpretation of those publications, your “source” also hypothesizes that increasing cancer rates are being caused by industrial chemicals, not medications or vaccines. So, doesn’t really support your claims.

            7. No, no you got it all wrong. My point was in that cancer rates are increasing among the population and it’s not due to increasing life span as stated in that reference. And for the record vaccines and medications due contain chemicals.

            8. Wow, that’s pretty lame, since EVERYTHING is made of chemicals! Which of these carcinogenic, industrial chemicals are found in vaccines (and please don’t include formaldehyde, since we’ve already discussed how bodies produced formaldehyde and it is carcinogenic in humans when inhaled)? At what cumulative dosage are those chemicals carcinogenic? How does that compare with vaccine dosages? How about the rest of those disorders you claimed are caused by vaccines and medicine? Any credible, peer-reviewed sources to support those claims?

              And, by the way, if you look at NCI’s latest data through 2011, cancer incidence rates peaked in the late 90’s and have been on a slow decline since then* – so it looks like your “source” did a great job cherry-picking data that ended in the late 90’s:

              *edit: except for testicular cancer, it has continued to increase.

            9. No, I didn’t get it wrong. I have evidence that I showed that the rate is actually dropping.

              Any further misogynist comments will get you banned. And I’m in a banning mood.

            10. The rate may be dropping slightly in adults but pediatric cancer is increasing. That’s the hard truth. If you feel you need to ban me because you can’t accept reality than so be it. Your vaccines suck by the way and I will NEVER allow your zombie slaves(doctors, nurses and pharmacists) to assault my family with those deadly weapons. If this blog of yours is suppose to sway people on the fence towards pro vaccine I think you’ve failed. Sites like these scream out desperation to have all humans take these injections no matter what the risk. I use to be provaccine, I have one chronically ill, fully vaxed till age of 12 and a second completely healthy unvaxed child. I have seen the differences in their health with my own eyes, as have countless other parents with their own children. We can’t all be wrong. The unvaccinated experience less chronic ailments and disease as I’ve witnessed among my community. Peace:). Good luck!

            11. Well, I guess if you can’t really find any evidence of your claims of vaccines causing widespread chronic illnesses (just a few ancedotes), you could always design and conduct your own study, publish it, and then post it here . . .

            12. Your anecdotes are unverifiable. Isn’t that convenient for you?

              By the way, I’m Queen Elizabeth II. Come on up to the palace for tea sometime.

            13. “Your zombie slaves (doctors nurses and pharmacists)….Ahahahahaha. You said YOU were a doctor. So you were lying, then. As if anyone doubted it.

            14. It’s “do,” moron, and our bodies are MADE of chemicals, you dumbass.

              You don’t have any idea what cancer “rates” are or whether they’re increasing or why. You barely know how to tell time and tie your own shoes.

            15. Yeah, his comment was very not-nice! His source was what *really* sucked since it cherry-picked old NCI data, ignoring incidence rates after 1997 or so.

            16. You’re using a non-peer-reviewed source. The lower rates are supported by peer reviewed sources. You’re so close minded you run to bad sources for your “evidence.” It ain’t.

            17. Pssst: “Its” is a possessive. “It’s” isn’t. It’s a contraction for “it is.”

              See, that’s what getting an education could do for you—it would make you literate.

              Where’s your evidence that anyone who’s had a disease has a “stronger” immune system than someone who’s been vaccinated for it?

              Cite it.

            18. No, it isn’t. It’s called being too stupid to know the difference. Don’t bother with your lame excuses for your ignorance. They don’t work.

            19. Why are you blathering on about cancer, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders, asthma, and allergies? They have nothing to do with vaccines. There is no evidence that vaccines are the cause of “chronic lifetime diseases.” Where do you GET this crap?

            20. How do you know vaccines have nothing to do with chronic disease. Are you the almighty knowing god? Your brain hasn’t evolved yet I see. Still the size of a pea.

            21. I see you’ve produced not a single citation to back up one of your claims. Go ahead, bozo. Show peer-reviewed studies that back up your claims.

              I suspect English isn’t your first language. I also suspect you’re about 17. At least, that’s your intellectual age.

            22. Is rather be crazy than a sheeple like you. Now go line up for your vaccinations.

            23. “Is rather be crazy…”? Oh, that’s definitely brilliant.

              “..a sheeple….” Nobody who actually took a science class and passed it would call anyone else by that ridiculous epithet. I’ll wait while you go look up “epithet,” dingus.

          1. You are either a Poe or extremely ignorant of history. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Do you have any clue how many people died of measles, polio, diphtheria, influenza, and other diseases we can now prevent safely and effectively with vaccines? Your asinine comment about antidepressants is beyond belief. What do you think used to happen to people with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder? Ever heard of Bedlam? You should learn how mental illness USED to be “treated.”

            As for antibiotics and the overuse thereof, are you contending that people were better off before there were any? Really? How fucking stupid are you? Just today, a friend’s child was hospitalized with an infection that caused high fever and might very well have required surgery. Antibiotics saved him from a very real risk of dying.

            I’d love to know just how someone like you explains the fact that we live longer by decades than the generation born 100 years ago. Go ahead, pretend that it has nothing to do with the advances of modern medicine. Your grandparents are laughing their heads off.

            1. I believe modern medicine has it’s place but is generally abusive and unnecessay

            2. How hard is it to catch on to that “It’s/Its” thing, Einstein? “unnecessay”? Did you break that spell-checker of yours?

  33. It looks to me that the vast majority of your case about vaccine deniers has been made by making the exact same faulty arguments that they use. The focus of this entry is mostly on credentials and other activities that might “prove” or “disprove” one person or another is a “true” scientist. The repeated use of “denier” is the clear need to judge the people making the arguments.

    A true scientific discussion must focus on the flaws in the arguments themselves. A crackpot who believes that the moon is made of cheese and hand washing prevents disease is correct about the later. Great thinkers of the past have have been wrong on important points. Each argument must be judged on it’s own merit, not on the speaker’s merits. It’s difficult, time consuming, and scary but it’s the only way to be disciplined about what science to accept.

    And climate change in particular highlights how peer review can completely break down into an echo chamber. Formal science has been prone to faddish beliefs, precisely because it is a group activity. It is an extraordinary claim to that we can predict the average global temperature in 3,4, or 10 decades *and* we know the one factor (of thousands) controlling the temperature *and* we can control it.

    Yet when asked for hard evidence of such an extraordinary claim, those who believe can’t even point to the last decade’s worth of global temperatures. The discussion almost always breaks down to a pseudoscience article like you’ve presented here: they have degrees, they work hard, and they’re smart, darn it. And they all agree (even though they’ll lose their jobs if they disagree) so it must be true.

    The heart of science is skepticism. If that makes me a “denier” by your standards, so be it. I’d rather be a heretic in the Church of Science and understand the world better then pretend that the human endeavor of formal science works perfectly all the time.

    1. I would say that a true scientific discussion must focus on evidence, and the term “denier” fits quite well with folks who continually deny evidence that does not support their own assertions.

      1. Maybe. But I’d argue that the use of term denier focuses the discussion on the speaker, rather than the evidence. Especially in an article that wishes to refute the use of an appeal to an authority, it’s repeated use is not particularly persuasive and only highlights the point of how easy it is for anyone to be guilty of confusing the argument with the speaker. In the end, science demands no particular belief, save in the use of repeatable evidence.

        1. Deniers, in science, is an individual making a claim that,

          1. Lacks evidence supporting that belief,
          2. Ignores or “denies” the vast amount of evidence that nullifies their belief or dogma,
          3. And makes claims lacking any scientific experience to support that claim.

          A real scientist knows what and who a denier is. We don’t care if their weak intellect is insulted by the term.

        2. People are spreading Doshi’s opinion around like it’s groundbreaking research because Johns Hopkins Ph.D. I saw this going on, and that’s how I ended up here. They see that he’s got credentials and questions the flu shot, and then they don’t have to listen to anymore evidence. Denialism is thus enabled and supported by credentials.
          That’s the making of a denier.

          People are saying Doshi is right because of his credentials. No one is saying that the Skeptical Raptor is right because he calls people “deniers.” You can insult people without making the insult your argument. It’s rude, but it’s not a fallacy.

    2. You are conflating debate with science. A true scientific discussion is based upon evidence presented and published. Not on beliefs.

      So you’re a global warming denier along with a vaccine denier.

      You TOTALLY miss what makes science. And throwing about pseudoscience as if you actually know what that means is so laughable that I busted a nut.

  34. Are you positive that The United States Government is not doing a study as we speak on the American people? or is the CDC much better than the US Public Health Service was as late as 1972. Are you sure that the money in grants given to your science community is not tainted with politics and the like? I will not get a flu shot this year thank you very much. I have enough evidence that tells me not to trust every vaccine our great America tells me is “safe”.

    1. No, I’m not positive, but I won’t fall for the Argument to Ignorance either. Just because I cannot be certain that the US Government isn’t doing something nefarious, doesn’t mean that proves they are. I also cannot “prove” that there isn’t a teapot floating above the moon. But I’m most certain that there isn’t.

      The CDC is mostly staffed by the US Public Health Service. They are interchangeable. Not sure what your point is.

      Finally, just because YOU can be bought with a little cash to whore yourself out, doesn’t mean just because a real scientist requires funding for a study and gets it from Big Pharma research will whore himself out. Don’t transfer your sad morals and ethics onto others. Lucky for humanity most scientists have moral fiber well beyond you.

      I don’t understand how sad ethics are with you dumbasses.

  35. Skeptical Raptor Hello. After reading your blog I thought of this .
    The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (/tʌsˈkiːɡiː/)[1] was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government.[1] So tell me why it is you are so sure of all your self? You remind me of one of those follow the leader types. You my friend are way to arrogant its shameful. Do you have Children? do you lay your baby down on their back or their stomach?. Have you or someone you know ever taken the drug VIOXX

    1. Strawman argument. A different time.

      By the way, Vioxx is a pretty good medication for those with arthritis. Sad it’s off the market. But I can’t imagine someone with your poor education, poor logical skills and Nazi level ethics could ever understand.

  36. PEOPLE PLEASE WAKEUP… My name is Rod Spurr and I
    never have vaccinations or immunizations, flu,etc AND I am often
    around many sick people AND I NEVER get sick. Hippocrates said about
    400 bc “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”, AND there
    are many biblical references backing up this!!! At least 40 references
    in the Bible….And Hippocrates lived to about 110yo!!!

    AND I have
    cured myself from cancer with food…. how much proof do people need
    before they understand that food IS our medicine… we do not want the
    poisons the BIG PHARMA try to force on society!!! so they can make
    Billions of dollars from peoples suffering!!!
    Specialists are blown away with my recovery!!!

    1. The bible is a book of myths for Bronze Age goatherders and has all the relevance of modern day comic book.

      I don’t give a flying flip who you are. I don’t care what YOUR personal anecdote is, but it isn’t data. It’s probably just a lie.

      And cured yourself of cancer? Please provide all your medical records so that they can be analyzed by a real doctor. Otherwise, your an immoral lying fool.

  37. And you miss the whole point of appeal to authority. It doesn’t matter what my qualifications are. All that matters is that I present evidence that supports my claims. All that matters is that I present high quality and published evidence.

    That’s all.

    1. “All that matters is that I present high quality and published evidence.”

      And ironically, you didn’t that with this article. There’s a whole lot of “real scientists” do this that and the other thing, not so much that he’s wrong because of this fact or the other. And publishing is not critical – only presenting high quality evidence. Someone who has done their work correctly and can’t get published is still correct.

