On January 19, 2019, the New York Times published an editorial mischaracterizing anyone who dares to criticize or dissent from public vaccine policy as dangerously irrational and ignorant. In doing so, the Times avoided having to seriously address any of the countless legitimate concerns that parents have today about vaccinating their children according to the CDC’s routine childhood vaccine schedule. Consequently, the Times fulfills the mainstream media’s typical function of manufacturing consent for government policy by manipulating public opinion through deception. In this case, the consent being manufactured in service of the state is for public vaccine policy, which constitutes a serious threat to both our health and our liberty.
What the Times editorial represents is not journalism, but public policy advocacy. And to persuade its readers to strictly comply with the CDC’s vaccine schedule, the Times blatantly lies to its readers both about the nature of the debate and what science tells us about vaccine safety and effectiveness.
The first clue that the Times editorial aims to avoid any serious discussion of the issue is the title: “How to Inoculate Against Anti-Vaxxers”. The term “anti-vaxxer”, of course, is the derogatory label that the media apply to anyone who dares to question public vaccine policy. It is reflective of the mainstream media’s routine use of ad hominem argumentation in lieu of reasoned discourse. Rather than substantively addressing their arguments, the media simply dismiss the views of and personally attack critics and dissenters—and this Times editorial is certainly no exception.
The second clue is in the editorial’s subtitle: “The no-vaccine crowd has persuaded a lot of people. But public health can prevail.” To equate public vaccine policy with “public health”, of course, is the fallacy of begging the question. It presumes the proposition to be proven, which is that vaccinating the US childhood population according to the CDC’s schedule is the best way to achieve a healthy population. Many parents, researchers, doctors, and scientists strongly and reasonably disagree.
The Times would have us believe that the science on vaccines is settled. The reality is that there is a great deal of debate and controversy in the scientific literature about the safety and effectiveness of CDC-recommended vaccines. The demonstrable truth of the matter, as the Times editorial so amply illustrates, is that what the government and media say science says about vaccines and what science actually tells us are two completely different and contradictory things.
Indeed, the underlying assumption that the CDC is somehow infallible in its vaccine recommendations is indicative of how vaccination has become a religion, with those who dare to question official dogma being treated as heretics.
- How the New York Times Characterizes the Vaccine Issue
- Denying Aluminum and Mercury Neurotoxicity
- ‘Crucial Shots’? How the Times Begs the Question
- Ignoring Measles Vaccine Failure
- Ignoring Mumps Vaccine Failure
- Ignoring Varicella Vaccine Failure
- Ignoring Pertussis Vaccine Failure
- The Times’ Pseudoscience on Influenza Vaccination
- The False Marketing of the HPV Vaccine
- Lying about the Nature of the Vaccine Debate
The New York Times begins by noting that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently listed “vaccine hesitancy” among ten “threats to global health”. The term “vaccine hesitancy” refers to a person’s reluctance or refusal to strictly comply with public vaccine policy, which in the US is determined principally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state legislatures making compliance with the CDC’s recommendations mandatory for school entry.
For context, children in the US today who are vaccinated according to the CDC’s schedule will have received 50 doses of 14 vaccines by age six and 72 or more doses of 19 vaccines by age eighteen. This has naturally led many parents to wonder what the potential unintended consequences might be of their children receiving so many vaccines, including sometimes many at once.
The Times laments that an estimated 100,000 American infants and toddlers remain totally unvaccinated, with millions more having received some but not all of the CDC’s recommended vaccines, all of which the Times describes as “crucial shots”.
The Times characterizes parents who choose not to strictly comply with public vaccine policy as irrational and ignorant of the science. According to its narrative, the internet abounds with “anti-vaccine propaganda” that “has outpaced pro-vaccine public health information.” The “anti-vaxxers” have “hundreds of websites”, media influencers, and political action committees engaged in an “onslaught” of this “propaganda”, which consists of “rumors and conspiracies”.
The response to this “onslaught” by public policy advocates, by contrast, “has been meager.” The CDC “has a website with accurate information, but no loud public voice”, and the rest of the government “has been mum”, leaving “just a handful of academics who get bombarded with vitriol, including outright threats, every time they try to counter pseudoscience with fact.”
The public policy critics and dissenters, according to the Times, are responsible for causing “outbreaks of measles, mumps, and pertussis”, as well as “an increase in influenza deaths” and “dismal rates of HPV vaccination”, the latter of which the Times editors believe otherwise “could effectively wipe out cervical cancer”.
The Times editors further argue that vaccines are “victims of their own success” because people don’t remember “how terrible those diseases once were”. To counter vaccine hesitancy, there are “some hard truths that deserve to be trumpeted. Vaccines are not toxic, and they do not cause autism. Full stop.”
“Trust in vaccines” is being “thoroughly eroded”, the editorial argues, threatening to cause “the next major disease outbreak”. To thwart this “danger”, the Times advocates that other states follow California’s example in eliminating nonmedical exemptions for mandatory vaccinations.
Describing critics and dissenters as “the enemy”, the Times asserts:
The arguments used by people driving the anti-vaccination movement have not changed in about a century. These arguments are effective because they are intuitively appealing — but they are also easily refutable. Instead of ignoring these arguments, an effective pro-vaccine campaign would confront them directly, over and over, for as long as it takes. Yes, there are chemicals in vaccines, but they are not toxic. No, vaccines can’t overwhelm your immune system, which already confronts countless pathogens every day.
Instructively, while the Times asserts that the arguments used by public policy critics are “easily refutable”, the editors avoided having to actually do so by simply lying that they ignore the past hundred years of science. While urging public policy advocates not to ignore the arguments against vaccinating, the Times editors do precisely that.
On the contrary, the critics most certainly cite modern science to support their arguments and to expose how the public is being blatantly lied to by the government and mainstream media, such as how the Times here lies that aluminum and mercury, both used as ingredients in vaccines, “are not toxic.”
