When it comes to the topic of vaccines, the mainstream media refuse to do journalism and instead serve the government and pharmaceutical industry by advocating public vaccine policy. The fulfillment of this propaganda function inevitably requires the media to lie about why many parents are choosing not to strictly comply with the routine childhood vaccine schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The goal of public vaccine policy is to persuade, intimidate, or coerce parents into compliance to ensure high vaccination rates. The pursuit of that goal is incompatible with the very different goal of empowering parents with the knowledge they need to exercise their right to informed consent.
The mainstream media, for their part, are serving to manufacture consent for government policy, which is likewise incompatible with the goal of doing journalism. For public health officials or the media to acknowledge the countless legitimate concerns that lead parents to make the rational decision not to strictly follow the CDC’s recommendations would undermine the goal of manufacturing consent for government policy. Consequently, those legitimate concerns must be ignored and alternative explanations for their non-compliance invented.
A useful case study for illustrating this function of the media is provided by a recent New York Times article titled “How Anti-Vaccine Sentiment Took Hold in the United States”, in which health reporter Jan Hoffman purports to explain the phenomenon labelled “vaccine hesitancy”. Typifying the media’s role, Hoffman repeats all the usual propaganda talking points to demonize non-compliant parents, thereby deflecting attention from the many legitimate concerns parents have about public vaccine policy.
There are two possible explanations for this typical behavior among mainstream journalists. One is that this is intentional, and journalists deceive the public willfully, such as by withholding certain truths that don’t conform to the narrative they’ve chosen to tell. The other is that they are themselves misinformed and convinced of their own propaganda. In Hoffman’s case, as in most others, there is evidence of both, and her recent New York Times article is useful for demonstrating how the greatest purveyors of misinformation about vaccines are not the “anti-vaxxers” but the government and mainstream media.
Notably, Hoffman refrains from applying the usual derogatory label “anti-vaxxers” to dissenting parents and policy critics, but her lack of objectivity is still obvious in her characterizations. As she tells it, the “anti-vaccination movement” is a growing threat to public health, and the reason parents are choosing not to vaccinate is because they persist in false beliefs about vaccines despite the best efforts of public health officials, medical experts, and the media to properly inform them.
The truth is that an increasing number of parents are choosing not to vaccinate because they recognize that public vaccine policy poses a serious threat to both our health and our liberty. They are informed and aware of the systemic biases that exist within the institutions of government, pharmaceutical medicine, and the media. They understand that they are being lied to about what science tells us about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. And the simple explanation for why the full might of government, industry, and media propaganda is failing to persuade them into compliance is the systematic refusal of these establishments to address their legitimate concerns.
That this is so is easily demonstrated by critically examining Hoffman’s New York Times article, which is not journalism but a shameless work of propaganda intended to deceive the public in dutiful service to the state.
- Senselessly Demonizing the “Anti-Vaccination Movement”
- Lying about the Reasons for Parental Distrust of “Experts”
- Lying about the Risk of Vaccine Injury
- Lying about the 1998 Lancet Study
- Lying about What the Science Says about Vaccines and Autism
- Lying about the Origins of the “Anti-Vaccination Movement” and DTP Vaccine Safety
- Lying about Measles Outbreaks
- Lying about Everything Else
The New York Times article begins by characterizing parents who choose not to vaccinate strictly according to the CDC’s routine childhood schedule as a threat to society, which Hoffman accomplishes by reminding that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared “vaccine hesitancy” to be “one of the top threats to global health.”
We’re also told that the growth of the “vaccine resistance movement” is “a byproduct of an internet humming with rumor and misinformation”.
Additionally, parents are distrustful of the pharmaceutical industry and have “an infatuation with celebrities” so that they tend to believe “anti-immunization statements” made by people in the entertainment industry, “like Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and Alicia Silverstone” or “the rapper Kevin Gates”.
Hoffman also throws in the name “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.” as a “celebrity” personality rather than as an environmental attorney and activist who has successfully litigated against polluting industries and was once named among a list of “Heroes for the Planet” by TIME magazine. Kennedy, whose father Robert F. Kennedy and uncle John F. Kennedy were both assassinated, is also the founder of the organization Children’s Health Defense, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the health threat posed by environmental toxins and to taking action—including litigation—to protect children from that threat.
Following that, Hoffman associates “anti-vaccine sentiment” with “the Trump administration’s anti-science rhetoric” and quotes “infectious disease expert” Dr. Paul Offit describing policy dissenters and critics as people who reject science and instead “simply declare” their “own truth”.
Hoffman attempts to portray her assessment as objective and unshallow by writing, “Labeling resisters with one dismissive stereotype would be wrongheaded.” Quoting a sociologist “who studies vaccine-resistant families”, she cautions that it would be “an easy trope” to “just say that these parents are ignorant or selfish”. So Hoffman avoids the dismissive label “anti-vaxxer” and says that the “disparate groups” of “resisters” include “anti-government libertarians, apostles of the all-natural and parents who believe that doctors should not dictate medical decisions about children.”
In other words, dissenting parents tend to believe that people should not commit aggression against each other. They recognize the harmful impact of environmental toxins on societal health and are concerned about how this is contributing to the epidemic rates of chronic diseases among children. They understand that the body has an innate capability to fight off infections and heal itself. And they insist on thinking for themselves and being involved in any decisions related to their children’s health.
Further into the article, Hoffman elaborates: “Libertarianism also courses through vaccine hesitation, with parents who assert that government should not be able to tell them what to put in their bodies—a position often marketed as ‘the right to choose.’”
In other words, these parents value their right to informed consent, which has been recognized as one of the most fundamental ethics in medicine since the end of World War II and the Nazi experimentation upon unwilling human subjects. They recognize the threat posed to this fundamental human right by the government of the United States, which has committed the same crime against humanity, such as when the Public Health Service in 1932 experimented upon black men by deliberately denying them treatment for the bacteria that causes syphilis against their knowledge in order to research disease progression. Policy dissenters and critics recognize that compelling parents to vaccinate their children through deception or coercion is an equally barbaric violation of their right to make an informed choice.
Since believing in non-aggression, respecting nature, and valuing the right to informed consent are all unassailably positive character traits, Hoffman lazily and mindlessly demonizes parents who hold such views by associating them with a belief in “conspiracy theories”. To that end, she quotes the director of the Institute of Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University, Daniel Salmon, doing just that.
She then quotes Salmon saying that people who don’t like the government ordering them what to do and who “prefer to believe they can control their health” are rattled by the fact that “many childhood vaccines are not voluntary”.
Of course, it is obviously true that individuals can to a very great extent control their own health, but since the purpose here is to demonize, the idea is ridiculed as though merely a controversial or absurd belief and not simple common sense.
Notice also that we are supposed to unquestioningly accept the idea that a medical procedure is being routinely conducted on children without the voluntary consent of their parents. Uniquely with the practice of vaccination, we are not supposed to believe in the right to informed consent.
Continuing, Hoffman cites a study in which researchers found that the “most resistant” parents highly valued “purity (‘my body is a temple’) and liberty (‘I want to make my child’s health care decisions’).” Additionally, such parents were less likely to value “deference to authority”.
Hoffman suggests that parents should just trust “experts in medical decision-making” who say that “most people are notoriously poor at assessing risk”. In the context of criticizing Donald Trump for lending “support” to “the anti-vaccination movement”, she laments that patients have since “asserted autonomy, brandishing internet printouts at doctors. Shared decision-making became the model of doctor-patient engagement.” She further laments that, “Pediatricians offered to stagger vaccine schedules. Some were even flexible about vaccinations altogether.” The proper role of pediatricians, Hoffman paraphrases Dr. Salmon as saying, is that of “front-line persuaders”.
The underlying message is that parents should not try to make their own choices about childhood vaccinations and instead place their blind faith in “experts” who know better what’s in their child’s best interests. Additionally, doctors should not respect the parental right to informed consent and instead insist that parents comply strictly with the CDC’s schedule. Rather than providing parents with the knowledge they need to be able to make their own informed choice, doctors should limit their role to providing parents only with information designed to persuade them into strict compliance with the government’s diktats.
In sum, according the New York Times, parents belonging to the “vaccine resistance movement” pose a threat to society because they are ideological extremists who are especially incapable of making good medical decisions since they reject science and instead choose to believe “conspiracy theories” and “misinformation” about vaccines.
The problem with this characterization—apart from the transparent bias in dismissing people as being dangerously irrational because they think for themselves and hold correct views about liberty and personal responsibility—is that it’s a demonstrable lie. In fact, virtually every aspect of the narrative presented by the New York Times is demonstrably untrue.
Given the nature of Hoffman’s characterizations of dissident parents, we are evidently supposed to believe that we cannot positively impact our own health or the health of our children through our personal choices; we should not think for ourselves and make our own decisions but trust “expert” medical opinion and unquestioningly obey the decisions made for us by government policymakers; and we should not place any value in our right to informed consent uniquely when it comes to this particular pharmaceutical product.
By lazily dismissing parents who disagree with those conclusions as irrational and misinformed, Hoffman avoids having to address the real underlying issues and the countless legitimate reasons why these parents are right not to trust public health officials and other medical “experts”.
Ironically, this is demonstrated simply by the fact that, in order to bolster her characterization and demonize parents who make their own choices about vaccinations, Hoffman quotes Dr. Paul Offit.
While the name of Paul Offit name might be unfamiliar to most Times readers, it is well known among parents who make their own decisions about vaccinations. And the reason these parents don’t trust “experts” like him to make decisions for them isn’t because they reject science and believe in conspiracy theories but because they are well informed about the institutionalized corruption that exists within the medical establishment, which happens to be exemplified by Paul Offit.
The Times initially presents Offit simply as “an infectious disease expert” at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Further into the article, it’s disclosed that he’s also “a co-inventor of a vaccine for rotavirus”. But there’s a lot more relevant information about Paul Offit that we are not told.
For one, Offit is the director of the hospital’s “Vaccine Education Center” and holds the Maurice R. Hilleman Chair in Vaccinology, created in honor of the former senior vice president of pharmaceutical giant Merck, which provided a $1.5 million endowment to the hospital and the University of Pennsylvania to “accelerate the pace of vaccine research”.
For another, from 1998 until 2003, Offit sat on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)—which formulates the agency’s vaccine recommendations—and voted three times in favor on decisions related to the use of the rotavirus vaccine while at the same time working under a grant from Merck to develop a rotavirus vaccine. When the CDC voted to temporarily withdraw its recommendation for the routine use of the rotavirus vaccine in children because the first one on the market was causing serious harm to some infants, Offit recused himself hypocritically on the grounds that it could be perceived as a conflict of interest to vote against a competitor’s vaccine while he was working to develop one for Merck. The vaccine that Offit helped develop was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 under the trademark RotaTeq. Two years later, Offit sold his stake in the patent for several million dollars.
Incidentally, we are also not informed by the Times that the first rotavirus vaccine to be licensed for use in infants by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Wyeth’s RotaShield, was withdrawn from the market in 1999 because it was found to be causing intussusception, an often excruciating and potentially fatal condition in which part of the intestine telescopes into itself. Furthermore, the FDA had licensed RotaShield for routine use in infants despite clinical trials indicating an increased risk of intussusception. Additionally, despite knowing that the vaccine might increase the risk of intussusception in infants, when the FDA instructed Wyeth on specific areas where it should focus its postmarketing safety research, the risk of intussusception was not among them.
So why does Hoffman choose to cite Paul Offit as a supposedly objective “expert” on vaccines and demonize pro-choice parents as conspiracy theorists rather than to acknowledge their legitimate concern about the very real problem of corruption epitomized by this very same “expert”? Why does Hoffman quote Offit as though he was a person in whom parents should unquestioningly place their trust when it comes to making medical decisions for our children?
No conspiracy theory is required to explain how this can be. It is easily enough explained by institutionalized bias. Either Hoffman is truly unaware of the institutionalized corruption that Offit epitomizes, in which case she is simply ignorant and has absolutely no business condescending to us by pretending to educate us about the subject, or she made a deliberate choice to avoid addressing the issue, in which case she is cognizant of and has accepted her role as a crude propagandist for the government and pharmaceutical industry in exchange for a paycheck from the New York Times Company. There are no alternative explanations. Either way, she obviously values her career more highly than telling the truth, even if she manages to convince herself otherwise through the psychological mechanisms of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.
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We are confronted with a similar conundrum when, further down the page, Hoffman writes that, “By 2014, studies showed that parental confidence in authorities like the C.D.C. and in pediatricians was dropping, especially around vaccines. Mistrust of Big Pharma was even more pronounced.”
That, along with an earlier passing and uncontextualized reference to “the backlash against Big Pharma”, is the closest that Hoffman comes to addressing the issue of institutionalized corruption, even though the existence of this corruption is hardly controversial and certainly doesn’t require a belief in “conspiracy theories”.
In fact, the systemic corruption within the existing medical establishment is well recognized within the scientific community. To cite a few examples, Richard Horton, editor of the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, has criticized how peer-review journals “have devolved into information-laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry.” He wrote that statement in a New York Review of Books article describing the outcome of the incestuous relationship between pharmaceutical companies and medical journals as “McScience”.
Marcia Angell, an editor for The New England Journal of Medicine for over twenty years, has written, “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” (Emphasis added.) She similarly wrote that in a New York Review of Books article discussing the incestuous relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession.
There are numerous studies published in the peer-reviewed literature about the extent and magnitude of the corruption that is recognized to exist within the medical establishment. One such study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2013, concluded that, “To serve its interests, the industry masterfully influences evidence base production, evidence synthesis, understanding of harms issues, cost-effectiveness evaluations, clinical practice guidelines and healthcare professional education and also exerts direct influences on professional decisions and health consumers.”
One of the authors of that study was John Ioannidis, who’s been described by The Atlantic as possibly “one of the most influential scientists alive”. In a widely cited 2005 paper published in PLoS Medicine, Ioannidis wrote that “It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.” Not just “the majority” but “the vast majority” of published findings may be false. Rather than majority expert opinion representing scientific truths, study findings “may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”
Conflicts of interest in biomedical research are “very common”. In addition to financial conflicts of interest, scientists are not immune to confirmation bias, but tend to grasp onto any information that supports their preexisting beliefs while ignoring any that is contradictory. Many studies are done “for no other reason than to give physicians and researchers qualifications for promotion or tenure.” The peer review process itself is frequently used “to perpetuate false dogma”, and “Empirical evidence on expert opinion shows that it is extremely unreliable.”
Government agencies like the CDC and FDA are also certainly not immune to the corruption, as we’ve already seen. While we are supposed to believe that the government oversees the pharmaceutical companies in the interests of the public, the reality is that the government is itself an integral component of the vaccine industry and serves the industry’s interests at the expense of the public.
The fact that the CDC places its policy goal of increasing vaccination rates over the public’s best interests is also recognized in the peer-reviewed literature. A 2010 systematic review of the medical literature on the influenza vaccine by the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration, for example, pointed out how prior reviews had been “extensively misquoted in public policy documents.” Specifically, a 2009 CDC document outlining the rationale for its universal flu shot recommendation clearly illustrated that policymakers “do not weight interpretation by quality of the evidence, but quote anything that supports their theory”. (The Cochrane reviews have criticized the CDC’s flu shot recommendation for being unsupported by scientific evidence.)
The government itself has acknowledged the systemic corruption within the government. Paul Offit was by no means an outlier in having a glaring conflict of interest as a member of the ACIP. As a Congressional report in June 2000 pointed out, “four out of eight CDC advisory committee members who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”
Additionally, “3 out of 5 FDA advisory committee members who voted to approve the rotavirus vaccine in December 1997 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”
Numerous additional examples of the systemic corruption within these agencies were cited. Another Congressional report in June 2007 similarly criticized the corruption, emphasizing the existence of a “revolving door” between the pharmaceutical industry and government. This was epitomized by Julie Gerberding, the CDC director from 2002 to 2009. Gerberding left her government job to work for Merck as president of its $5 billion global vaccine division. She held that position until 2014 and is currently in charge of Merck’s “strategic communications”, meaning essentially that the former CDC director is now in charge of the company’s propaganda efforts. In addition to her salary, Gerberding sold shares of Merck in 2015 worth over $2.3 million.
A 2009 report of the Inspector General’s Office slammed the CDC for “a systemic lack of oversight” when it came to the enforcement of its own ethics program.
Just last year, in January 2018, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald was forced to resign because she’d purchased tens of thousands of dollars in corporate stocks, including shares in Merck. In June of this year, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, whose products include vaccines, announced that the former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb had joined its board. Serving under Trump from May 2017 until April 2019, Gottlieb is known for having pushed for reforms that would speed up the drug-approval process. At the time of the announcement, he said he’d joined Pfizer because it “uniquely positioned” him “to continue having a big role in advancing public health”. (Note how “public health” is used as a euphemism for the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry.)
Dissenting parents also understand how pediatricians are effectively dictated to about how to practice medicine by corrupt government agencies like the CDC and FDA as well as industry-funded trade organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). As CBS News reported in 2008, “The vaccine industry gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters.”
Among the many additional reasons why parents are right not to trust the government to make health care decisions for them is the fact that, as the CDC expanded the number of vaccine doses on its routine childhood schedule through the end of the twentieth century, the agency was responsible for exposing children to cumulative levels of mercury that exceeded the government’s own safety guidelines. Once this became publicly known, the decision was made to phase out the use of mercury as a vaccine preservative in most childhood vaccines. It is still used in multi-dose vials of inactivated influenza vaccine, which the CDC recommends for infants as young as six months as well as pregnant women.
It would be superfluous to list additional examples. In sum, the existence of systemic corruption within the medical establishment, of which the government is an integral component, is not some kind of “conspiracy theory” but a reality acknowledged by both the government and the scientific community. But by demonizing dissident parents as irrational and misinformed, Hoffman avoids having to address the real issue, which is that parents are right to view medical “experts” like Paul Offit and government agencies like the FDA and CDC as simply unworthy of their trust.
Hoffman’s reporting for the New York Times’ is no less dishonest when it comes to the reasons why parents believe that the risks of vaccinating their children according to the CDC’s schedule might outweigh the potential benefits.
When she attributes this judgment to an “infatuation with celebrities” like Jenny McCarthy, she has cause and effect backwards. Parents aren’t in the “anti-vaccine movement” because their love for Jenny McCarthy has caused them to gullibly believe her story about how her son was injured by vaccines; rather, a great many of them can personally relate to McCarthy’s story because their own children were harmed by vaccines. And they respect McCarthy for speaking out despite a social climate in which any criticism of public vaccine policy, no matter how well founded in science, is an invitation to public scorn and ridicule.
Indeed, a large proportion of parents who are publicly visible in the “movement” today have chosen to speak out and take on the role of activists precisely because they, like Jenny McCarthy, did vaccinate their children only to watch them suffer from serious adverse events resulting in permanent injury or death that medical experts could not otherwise explain. They admire Jim Carrey because he faced the same ridicule and put his career on the line by standing by McCarthy and likewise speaking out.
And it was mothers of vaccine-injured children who persuaded Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to get involved with the vaccine issue—not vice versa. He’d been active in educating the public about the harmful effects of exposure to mercury polluted into the environment by coal plants and combatting this threat to public health. When he became aware of mothers’ concerns about the possibility of mercury in vaccines harming their children, his conscience along with their persistence compelled him to start speaking out about the risks of vaccination, too. Formerly known as the World Mercury Project, his team at Children’s Health Defense includes several mothers of children who were injured by vaccines.
The closest that Hoffman comes to acknowledging that vaccines can cause serious harm is by quoting an associate professor at a nursing school saying, “Parents would like to be told that vaccines are 100 percent safe. But that’s not a standard we hold any medical treatment to.”
But that’s just another lie, too—a logical fallacy known as strawman argumentation. Parents aren’t demanding “100 percent safe” vaccines. They just want the government and media to stop lying to them about the risks and benefits. They want to stop being meaninglessly told that “vaccines are safe and effective” and for the government and medical establishment to stop treating vaccines as a one-size-fits-all approach to disease prevention since it places certain children at risk of serious harm.
Government policymakers simply ignore that fact that, for informed consent to happen, the risk-benefit analysis must be conducted for each vaccine and individually for each child. They have not only failed but refused to consider the fact that the risks of the target diseases are not the same for every child and the fact that some children are at greater risk of being harmed by vaccines due to genetic or environmentally caused predispositions.
Another crucial aspect of the propaganda narrative being pushed by the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets is that the stories of vaccine injury are mere anecdotes that fly in the face of medical science. “People tend to believe an individual’s anecdotal narrative over abstract numbers”, Hoffman writes. “By 2007, when Ms. McCarthy, the actress, insisted that vaccines caused her son’s autism, thousands found her to be more persuasive than data showing otherwise.”
Once again, what many and possibly most of these parents have found to be more persuasive than untrustworthy “experts” and government agencies is their own experience. Nobody knows a child better than their mother and father. When it comes to other ailments, doctors intrinsically trust the observations and intuitions of the parents to guide them in diagnosis and potential treatment. Yet, when it comes to adverse events after vaccination, the expert knowledge of the parents is not just being ignored but ridiculed.
Apart from the meaningless acknowledgment that vaccines are not “100 percent” safe, there is no admission by the Times of the completely uncontroversial fact that vaccines can cause serious harm.
In fact, this is so uncontroversial that the government has awarded more than $4 billion to victims of public policy under something called the “Vaccine Injury Compensation Program” (VICP), which was established under a 1986 law that granted legal immunity to manufacturers of vaccines recommended by the CDC for routine use in children, which effectively shifts the financial burden for vaccine injuries away from the pharmaceutical industry and onto the taxpaying consumers. In doing so, the “National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act” also effectively eliminated the chief incentive for pharmaceutical corporations to develop safer and more effective means of disease prevention.
One would think that the existence of the VICP and the liability-free nature of childhood vaccines would be pertinent for a serious discussion about why parents are distrustful of the government and pharmaceutical industry; but Hoffman’s intent is obviously to not engage in a serious discussion and so she relegates the law’s existence to irrelevancy.
After all, to explicitly acknowledge that vaccines do seriously harm some children would undermine the general characterization of dissident parents as having absolutely no legitimate reasons for non-compliance with policy. To do so would require acknowledging the self-contradiction between the government insisting that “vaccines are safe and effective” while administering a program designed to relieve the pharmaceutical corporations of liability for the costs of vaccine injuries.
The trust deficit is not a product of irrationality and ignorance on the part of dissenting parents but the outcome of these parents simply opening their eyes and seeing the reality around them that shameless propagandists like Jan Hoffman refuse to see.
There are countless concerns parents have about vaccines that the mainstream media never even touch, much less seriously address. Without even considering the question of autism, it is perfectly reasonable for parents to conclude that vaccination might not be in the best interest of their child’s health. To further illustrate, nowhere in the Times article do words or phrases appear like “mercury”, “aluminum”, “DNA from aborted fetal cell lines”, “viral contamination”, “autoimmune disease”, “non-specific effects”, or “vaccine failure”.
How can any so-called journalist purporting to explain why parents choose not to vaccinate expect to be taken seriously when they refuse to address any of the real issues and instead rely upon the fallacies of strawman and ad hominem argumentation to push the joint agenda of the government and pharmaceutical industry?
Why do the media choose to focus almost exclusively on the hypothesis that vaccines can cause autism, as though there weren’t countless other reasons for parents to choose not to vaccinate?
The simple answer to that question is that the vaccine-autism issue provides public vaccine policy advocates with a convenient propaganda narrative that serves as a red herring, distracting attention away from the real issues with a manufactured controversy.
Virtually every article you’ll read in the mainstream media about why some parents dissent from public vaccine policy follows the same standard script, which goes something like this: The reason many parents don’t vaccinate their kids is because they wrongly believe that vaccines cause autism, even though this belief stems from a retracted 1998 Lancet study by one Andrew Wakefield in which he fraudulently claimed to have found a causal association between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism; even though Wakefield lost his medical license for professional misconduct; and even though numerous subsequent studies have proven that vaccines do not cause autism.
This is a convenient story for trying to explain the existence of the “anti-vaccine movement”, but it’s just another big lie.
Obligatorily, Hoffman writes about how, “in 1998, Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist, published a Lancet study (since discredited and withdrawn), associating the M.M.R. vaccine with autism.” Further down the page, there’s a photo of Andrew Wakefield, and below it a caption reads, “Andrew Wakefield’s discredited 1998 paper, which purported to link vaccines to autism, was retracted in 2010.” Then there’s the passing mention of “data showing otherwise”. Lastly, there’s a passing mention of “the discredited link between autism and vaccination”.
The entirety of the Times’ treatment of the vaccine-autism hypothesis is represented by those four sentences. But here’s the first major problem with this narrative: Nowhere in the 1998 Lancet study did its authors claim to have found evidence of a causal association between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Since they didn’t make that claim at all, it isn’t logically possible for them to have made it fraudulently. The media’s obligatory claim that they did so is a bald-faced lie. The full text of the retracted paper is available for free on the Lancet website for anyone to read for themselves. And any journalists who reports that this study claimed to have found such evidence either hasn’t read the study or is intentionally lying. There are no alternative possibilities.
Although he is singled out for scorn, Andrew Wakefield was one of thirteen researchers who authored the study. Despite its relevance, the media never mention their study’s actual main finding, which was that there might be an association between developmental disorders in children and intestinal inflammation or dysfunction. This important finding has been confirmed by more recent studies, but Wakefield is never given credit for pioneering research into that area.
Furthermore, the only association between autism and the MMR vaccine they discussed in the paper was the temporal association between vaccination and developmental regression that was reported by the parents or their child’s physician. Wakefield and his coauthors relayed the concern that quite naturally arose from this temporal association. Their sin was the mere acknowledgment that a causal relationship was theoretically possible.
To illustrate the biological plausibility of that hypothesis, they noted that viral encephalitis and specifically the rubella virus had been associated with autism. The rubella virus, of course, is a component of the attenuated live-virus MMR vaccine, which is likewise a known cause of encephalitis.
Wakefield and his coauthors also cited a prior study that had observed that, “for 15 of 20 autistic children, the first symptoms developed within a week of vaccination”. The author of another prior study had “commented on the striking association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and the onset of behavioural symptoms in all the children that he had investigated for regressive autism.”
Obviously, Wakefield et al. did not originate the idea that there is a temporal relationship between MMR vaccination and autism diagnoses. Furthermore, the observation of temporal relationships between the ages at which the MMR vaccine is routinely administered and initial recognition of symptoms or diagnosis is not even the least bit controversial.
The CDC recommends the first dose of MMR starting at the age of twelve months, and as a 2002 study in the journal Paediatrics & Child Health has pointed out, “Typically, parents first note behavioural symptoms suggestive of autism at around 15 months of age, the time when the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is first administered.” The CDC recommends the second dose starting at the age of four, and the average age of autism diagnosis, according to CDC data, is 4.4 years.
Far from claiming to have found evidence of a causal association, Wakefield and his coauthors explicitly stated, “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. . . . If there is a causal link between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine in the UK in 1988. Published evidence is inadequate to show whether there is a change in incidence or a link with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.” (Emphasis added.)
In sum, all that Wakefield and his coauthors said in their study was that it is hypothetically possible that there is a causal association between the MMR vaccine and autism and that this hypothesis warranted further research.
Since merely proposing this hypothesis in a peer-reviewed study threatened to undermine the government’s health policy goals, lead author Andrew Wakefield had to be taught a lesson that other researchers could learn from for the benefit of their own careers.
Most of the study’s authors avoided Wakefield’s fate. In the face of the vitriolic uproar caused by their mere acknowledgment of the possibility, ten of Wakefield’s coauthors repentantly published a ludicrous statement in The Lancet with the title “Retraction of an interpretation”. In it, they stood by their study’s findings, emphasized the need for further research into the potential association between gut disorders and autism, and reminded that they had not claimed to have found a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. But because “the possibility of such a link was raised”, which had “major implications for public health” (euphemistically meaning public health policy), they felt it “appropriate” to “formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper”.
Of course, it is both meaningless and unscientific to “retract” a biologically plausible medical hypothesis.
Another thing about the paper that the media never clarify is that it was not an experimental study, like a clinical trial in which a control group receives a placebo, but a case series; and the whole purpose of case studies is to present unusual clinical findings and to propose hypotheses or otherwise suggest areas for future research.
Wakefield did not add his name to the “retraction” statement, and, as we’re so often reminded, he had his medical license revoked in 2010 by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC), as did his coauthor John Walker-Smith, a preeminent pediatric gastroenterologist who had signed it. It was on the basis of the GMC’s findings of professional misconduct against Wakefield and Walker-Smith that The Lancet retracted the paper.
But here’s another thing the mainstream media never bother to mention about that whole episode: John Walker-Smith appealed the GMC’s ruling and was reinstated on the grounds that the GMC’s findings against him were untenable and either unsupported or contradicted by the preponderance of evidence.
One of the principle accusations against the study authors was that they had conducted research on children without ethics approval, a charge that could not reasonably be leveled against Wakefield without also being leveled against his colleague Walker-Smith. But as the England and Wales High Court ruled in Walker-Smith’s appeal, he didn’t require ethics approval for the procedures that the children underwent because they were clinically indicated for diagnostic purposes and led in some cases to treatment resulting in marked improvement of symptoms.
The second key accusation against the authors was that it was dishonest for the children to have been described in the study as having been “consecutively referred” to Walker-Smith’s department of pediatric gastroenterology because the referrals were not “routine” but selective. The court determined that this judgment by the GMC was “not a legitimate finding” because the authors had made it clear in the published paper that the referrals were not “routine”, but were “generated by the concerns of parents about a possible link” due to “the temporal coincidence of the onset of symptoms and MMR vaccination”. What the GMC had done was to “put its stretched meaning of the wording of part of the paper into his mouth and then found that it was irresponsible and misleading.” Their plain intended meaning was “no more than that the children were referred successively, rather than as a single batch”.
In other words, the GMC had struck Walker-Smith off the medical registry in large part based on a strawman fallacy, attributing to the phrase “consecutively referred” a meaning that its authors had not intended in an effort to support the charges against them.
The court’s conclusion was that the GMC’s judgment “that Professor Walker-Smith was guilty of serious professional misconduct was flawed, in two respects: inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion.” Consequently, the GMS’s determination “cannot stand”.
The media’s characterization of the 1998 Lancet study as originating parental concerns about autism is also unequivocally false. This is indicated in the study itself by the fact that it was the children’s parents or physicians who reported concerns about the temporal association between MMR vaccination and autism diagnoses. It is also indicated in the ruling of the England and Wales High Court, which observed that “Dr. Wakefield’s research coincided with the growth of increased public concern about a possible link between the triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and the occurrence of developmental disorders in young children, often diagnosed as autism.” (Emphasis added.)
The fact that there had already been growing concerns among parents that vaccines might be causing autism for years prior to the 1998 study is also easily demonstrated by the fact that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) discussed that very concern in a report published in 1991. (Specifically, the IOM found “no evidence” to support a causal relationship between the diphtheria, tetanus, and whole-cell pertussis [DTP] vaccine and autism, which was an unsurprising finding given the IOM’s observation that no studies had been done to test that hypothesis.)
In sum, the media’s virtually obligatory claim that parents believe that vaccines can cause autism because a 1998 Lancet study by an individual named Andrew Wakefield falsely claimed to have found a causal association between the MMR vaccine and developmental regression is a bald-faced lie. It is propaganda intended to deceive you into conformity with the wishes of narcissistic and bullying bureaucrats in Washington and state capitals.
The truth is that parental concerns about vaccines causing autism both preceded the study and were the impetus for the authors’ acknowledgment of this biologically plausible hypothesis. It is a concern that exists independently from that retracted study and would still be widespread today had that study never been published in the first place.
The obvious effect, if not intent, of the media’s demonstrably false narrative is to demonize parents as being mere dupes of an alleged fraud when it is from the parents themselves that the biologically plausible hypothesis originated.
Do you feel you are benefiting from the information presented in this article? Please take a moment to consider the amount of time and energy that’s been put into bringing this knowledge to you and the value of the time you’ve saved by not having to do all of this research for yourself.
This brings us to the next big lie that the media tell parents in order to persuade them into compliance, which is that science has disproven the hypothesis that vaccines administered according to the CDC’s routine childhood schedule can contribute to the development of autism in children with a genetic or environmentally caused susceptibility.
While Hoffman makes only a passing mention of “data” supposedly showing that vaccines cannot cause autism, it’s imperative to directly address the incessant mantra we hear from public health officials and the mainstream media that numerous subsequent studies have disproven that hypothesis.
The CDC boldly declares on its website that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism”. But to demonstrate just how phenomenally dishonest that is, all we need to do is turn to the CDC’s own cited sources. To support its claim, the CDC cites several observational studies and a 2004 Institute of Medicine review that explicitly acknowledged that the hypothesis cannot be excluded by observational studies.
The IOM further acknowledged that none of those observational studies were actually designed to test the hypothesis. Not one, for example, considered the possibility of genetically susceptible subpopulations. Furthermore, not one considered the full regimen of vaccines children are exposed to during their childhood. All of them considered either only one vaccine or one vaccine ingredient. Respectively, these are the MMR vaccine and thimerosal, a preservative that by weight is about half ethylmercury, which the same IOM review acknowledged as a “known neurotoxin” that “accumulates in the brain” and “can injure the nervous system.”
Relatedly, as the IOM more recently observed in a 2013 review, “existing research has not been designed to test the entire immunization schedule”. The IOM reiterated that “studies designed to examine the long-term effects of the cumulative number of vaccines or other aspects of the immunization schedule have not been conducted.”
With respect to the MMR vaccine, the 2004 IOM review explicitly acknowledged “the possibility that MMR could contribute to autism in a small number of children” and that the types of observational studies that had been done “would not detect a relationship between autism and MMR vaccination in a subset of the population with a genetic predisposition to autism.”
In short, while the CDC cites the 2004 IOM review to support its claim that vaccines do not cause autism, in fact, the IOM acknowledged the possibility that they do.
Deceitfully misrepresenting the science in this way is a modus operandi for the CDC. Another key source the agency cites to support its claim is a 2011 IOM review, which concluded that the evidence available from existing studies “favors rejection of a causal relationship between MMR vaccine and autism.” But that conclusion was once again based on observational studies that all failed to consider the possibility of genetically susceptible subpopulations.
The 2011 IOM review also explicitly acknowledged that just because observational studies had failed to find an association between vaccination and autism doesn’t necessarily mean that no association exists. As they put it, “the absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.” According to the standard of evidence adopted by the IOM, observational studies are insufficient to establish or reject a causal association. That is precisely why the IOM adopted the language that the available evidence “favors rejection of a causal relationship” rather than “establishes or convincingly supports no causal relationship”.
There is no shortage of irony in the fact that the CDC cites the IOM to support its claim that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism” while rejecting the IOM’s standard of evidence by making that claim. In other words, it is CDC officials who are rejecting the science.
Furthermore, the government has contradictorily acknowledged that vaccination can cause brain damage resulting in symptoms of autism in genetically susceptible children. In one famous case, the government awarded compensation under the VICP to the family of a girl named Hannah Poling who regressed into autism after receiving nine vaccine doses at once when she was nineteen months old. The government conceded that the vaccines she received “significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder, which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder.”
The head of the CDC at the time was Julie Gerberding, who was referring to young Hannah’s case when she publicly admitted on March 29, 2008, “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.”
Hannah Poling, whose father is a neurologist, happened to also be a patient of one of the government’s own expert witnesses in VICP cases, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, who is a pediatric neurologist, associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and director of medical research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders. The government cited Dr. Zimmerman’s testimony to deny compensation for a VICP case in which he expressed his professional medical opinion that vaccines had not caused the patient’s autism. In a sworn affidavit, Zimmerman has testified that he specifically told the government’s lawyers that his opinion in that case was not generalizable to other cases, and that, “in a subset of children with an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction, vaccine induced fever and immune stimulation that exceeded metabolic energy reserves could, and in at least one of my patients, did cause regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder.”
The government’s lawyers nevertheless deliberately misrepresented Dr. Zimmerman’s view by citing his opinion in the one case to support their argument in a later case that vaccines did not cause the child’s autism. In fact, the conclusion Dr. Zimmerman arrived at for the latter case after reviewing the child’s medical records was that he “suffered regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder as a result of a vaccine injury”.
While Hannah Poling’s case is unique in that it has received considerable public attention, it is not the only case in which the government has awarded compensation to families of children whose vaccine injury manifested as symptoms of autism. According to a 2011 research article published in Pace Environmental Law Review, “the VICP has been compensating cases of vaccine-induced encephalopathy and residual seizure disorder associated with autism since the inception of the program.” In total, the authors identified “eighty-three cases of autism among those compensated for vaccine-induced brain damage.”
The director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office and one of the agency’s top researchers, Dr. Frank DeStefano, has acknowledged that “it’s a possibility” that vaccines could cause autism in genetically susceptible individuals, but that the problem is it’s “hard to predict who those children might be”, and trying to determine the underlying cofactors that might place certain children at greater risk of vaccine injury is “very difficult to do”.
It would be superfluous to continue providing reasons for why the CDC’s claim that science has proven that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism” is a deliberate lie. The point is that no conspiracy theory is required to explain why many parents are convinced that vaccines can and do cause autism. It is enough to understand that these parents are generally well informed and cognizant of how the major media, by lying about what the science says, are just following the CDC’s example.
While the New York Times falsely claims that the belief that vaccines can cause autism originated from Andrew Wakefield, Hoffman does acknowledge that widespread concerns about the CDC’s routine childhood vaccine schedule predated that 1998 study.
“There have been anti-vaccination movements at least since 1796,” Hoffman writes, “when Edward Jenner invented the smallpox vaccine.” Indeed, ever since these pharmaceutical products were first invented and mandated by government, there have been outspoken members of the public who have objected that public vaccine policy threatened their health and liberty.
It should also be kept in mind that, when vaccination first came into use, scientists knew virtually nothing about how they worked. Even today, scientists routinely acknowledge in the medical literature their lack of understanding about vaccines and the immune system in general. It is the very nature of science that conclusions once held as dogma are overturned as our knowledge progresses. Nevertheless, we are supposed to accept as an article of faith that “vaccines are safe and effective”.
In keeping with her propaganda purpose, Hoffman traces the origins of the current “anti-vaccination movement” to a documentary aired by NBC in 1982 called DPT: Vaccine Roulette. According to Hoffman, this film “purported” an association between the diphtheria, tetanus, and whole-cell pertussis (DTP, DPT, or DTwP) vaccine and “seizures”, but was considered “dangerously inaccurate” by doctors. Nevertheless, fear spread, “anti-vaccination” groups were formed, and many companies “stopped making vaccines, which were considered loss-leaders and not worth the corporate headache.”
The message thus conveyed by the New York Times is that the DTP vaccine was truly safe. Yet that is not the established opinion of the scientific community. On the contrary, the reason it is no longer used in the US—having since been replaced by a vaccine containing an acellular pertussis component (DTaP)—is precisely because the frequency or severity of adverse events associated with the DTP vaccine were deemed unacceptable by the medical establishment.
A systematic review of the medical literature published in the prestigious journal Vaccine just last year confirmed the conclusion that the DTP vaccine was more “reactogenic” and caused “significantly” more adverse reactions. The authors of that review described the formulation of the whole-cell pertussis vaccine as “crude” in comparison to the acellular vaccine and described the switch as having been “warranted” by the reports of the DTP vaccine causing rare but serious harms.
As already explained, this switch was also driven by vaccine injury lawsuits, to which the government responded not by encouraging pharmaceutical companies to develop safer and more effective means of disease prevention but by eliminating that key incentive for them to do so.
Naturally, since it doesn’t support the narrative she’s trying to tell, Hoffman doesn’t explain the reason why the DTP vaccine is no longer used in the US. Nor does she explain the meaning of the film’s title, which is a reference to the lethal game of chance known as Russian roulette. The meaning is that public vaccine policy lays certain children on the sacrificial altar in the name of “public health” by treating vaccination as a one-size-fits-all solution despite individual variance in risk. The title, in other words, reflects the fact that it was understood even back in 1982 that certain children may be genetically predisposed to vaccine injury, which the government has since conceded to be true but continues to ignore when it comes to formulating policy.
As with the 1998 Lancet study, the 1982 film didn’t originate fears about the DTP vaccine, but simply relayed to the broader public the legitimate parental concerns that already existed and were already the subject of considerable debate within the scientific community.
In fact, the year prior to the film’s release, a study in the United Kingdom was published in the British Medical Journal (now the BMJ) that found a statistically significant association between the DTP vaccine and serious neurological illnesses, including encephalopathy, seizures, and infantile spasms. Parents who were concerned in 1982 about the potential harms from the DTP vaccines weren’t ignoring the science; they were paying attention to it.
In the US, parents who’d always believed what they’d been told, that vaccines are “safe and effective”, only to witness their children suffer serious adverse events after vaccination had rightly begun asking questions about what the science actually says and learning the truth that the safety of the DTP vaccine had never been adequately tested and was a matter of considerable controversy among scientists.
Consequently, vaccine injury lawsuits began piling up, and vaccine manufacturers began literally going out of business. Another vaccine that was the subject of lawsuits was the live-virus oral polio vaccine (OPV), which can cause the very disease it is intended to prevent. That vaccine, like the DTP vaccine, is no longer used in the US precisely because it’s regarded as too dangerous by the scientific community. As the CDC has acknowledged, every domestic case of polio that occurred after 1979 was caused not by the wild virus but the vaccine strain of polio.
Even though the risk-benefit profile of the vaccine had shifted in this way and an alternative inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) was available, the FDA in 1984 declared that “any possible doubts, whether or not well founded, about the safety of the [OPV] 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.”
That is precisely the same recklessly myopic attitude that public health officials maintain today, and the media serve the state by issuing propaganda on the same grounds that well-founded concerns about vaccines cannot be allowed to exist. They have elevated the public policy goal of sustaining or increasing vaccination rates by any feasible means over the goal of ensuring good public health by empowering consumers with the knowledge they need to make an informed choice. Indeed, the latter goal has not merely been superseded but is incompatible with the government’s aims.
Not every child is at the same risk of developing the disease of a given virus or bacterium. Not every child is at the same risk of being harmed by the vaccine. Vaccination is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Policymakers in Washington or state capitals simply do not have the knowledge of the individual required to perform a meaningful risk-benefit analysis for each child. Only the parents working in consultation with their child’s pediatrician have that specialized knowledge.
The fact that the government has long elevated public policy over public health is reflected in the legal immunity granted to the pharmaceutical industry. As already explained, it was to sustain public policy that the government in 1986 granted the manufacturers legal immunity and established the VICP to shift the cost burden away from the pharmaceutical industry and onto the taxpaying consumers. Of course, the Times doesn’t inform its readers about this, but instead sympathizes with the “headache” that legal liability was causing for the poor pharmaceutical companies, whose products people were coerced into using through government mandates.
While the New York Times would have us believe that there was no scientific basis for parental concerns in 1982 about the DTP vaccine’s safety, a subsequent report by the Institute of Medicine illustrated precisely why their concerns were legitimate. In its 1991 review, the IOM acknowledged that, far from the science having been settled, as parents were taught to believe, there were “many gaps and limitations in knowledge bearing directly and indirectly on the safety of vaccines.” The IOM described itself as “handicapped” in evaluating the DTP vaccine’s safety due to either the lack of studies or the poor quality of existing research and the many unknowns of scientific research in general. Most studies were observational, with relatively few experimental studies (i.e., randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials). With relevance for all the vaccines on the CDC’s schedule, the IOM concluded that if the quality of research in the field of vaccine safety was not improved, “future reviews of vaccine safety will be similarly handicapped.”
The IOM also concluded that the available evidence was “consistent with a causal relation between DPT vaccine and acute encephalopathy and shock and ‘unusual shock-like state’”. The evidence also indicated “a causal relation between DPT vaccine and anaphylaxis” and “between the pertussis component of DPT vaccine and protracted, inconsolable crying”.
A 1994 review by the IOM again validated parental concerns about the lack of good quality safety studies and the possibility of genetically susceptible subgroups, acknowledging that “the risks to individual infants and children had not been well defined.” Scientists were mostly in the dark, and for “the majority” of reported adverse events, the evidence was “inadequate to accept or reject causality.”
For example, eight out of eleven—or 73 percent—of the serious adverse events that the IOM investigated for the MMR vaccine were categorized as having demonstrated biological plausibility. For seven of the adverse events (64 percent), no data were available from which to draw conclusions about causality. For the rest (36 percent), the available evidence was insufficient to judge whether a causal relationship might exist.
The IOM also commented that the risk of being seriously harmed by vaccines “would seem to be low”, but given the lack of controlled studies and absence of data on “age-specific incidence rates and relative risk estimates”, it was “not possible to calculate a proportion of individuals whose condition is causally related to a vaccine.” In other words, the true rates of serious vaccine-associated adverse events was completely unknown and may have been much higher than believed.
Relatedly, the underreporting of adverse events is another known problem. The postmarketing surveillance system in place that’s supposed to enable researchers to identify concerning signals is called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). But the government acknowledges that reports to VAERS represent only a small fraction of serious adverse events associated with vaccination.
A study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which like the CDC operates under US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), reported that adverse events from vaccines “are common, but underreported”, representing “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events”. The researchers proposed a method to automate adverse event reporting rather than relying on passive reporting, but the project reached a dead end when the CDC refused to cooperate on its further development and implementation.
A second IOM review was published in 1994 to specifically address the possibility of the DTP vaccine causing permanent injury to the nervous system. It noted that its 1991 review had found the evidence “insufficient to indicate a causal relation between DPT and permanent neurologic damage” but acknowledged that this might just be because “the evidence has been so limited”. Once again validating that parents were right to be concerned about the vaccine’s safety, the IOM further acknowledged that, “In fact, the relation between DPT and chronic nervous system dysfunction had not been studied in a rigorous scientific manner until recently.” It was largely the observations and outspoken concerns of parents that had finally compelled the medical establishment to start doing the science.
The IOM highlighted the absence of studies comparing rates of chronic nervous system dysfunction between children who received the vaccine and children who didn’t. It also acknowledged the plausibility that DTP “might cause serious acute neurological illness and subsequent chronic dysfunction in children”, or it “might trigger (and thereby be an immediate or proximate cause) an acute neurologic illness and subsequent chronic dysfunction in children with underlying brain or metabolic abnormalities.” That is, the IOM acknowledged that it was possible that the DTP can cause permanent harm to the nervous system in genetically susceptible children.
The IOM’s conclusion was that “the evidence is insufficient to indicate whether or not DPT increases the overall risk in children of chronic nervous system dysfunction.” However, “the balance of evidence is consistent with a causal relation between DPT” and permanent injury to the nervous system.
While the DTP has been replaced with the DTaP vaccine in the United States, it is still widely used in developing countries, such as in World Health Organization (WHO) campaigns in Africa. There, as in the US, policymakers simply assumed that, by reducing the incidence of the three target diseases, the vaccine would decrease the rate of childhood mortality. However, studies have indicated that precisely the opposite is true. While the DTP vaccine is effective at reducing incidence of the target diseases, it’s associated with an increased risk of death from other causes.
The authors of one such study, published in February 2017 in the journal EBioMedicine, stated their findings bluntly (all emphasis added):
DTP was associated with 5-fold higher mortality than being unvaccinated. No prospective study has shown beneficial survival effects of DTP. Unfortunately, DTP is the most widely used vaccine, and the proportion who receives DTP is used globally as an indicator of the performance of national vaccination programs.
It should be of concern that the effect of routine vaccinations on all-cause mortality was not tested in randomized trials. All currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis. Though a vaccine protects children against the target disease it may simultaneously increase susceptibility to unrelated infection.
The term in the medical literature for such unintended consequences of vaccination is “non-specific effects”.
In sum, for the New York Times to totally dismiss the legitimacy of parental concerns in 1982 about the DTP vaccine’s safety is simply demonstrative of the complete lack of seriousness with which the mainstream media approach the subject.
When it comes to the question of why measles outbreaks are occurring, the New York Times presents the government’s official narrative. The summary right below the title squarely blames parents who don’t strictly comply with the CDC’s schedule, alluding to measles outbreaks as “the impact” the US is feeling because of “a vaccine resistance movement decades in the making”.
A little way into the article, we are reassured that “the overwhelming majority of American parents have their children vaccinated”, but “there are ominous trends.” As one can determine by clicking the link the Times provides, the “ominous” trend specifically being referenced is that of parents seeking exemptions for their children to attend public school without having to vaccinate them strictly according to the CDC’s schedule.
“For highly contagious diseases like measles,” the Times continues, “the vaccine rate to achieve herd immunity—the term that describes the optimum rate for protecting an entire population—is typically thought to be 95 percent.”
The next paragraph states that the CDC has “found that the vaccination rate for the measles, mumps and rubella (M.M.R.) injection in kindergartners in the 2017-2018 school year had slipped nationally to 94.3 percent, the third year in a row it dropped.” The Times laments that “anti-vaccine” groups have formed political action committees to support “candidates who favor less restrictive vaccine exemption policies.”
The explanation for this behavior presented by the Times—attributed to public health “experts”—is that these parents just don’t appreciate “the severity of diseases” that vaccines are designed to prevent, “like polio”. “Vaccines are a victim of their own success,” the Times quotes Paul Offit saying. “We have largely eliminated the memory of many diseases.”
There are many fundamental problems with Hoffman’s narrative, starting with her false claim that the vaccination rate during the 2017 – 2018 school year was lower than the previous year. As one can see by clicking the link she conveniently provides to a CDC study, her source does not say that it was the third year in a row in which the MMR vaccination rate had dropped. Rather, it was the third consecutive year in which there was “a slight increase” in exemptions for any vaccine. Just because the percentage of children with an exemption increased doesn’t mean that the MMR vaccination rate had declined. In truth, the uptake rate of 94.3 percent for two doses of the MMR vaccine presented by the Times was an increase from the prior year’s rate of 94.0 percent.
We can contrast Hoffman’s brazen lie with a news report about the same CDC study from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) that was not intended to senselessly demonize dissenting parents. The AAFP said that the MMR vaccination rate of 94.3 percent was “good news” since it had “increased compared to the previous year’s data.” The title of the AAFP’s report was “CDC: Vaccination Coverage of Children Remains High”.
Since the decline in MMR vaccination coverage is a figment of Hoffman’s imagination, it can’t very well explain measles outbreaks. However, we can concede that the high vaccination coverage of 94.3 percent is still less than the 95 percent “experts” say is required to stop outbreaks through “herd immunity”. This brings us to the rest of the problems with Hoffman’s narrative.
Indicative of just how unseriously the Times approaches the question of why measles outbreaks are occurring, nowhere does the phrase “vaccine failure” appear. To purport to explain measles outbreaks without acknowledging this phenomenon is the height of intellectual dishonesty.
We are told constantly by the media that, if the MMR vaccination rate can be sustained at 95 percent or greater, the vaccine will confer “herd immunity” that will stop any additional outbreaks from occurring. But that’s just another fiction, too. In fact, leading experts on measles have acknowledged in the peer-reviewed medical literature that, even at a 95 percent vaccination rate, the MMR vaccine cannot stop outbreaks from happening because of vaccine failure.
There are two types of vaccine failure that are recognized for the MMR. For some individuals, the vaccine simply doesn’t work to produce a “protective” level of antibodies in the blood. This is known as “primary vaccine failure” and is estimated to occur in anywhere from 2 percent to 10 percent of children.
Additionally, for individuals who do “seroconvert”, the protective effect of the vaccine wanes over time so that they become vulnerable again during adolescence or adulthood. The term for this is “secondary vaccine failure”.
This contrasts with the immunity conferred by natural infection, which was generally lifelong in duration. Secondary vaccine failure occurs both because the immunity conferred by the vaccine is inferior and because mass vaccination has resulted in the loss of what’s called “exogenous boosting”, which was the natural boosting effect on antibodies of repeated exposure to the circulating wild virus.
By the 1960s, the US population was already well into developing an effective natural herd immunity. Almost all of the decline in measles mortality witnessed during the twentieth century occurred prior to the vaccine’s introduction. Only about one in ten thousand cases were fatal. This dramatic decrease was due to an increasing standard of living, including improved nutritional status among children. (Vitamin A deficiency, for example, is a known risk factor for potentially deadly complications from measles.)
The decrease in mortality wasn’t accompanied by a decrease in incidence. The virus continued to circulate. In fact, almost everyone was infected at some point during their childhood. But this helped to enable a robust immunity that protected the most vulnerable members of society. Older adults were protected because they’d experienced measles as a child and occasionally experienced beneficial re-exposure.
This same robust protection also reduced the risk to infants through passive maternal immunity. Mothers were able to pass along protective antibodies to their babies both prenatally through the placenta and postnatally through breastmilk.
Consequently, the greatest proportion of measles cases occurred among school-aged children, in whom it was generally a benign illness that passed without any complications. But because of mass vaccination, the risk burden in the event of an outbreak has shifted away from away from children and onto infants and adults, who are at higher risk of potentially deadly complications.
We’re supposed to believe that the measles vaccine has been a huge success and that it’s dangerous “anti-vaxxers” who are threatening to undermine what has been achieved. The truth is that the history of the measles vaccine has been a long history of public policy failure, and mass vaccination has caused predictable harmful consequences. That is the fundamental reality that the government and pharmaceutical industry are trying to conceal with the dutiful cooperation of the mainstream media.
In the spring of 1967, the US Public Health Service recommended a single dose of the measles vaccine for all infants at age one as well as any children entering school who had no history of measles or vaccination. Public health officials judged that to not only reduce incidence but eradicate the virus would require a population immunity level of “considerably less than 100 percent”. Their recommendation came with the promise that routine vaccination of children, along with effective surveillance and outbreak control, should ensure the eradication of measles within one year.
They were wrong. But rather than fundamentally rethinking their strategy, public health officials again in 1978 declared the goal of eradicating measles from the US, this time within five years, by ensuring that a high percentage of children received one dose of the vaccine. But as leading experts Gregory A. Poland and Robert M. Jacobson pointed out in a 1994 article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “the program failed” in large part “because of vaccine failure.”
In fact, throughout the 1980s, measles outbreaks were occurring in highly vaccinated school populations, including numerous instances in which more than 98 percent of students were vaccinated. In one outbreak, 99.8 percent of students had been vaccinated. Another outbreak lasted for two months in two schools where the vaccination rate was 99 percent. Increasingly, measles cases were occurring in vaccinated children. In 1989, the proportion of cases occurring in vaccinated children was 40 percent.
The promised “herd immunity” never materialized due to vaccine failure. But once again, rather than fundamentally rethinking their failed strategy, their solution was to do even more of the same. They had screwed up big time by assuming that the vaccine would confer the same kind of robust lifelong immunity as infection, but, at this point, they were fully committed and so pressed forward in the blind hope that they could get their policy to work.
In 1989, the CDC recommended that, in addition to the first dose already routinely recommended for one-year-olds, all children should also receive a second dose prior to school entry. The reason why children routinely receive two doses of the MMR vaccine today is because policymakers miscalculated, and the vaccine proved to be less effective than originally assumed.
As Poland and Jacobson remarked, “herd immunity” could not prevent outbreaks “despite extraordinarily high immunization rates” and “does not appear to operate as a protective mechanism until nearly 100% of the population undergoes seroconversion.” Outbreaks “can continue to occur unless the vaccine is virtually 100% effective and virtually 100% of the population is immunized.”
In other words, while the New York Times implicitly claims that outbreaks wouldn’t have occurred during the 2017 – 2018 school year if only the vaccination rate among kindergarteners was 0.7 percent higher, the reality is that this theory of “herd immunity” is known to be false due to the completely uncontroversial phenomenon of vaccine failure, about which the Times and the rest of the mainstream media have so adamantly determined not to inform the public.
It’s useful to point out that, for most children living in the US, measles vaccination is unnecessary since, as history has taught us, the majority have immune systems capable of fighting off the virus just fine on their own. In addition to conferring a robust lifelong immunity, measles infection during childhood has also been associated with numerous health benefits. In fact, 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, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and cardiovascular disease.
But rather than directing resources toward improving scientific knowledge about the factors that placed a relatively small number of children at higher risk and using targeted interventions, government policymakers myopically settled upon indiscriminate mass vaccination as the solution.
Public health officials recognized back in 1967 that “the measles virus has maintained a remarkably stable ecological relationship with man”, caused an illness of “only moderate severity” with “infrequent” complications, and rarely caused fatalities given adequate medical care. They knew that naturally acquired immunity was “solid and lifelong in duration”. They understood how infants were protected through “maternal immunity”. They recognized that a natural herd immunity already existed, in which it was “evident that when the level of immunity was higher than 55 percent, epidemics did not develop.”
But they firmly rejected the view that “man should learn to adapt himself to the measles virus”. They rejected what had until then been the “accepted doctrine” that we should maintain a “deep respect for the biological balance of the human race with the measles virus”. They determined instead to eradicate the virus simply because they considered it to be “scientifically tenable”.
They had adopted a God complex. They believed that they could overturn the delicately balanced natural order of things without causing harmful unintended consequences. But they were wrong.
Having failed in their promise to accomplish their mission with one dose of measles vaccine, they doubled down and added a second dose to the routine childhood schedule. But for most children reaching the age of school entry, the second dose of the MMR vaccine is doubly unnecessary since most children seroconvert with the first dose and a protective antibody titer generally lasts at least into adolescence. It’s an indiscriminate policy that casts a wide net for the purpose of recapturing the minority for whom the first dose fails to work, thus placing most children at unnecessary risk of harm from the vaccine. Additionally, for a substantial proportion of children for whom the first dose fails to work, the second dose fails also.
Despite their perpetual failure, policymakers still think they know better than nature and better than the parents of the children targeted by their policies, and they are intent on using government force in the pursuit of their narcissistic aims.
One of the unintended but predictable consequences of mass vaccination is the shifting of the risk burden away from school-aged children and onto those for whom the disease poses a higher risk. As Poland and Jacobson explained, the increasing death rate among reported cases was due to the resulting “increased incidence of measles infection in infants and adults relative to children older than 1 year of age.”
It was just as obvious to policymakers in the 1960s as it is to us today that, if the vaccine-conferred immunity wanes over time, the result would be harmful since it would place adults at greater risk. The reason infants are at greater risk in the event of exposure today is because mass vaccination has impaired the ability of mothers to confer passive immunity to their babies. This was another predictable harmful consequence that policymakers simply chose to disregard as they set out to play God in their perceived role as our overlords.
Every time there’s a measles outbreak, we’re repeatedly told by public health officials and the media that the singular cause is parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. The known problem of vaccine failure is systematically censored from the public discourse.
Another prominent example was the 2015 outbreak in California. Conflicting with the propaganda narrative that the problem was unvaccinated children, most cases were occurring in adults. One could visit the website of the California Department of Public Health on January 28, 2015, for example, and see that only 18 percent of confirmed cases were school-aged children whereas 61 percent were adults.
Nevertheless, at a CDC press conference on January 29, 2015, Dr. Anne Schuchat, who is currently the Principal Deputy Director of the CDC, squarely blamed the outbreak on parents who’d obtained a measles vaccine exemption for their children. But a lone astute journalist, Betsy McKay, dared to ask why, if the problem was unvaccinated children, most cases were happening in adults. Dr. Schuchat’s telling response was that it was better “to not have to get into those questions by just making sure that people are vaccinated”.