  38. And…here we have Snopes writing about Peter Doshi’s junk science about the seasonal influenza vaccine’s effectiveness, the supposed huge profit margin by seasonal influenza vaccine manufacturers and his pandering to anti-vaxxers:

    “….Ultimately the claims made by Doshi and echoed by Blaylock hinge on a flawed, two-pronged premise: flu vaccines are a large moneymaker for pharmaceutical companies, and the vaccines aren’t really beneficial because the flu isn’t that bad and healthy people don’t die from it.

    First, the flu shot is not nearly as profitable to pharmaceutical companies as many imagine, generating less than one percent of global pharmaceutical company revenues. By contrast, a flu epidemic would generate a far larger profit for them.

    Moreover, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tens of thousands of people (many otherwise healthy) die each year of the flu. The agency reported in 2013 that 90 percent of juvenile patients who died of the flu in that season had not been vaccinated.

    Finally, much of the objection to flu vaccine marketing makes mention of the varying strains of influenza that circulate each year. A 2013 study indicated the flu shot can “provide cross protection against non-matching circulating strains” even if they are not exactly matched.”


  39. Without–for the moment, at least–revealing my stance on any specific issue (e.g. vaccination), I’d like to ask you one question: How do you reconcile your statement that science isn’t a democracy, and isn’t up for a vote, with your emphasis on peer review? Isn’t peer review a form of democracy (albeit one generally held to be carried out by knowledgeable specialists in their field), where the “group” (i.e. the peer review board) decides whether a study or experiment is trustworthy, based on their own expertise, preconceived ideas, and possibly even biases?

    Before you respond to that last paragraph as though it came from a raving vaccine denier, I’d like to clarify that I am not exactly anti-vaccine (although I do think more studies ought to be done on the cumulative effects of taking numerous vaccines that by themselves are harmless, especially when those vaccines are taken simultaneously or within a short time period).

    1. If you vote a certain way, do you have to tell anyone how you voted? Do you have to give evidence for your disagreement with someone else’s vote? Is your vote less credible (discounted) if you didn’t follow the accepted methods for reaching that decision?

      The peer review process holds your research up to the knowledge of your peers. They aren’t voting on your conclusions, they’re looking at whether or not you have accounted for bias, conflicts of interest, whether your math and models are correct and, importantly, whether you followed reproducible methods so that any other researcher with the same resources available can repeat your research and get the same results. That’s science.

      I voted today. I didn’t have to tell anyone who I voted for or why. That’s voting. Peer-review is not voting.

      1. You bring up a good point! I understand that peer review is not voting. However, it seems to me that when skepticalraptor said that science is not democracy, he wasn’t referring to a lack of secret voting, but rather to something else.

        1. Well, I’m not really talking about secret voting either. Democracy is about the freedom to have an opinion, qualified or unqualified, and to assert it because you can. It’s your right. I can blather on about politics all I want, or rant against science if I feel like it. However, if I want to be taken seriously in any particular field of science, there is a history of discoveries and methods that have been tested and accepted, which I have to be familiar with. My research has to reflect that knowledge or else my findings are going to be questionable and probably invalid.

          The problem that is always coming up with the antivaccine mavericks is that they often step outside their field (if they are in science at all) and perform analyses that are totally flawed and inconsistent with a solid understanding of a particular field of science. Sometimes they outright lie. There are problems with being ignorant of the basic assumptions on which any given field of science is based. Those assumptions aren’t there because a bunch of guys arbitrarily agreed on them. They’re there because they’ve been demonstrated to be reliable. Peer-review is a way to safeguard your own research against flawed and outdated assumptions by showing your methods clearly and making them available for scrutiny by other experts in the field.

        2. If you are commenting about the specific decisions made about each vaccine that are on the recommended Vaccine Schedules, those decisions are made by the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) which meets three times during each calendar year. The meetings are not held behind closed doors and every member of the ACIP has impeccable credentials and each member serves without remuneration. The decisions made by the members are published on their website and in the MMWR (available every Friday morning on the internet).

          If you are commenting about the specific strains of influenza viruses which are incorporated into each year’s seasonal influenza vaccine which is manufactured for use in the Northern Hemisphere, those decisions are made a few months before the start of the seasonal influenza season, by representatives from the member nations, meeting in Switzerland. Throughout the year, the circulating influenza viruses are intently monitored for antigenic drift and antigenic shift, so that the best decisions can be made by the experts to incorporate the three (or four) most prevalent strains for the trivalent or quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccines:

          1. Thanks for all the information on the first topic! I’d always wondered exactly which organization comes up with those schedules (although I’d never bought into the claim that it was “Big Pharma”). Now I know where to get the data–I’m the kind of guy who likes to look at the data and crunch the numbers for myself:)

    2. 1. A better analogy would be a meritocracy. Anyone can say I agree or disagree with a scientific study. But, you have to achieve a certain level of education and demonstrated proficiency for your statements to be considered seriously. And any results you present as scientific will get picked over relentlessly by people who are at least as informed and proficient as you are. Any really unusual results will need to be independently demonstrated by other researchers (that’s called replication) before they are accepted.

      2. So far we have at least 10 major studies of over 10 million individuals done by different researchers in different countries analyzing different groups of subjects. Collectively, they show that the current vaccines used in the various national schedules are very safe. Really serious side effects (such as allergic reactions, long-term seizures, etc.) are very rare. (1 in 100,000 to 1 in 1,000,000 or less)

      And, the vaccines greatly reduce the incidence of diseases which are much more likely to cause the same side effects as well as death.

      So, how many more studies do you think are needed?

      1. The main point of my comment was about the possibility that peer review may, particularly on some controversial issues, serve the purpose of promoting conformity rather than accuracy (which is great if the ruling paradigm is accurate and in no need of being altered, but can also lead to the fallacy of question-begging if a peer review board disqualifies a paper because it takes a position that is not already backed by peer-reviewed research).

        However, on the issue of vaccines, here’s my answer to your final question:

        I am convinced that in the vast majority of cases, as you said, “all the vaccines used in various national schedules are safe.” However, even if the vaccines themselves are safe, it seems to me that I’ve known a number of people with adverse reactions that could potentially be explained by just how many vaccines are given to young (or sometimes not-so-young) people within a given time period. I know one young man who had not gotten certain vaccines as a kid, and he got “all caught up” all at once as a teenager. He strangely started periodically losing touch with reality after that (he’d just stop responding to people around him, and just sort of sit there for awhile as if he weren’t taking in information through his eyes and ears). I’ve known several other people who have had other things happen, and it seems to me that they’re POSSIBLY the result of too many safe-by-themselves vaccines all at once.


        My concerns stem primarily from the possibility of either 1) adverse reactions being underreported, or 2) reactions not being counted because they were *almost* bad enough to count (for example, the CDC page you mentioned categorizes DTaP reactions as being “moderate” if the child’s fever reaches 105, but “mild” if it’s anything less than that–even by half a degree or less).

        I have known some people who were initially unvaccinated (at least with certain vaccines) when they were young, who later on got “all caught up” in a relatively short time period, with adverse effects. One, a teenage boy,

        I’m not advocating throwing out vaccinations, as I said before–I understand that there are many diseases that are far more dangerous than their vaccine counterparts–but I also think it’s important that doctors and families are able to make sound, informed decisions about vaccines and reactions on a case-by-case basis rather than applying a set of rules and guidelines that may or may not be best for each individual child.

        I recommend that you read the DTaP vaccine side effects on that CDC page ( before reading the rest of this comment…

        When I was young, I got the first DTaP vaccination in the series, and had several of the problems listed on the “mild problems (common)” list on that page–particularly fever, swelling and redness around the area, and fussiness. The doctor said that all of this was common, so I got the second shot.

        I had a worse reaction to the second one, including the swelling of the entire leg (the CDC page mentions that this may happen around the 4th or 5th shot in up to 1 in 30 children–it only took me two shots to get that far). I also had a fever of 104.5 degrees (note how it takes a fever of 105 degrees to register as a “moderate” response on that list). The doctor at the free state-funded vaccination clinic said that their guidelines didn’t list any of my reactions as being worse than mild (even though I’m told I couldn’t walk for a few days because of the severe leg swelling).

        After that, my parents took me to a private physician who was not beholden to state or federal guidelines (at least in the sense of being inflexible), and he charted my reactions and said that due to the rate at which my reaction’s severity had increased between the first and second shots, it was likely that my reaction to the third would’ve been far worse, possibly including more items on the “moderate” and “severe” lists. I continued my other vaccine schedules, but that one was ceased (odds are fairly high that that vaccine grants immunity within the first two doses anyway, as the doctor said).

        My reasons for telling my story are twofold:

        1) Some people are so zealous in their opposition to vaccine deniers that they advocate making the vaccine schedule–or at least certain parts of it–mandatory for all children. If such mandates were made, doctors would not be able to make adjustments to an individual child’s vaccination schedule if he believed there were serious cause for concern that the child was turning out to be one of the 1 in 16,000 children who get a particular rare-but-dangerous reaction. The guidelines would only allow for cessation of a particular vaccine schedule once the potential for a bad reaction had already been realized, and possibly done permanent damage (if I had a 104.5-degree fever by only the second shot in the DTaP course, what are the odds that by the 4th or 5th dose–if not by the 3rd–I would’ve had the more severe fever, possibly resulting in seizures or brain damage?).

        2) Assuming that I would’ve had a fever of 105 degrees by the third shot in the course (which seems reasonable, seeming that it would only require a half-degree increase over my previous reaction fever), that article says that I was part of the 1 in 16,000 children who have such a bad fever. I highly doubt that I happen to be part of a group that small, although there is, of course, that possibility. It seems to me that it is more reasonable to conclude that there may be more children who, like me, find a way to not get reported (perhaps by having a doctor preemptively cease the schedule of a particular vaccine before the reactions could get bad enough to cause permanent damage, or perhaps for some other reason).

        I don’t advocate simply stopping vaccinating children–I’m aware of the deadliness of diseases such as pertussis (I once heard of a native Amazonian tribe who, before gaining access to vaccines, lost more than half of their children to that one disease alone, and I’m aware of the deaths historically caused by it here in the USA, such as president John Adams’ loss of his mother-in-law and one of his children to the disease when it swept Braintree, Massachusetts), and I’m glad that I was vaccinated against it in the first place. There’s a good chance I’m still getting some benefit of immunity from the first two doses. However, I do strongly believe that families and doctors MUST have the freedom to made decisions based on what is happening to an individual child, so as to prevent severe reactions before they happen, when possible.

        1. Whoa. You’re leaping from fever to brain damage without any basis whatsoever. “Mild” and “moderate” reactions aren’t a mere half degree away from “severe” reactions and brain damage. Fever over 105 is abnormally high. Saying you almost got there is like me saying my 98.5 non-fever might as well have been a fever. Even if you did almost get there, it doesn’t mean you were just a hair away from brain damage.

          The people who are so zealously opposed to vaccine deniers are often the ones that are the most help for parents with genuine concerns. Dr. Paul Offit, for example. He argues in favor of vaccines. He has seen children die from vaccine preventable illnesses. When parents feared that their kids were getting “too many too soon” he tested it. Do you know what he found? There is no evidence for “too many too soon” which is what you’re arguing here.

          Instead of being reassured, deniers just say Offit is evil and wants to poke your kids with 10,000 needles.

          I highly recommend getting away from the conspiracy theorists and reading some of Offit’s books. He’s been very gracious to spend a lot of his time addressing fears about vaccines.

          1. I agree that 105-degree fevers are a LONG way from brain damage. However, a jump from a slight fever to a 104.5-degree fever (along with a leg swelling that normally occurs after twice as many shots) is a large jump, and if the jump from the 2nd dose to the 3rd dose were going to be just as much as from the 1st to the 2nd, then it seems logical to expect that I’d be in severe territory by the 4th (and no, I’m not the one saying I might’ve been brain damaged; I’m just saying that doctors should be able to be on the looking for the one-in-several-thousand who, according to the CDC link, would have a moderate-to-severe issue). My point wasn’t that I was half a degree away from brain damage (that would be ludicrous!). My point was that irrespective of severity, the article said that only 1 in 16,000 kids who get the DTaP have a fever of 105 or above (which it classified as “moderate”), and it seems pretty obvious that my fever would’ve been above that (if not well above that) after the third dose, considering how much it jumped from the first to the second. Am I really 1 in 16,000? I suppose there’s a possibility, but it’s not likely.

            And it would be difficult for me to “get away from the conspiracy theorists,” since I have a tendency to avoid reading them anyway (and when I do, it normally just gets my blood boiling and my fallacy detector beeping anyway). It hardly comes across as a conspiracy to vaccinate when you hear about people dying of all kinds of diseases in third-world countries against which we can vaccinate.

            In fact, there are two vaccines that I really hope get developed soon–Ebola and malaria. I know that malaria isn’t in the news at the moment in the way Ebola is, but it’s also responsible for many deaths, especially in Africa. Even though it seems vastly unlikely that I would get either disease, I hope for the sakes of those who live in affected areas that those vaccines come through, so they can turn the tide in that fight.

            1. Not to change subjects, but with global warming malaria will probably return to the USA. Yes, I said return. The Tennessee Valley, for example, was the center of malaria in the USA until the 1940’s. It was only eradicated by aggressive killing of mosquitoes.

              Ebola is not that big a killer in West Africa (and only in West Africa). The number of deaths in West Africa from flu, measles, various parasites, malaria dwarfs Ebola. This drives me crazy about the Ebola scare. It’s hard to transmit. And it’s really really rare.

            2. Perhaps it’s hard to transmit Ebola when you have Western sanitation standards and stuff, and that’s why I’m not worried about getting it myself. However, I’d stop short of saying that Ebola is difficult to transmit in more impoverished areas–I have a friend who visited Nairobi a few years ago, and she said that there were some people in the poorer areas who lived in houses on stilts over their garages (or sometimes neighbors’ houses), and when they used their bathrooms their urine dripped onto the roof of the building below, or whatever was there. I can definitely see how Ebola would not be difficult to spread through bodily fluid contact when you’ve got things like that going on. I still think malaria’s worse, though–it’s just not news anymore (and hasn’t been for a very long time). I know how impossible it can be sometimes to avoid getting bitten by a mosquito even here where there isn’t malaria!

            3. Sorry, but the risk of Ebola is tiny, even in West Africa. You’re reading the awful reporting about this disease. There have been 14,000 (or so) cases in West Africa out of a population of 245 million. Again, flu, measles, and many other diseases are much more serious.

              It is simply difficult to transmit even in areas of non-“western sanitation.”

            4. Here is my anecdote: My kid had a fever of 104.7 after MMRV. He got his booster a year later, no reaction at all.

              After it happened I discovered a few important things. MMRV is more likely to cause a high fever than MMR and Var vaccines separately, for the first shot, for kids under 5. The second shot does not have an increased risk of high fever, or any fever, because the immune response (fever) typically comes after the first dose (for MMRV specifically. It’s different for DTP/DTaP).

              The CDC is aware of this, because their vaccine surveillance system works well. They saw voluntary reports to VAERS and *followed up* with what are called postlicensure studies to confirm it. ACIP modified their recommendations. There is both monitoring and revision of the vaccine recommendations to maximize safety, even to reduce the minor things, like high fever.


              “if the jump from the 2nd dose to the 3rd dose were going to be just as much as from the 1st to the 2nd, then it seems logical to expect that I’d be in severe territory by the 4th.”

              It seems logical to you, but it isn’t logical because that’s not how the immune response works.

              Fever is your immune system responding to the antigen. An abnormally high fever doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the vaccine, but possibly an underlying condition predisposing you to uncontrollable fever (you’d probably know about it by now. If you’re worried, talk to your doctor).

              You didn’t have an abnormal fever, though. According to you, you had a couple of normal, but uncommon reactions. Chances are, your next vaccine might cause NO fever because you’ve clearly had an immune response, which is the purpose of vaccination. It doesn’t at all mean that each subsequent shot is going to be progressively worse until you’re in “severe territory.” Contrary to what you may have heard, vaccines are not accumulating poisons that will eventually kill you if you get enough of them.

              I mention the conspiracy theory thing because antivaccine myths are rooted in conspiracy theories, and you seem to have been influenced by some of these myths. Maybe you read NVIC thinking it’s a legitimate source of info. It’s not.

              The idea that we have no clue what the actual frequency of adverse reactions is, that’s a myth. We do know.

