Thursday, January 28, 2010

the most controversial issue of all (upgrayedded)

Vaccines. Do Not. Cause. Autism. Jenny McCarthy is an ignorant monster with a body count attached to her name, and she needs to be stopped. Andrew Wakefield is a lying shill. He made it all up to sell a treatment. Even the courts have ruled that there is no link between autism and vaccines.

Please take a moment (or a few moments) and read this science-based medicine run-down of the anti-vax movement and why they haven't a leg to stand on.

This is why we vaccinate. Choosing not to do so actually puts children, and everyone else, in even greater danger.

Of course you want to protect your children, and if they do get sick you want answers. But blaming vaccines is not the answer. Vaccines help protect us all against acute chronic illness, and diseases that can lead to encephalitis and seizures, deafness, heart defects and mental retardation, myocarditis and polyneuritis, or be crippling and disabling, disfiguring and deadly, deadly, deadly. They also give us herd immunity. The very old and the very young and those with compromised immune systems depend on the rest of us to get the vaccines they cannot, to ensure they do not contract these diseases.

The evidence is all in favor of vaccines promoting health and wellness. It seems fair to say now that Andrew Wakefield had ulterior motives and faked his research and data. All the other scientists from that study have disavowed it. Intuition and coincidences are not evidence, and every well-conducted study indicates that we do not know what causes autism, but that it is not the vaccines.

Of course we shouldn't put weird and crazy stuff into our bodies, but vaccines have years and years of trials and tests to ensure their safety. You can't say the same for your bottled water. And have you read the ingredients on your ice cream lately? There's scary stuff everywhere, but the stuff in your vaccines has been proven safe and effective. Not vaccinating may keep the vaccine out of your kid, but without the vaccine your kid is vulnerable and a health risk to everyone around. And for an overview of sixteen vaccine-preventable diseases in all their horrible horribleness, look no further.

I don't have children, so what do I care, right? Well, I care because Jenny McCarthy is wrong, and she is dangerous, and she is putting people's lives at risk because she doesn't understand science and medicine. She also, apparently, doesn't understand irony.

You don't have to believe me. I'm not a doctor (but then, neither is Jenny McCarthy and that doesn't stop her from dispensing medical advice). But Steven Novella is, and so is Orac. And so is Mark Crislip, the Chief of Infectious Diseases for Legacy Health System (see also here).
(Originally posted 4/03/09.)

Additional links:
- Remember, just because B happens after A DOES NOT MEAN that A caused B!!
- Orac search results
- Dr. Novella search results
- video from Dooce made by MOMS
- countering anti-vaxxers with Amanda Peet
- The Truth About The Evils Of Vaccination
- Anti-Vax KILLS, and now Oprah Winfrey helps (see also here and here)
- Do Children Get Too Many Immunizations? The answer is NO, in case you don't want to read the whole thing.
- Holding people accountable for "shouting fire" and fanning the flames of panic.
- For those of you who speak Spanish...
- Why a mother stopped vaccinating and then realized her mistake.
- Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, and Stephanie March should so celebrity death match Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carey.
- Why Does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?
- 10 Vaccine Myths: BUSTED
- Toxic myths about vaccines by David Gorski
- A website for those who DO choose to vaccine:, with info and resources.
- Don't Listen to Jenny McCarthy, from
- An Open Letter to Frightened Parents, by Skepchick Elyse Anders.
- Get The Picture: Child Immunizations, released by the CDC, unfortunately, but still important and informative.
- Roald Dahl, 23 years ago, recognized measles as a dangerous illness and encouraged parents to vaccinate in order to not suffer the same terrible loss of a child as he did when his daughter died of measles encephalitis. His words still ring true, and I wish he were still alive so that he could bitch-slap that booger-eating botox-filled bag of nonsense.
- Cracking The Autism Riddle: Common Sense About Vaccines And Autism, by Harvey Karp
- help re-establish herd immunity in Nevada with the JREF!
- New anti-vax lies just in time for the swine flu vaccine, debunked by the SkepDoc, Harriet Hall
- Also, Phil Plait and Dr. Steven Novella talk about swine flu and new lies from the antivaxxers. To quote from Phil's blog entry, "That’s something to always remember: despite the garbage conspiracy theory-toting antivaxxers are purveying, diseases tend to be a lot more dangerous than vaccination. Talk to your doctor, read what Steve Novella has to say, and get the real scoop on vaccination."
- Phil Plait on Gardasil
- How Safe is the HPV vaccine?, 10/12/09.
- More vaccine nonsense debunking from the Skepchicks. No, really, it's NOT people.
- More Evidence for Vaccine Safety
- Autism rates back MMR jab safety
- Dr. Harriet Hall lecturing at TAM7.
- Orac and Dr. Steven Novella bitchslap Bill Maher for his ridiculous anti-vax statements.
- Skeptoid podcast about vaccine ingredients.
- Quackcast podcast about flu vaccine efficacy (and taradiddles).
- An anti-vax parent decides to vaccinate. Why? Because of evidence!
- Plus, Andrew Wakefield (the guy who started all this nonsense in the first place) has been found to have acted "unethically" during his trails where he allegedly concocted a link between autism and the MMR. Unfortunately, they didn't mention that alleged concoction or his conflict of interest, but it's still good news for science, reason and evidence. Aaaaand. he's been barred from practicing medicine in the UK! Aaaaaand here's a thorough evisceration of Wakefield worth the read.

Really good overviews:
- Vaccines and Autism, Topic Editor: Steven Novella, MD
- Dr. Steven Novella: The Truth About The Evils Of Vaccination

- super cool:, For each word you get right, we donate funds to purchase .01ml of vaccine through the GAVI Fund to help end disease world wide.

One final image to leave you with: this is how Jenny McCarthy reacts when presented with valid scientific evidence which completely destroys her arguments: