The Atlantic last month published a disgraceful piece of “journalism” titled “The Shadow Network of Anti-Vax Doctors” that perfectly encapsulates everything that is wrong with the mainstream media’s reporting on the subject of vaccines.
I could point out how the article asserts that the Hepatitis B vaccine can’t cause allergies and to support that contention cites the CDC website; how if you search for the word “allergy” on that page, you’ll see that the CDC cites a single study which it says found no evidence the HepB vaccine was linked with allergy problems; how if you read the abstract of that study, you’ll see that it only followed the infant subjects for 21 days and found no significant difference in the rate of allergic reactions between those who received the vaccine and those who didn’t; how this illustrates how The Atlantic has confused the adverse event of an allergic reaction to the vaccine with the long-term adverse health outcome of the development of allergic disease; how this study did not look at whether HepB might cause the latter; how the HepB vaccine contains aluminum, a known neurotoxin, as an adjuvant; and how there is in fact a risk that the aluminum in the HepB vaccine could cause allergic disease at least in a genetically susceptible sub-population; and how the CDC’s recommendation that all infants, regardless of whether the mother is a carrier, should on the very first day of their lives receive a vaccine intended to prevent a disease transmitted through sex and shared needles only puts infants at unnecessary risk.
I could point out how the article quotes a doctor pointing out that kids are “supposed to get childhood illnesses, it’s what builds the immune system”, and dismisses this by stating that “Mainstream medical groups counter that obtaining immunity from inoculations is not deadly; meanwhile, spreading a communicable disease can cause many deaths”; how this simply begs the question, failing to address the point the doctor was making and falsely implying that vaccine-induced immunity is the same as natural immunity; how in fact public vaccine policy has resulted in the most vulnerable members of society–infants–being at increased risk of getting measles in the event of an outbreak due the inferiority of vaccine-induced immunity, the absence of the natural boosting from routine exposure to the virus, and the decreased ability of mothers to pass on protective antibodies to their babies through their breastmilk; and how studies have shown that in fact acquiring immunity through natural infection has been linked to a decreased risk for numerous diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lymphoid leukemia.
I could point out how the article resorts to mindless fearmongering, declaring that “measles killed 130,000 people in 2015” as though the mortality rate in the US would be no different, absent mass vaccination, than in third-world countries in Africa; how in fact the mortality rate in the US had already plummeted before the vaccine was even introduced; how, before the measles vaccine era, it was viewed as a generally mild childhood disease, and how it was accepted doctrine that the population would adapt to live in symbiosis with the virus—a respect for the balance of nature that was quickly discarded with the development of the vaccine; or how the risk factors for complications from measles are known, including vitamin A deficiency, and simple and inexpensive preventive measures like supplementation are effective for decreasing measles mortality and morbidity without the need for the risks, both known and unknown, associated with injecting a concoction of toxins into our children.
I could point out how the article notes that “A paper published in JAMA last year found that vaccine refusal was associated with an increased risk of measles among both the fully vaccinated and vaccine-refusers”; how the insistence that vaccines are effective is contradicted by this acknowledgment of the fact that fully vaccinated individuals still get measles; and how measles outbreaks can and do occur among highly vaccinated populations.
I could point out how the article includes the obligatory reference to the infamous retracted 1998 Lancet study by saying that its lead author, Andrew Wakefield, “concocted the vaccine-autism connection in 1998”; how such typical references to the study simply illustrate that the “journalists” writing this stuff have never bothered to actually read the study; how in fact the study did not conclude that the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine caused autism, but simply noted that parents of children included in the study had themselves associated their children’s developmental regression with the administration of the vaccine and merely acknowledged this hypothetical possibility.
I could point out how the article asserts that “not one child under the age of one died from the chicken pox between 2004 and 2007, even though the chicken pox vaccine is not given to children that young. They simply benefited from the so-called ‘herd immunity’ of older kids who were vaccinated”; how in fact mass varicella (chicken pox) vaccination has undermined the natural herd immunity that existed prior to vaccine licensure; how varicella is a “generally mild” disease among children while “more severe” and with “a higher incidence of complications” among adults (CDC); how routine re-exposure to varicella prior to the vaccine served as a natural “booster” protecting adults from reactivation of the virus in the form of herpes zoster (shingles); how the incidence of shingles has increased since the vaccine was licensed; how this was a predictable and predicted consequence of mass vaccination, shifting the risk burden from those in whom it is a generally mild disease onto those in whom there is a 20 times higher risk of death and 10-15 times higher risk of complications; how the CDC has lied about and tried to prevent data showing this increase in shingles incidence from being made public; how natural childhood infection with chicken pox is associated with a decreased risk of glioma (brain tumor) and atopic disorders; and how the increased costs associated with this higher incidence of shingles more than offsets the costs savings form the reduction in the incidence of childhood chicken pox.