That, of course, was the fallacy of begging the question, so McKay rightly persisted in her line of inquiry by insightfully asking whether the CDC was looking into the possibility that the immunity conferred by the vaccine wanes over time. In response, Dr. Schuchat brazenly lied that there was no indication that the problem of waning immunity existed with the vaccine.
And why should parents put their trust and their children’s lives in the hands of people who see it as their official duty to brazenly lie to the public?
Although there is much more to be said, it would be superfluous to continue exposing the problems with the official propaganda narrative about why measles outbreaks occur. However, as a final illustration, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology coauthored by several researchers from the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases, the CDC has unpublished data showing that in 38 percent of cases that occurred in 2015 for which testing was done to determine the infecting strain of measles, it turned out to be the vaccine-strain virus.
Remember the study that Hoffman cited which found that dissenting parents tend to value liberty and purity? It is among a growing body of literature about what’s been labeled “vaccine hesitancy”. Instructively, the New York Times doesn’t inform its readers about the purpose of such studies.
This isn’t because researchers aren’t candid about their aims. The authors of the study the Times cites plainly stated that their purpose was to better understand parental decision-making in order to develop more effective public relations messaging in furtherance of the policy goal of maintaining or increasing vaccination rates.
In other words, the reason researchers are studying “vaccine hesitancy” is so they can develop more effective propaganda to manufacture parental consent for public vaccine policy.
This should not be confused with the goal of bettering public health. With respect to the latter very different goal, public health officials and the rest of the medical establishment have failed miserably. It’s true that infectious disease mortality is much lower today than in the past, but as a summary of vital statistics published in Pediatrics in 2000 observed, “nearly 90% of the decline in infectious disease mortality among US children occurred before 1940, when few antibiotics or vaccines were available.” These major declines were attributable to an increasing standard of living, including improved socioeconomic conditions, water treatment, a more educated populace, and better hygienic practices. As the authors reiterated, “vaccination does not account for the impressive declines in mortality” that occurred during the twentieth century.
Moreover, the childhood population today is tragically unhealthy. As a 2004 report of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine noted, “there are growing numbers of children in the United States with serious chronic diseases, including many emerging disorders that reflect the interaction of genetics, behavior, and the environment.” The poor health of our children has grave implications for the standard of living of future generations “because the nation cannot thrive if it has large numbers of unhealthy adults.” A 2010 study in JAMA found that chronic conditions among children was on the rise and had become “common”, with a prevalence of over 26 percent in 2006. A 2011 study published in Academic Pediatrics estimated that at least 43 percent of US children suffer from one or more chronic health conditions.
Given this abysmal failure, why should parents place their blind faith in the medical establishment? Why shouldn’t parents take their children’s health into their own hands and make their own health care choices? And why shouldn’t they be asking themselves whether this outcome isn’t in part a consequence of the mass uncontrolled experiment public policymakers have subjected the population to by mandating that children receive a vaccine schedule that is the world’s most highly aggressive and has never been studied for its cumulative effects on children’s health? With increasing rates of conditions like asthma, allergies, autoimmune diseases, and neurological disorders, how can it be that parents are being labeled as “anti-science” just for daring to ask the question of whether vaccines—a pharmaceutical product specifically designed to alter the functioning of the immune system—might have something to do with it? Why should parents listen to public health officials with a proven track record of incompetence, malfeasance, and corruption who insist that their policies aren’t part of the problem while remaining incapable of otherwise explaining to parents why their children are so chronically ill?
Parents who are choosing not to comply with the CDC’s vaccine schedule are not generally doing so because they are ignorant of the science, as the lying government and mainstream media would have us believe. They are making that choice precisely because they are paying attention to what advancements in science have been telling us.
This is indicated by the studies designed to give policymakers insights into “vaccine hesitancy” in order to craft more effective propaganda. A 2004 study in Pediatrics found that children who remain completely unvaccinated tend to have parents who are still married, white, college educated, and affluent. There is also a tendency for younger siblings to remain unvaccinated if an older sibling is diagnosed with autism due to parental concerns about genetic susceptibility. A 2008 study in Public Health Nursing found that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children tend to be those who do their own research, place a high value on scientific knowledge, and know enough to distrust the medical establishment. The authors noted that a key “challenge” for public health officials is “to maintain legitimacy.”
The CDC’s attitude toward people who do their own research and think for themselves was summed up in a presentation delivered to the Institute of Medicine in 2004 that outlined a “recipe” for increasing demand for the flu shot. It called for public health officials to “state concern and alarm” and “predict dire outcomes” due to influenza, such as by using language like “very severe”, “more severe than last or past years”, or “deadly”. Noting that many adults skip the flu shot since they rightfully don’t perceive themselves as being at high risk of serious complications, the CDC identified increasing health literacy among the population as “a growing problem”.
Relatedly, a 2015 study of “anti-vaccine websites” found that a majority—64.7 percent—cited admittedly credible scientific evidence to support their arguments. Among their heresies were valuing choice, freedom, and individuality as well as promoting things like eating a healthful diet, detoxing, and breastfeeding.
We’re being told that vaccines are a “victim of their own success”, and yet there’s absolutely no discussion about what that really means for parents facing the choice of whether to vaccinate their children. It’s as though parents are not supposed to consider the fact that risk-benefit analyses shift over time! It’s as though, for instance, we are not supposed to understand that, for vaccines that are truly effective in reducing transmission, it is inevitable that a point will be crossed at which, even assuming an extraordinarily safe vaccine, the risk of serious harm from the vaccine will outweigh the risk of serious harm from the target disease.
With measles, for example, public health officials still cite the risk profile of the virus during the pre-vaccine era and expect parents not to consider the fact that, today, the chances of their child being exposed to the virus, much less become seriously injured or killed by it, are extremely low.
The fact is that it is perfectly reasonable for parents to judge that it doesn’t make sense to deliberately place their child at risk of harm from the vaccine when their child already enjoys the benefit of being at extraordinarily low risk of harm from the measles virus. What is totally irrational is expecting parents to place their own children in harm’s way out of some misguided sense of patriotic duty.
This brings us back to the narcissistic myopia of government health policymakers. They judged that by recommending a single dose of measles vaccine, they could eradicate the virus and thereby eliminate the need to continue exposing subsequent generations of children to the risks of indiscriminate mass vaccination. But they never stopped to consider what the harmful unintended consequences might be if they failed. So now, rather than accepting responsibility for their own failure, they blame the victims of their failure, with a population now perpetually dependent upon a two-dose vaccine regimen in a vain effort to stop outbreaks from happening, and with infants and adults now at higher risk in the event of exposure.
What’s never acknowledged is that parents are right to ask themselves whether, by mass vaccinating our children, we aren’t trading typically benign acute illnesses during childhood, like measles and chicken pox, with a lifetime of chronic disease. Parents are right to regard public vaccine policy as a mass uncontrolled experiment, and they are right to wish to exercise their right to informed consent by opting out.
Incapable of addressing parents’ legitimate concerns, government policymakers have resorted to deception and the use of force to compel compliance with their schemes. The conundrum faced by public health officials is that they cannot be honest with us because if they told the truth it would result in a total collapse of trust in public health authorities and the government in general. The population would come to the realization that it’s both unnecessary and undesirable having the government dictate to us how we ought to behave in order to maintain good health, and that is an outcome that authoritarian statists have decided they must avoid at all costs. Hence distrust in their authority necessarily being equated to a belief in “conspiracy theories”. It is senseless propaganda designed to keep your mind enslaved so they can have their way with you and your children. And the dutifully compliant mainstream media, fulfilling their usual statist function of manufacturing consent, are complicitly propagating the lies to keep you in the dark.
This has already been demonstrated for the key propaganda talking points included in Hoffman’s New York Times article. But the rest of the piece is riddled with misinformative statements about vaccines and the reasons parents choose to skip them, so to fully illustrate how the media get virtually nothing right when it comes to this subject, let’s mop up by correcting the record on a few miscellaneous details.
The Times states that it is a “false belief” that vaccinated individuals “could be shedding a virus”. That is a blatant lie. The known phenomenon of viral “shedding” with live virus vaccines is completely uncontroversial in the medical literature. The fact that individuals vaccinated with the oral polio vaccine can shed the virus and give the disease to others is another reason why it’s no longer used in the US. The problem of “vaccine-derived polioviruses” causing polio outbreaks is acknowledged by government organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), and the numbers of paralytic polio cases caused by the vaccine-strain virus have surpassed those caused by the wild virus.
Live virus vaccines used in the US today for which shedding of the vaccine-strain virus has been documented include those for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chicken pox), rotavirus, and influenza. While saying it’s “not regarded as a significant risk”, even Merck acknowledges in its package insert for the MMR vaccine that viral shedding is a “theoretical possibility” and, in the case of transmission of the rubella virus to infants via breast milk, has been documented.
In addition to shedding vaccine-strain virus, vaccinated individuals can also still carry and spread the wild viruses. A measles outbreak that occurred in New York City in 2011, for example, was documented to have originated from an individual who had received two doses of the vaccine. (The authors didn’t specify whether this index patient had transmitted the wild or vaccine-strain virus, but either way, it illustrates that Hoffman’s claim that vaccinated individuals can’t shed viruses is false.) A study published last year in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS, found that people who received the inactivated influenza vaccine two years in a row shed six times more aerosolized virus in their breath than individuals who’d skipped the flu shot both years.
Potential transmission by vaccinated individuals is true for vaccines targeting bacteria as well. For example, it is known that children who receive the pertussis vaccine, intended to prevent “whooping cough”, does not confer “herd immunity” because vaccinated individuals can still carry and transmit the pertussis bacteria to others. What’s worse, vaccinated older siblings may pose a greater threat to infant siblings since they are more likely to be asymptomatic than unvaccinated children and hence won’t know to stay away from the baby.
Relatedly, the Times further states, “The primary reason for healthy people to get the flu shot is to protect those with compromised immune systems, like infants and older adults, from getting sick.”