Since the Times utterly fails to do so, let’s now take a serious and honest look at the subject and examine the real issues and legitimate concerns that the Times goes so far out of its way to avoid discussing.
To start with, it’s important to emphasize that parents are not just concerned about the possibility of vaccines causing autism. There is a broad range of other serious concerns that parents have about vaccines that the media never even touch. The media refuse to even scratch the surface, and with the few issues they do talk about, they do so superficially, serving only to misinform the public rather than empowering people with the knowledge they need to make an informed choice. The Times, transparently, does not want parents to make a choice at all, but simply to obey orders by lining up to get their children vaccinated. To compel them to do so, the Times foregoes educating readers about the issue and instead resorts to intimidation and bullying, including name calling and advocating the use of government force to coerce parents into compliance.
The Times’ claim that aluminum and mercury “are not toxic” serves as a useful illustration because it is such a bald-faced lie. The uncontroversial fact of the matter is that both are known neurotoxins.
Aluminum is used in vaccines as an “adjuvant”, which the CDC defines as “an ingredient used in some vaccines that helps create a stronger immune response”. The use of aluminum provokes a more inflammatory response, increasing the immune system’s production of antibodies to a level deemed “protective”, which is a requirement for vaccine manufacturers to obtain licensure from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get their vaccines to market.
Mercury is used in vaccines as a preservative. While this preservative is no longer used in most childhood vaccines in the US, it is still used in some influenza vaccines. Specifically, the preservative used is called thimerosal, which is about half ethylmercury by weight. This differs from the form of mercury found in fish due to environmental pollution (such as from coal plants), which is methylmercury.
Apart from falsely claiming that aluminum and ethylmercury “are not toxic”, the Times also claims that the CDC’s website contains “accurate information” to reassure parents about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. However, this is also an untruthful claim. Certainly, one can gain a great deal of accurate information about vaccines from the CDC’s website. However, there is also a great deal of misinformation to be found there, and major media outlets like the New York Times routinely broadcast this misinformation to public, thus serving to manufacture consent for public vaccine policy.
It is true, for example, that the CDC on its website claims that both aluminum and mercury are safe to inject into children and pregnant women in the amounts contained in vaccines. It is presumably from reading the CDC’s website that the Times editors were persuaded that these substances “are not toxic” because that is indeed the conclusion the CDC transparently intends the general public to draw. However, the CDC’s information with respect to the risks from these substances is not accurate.
That aluminum (Al) is neurotoxic isn’t the least bit controversial. Even studies by scientists whose conclusions favor the CDC’s vaccine recommendations acknowledge its toxicity. For example, the authors of a study published in the journal Vaccine in August 2018, who concluded that aluminum should continue to be used as an adjuvant in vaccines, also acknowledged that “studies have clearly shown that Al is toxic, especially for the central nervous system”. It further acknowledges that “no population-based studies regarding the potential association between the Al in vaccines and the development of neurotoxicity have been conducted”. They further conceded that “definitive conclusions” about the potential harms to children from vaccines “cannot be drawn” and that further studies are required to be able to do so.
To support its claim that the aluminum in vaccines is “safe”, the CDC asserts on its website that it “is not readily absorbed by the body”. But that is not a truthful statement. In fact, the key study that the CDC relies on to support this claim, conducted by FDA researchers and published in the journal Vaccine in 2011, acknowledges that aluminum particles from vaccines are taken up by immune cells known as macrophages, which can transport the aluminum into the brain; that “aluminum accumulates in the brain”; and that by four weeks after vaccination “only a fraction” of the aluminum will have been absorbed into the blood, from where it can then be eliminated from the body through the urine.
The CDC fares no better when it comes to being forthright about the risks from mercury. On its website, the CDC suggests that the mercury in vaccines, unlike the form found in fish, is not toxic and is “very safe” to inject into infants and pregnant women. One of the key studies the CDC cites to support this claim is a 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on the hypothesis that vaccines can cause autism. This report is frequently cited by public policy advocates because it concluded that, although biologically plausible, the weight of evidence from existing studies favored a rejection of the hypothesis. Yet that same IOM report describes thimerosal as a “known neurotoxin”; acknowledges that some of the mercury from vaccines “accumulates in the brain”; and admits that “heavy metals, including thimerosal, can injure the nervous system.”
In fact, it is precisely because ethylmercury is a known neurotoxin that the decision was made to start phasing out its use as a vaccine preservative in 1999. This decision was made by public health officials after it became publicly known that, as the CDC had continued adding more mercury-containing vaccine doses to its routine childhood schedule, government officials never bothered to consider the consequences of the increased childhood exposure to this known neurotoxin. When the FDA finally did get around to doing the calculations, it found that the cumulative amount of mercury that infants were being exposed to was higher than the safety guidelines determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
For the editorial board of the New York Times to pretend as though parents have no legitimate reason to be concerned about injecting known neurotoxins into their children—and for them to pretend as though parents have no legitimate reason not to trust the government—is the height of insincerity.
One of the assumptions underlying the Times editors’ argument is that all of the vaccines on the CDC’s routine childhood schedule are “crucial shots”. But is this assumption reasonable? Is it really so unreasonable to question why, for example, the CDC recommends that newborn babies universally receive the aluminum-containing Hepatitis B vaccine on the very first day of their lives, even though this virus is primarily transmitted through sex or shared needles, and regardless of whether the mother is a carrier of the virus? Is it really “crucial” to expose so many newborns so seemingly unnecessarily to a known neurotoxin? What is the medical rationale for this policy?