            5. I’d never heard of NVIC until I heard about it from this article. I’d never thought of vaccines as “accumulating poisons” (or even poisons to begin with). If any of my thoughts sound similar to those of anti-vaccinationists, I still came up with them separately, out of my own curiosity (note how my thoughts and concerns typically take the form of questions, while anti-vaccinationists tend to phrase their concerns as statements that vaccinations are “poisonous”). And as for DTaP, the reactions apparently can get worse with successive doses (even though it’s not because of “accumulating poisons,” as antivacs like to say as if there were poisons in there along with the dead germs). The article does say that whole-extremity swelling that lasts for up to 7 days can occur, albeit rarely, with the later doses, meaning that the DTaP does indeed have the potential for later reactions to be worse than earlier ones. It’s just that I had a 4th-shot reaction after the 2nd shot. Furthermore, my case went unreported, so it seems likely that the CDC’s numbers aren’t complete (even if they aren’t nearly as bad as the antivacs say), because they don’t take into account cases like mine that go unreported.

              p.s. The reason why I bring up the severe fever and brain damage possibility is not because I’m saying, “It could’ve happened to me.” I realize that the old “rule of thumb” of fevers over 105 causing brain damage by themselves isn’t quite right; my brother once had a fever of about 107 from pneumonia, and it didn’t cause brain damage (although we did see a doctor about that one). I bring up the possibility because it actually happened to someone else I know, a one-in-a-million-doses case (based on the numbers from that article) that was bad enough that her parents turned into antivacs themselves. If vaccines are well-known and at least somewhat predictable (which they are), then it should be possible–at least in a minority of cases–for doctors to be able to tell when a child could be at risk for such reactions in future doses, right?

            6. ” It’s just that I had a 4th-shot reaction after the 2nd shot.”

              There is no such thing as a “4th-shot reaction.” There is an increased likelihood of a certain response after a 4th shot, but it can happen after any shot, or, for most people, it never happens. It’s still normal.

              “my case went unreported, so it seems likely that the CDC’s numbers aren’t complete”

              Your case wasn’t reported to VAERS but the data we have on the incidence of certain reactions doesn’t come from VAERS. Read about VAERS limitations– this is not a source for raw research data. It’s a surveillance system. Follow up studies are required to find out how common a reaction is, and that’s why I emphasized *follow-up* studies in my MMRV example.

        2. Okay, now you are all grown up. So have you gone to your doctor (Family Practice physician or a public health clinic, which would have the catch up vaccines), so that you are up-to-date, according to the CDC Recommended Adult Vaccine Schedule?

          If you are assuming that the two DTaP vaccines you received as an infant are protective against diphtheria-tetanus and pertussis, you are mistaken. Immunity wanes for kids who had the full primary series and booster vaccines.

          I had blood tests years ago, during my pre-employment physical examination and I was immune to those three bacterial illnesses. Just before the one time Tdap booster was recommended for all adults, I contracted pertussis.

          I had recently retired, so I did not inadvertently expose any patients and I was not near any young infants before I became symptomatic, when I could have infected others.

          There’s nothing that drives the point home to be up to date with all your vaccines, than experiencing rib cracking coughing spells for eight weeks. Prescribed antibiotics limited the time I was infectious, a bronchodilator and two huge bottles of potent codeine cough syrup allowed me to get some relief and some much needed sleep.

          1. Thanks for the info! I always thought that infant/early-childhood vaccinations lasted a long time, because they always tell you to vaccinate your children, but almost never tell you to get vaccinations as an adult (except for influenza and tetanus, of course).

            1. Most childhood vaccines do last for a long time. Before the development of the Tdap booster, the recommendations were for Td boosters every 10 years.

              I bet you are a quick learner and have graduated up to perusing the CDC Pink Book for basic information on immunology and every vaccine that is listed on the Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule and the Recommended Adult Vaccine Schedule. Do not attempt to down the entire PDF file…it is huge:


              They’ll be a quickie quiz next week.

          2. You need to get up to date on the latest studies showing that children and adults vaccinated against pertussis may be asymptomatic reservoirs of infection and able to pass the disease onto others. Vaccinated or not we are all susceptible. The only thing the vaccine will do for the recipient as stated by the CDC is reduce the severity of disease, it will do nothing to prevent transmission.

            1. You need to get up to date with the latest studies about pertussis transmission and the protective value of Tdap booster vaccine.

              Have you got any links to studies or to the CDC to prove your statements about Tdap vaccine not preventing transmission?

            2. Absolutely, but since scientists are trying to figure out why the pertussis vaccine is not as effective on preventing pertussis as they thought this may be the case in humans too and does give insight to this possibility.

        3. It also finds the bad science. That’s why peer review is part of the whole hierarchy of scientific evidence. And remember, some journals do it better than others. PNAS, Science, Nature, Lancet, and dozens of others get another level of peer review–other scientists try to repeat the work, because they need that to be the foundation of the next level of science.

          That’s what separates real science from pseudoscience.

          I’m not going to write as much as you did, but let me hit your first point. You might observe reactions to vaccines, though it would take a fairly rigorous analysis to see if there’s a causal relationship. The thing is, you’re using confirmation bias to remember the “reactions” when you aren’t looking at the hundreds of thousands of people who don’t have reaction to vaccines.

          So there’s two simple issues. First, you are selectively remembering the datapoints that support your hypothesis. And second, you haven’t shown causality.

          That’s why we need to ignore your anecdotes (nothing personal, it’s just anecdotes have no scientific validity), and structure large scale case-control or other type of epidemiological studies. We can, with modern medical records, look at hundreds of thousands, if not millions of cases, and determine if a particular reaction is statistically higher than background.

          I use this example quite often. Every day, children break their arms playing. It happens. Maybe 1% (I don’t the actual number, I’m trying to make this easy) break their arms every year. In the USA, about 95% of children are vaccinated, so there will be more children with broken arms who are also vaccinated.

          I mean I could even propose a plausible causality. Vaccinated kids are healthier, they play outside more because they aren’t sick, and they risk breaking their arms.

          So, you need huge numbers to find adverse events. You need to sort by all kinds of confounding variables, like playing more on jungle gyms in the playground. And it’s hard.

          You just can’t use your personal observation to give you any sense of anything about vaccines.

          1. Actually, I wasn’t intending to use anecdotes as “datapoints” to begin with. I’m aware that anecdotes are the weakest form of medical evidence that exists, but they are frequently the starting point that tips researchers off to what areas may deserve to be studied using more accurate and academically-solid methods. As for confirmation bias and causal relationships, the CDC report already took care of that–the stuff I mentioned is on that webpage, which I’m sure is based on sound studies and good evidence.