I could point out how The Atlantic regards as controversial a position statement of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians saying that “All physicians and institutions providing care for children and adults should respect the responsibility and freedom of patients, parents and guardians to decide whether or not to proceed with the immunizations or the recommended immunization schedule within the range of options provided by state law”; and how for The Atlantic to regard such a statement as somehow malevolent reflects the publication’s own hypocrisy in rejecting the fundamental medical ethic of the right to informed consent.
I could point how how The Atlantic relates the concern of “some doctors” that President Donald Trump “will dismantle programs that protect vaccine makers from frivolous lawsuits”; how what The Atlantic is referring to a law passed in 1986 that granted vaccine manufacturers broad legal immunity; how this was done because the vaccine industry was facing so many lawsuits for damages, including notably for injuries from the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine, that it was threatening to bankrupt the industry and thus undermine public policy; how the rate of decline of pertussis incidence in the UK was unaffected by its mass DTP vaccination campaign starting in 1957, and the vaccine was associated adverse reactions and neurotoxicity; how among the known adverse events associated with the DTP vaccine since at least the early 1980s were encephalitis, seizures, and Reye’s syndrome, yet it continued to be recommended by the CDC for infants and young children, with five doses starting at fifteen months of age; how the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1991 acknowledged that the evidence was “consistent with a causal relation between DPT and acute encephalopathy”; and how the legal immunity granted to the vaccine manufacturers due to the resulting lawsuits was upheld by the Supreme Court on the grounds that adverse outcomes from vaccines are “unavoidable”.
I could point out all of that to demonstrate just how utterly disgraceful this supposed “journalism” from The Atlantic is. But that wouldn’t be necessary. All I need to do to illustrate that the piece is nothing more than mindless propaganda intended to manufacture consent for public policy is to to quote the piece saying this:
Vaccines are some of the safest and most important preventive-health measures around. There is no evidence they cause autism or any other health problem.
There is no evidence that vaccines cause any health problem, says The Atlantic.
No evidence they cause any health problem.
Vaccine are 100% safe, says The Atlantic.
What an outrageous lie!
All the author and editors of this piece would have to do to know how outrageous that lie is would be to simply read the vaccine manufacturers’ product inserts, which list all the known adverse events associated with each vaccine.
In fact, one of those programs created by the aforementioned legislation designed to protect vaccine manufacturers from supposedly “frivolous” lawsuits is called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. While the government touts vaccines as “safe and effective”, it grants the vaccine manufacturers legal immunity on the grounds that vaccines are unavoidably unsafe and has granted more than $3 billion in compensation to families of vaccine injured children.
Among those who’ve been awarded compensation under this program are families of children who developed autism after vaccination.
As former CDC Director Julie Gerberding was consequently forced to acknowledge, “Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with a mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”
In other words, despite the government and media’s insistence that vaccines can’t cause autism, it’s an acknowledged fact that vaccines can cause brain damage resulting in developmental regression.
Gerberding, incidentally, left her government job to become head of Merck’s vaccine division.
This trash from The Atlantic is standard fare for the utterly disgraceful mainstream media, which serve to manufacture consent for policies like the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule just as they manufacture consent for US foreign policies, as they did for the illegal war on Iraq. Rather than properly educating the public about vaccines, the mainstream media continuously misinforms, serving not to illuminate the subject but to keep people in the dark. The media’s disgraceful reporting on the subject is criminally irresponsible. Rather than encouraging open discussion and debate, the media attempt to shut down any dissent with its propagandistic hit pieces.
There is a real discussion to be had about vaccines. It’s well past time the media started having it.
Update, February 13, 2017 (11:20 pm): When the author of The Atlantic piece, Olga Khazan, wrote that there was no evidence that vaccines caused any health problems, she wasn’t just demonstrating ignorance. She knew better. She knew she was lying. Dr. Alex Vasquez, in a post of his own that references my above post, has published an exchange of emails he had with Khazan in which he referred her to numerous studies in the medical literature discussing various adverse health outcomes caused by vaccines, like encephalopathy.
For more on that, see also my more recent post, “Vaccines: Daniel Summers in WaPo Says There’s Nothing to Debate. He’s Wrong.“