Questions such as these are perfectly reasonable. Parents faced with a decision about whether to vaccinate their child have legitimate concerns and require a greater level of seriousness about this issue. The idea that whatever the CDC says is somehow sacrosanct—reflected by the Times implicitly defining as “crucial” any vaccine recommended by the CDC—is simply ludicrous to parents who’ve taken the time to do their own research into what the science actually says, as opposed to what they are being told by the government and mainstream media. The Times is simply begging the question, the fallacy of presuming the proposition to be proven as its premise.
The lack of seriousness with which the New York Times approaches the issue is further demonstrated by its claims that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are solely responsible for “outbreaks of measles, mumps, and pertussis”.
Reality is much different, as parents doing their own research into the science are well aware.
The Times attributes parents’ decisions not to vaccinate against measles in part to their inability to remember the age when practically everyone got measles. We’re told to be very afraid of the measles virus. But back in the 1950s and early 1960s, before the vaccine was introduced, people in the US were not particularly afraid of measles! This is illustrated by the way the disease was portrayed in popular culture at the time as a benign illness and routine childhood rite of passage. By the time the vaccine was introduced in 1963, although the virus continued to circulate and almost everyone was infected during their childhood, the mortality rate had already plummeted so that only about 450 people died each year from measles.
As observed in a study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), before the vaccine was introduced, deaths from measles had already been “virtually eliminated”. And it wasn’t just measles. In fact, “nearly 90% of the decline in infectious disease mortality among children occurred before 1940”, and hence “vaccination does not account for the impressive declines in mortality seen in the first half of the century.” Rather, this decline in mortality was the consequence of an increasing standard of living, including cleaner water, better sanitation, and better nutrition and personal hygiene. As an example of the importance of better nutrition, vitamin A deficiency is a recognized risk factor for complications from measles, which is one of the reasons mortality rates remain so much higher in developing countries where malnutrition is rampant.
It is somewhat ironic that the Times editors argue that the measles vaccine is a victim of its own success, given how they ignore what that actually means for parents living in the US today with respect to their decision whether to vaccinate their child for measles and the risk-benefit analysis they must do in order to be able to make that decision. The reality is that American parents today must choose between the largely unknown risks of permanent injury or death from the vaccine versus the near zero risk that their child will become infected with the measles virus, much less become permanently injured or killed by it.
To illustrate, the live-virus oral polio vaccine was also regarded as a “victim of its own success” in the United States. It was well recognized that the vaccine in rare instances could itself cause paralytic poliomyelitis. In fact, the CDC acknowledges that every domestic case of polio since 1979 was caused not by the wild virus, but by the vaccine. But even though the risk of becoming paralyzed from the vaccine had become greater than the risk of becoming paralyzed from the wild virus, the FDA in 1984 still continued to defend mass vaccination with the live-virus vaccine by stating that “any possible doubts, whether or not well founded, about the safety of the vaccine cannot be allowed to exist in view of the need to assure that the vaccine will continue to be used to the maximum extent consistent with the nation’s public health objectives.”
In other words, it was more important to the government to preserve existing public health policy than to change its policy despite the existence of an alternative inactivated vaccine and despite the “well founded” concerns that an estimated 1 per 3.3 million doses of the vaccine caused paralytic poliomyeltitis. (It is precisely because the risk from the vaccine had become greater than the risk of natural infection that the oral polio vaccine was subsequently phased out in the US in favor of the inactivated polio vaccine, although the live virus vaccine is still used in developing countries because it’s cheaper and easier to administer.)
A similar situation exists in the US today with respect to measles. The argument presented by the Times, that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are solely responsible for measles outbreaks, simply ignores the completely uncontroversial facts that (1) the vaccine fails to confer immunity in a certain percentage of the population, (2) the immunity conferred by the vaccine wanes over time, and (3) the vaccine-conferred immunity is inferior to that conferred by natural infection.
In fact, the recognized problems of “primary” and “secondary” vaccine failure—meaning, respectively, failure to provoke a “protective” level of antibodies and waned immunity—were precisely why the CDC in 1989 added a second “booster” shot for measles to its routine childhood schedule.
As leading experts observed in a study published in 1994 in Archives of Internal Medicine, outbreaks of measles had been occurring among highly vaccinated populations. Furthermore, the policy of mass vaccination was causing the risk burden to shift away from children, in whom measles was generally a benign disease, and onto infants and adults, in whom the virus posed a significantly increased risk of serious complications or death.
For example, while the death rate in the pre-vaccine era was one for every thousand reported cases, by 1990, it had risen to more than three deaths per thousand reported cases, “reflecting the increased incidence of measles infection in infants and adults relative to children older than 1 year of age.” The study’s authors remarked on the “apparent paradox” that as the rate of vaccination increased, the number of cases of measles occurring in vaccinated individuals would at some point exceed the number of cases occurring among the unvaccinated.
Outbreaks, they further commented, “can continue to occur unless the vaccine is virtually 100% effective and virtually 100% of the population is immunized.”
Yet some individuals cannot receive the vaccine, it’s known that primary vaccine failure occurs in anywhere from 2 percent to 10 percent of children, and it’s also known that antibody levels wane over time so that a certain percentage of adults will also be susceptible. In other words, the theory underlying public policy that vaccine-conferred “herd immunity” can prevent outbreaks of measles is known to be false.
The reason infants are at greater risk from measles today in the event of an outbreak is due to how mass vaccination has interfered with the natural herd immunity that protected those at greatest risk in the pre-vaccine era. In the past, virtually everyone was infected during childhood and developed a robust, long-lasting immunity. Furthermore, because the virus still circulated widely, there was frequent natural boosting of antibodies that protected most people even through their elderly years. Infants were also protected because mothers were able to pass on protective antibodies through their breastmilk. Now, however, as a consequence of mass vaccination, mothers are less well able to protect their newborn babies from disease in the event of an outbreak.
The worst measles outbreak of recent memory in the US was the 2015 Disneyland outbreak, which the media reflexively blame on parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. In fact, however, according to data from the California Department of Public Health, the majority of cases weren’t even occurring in children, but in adults—a clear indication that the main problem was not lack of vaccination, but vaccine failure.
Another lie the CDC tells on its website is that “For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.” That is false. As already noted, the mortality rate in the pre-vaccine era was not one death for every thousand cases of measles, but one death for every thousand reported cases. CDC officials are certainly cognizant of the difference. In fact, one can also learn from the CDC’s “Pinkbook”—accessible on its website—that in the pre-vaccine era, “infection with measles virus was nearly universal during childhood, and more than 90% of persons were immune by age 15 years.” Therefore, the risk of dying from measles was actually an order of magnitude lower than the far more frightening “1 per 1,000” figure claimed by the CDC.
As the organization Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) has observed, “nearly 90% of measles cases are benign and not reported to the CDC”. Furthermore, the population mortality rate had already plummeted from 13.3 per 100,000 in 1900 to just 0.2 per 100,000 in 1963. Consequently, just before the introduction of the vaccine, only 1 in 10,000 measles cases were fatal. Only 1 in 20,000 cases resulted in encephalitis; 1 in 80,000 in permanent disability; and 7 in 1,000 in hospitalization. Since the clinical safety trials for the measles vaccine did not include the numbers of people that would be required to have enough statistical power to detect rare harms, the further logical corollary is that “the risk of permanent injury and death from the measles vaccine has not been proven to be less than that of measles.”
Given how the vaccine has become a “victim of its own success” in that the risk of a child in the US today becoming infected with the measles virus, much less permanently injured or killed by it, is near zero, why is it so hard for the Times to recognize, therefore, that it is reasonable for parents to wonder whether the risk of harm from the vaccine might not be greater today than that from natural infection?
And, assuming the US population has crossed that line, how is it not reasonable for these parents to wonder why they should be forced to do something that increases the risk of harm to their child?
Furthermore, there are opportunity costs of vaccination that public health officials simply do not take into consideration when making policy determinations. For example, natural infection with measles during childhood has been associated with a wide range of health benefits. Measles infection has been observed to cause regression of cancer in children and has been associated with a decreased risk of numerous diseases later in life, including degenerative bone disease, certain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, allergic disease, chronic lymphoid leukemia, both non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma, and cardiovascular disease. Hence parents must ask themselves the question of whether, by mass vaccinating, the population isn’t trading a typically benign illness during childhood for much more serious diseases later in life.
Parents who do their own research into vaccines are aware of this kind of information, which both the government and corporate media refuse to acknowledge, much less substantively address. As the Times editorial demonstrates, they prefer to simply dismiss legitimate questions and concerns and instead attack the personal character of anyone who questions official dogma.
The New York Times editorial board likewise blames mumps outbreaks on parents who choose not to vaccinate. Once again, to the contrary, one can turn to the medical literature to learn that waning immunity with the mumps vaccine, too, is a known problem. A study published in March 2018 in Science Translational Medicine, for example, observed that during outbreaks, vaccinated individuals are getting mumps. Outbreaks have been occurring in communities with high vaccination rates. This has “prompted concerns about the effectiveness” of the mumps vaccine. The authors estimated that the antibody protection conferred by the vaccine wanes on average by 27 years.
As the authors further explain, during the pre-vaccine era, mumps was very common, with more than 90% of children having been infected with the virus by the time they reached adulthood. Moreover, there has been a shift of the risk burden away from young children and onto adolescents and adults. The authors remarked that “An older age of infection (ages 18 to 29 years, compared to the prevaccine average of 5 to 9 years) has been a defining feature of these outbreaks”—as is also the case in other countries where mumps vaccination in early childhood is a routine as a matter of policy.
The researchers continued:
These circumstances are troubling on two fronts. First, as many as 10% of mumps infections acquired after puberty may cause severe complications including orchitis, meningitis, and deafness, in contrast to a milder clinical course in children that typically involves fever and parotid gland swelling. Second, most mumps cases in recent outbreaks have been reported among young adults who received two vaccine doses as recommended.
For the editorial board of the New York Times to deny this science in their attack on “anti-vaxxers” is extraordinarily dishonest and hypocritical. In fact, the New York Times reported about this very study on March 21, 2018, beneath the headline, “Mumps Is On the Rise. A Waning Vaccine Response May Be Why.” The lead paragraph of that article conceded that mumps outbreaks appear to be happening “because the immune response provoked by the mumps vaccine weakens significantly over time, and not because people are avoiding vaccination or because the virus has evolved to develop immunity to the vaccine” (Emphasis added). The Times further conceded that mumps cases have been occurring “largely in people 18 to 29, most of whom received the recommended two shots in early childhood, and not in older people who gained immunity through natural infection before the vaccine was developed.” (Emphasis added.)
In other words, by the Times’ own admission, the immunity conferred by the vaccine is inferior to that conferred by natural infection, and mass vaccination has shifted the risk burden away from those in whom the virus was generally well tolerated and onto those for whom it poses a significantly greater risk of serious complications.
The Times editors’ blatant lie is thus laid bare by the newspaper’s own prior reporting.
As the authors of the referenced study also noted, the same shifting of risk burden has occurred due to mass vaccination for varicella, which causes both chicken pox and shingles. This was an easily predictable consequence of mass vaccination, and was foreseen.
In fact, the New York Times reported on March 18, 1995, that the CDC’s proposal to add the varicella vaccine to its routine childhood schedule was controversial because, while chicken pox in childhood was “itchy but only rarely fatal”, there was “a higher risk of serious complications when the disease develops in adolescents and adults.” As the Times then pointed out, despite the CDC being on the verge of adding the vaccine to the schedule, studies hadn’t been done to determine how long its protective effect would last, and, “If the immunity wanes over time, those vaccinated might get the disease as adults when the illness can be more serious.”