      2. Isn’t that a great thing about science? It’s meant to be criticized by other scientists. And when they’re all done beating each other up, we get a consensus.

        There is a consensus on vaccines from the hundreds of thousands of the greatest minds in immunology, epidemiology, virology, microbiology, public health and other areas of biomedical science.

        And Peter Doshi is all alone. Sure, sometimes it takes a radical to change the paradigm and the consensus. But it needs to be done with real evidence. And Doshi just uses strawman arguments and various cognitive biases to push his “beliefs.”

        1. Science is wonderful.
          The other key thing I remember from studying Kuhn in college is that before you can get a pardigm shift, you need some clear, unambiguous experimental measurements that are not well explained by the current paradigm (such as the black-body spectrum or the precession of Mercury).
          Lots of people are happy to talk about a pardigm shift that’s going to change how we think about everything, but they lack that key evidence to point to that would justify such a pardigm in the first place.

  40. So…what do we do with the New York Times article that sort of applauds Doshi’s efforts? I’ll just leave this here, and let you judge for yourself. By they way, your vulgar insults and angry attitude really fail to make me take you seriously. Engage in civil discourse, rather than spiteful tactics that do not create a healthy discussion. Your whole “Appeal To Authority” angle is confusing because it proposes that people should blindly trust the “bigger” or “better” authorities. There is always room for those authorities to be questioned, and if you read the article I linked, you and others will see that questioning the efficacy of pharma drugs is indeed a very necessary thing.

    1. I don’t give a damn what you think of me. You’re a close-minded little ignorant fool, so no matter how much evidence I provide, you’d just invent some logical fallacy or deny science. To quote Sam Harris:

      “Water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. What if someone says, “Well, that’s not how I choose to think about water.”? All we can do is appeal to scientific values. And if he doesn’t share those values, the conversation is over. If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?”

      I do not “appeal to authority.” I appeal to evidence the basis of both skepticism and real science. You default to a paid shill as your “authority.” Well, his evidence is weak, and many many many intelligent scientists have deconstructed and destroyed his arguments about vaccines. For example, his assumption that all of Big Pharma is corrupt belies his own values–apparently, Doshi thinks that because he can be corrupted by $2.57, everyone else his. He’s applying HIS ethics to others. It’s pathetic.

      But here’s the final point. I have evidence. You have…well nothing but close-minded lies. I win. You lose. Bring evidence in the form of peer-reviewed articles published in high impact journals and try to change the consensus. Cause that’s how it works.

      On the other hand, you could get off your lazy ass, go get a Ph.D., and then do world class research and publish it. If at that point, you go against the consensus, let’s talk. But see, you just love babbling about how intelligent your shill is. I don’t care. I want to see real evidence from a broad base of researchers. I’ve got that. You don’t. You still lose.

      1. You obviously get your thrills from being completely anti-social. I doubt any of the scientists you esteem would behave as you do on here. To that end, you fail to honor them and their work. Treating any voice of dissent as if the person is beneath you, it’s revealing of your character. You might not care what I think of you, but that can apply equally to how others view you and your opinion. I’m sorry that I even posted here to begin with because you have serious issues. The hate you have in you, it’s so completely abnormal in my view, at least of what people would expect in a blog discussion. Why are you so freaking angry??? It’s baffling. What is at stake for YOU that you could be so dismissive of any dissenting voice? It’s really odd.

        You’re not bigger than the NY Times, and as liberal and “open” as the NYT is, it’s refreshing to see that you’re not the “authority” on what can be discussed. Be open to new information. Isn’t that what science encourages? Dissenting voices drive the conversation, and sometimes both sides learn more when the conversationis at least more than calling people names. Agree?

        1. I’m not anti-social. I’m anti-closeminded anti-science anti-truth dumbasses.

          Dissent is fine in politics. Go for it dumbass. But in science the only fucking thing that matters is evidence. And you have none. Bring evidence, not rhetoric and logical fallacies. BTW, evidence must be in the form of peer-reviewed papers published in high impact journals.

    2. People trying to build their careers by prematurely calling into
      question life-saving vaccines and/or drugs is infuriating. “They’re hiding trial
      data” is an accusation, not evidence. It will be meaningful whenever there is a real, beneficial outcome from his work, and not just a hopeful news article about his lofty ambitions.

      1. Hold on a sec. You are saying that he’s a trouble maker, yet what do you have to say about the following from the article:

        “For years, researchers have talked about the problem of publication bias, or selectively publishing results of trials. Concern about such bias gathered force in the 1990s and early 2000s, when researchers documented how, time and again, positive results were published while negative ones were not. Taken together, studies have shown that results of only about half of clinical trials make their way into medical journals.

        Problems with data about high-profile drugs have led to scandals over the past decade, like one involving contentions that the number of heart attacks was underreported in research about the painkiller Vioxx. Another involved accusations of misleading data about links between the antidepressant Paxil and the risk of suicide among teenagers.”

        My wife was a sales rep for Novartis for three years before layoffs happened. I’m not opposed to vaccines. I’m not opposed to pharma, per se. What I am opposed to is cherry picking one either side, which the article keenly illustrates with publication bias situations. Humans are humans, and none are above using their positions to advance something they firmly believe in. It is possible for a culture to think one substance (smoking pre-1980s) is beneficial (see: tobacco industry marketing) only to have the seal broken and transparency finally occur. Yes or no?

        1. Whenever someone says “I’m not opposed to vaccines, evolution, or global warming” is precisely the time I know they are.

          Evidence matters, that’s. You can can bring up stupid anecdotes about your nonexistent wife or whatever–irrelevant.

          As for smoking. Science said it was dangerous since about the 1940’s, though the Lancet published data in the 1930’s linking it to cancer. Just because your buddies in big tobacco blew smoke up your dumbass, doesn’t mean the rest of us bought into. I never smoked. Because I’m a fucking intelligent scientist.