That’s exactly what’s happened, only now the New York Times doesn’t want to talk about it. Instead, its editors deny that there are legitimate concerns about the CDC’s vaccine recommendations and, in doing so, deny the science that underlies those concerns.
Note also how CDC policymakers were making a decision with potential serious adverse health consequences for the population based not on science, but on the assumption that the immunity conferred by the vaccine would be permanent. Well, public health officials were wrong, and now the health of the population has suffered for it. In fact, a former CDC researcher, Gary Goldman, has publicly accused the agency in the peer-reviewed scientific literature of trying to conceal this outcome from the public by hiding the data, compelling him to publish it on his own despite the CDC’s attempts to silence him.
In a study published in the journal Vaccine in March 2013, Goldman and co-author P. G. King argued that, far from providing a benefit to society, the CDC’s policy had significantly increased health care costs by causing a shift in the risk burden away from children, in whom the illness was “usually benign”, and onto “a more vulnerable adult population which … carries 20 times more risk of death and 10 – 15 times more risk of hospitalization compared to chickenpox in children.”
The CDC’s solution for this problem that it created was not to rethink its varicella vaccine recommendation, but simply to recommend a newly developed shingles vaccine for adults! As Goldman and King concluded, “Hence, rather than eliminating varicella in children as promised, routine vaccination against varicella has proven extremely costly and has created continual cycles of treatment and disease.”
No less deceitfully, the Times editors blame outbreaks of pertussis—more commonly known as whooping cough—on parents who choose not to vaccinate their children against it. Once again, what the science is actually telling us is something completely different.
What the science says about the pertussis vaccine is that: (1) it does not confer “herd immunity” because vaccinated individuals can still carry and spread the bacteria; (2) its duration of immunity is extremely short lived, estimated to be just two to four years; (3) and mass vaccination has caused “antigenic drift” so that today the dominant strains of pertussis in circulation lack a key antigen component of the vaccine, rendering it resistant to the antibody response the vaccine is intended to stimulate.
In fact, according to the CDC itself, commenting in 2013 on data from epidemics in Washington and Vermont, “vaccinated patients had significantly higher odds than unvaccinated patients of being infected” with pertussis strains deficient in a protein called pertactin, which are now dominant due to the evolutionary pressure put on the bacteria by mass vaccination. In the words of the CDC, with reference to the diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis combination vaccine, pertactin-deficient strains “may have a selective advantage in infecting DTaP-vaccinated persons.”
A CDC-funded study published in 2015 in Clinical Infectious Diseases broadened the data by looking at eight states in total and found that 85 percent of the circulating bacteria were pertactin-deficient strains, with which vaccinated individuals had “a significantly higher odds” of being infected.
Contradicting the claim by the Times editors that unvaccinated children are the problem, the CDC’s website acknowledges the results of that 2015 study, which it interprets as having found that, “if a vaccinated person gets pertussis, a pertactin-deficient strain is more likely to cause the illness.” It then cautions that studies into this are still being done and that a CDC-funded study in 2016 “suggests pertussis vaccines continue to prevent disease.” The CDC goes on to say, “The pertussis outbreaks and epidemics CDC sees around the country are consistent with what researchers see as vaccine protection wears off. It is most likely that the change in pertussis vaccines (from whole cell to acellular in the 1990s) along with better diagnostics and increased reporting are driving the resurgence of pertussis throughout the United States.” (Emphasis added.) Notably, nowhere on the page does the CDC attribute pertussis outbreaks to a decline in vaccination rates.
It’s also worth noting that, while the authors of that 2016 study—which was a retrospective case-cohort study examining cases in Vermont from 2011 – 2013 and published in Pediatrics—concluded that the vaccine continues to provide protection against pertactin-deficient strains, they also expressed concern that “the number of cases has increased among fully vaccinated children and adolescents”. They acknowledged that “genetic changes in the bacteria could have a role in the resurgence of the disease”, and that “pertactin deficiency may especially benefit the bacteria among a highly immunized population.” Acellular pertussis vaccines, they further acknowledged, “fail to prevent B pertussis colonization and transmission.” And while their data showed that “cases were more likely to be unvaccinated” than controls, the vast majority of case subjects—70 percent—were vaccinated. Additionally, they acknowledged that, “if there is a selective advantage to pertactin deficiency among vaccinated individuals”, then “we may expect more pertactin-expressing strains among unvaccinated cases”, and by including these cases, their calculated vaccine effectiveness “could be overestimated”.
Also, whooping cough may be caused by the bacterium Bordetella parapertussis as well as Bordetella pertussis, the former of which the vaccine is not designed to confer immunity against, and data from a 2010 rodent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, in the words of its authors, “raise the possibility that widespread aP [acellular pertussis] vaccination can create hosts more susceptible to B. parapertussis infection.”
The Times editorial also claims that people choosing not to get a flu shot were responsible for “an increase in influenza deaths” during the 2017 – 2018 flu season. To support this claim, it links to a page on the CDC’s website. But that webpage doesn’t support the editors’ claim at all.
The webpage does report the CDC’s preliminary estimate, based on a mathematical model, of nearly 80,000 influenza-associated deaths, which is indeed a significantly higher number than the usually cited range of 12,000 to 56,000 flu-related deaths annually. But the only thing the page says about vaccination rates is that “An estimated 10,300 deaths occurred among working age adults (aged 18–64 years), an age group that often has low influenza vaccination.”
Well, it is true that healthy adults tend not to get the vaccine, which is understandable since they aren’t at high risk of complications from influenza. But it doesn’t follow that vaccination rates among this age group declined significantly last flu season, much less that any such decline caused an increased mortality rate.
What the Times is peddling in its editorial is pseudoscience.
Actually, the CDC’s estimates of annual hospitalizations and deaths vary greatly from year to year, as well as from decade to decade, while vaccination rates remain relatively steady and thus cannot explain the great variability in influenza’s yearly estimated impact. For example, as we can learn on another page of its website, the CDC estimates that vaccination rates from the 2014 – 2015 flu season through the 2016 – 2017 season remained consistently at 59 percent. For the 2017 – 2018 season, the estimated vaccination rate was 58 percent. The Times is thus making the extraordinarily unscientific claim that this 1 percent difference is fully what explains why the CDC has estimated that 80,000 deaths occurred during the 2017 – 2018 season.
Furthermore, increased vaccination has been correlated with increased mortality among the group that accounts for most influenza-associated deaths: people aged 65 or older, who are at much higher risk of serious complications. As noted in a 2005 study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health, which like the CDC is a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, as the vaccination rate increased, mortality rates for influenza also “rose substantially”. A 2008 study published in Virology Journal similarly noted that “influenza mortality and hospitalization rates for older Americans significantly increased in the 80’s and 90’s, during the same time that influenza vaccination rates for elderly Americans dramatically increased.”
A lot more could be said about how the New York Times lies to the public about the flu shot. In fact, I’ve published three lengthy pieces already exposing just how hugely the Times lies about it, with more installments on the way. If you want to dive into that, start by reading part one, titled “Should You Get the Flu Shot Every Year? Don’t Ask the New York Times.” For a discussion of why the CDC’s flu deaths estimates are controversial and may greatly overestimate, read part two, titled “How the CDC Uses Fear and Deception to Sell More Flu Vaccines”. Part three is titled “How You’re Being Lied to about the Risks of Getting a Flu Vaccine Annually”, which explains, among other things, how the government has granted broad legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers and shifted the financial burden for vaccine injuries away from the pharmaceutical industry and onto the taxpaying consumers, and how studies have shown that getting an annual flu shot may actually increase your risk of respiratory illness.
After peddling their influenza vaccine pseudoscience, the Times editors express their belief that if more females got the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, it “could effectively wipe out cervical cancer”.
Indeed, the vaccine is marketed as an anti-cancer vaccine, so it’s not surprising that people—including evidently the editors of the New York Times—conclude that the vaccine has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of cancer. But this is a false belief.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the aluminum-containing HPV vaccine despite the absence of any such studies. To date, no studies been done showing that the vaccine is effective at reducing the risk of cervical cancer.
It is true that cervical cancer rates in the US have decreased since the HPV vaccine was introduced in 2006, but this is simply the continuation of a trend that began in the 1950s as a result of cancer screening; there is no indication of an accelerated decrease since 2006; and rates of other HPV-associated cancers are rising along with rising vaccination rates.
Furthermore, none of the clinical safety trials that were conducted to obtain FDA licensure were placebo-controlled. Rather than receiving an inert placebo, rates of adverse events in vaccinated subjects were compared to rates of adverse events in subjects who received another aluminum-containing injection.
At the time of this writing, there is litigation underway against Merck, the manufacturer of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, for committing fraud by failing to disclose adequate warnings about the safety if its product in its vaccine package insert.
As the Times describes the situation, the public discourse about vaccines is dominated by propaganda from “anti-vaxxers”, whereas voices advocating public vaccine policy are marginalized. This is an absolutely ludicrous and downright delusional characterization.
It is utterly preposterous to suggest that voices critical of the CDC’s recommendations are more influential and more dominant in the public discourse than voices advocating public vaccine policy. The public is incessantly inundated with public messaging favoring all recommended vaccinations. Such public messaging is backed by taxpayer dollars and the full weight of the federal government and state governments. It’s backed by the full weight of the billion-dollar vaccine industry. It’s backed by industry-funded trade organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, which collaborates with the CDC in determining “standard of care”. It’s backed by the insurance industry. It’s backed by most doctors (who get their information from the agencies and organizations that determine “standard of care”). And it’s backed by the entire mainstream corporate media establishment. Pro-vaccine propaganda is pushed on the public by far more than hundreds of websites, including CDC.gov and NYTimes.com.
The editorial board claims that the CDC has “no loud public voice” even as they put their own newspaper to use broadcasting the CDC’s public messaging to the public, as the rest of the major media likewise do incessantly. Their own article illustrates precisely how it’s the critical voices who are marginalized in the public discourse and who predominantly are treated with vitriol (like being called “the enemy”), and if these critics are having an impact and shifting the nature of the discussion, it is only because a growing number of people find their arguments more convincing.
This helps explain why the Times editors found it necessary to lie that the arguments made by critics and dissenters ignore the past century of scientific research. In fact, where the editors refer to the “hundreds of websites” that publish information critical of public vaccine policy, they link to a study that actually found that the majority of these websites—64.7 percent—used credible scientific evidence to support their arguments. Among their other sins were valuing choice, freedom, and individuality, and promoting things like eating a healthful diet, detoxing, and breastfeeding.
What the New York Times editorial amply illustrates is that there is no serious discussion about vaccines in the mainstream discourse. While calling for public vaccine policy advocates to address the arguments of critics and dissenters, the Times itself puts forth an extraordinary effort not to do so and instead just treats its readers to more of the same lying pro-vaccine propaganda that the public is routinely bombarded with. Instead of properly educating their readers about this issue, they go out of their way to misinform, including by outright lying about the nature of the debate and what science tells us about the safety and efficacy of CDC-recommended vaccines.
The deception and hypocrisy of the Times editorial board is heightened all the more by the fact that they are spewing this propaganda in order to advocate the practice of violating the right to informed consent.
It is true that there is a lot of propaganda out there about vaccines. But the reality that the Times is attempting to obfuscate with this editorial, with all its science denial and pseudoscience, is that the preponderance of misinformation about vaccines is propagated by the government and mainstream media, who are the true enemies of truth and liberty.