        2. Apparently you’re wanting to defend Doshi with the outcomes of other people’s work. A problematic history in the drug industry doesn’t validate every new claim. We still need evidence.

      1. Uhhhh . . . apparently you haven’t looked at the flu vaccine articles; the author links to peer-reviewed research in each article and gives citations at the conclusion of each article. Try again.

  41. Hypocritical bombast. The writer here practically frames his own entire article as an ad hominem attack. A postdoctoral fellow in comparative effectiveness research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is exactly the kind of person I would want to tell me about the effectiveness of a vaccine 🙂 I’d have to say the writer of this whole piece came at the whole subject the way a lawyer would, not a scientist. I see a series of Ad Hoc arguments meant to fall in line with classic Skeptic overuse use of deductive reasoning from the majority standpoint.

    1. Wow. I haven’t read that much random verbiage in years. You don’t know much about logical fallacies, but oh well, I can’t help who reads this blog.

      There are Ph.D. biochemists from Harvard who are avowed creationists. There’s a professor of biochemistry at Cal who denies that HIV causes AIDS. Getting a fucking degree means nothing, absofuckinglutely nothing to a REAL skeptic. What means something is evidence, and as of today, the vast mountain and wealth of evidence supports the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

      So, dumbass, bring evidence in the form of real scientific research published in real journals. You need about a thousand articles to even come close to making some noise about the flu vaccine.

      Doshi is just a sad lonely man who did this just to get some popularity. Oh well.

      1. I’ll address your points and spare you the insults. Science evolves, or it dies. If Doshi’s credentials don’t impress you, I don’t think anything would. I hope your not just reasoning in circles. He seems uniquely qualified to speak on the subject. You wouldn’t ask a molecular biologists for decisive input on whether to reintroduce a species into a habitat. He’s big picture. He doesn’t’ need to know how to create vaccines to measure their efficiency and to compare various studies. His article was published in the BMJ. He’s also pretty specific about when vaccines are of value and when they aren’t. It seems more reasonable that your black-and-white, “Take all the vaccines you’re given, it’s not like there are business interests involved” approach.

        I wouldn’t call myself anti-vaccine. They usually seem to make sense to me. But Doshi’s arguments certainly seem reasonable (MIT, John Hopkins, and the University of Maryland seem to vouch for him). You call him a sad lonely man? Do you know him? He’s published, peer reviewed. He’s not some blogwriter churning out sophomoric dribble, regurgitating that same “logical fallacies” we’ve all heard repeated since our high school science class (is that where this essay came from? come one… be honest :-p ). I digress. I’m sure you’re a good guy, just gettin’ you back for the “dumbass” comment 😉

        The fallacies aren’t laws, they’re road signs. Using one doesn’t defeat one’s point, it just hints at a lack of absolute support. But if you get in to too much of a rut, if you’ve compartmentalized and then zealously crystallized your “scientific” dogma, you’re no better than the “creationists” you disdain so ardently. Listen, skepticism helped you leave Christianity, but don’t trade one idol for another. We know nothing, friend.

        1. Hey you’re still a dumbass. You ignore the central point. I have evidence. You have bullshit and ONE article, even if I grant that Doshi isn’t a paid shill of the antivaccination movement. I have evidence. You don’t.

          I have mountains of evidence. You don’t.

          I don’t need logical fallacies (well, except to call you a dumbass, because that’s actually factual). You do.

          You need to appeal to authority. I need to appeal to evidence, which isn’t a logical fallacy.

          And as for the strawman argument about religion? It’s all about evidence. Science is all about evidence. YOU fucking believe in bullshit, not me. LOL

    2. Actually, someone who gets their facts right and understands the data is someone I’d like to tell me about the effectiveness of the vaccine.

  42. I find it interesting that you quote Tara Haelle as an expert on this subject, who is a journalist and reporter. What part of her scientific expertise and credentials did I miss?

    1. That’s what I was wondering 56meteor. Isn’t it slightly ironic how he titles this entry, “How vaccine deniers abuse the appeal to authority”? But he wouldn’t understand that.

  43. So what, who cares what main stream media says. Get this straight, nobody has the right in this free America to forcibly inject foreign objects into our bodies and are not responsible for any outcomes! ! You get it??? Nobody!!! Never gonna happen!!!

    1. The Supreme Court actually said we can for the greater good. Expecting a science denier to understand constitutional law is beyond my expectations.

      You’re a pathetic human being. Narcissistic little fuck too.

        1. I find it refreshing to see educated people talk to ignorant people in their own dumbed down language……. Think of him as bilingual.

          1. Nope. There isn’t anything I could say that would convince you of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and how it saves lives broadly across the world.

            You are so arrogant, and ignorant, that you think your simplistic knowledge of vaccines trumps those of us who have spent decades studying, researching, and publishing about science, including vaccines.

            Thus, calling you a dumbass is much easier than wasting time trying to open your close-minded beliefs that have no validity. So, yeah, I use dumbed-down language, because it’s about all your ignorance. Bullying is mistreating someone who can’t know better. You should. But you’re actually a waste of good biochemicals.

            1. You must have misread my comment….and my ID…. I was replying to Debra. And my ID clearly shows that I’m aware of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

  44. Skeptical Raptor, what’s your real name? What are your associations, educational background; who’s your employer? I am inclined to agree with your comments, however I know less about you than I do Peter Doshi. While it’s comforting to learn that skepticism supports mainstream scientific positions, even laypersons like me know that mainstream positions have historically been more often wrong than right. Who are you?

    1. Unfortunately this article is making the rounds again. The question I keep getting asked is: How could his paper be in the British medical Journal, which is peer reviewed, if it weren’t correct? Not knowing much about the publishing process, I don’t have an answer. Do you?

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