Support This Mission
If you’ve found value the empowering knowledge contained in this article, please help support this 100% reader-funded mission. Here are two things you can do right now to help:
- Please share this content with your friends, family, and social media followers. (Copy and paste the link or use the convenient share buttons.)
- If you have the means, please consider making a financial contribution to help enable me to continue this work:
[Updated: February 12, 2019 — As originally published, this article stated that the known rate of primary vaccine failure is 3 percent – 5 percent. A reader brought to my attention that Dr. Gregory Poland, the lead author of the study under discussion in that part of the article, has rather provided an estimated range of 2 percent – 10 percent. The text has been updated to reflect this, and the additional reference in which he provides this information has been added to the endnote.]
 Editorial Board, “How to Inoculate Against Anti-Vaxxers”, New York Times, January 19, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/19/opinion/vaccines-public-health.html.
 I am borrowing the phrase “manufacturing consent” from Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, whose treatise Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Pantheon, 1982) describes the mechanisms by which the mainstream media in the US manipulate information, delivering propaganda instead of real journalism in service of the state. They were in turn borrowing the phrase from Walter Lippmann, who had likewise described this phenomenon in his 1921 book Public Opinion.
 World Health Organization, “Ten threats to global health in 2019”, WHO.int, January 2019, https://www.who.int/emergencies/ten-threats-to-global-health-in-2019.
 Jeremy R. Hammond, “How You’re Being Lied to about the Risks of Getting a Flu Vaccine Annually”, JeremyRHammond.com, January 11, 2019, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2019/01/11/how-youre-being-lied-to-about-the-risks-of-getting-a-flu-vaccine-annually/. A note on citing previous writings of mine as a source to support my arguments in this article: Where I’m citing previous writings of mine as a source for this article, it is because I’ve already written about it in more detail it elsewhere. I encourage readers to read these previous writings and to check the sources I cite to verify the accuracy of what I’m saying for themselves.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Adjuvants help vaccines work better”, CDC.gov, last reviewed October 22, 2018, and accessed January 29, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/adjuvants.html.
 Jeremy R. Hammond, “FactCheck.org, Following CDC’s Example, Lies about Vaccine Safety”, JeremyRHammond.com, December 24, 2018, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2018/12/24/factcheck-org-following-cdcs-example-lies-about-vaccine-safety/.
 Robert J. Mitkus et al, “Updated aluminum pharmacokinetics following infant exposures through diet and vaccination”, Vaccine, November 28, 2011, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X11015799. For further discussion, see: Hammond, “How You’re Being Lied to”, op. cit.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Thimerosal in Vaccines”, CDC.gov, last reviewed October 27, 2015, and accessed January 29, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/index.html. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Understanding Thimerosal, Mercury, and Vaccine Safety”, CDC.gov, dated February 2013 and accessed December 20, 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/patient-ed/conversations/downloads/vacsafe-thimerosal-color-office.pdf. Institute of Medicine (IOM), Immunization Safety Review Committee, Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2004), p. 4, 139; https://www.nap.edu/catalog/10997/immunization-safety-review-vaccines-and-autism. For further discussion, see: Hammond, “FactCheck.org, Following CDC’s Example, Lies”, op. cit.
 Robert J. Mitkus, et al, “A Comparative Pharmocokinetic Estimate of Mercury in U.S. Infants Following Yearly Exposures to Inactivated Influenza Vaccines Containing Thimerosal”, Risk Analysis, October 10, 2013, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/risa.12124. For further discussion, see: Hammond, “FactCheck.org, Following CDC’s Example, Lies”, op. cit.
 Walter A. Orenstein, et al., “Measles Elimination in the United States”, Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2004, https://doi.org/10.1086/377693. See also: Jacqueline Gindler, et al., “Acute Measles Mortality in the United States, 1987–2002”, Journal of Infectious Diseases, May 1, 2004, https://doi.org/10.1086/378565.
 Kelsey D. J. Jones and James A. Berkley, “Severe acute malnutrition and infection”, Paediatrics and International Health, 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4266374/.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Vaccines and Preventable Diseases: Polio Disease – Questions and Answers”, CDC.gov, updated April 6, 2007, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/polio/dis-faqs.htm.
 Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, 21 CFR Part 630, “Additional Standards for Viral Vaccines; Poliovirus Vaccine, Live, Oral”, Federal Register, Vol. 49, No. 107, June 1, 1984, 23004 – 23007, https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/FR-1984-06-01.
 Gregory A. Poland and Robert M. Jacobson, “Failure to Reach the Goal of Measles Elimination”, Archives of Internal Medicine, August 22, 1994, https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.1994.00420160048006. Gregory A. Poland, “The re-emergence of measles in developed countries: Time to develop the next-generation measles vaccines?” Vaccine, January 5, 2012, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905323/.
 Inácio M. Mandomando, et al., “Measles-specific Neutralizing Antibodies in Rural Mozambique: Seroprevalence and Presence in Breast Milk”, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, November 2008, https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2008.79.787. Sandra Waainjenborg, et al., “Waning of Maternal Antibodies Against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella in Communities With Contrasting Vaccination Coverage”, Journal of Infectious Diseases, July 2013, https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jit143. Hayley A. Gans and Yvonne A. Maldonado, “Loss of Passively Acquired Maternal Antibodies in Highly Vaccinated Populations: An Emerging Need to Define the Ontogeny of Infant Immune Responses”, Journal of Infectious Diseases, July 2013, https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jit144. L. Mollema, et al., “High risk of a large measles outbreak despite 30 years of measles vaccination in The Netherlands”, Epidemiology & Infection, August 6, 2013, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268813001532.
 California Department of Public Health, “Measles”, CDPH.CA.gov, January 28, 2015, http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx; archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20150128202420/http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx.
As of the date this data was published, only 18 percent of confirmed cases of measles were school-aged children (ages five through nineteen), whereas 61 percent were adults aged twenty and up. Another 15 percent of cases were aged one through four and 6 percent under one and hence too young to be vaccinated.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Complications of Measles”, CDC.gov, last reviewed February 5, 2018, accessed January 30, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/complications.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Measles”, Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, 13th Edition (“Pinkbook”), April 2015, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/meas.html.
 Physicians for Informed Consent, “Measles – Disease Information Statement (DIS)”, PhysiciansForInformedConsent.org, 2017, https://physiciansforinformedconsent.org/measles/dis/. “Physicians for Informed Consent Publishes Scientific Finding on the MMR Vaccine: It has Not Been Proven that the MMR Vaccine is Safer than Measles for U.S. Children”, PhysiciansForInformedConsent.org, October 10, 2017, https://physiciansforinformedconsent.org/news/physicians-for-informed-consent-publishes-scientific-finding-on-the-mmr-vaccine/.
 “Harnessing The Measles Virus To Attack Cancer”, Science Daily, October 31, 2006, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061030143318.htm. Rønne T, “Measles virus infection without rash in childhood is related to disease in adult life”, Lancet, January 5, 1985, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(85)90961-4. Annie J. Sasco and Ralph S. Paffenbarger, Jr., “Measles Infection and Parkinson’s Disease”, American Journal of Epidemiology, December 1, 1985, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a114183. Stefano Parodi, et al., “Childhood infectious diseases and risk of leukaemia in an adult population”, International Journal of Cancer, October 15, 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23575988. S. O. Shaheen et al., “Measles and atopy in Guinea-Bissau”, Lancet, June 29, 1996, https://doi.org/10.5555/uri:pii:S0140673696916177. Helen Rosenlund et al., “Allergic Disease and Atopic Sensitization in Children in Relation to Measles Vaccination and Measles Infection”, Pediatrics, March 2009, https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2008-0013. Maurizio Montella et al., “Do childhood diseases affect NHL and HL risk? A case-control study from northern and southern Italy”, Leukemia Research, August 2006, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2005.11.020. Yasuhiko Kubota, Hiroyasu Iso, and Akiko Tamakoshi, “Association of measles and mumps with cardiovascular disease: The Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) study”, Atherosclerosis, August 2015, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.06.026.
 Nicholas Bakalar, “Mumps Is On the Rise. A Waning Vaccine Response May Be Why.” New York Times, March 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/well/live/mumps-is-on-the-rise-a-waning-vaccine-response-may-be-why.html.
 Lewnard and Grad, op. cit.
 Lawrence K. Altman, “After Long Debate, Vaccine For Chicken Pox Is Approved”, New York Times, March 18, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/18/us/after-long-debate-vaccine-for-chicken-pox-is-approved.html.
 G.S. Goldman and P.G. King, “Review of the United States universal varicella vaccination program: Herpes zoster incidence rates, cost-effectiveness, and vaccine efficacy based primarily on the Antelope Valley Varicella Active Surveillance Project data”, Vaccine, March 25, 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3759842/.
 Jason M. Warfel, Lindsey I. Zimmerman, and Tod J. Merkel, “Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model”, PNAS, January 2014, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1314688110.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Infectious Diseases”, December 11-12, 2013, https://www.cdc.gov/maso/facm/pdfs/BSCOID/2013121112_BSCOID_Minutes.pdf.
 Stacey W. Martin, “Pertactin-Negative Bordetella pertussis Strains: Evidence for a Possible Selective Advantage”, Clinical Infectious Diseases, January 15, 2015, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciu788.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Pertactin-Negative Pertussis Strains”, CDC.gov, updated August 7, 2017, accessed January 30, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pertactin-neg-strain.html.
 Gráinne H. Long, “Bordetella parapertussis infection in a rodent model of bordetellosis”, Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences), March 3, 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2880100/.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths in the United States — 2017–2018 influenza season”, CDC.gov, updated December 18, 2018 and accessed February 6, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2017-2018.htm.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Early-Season Flu Vaccination Coverage–United States, November 2018”, CDC.gov, updated December 14, 2018, accessed February 6, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview/nifs-estimates-nov2018.htm.
 Lone Simonsen et al, “Impact of Influenza Vaccination on Seasonal Mortality in the US Elderly Population”, Archives of Internal Medicine, February 14, 2005, https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.165.3.265.
 Marc Arbyn et al., “Prophylactic vaccination against human papillomaviruses to prevent cervical cancer and its precursors”, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, May 9, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD009069.pub3. As the authors of this literature review observe, “Studies were not large enough or of sufficient duration to evaluate cervical cancer outcomes.”
 Elizabeth A. Van Dyne et al., “Trends in Human Papillomavirus-Associated Cancers — United States, 1999–2015”, MMWR, August 24, 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6733a2.htm. Laurie McGinley, “HPV-related cancer rates are rising. So are vaccine rates — just not fast enough.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/08/23/hpv-related-cancer-rates-are-rising-so-are-vaccine-rates-just-not-fast-enough/.
 Lars Jørgensen, Peter C Gøtzsche, and Tom Jefferson, “The Cochrane HPV vaccine review was incomplete and ignored important evidence of bias”, BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjebm-2018-111012.
 Lyn Redwood, “Court Hears Gardasil Science and Moves Forward”, Children’s Health Defense, January 29, 2019, https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/court-hears-gardasil-science-and-moves-forward/.
 Meghan Moran et al., “Why are anti-vaccine messages so persuasive? A content analysis of anti-vaccine websites to inform the development of vaccine promotion strategies”, American Public Health Association, November 3, 2015, https://apha.confex.com/apha/143am/webprogram/Paper329083.html.