The assumption being made here that the Times is falsely presenting as fact is that science has proven that the influenza vaccine effectively interrupts viral transmission. Indeed, this is one of the two key assumptions underlying the CDC’s recommendation that all adults get a flu shot annually. The other foundational assumption is that the vaccine prevents complications from infection. But a systematic review of the medical literature on vaccination of adults against influenza conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2011 found that the CDC’s assumptions are unsupported by scientific evidence. In the words of the Cochrane researchers, there was “no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications”.
Another meta-analysis published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2016 looked at the effectiveness of vaccinating healthcare workers to prevent transmission of influenza to patients aged sixty or older living in long-term care facilities. The researchers found that this practice “may have little or no effect on the number of residents who develop laboratory-proven influenza”. There remained uncertainty due to “the very low quality of evidence”, but the available data “does not provide reasonable evidence to support the vaccination of healthcare workers to prevent influenza” among elderly patients.
After falsely asserting as fact the scientifically unsupported claim that the flu shot confers herd immunity by preventing viral transmission, the Times accuses people who choose not to get the vaccine of lacking in “altruism”; in other words, they are selfish and do not care about others. Hoffman quotes a doctor saying that parents “are much more concerned about protecting their own child at all costs”.
After absurdly suggesting that parents who prioritize the wellbeing of their own children over the wellbeing of others are behaving irresponsibly as opposed to exercising their parental duty, Hoffman asks us to contrast “that attitude with the collective good will of the 1950s”, a time “when American parents who had seen President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wheelchair as a debilitating symbol of polio patriotically sought to vaccinate their children to help eradicate the disease worldwide.”
In other words, parents should “patriotically” comply with state diktats by placing themselves and their own children at risk of harm from vaccines not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the “herd”. But, of course, it is totally dishonest to suggest that parents in the 1950s didn’t have their own children’s health primarily in mind when choosing to vaccinate against polio; and, again, it is totally dishonest to cite the risk posed by a given disease in the middle of the past century as though parents shouldn’t take into account the fact that the risk posed by such diseases has changed.
Also, as a fun piece of trivia, a paper published in the Journal of Medical Biography in 2003 concluded that Roosevelt most likely had a condition known as GuillainBarré syndrome (GBS), not polio. Ironically, certain vaccines are known to be associated with an increased risk of GBS. In fact, the government lists GBS as a compensable injury for influenza vaccines under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. For another example, the 1994 Institute of Medicine review of vaccine safety concluded that “The evidence favors a causal relation between tetanus toxoid and GBS.” The IOM further noted that this means that vaccines which contain a tetanus toxoid component—such as DTaP— may cause GBS.
Another piece of historical trivia that the Times doesn’t mention is that both the live and inactivated polio vaccines were discovered in the 1960s to have been contaminated with a monkey virus known as simian virus 40 (SV40), which numerous studies have since found to be associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer in humans, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Another instance of viral contamination occurred with rotavirus vaccines, which were discovered in 2010 to contain pig viruses.
Further into the article, Hoffman presents us with the story of a regretful woman who, in her own words, “swallowed the anti-vax Kool-Aid” by choosing not to give her newborn daughter the hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine after her pediatrician answered her apprehension about it by saying that he wasn’t too worried about the risk from the virus “because your 2-day-old daughter isn’t a prostitute and isn’t using I.V. drugs”.
There’s no indication from the anecdote that the woman’s daughter went on to become infected with the virus, and no attempt is made by Hoffman to reconcile the inherent contradiction. Far from being “anti-vax” nonsense, it is true that most infants are not at significant risk of infection with hepatitis B. It is true that the virus is predominantly transmitted through sexual intercourse or shared needles. Infants are not at significant risk unless their mother is a carrier, and routine blood screening is done for pregnant women to determine this. The CDC nevertheless recommends the vaccine indiscriminately for all infants, regardless of individual risk, in a three-dose course starting on the very first day of their lives. In sum, Hoffman reflexively and mindlessly dismisses a perfectly legitimate reason for not getting the HepB vaccine by characterizing it as “anti-vax” nonsense, even though the source was a licensed medical professional who provided the woman with accurate information.
The takeaway, once again, is that parents are not supposed to trust doctors who respect their concerns and do an honest individual risk-benefit analysis; they are only supposed to listen to doctors who refuse to do so and who instead dutifully accept their role as “persuaders” on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry and government policymakers.
Naturally, there’s also no mention by the Times of another legitimate concern about the HepB vaccine, which is that it’s among those on the routine childhood schedule that contain aluminum, another known neurotoxin that, like ethylmercury, accumulates in the brain. Studies in rodents have shown that the HepB vaccine causes an inflammatory response that negatively impacts brain development.
Far from “anti-vax Kool-Aid”, the woman’s doctor was offering her good advice. Incidentally, this is the type of information that parents can learn from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s organization Children’s Health Defense that they can’t learn from the New York Times due to the mainstream media’s differing mission. The mainstream media have “patriotically” chosen to also take on the role of “persuaders” rather than empowering parents with the knowledge they need to make an informed choice.
Immediately after suggesting that it is the proper role of pediatricians to be “front-line persuaders” rather than informed consent advocates, the Times states, “Most experts note that physicians themselves, never mind parents, have no idea about the federal vaccine monitoring systems, which have been in place for more than 20 years.”
Evidently, we are supposed to take this to mean that even many doctors—like the one who advised that the HepB vaccine was unnecessary for children whose mothers aren’t carriers—don’t understand just how safe vaccines are. But Hoffman is unwittingly undermining her own argument because her statement’s true significance is that doctors are not aware that they are supposed to be reporting adverse events observed after vaccination.
As already discussed, underreporting of adverse events is a known problem with VAERS, which is no substitute for large randomized placebo-controlled trials with long-term follow up comparing health outcomes for children vaccinated according to the CDC’s recommendations and children who remain totally unvaccinated.
Hoffman’s article closes with a piece of advice for the “persuaders” from Dr. Paul Offit—who once penned an op-ed for the New York Times accusing parents who choose not to vaccinate their children of child abuse on the grounds that Jesus would advocate forcibly vaccinating children against their parents’ will. “We ask parents in the first two years of their child’s life to protect them against 14 diseases, that most people don’t see, using fluids they don’t understand,” Offit told the Times. “It’s time for us to stand back and explain ourselves better.”
But the problem isn’t that people like Paul Offit aren’t doing a good enough job of explaining the benefits of vaccination to parents. Parents don’t need to continue hearing the same old propaganda talking points mindlessly and incessantly repeated just as the Times regurgitates them in this repackaged article. The problem, rather, is that parents are sick and tired of being blatantly lied to about what the science says about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. They are sick and tired of the efforts to deceive and intimidate them into compliance with the narcissistic diktats of willfully ignorant government bureaucrats.
What needs to happen if public health officials truly wish for us to take their opinion seriously is to stop senselessly insulting our intelligence, stop demonstrably lying to us, stop violating our fundamental human rights, start taking our legitimate concerns seriously, and start substantively addressing those countless concerns for a change instead of pretending that they don’t exist.
The same goes for the New York Times and rest of the disgraceful mainstream media who’ve chosen to dedicate their financial resources toward doing public vaccine policy advocacy rather than journalism.
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[Correction appended, October 18, 2019: As originally published, this article stated that black men were deliberately infected with the bacteria that causes syphilis without their informed consent. That is incorrect. They already carried the bacteria, and the experimentation upon the men involved leading them to believe they were receiving treatment when in fact treatment was deliberately withheld by public health officials so they could research the disease development. The text has been corrected. Correction appended, March 2, 2020: As originally published, with reference to VAERS, this article stated that an AHRQ-funded study “found that adverse events from vaccines ‘are common, but underreported’, representing ‘fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events’.” This was evidently not a finding of their own study, but rather context they were providing based on prior studies. The verb “found” has been corrected to “reported” for accuracy. For additional discussion of VAERS and sources related to underreporting, see here.]
 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.
 Jan Hoffman, “How Anti-Vaccine Sentiment Took Hold in the United States”, New York Times, September 23, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/health/anti-vaccination-movement-us.html.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “How Public Vaccine Policy Violates Our Right to Informed Consent”, Foreign Policy Journal, April 27, 2019, https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2019/04/27/how-public-vaccine-policy-violates-our-right-to-informed-consent/. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee”, CDC.gov, reviewed December 22, 2015, accessed October 10, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm. DeNeen L. Brown, “‘You’ve got bad blood’: The horror of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment”, Washington Post, May 16, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/05/16/youve-got-bad-blood-the-horror-of-the-tuskegee-syphilis-experiment/.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “Why You Can’t Trust the CDC on Vaccines”, Children’s Health Defense, January 24, 2019, https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/why-you-cant-trust-the-cdc-on-vaccines/.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “The Rotavirus Vaccine: A Case Study in Government Corruption and Malfeasance”, Children’s Health Defense, February 5, 2019, https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/the-rotavirus-vaccine-a-case-study-in-government-corruption-and-malfeasance/.
 Richard Horton, “The Dawn of McScience”, New York Review of Books, March 11, 2004, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2004/03/11/the-dawn-of-mcscience/.
 Marcia Angell, “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption”, New York Review of Books, January 15, 2009, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2009/01/15/drug-companies-doctorsa-story-of-corruption/.
 Emmanuel Stamatakis, Richard Weiler, and John P.A. Ioannidis, “Undue industry influences that distort healthcare research, strategy, expenditure and practice: a review”, European Journal of Clinical Investigation, March 25, 2013, https://doi.org/10.1111/eci.12074.
 David H. Freedman, “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science”, The Atlantic, November 2010, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/.
 John P. A. Ioannidis, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”, PLoS Medicine, August 30, 2005, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “Should You Get the Flu Shot Every Year? Don’t Ask the New York Times.” JeremyRHammond.com, February 7, 2018, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2018/02/07/should-you-get-the-flu-shot-every-year-dont-ask-the-new-york-times/.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Hammond, “Why You Can’t Trust the CDC on Vaccines”.
 Cynthia Koons, “Pfizer Names Former FDA Chief Gottlieb to Board of Directors”, Bloomberg, June 27, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-27/pfizer-names-former-fda-chief-gottlieb-to-board-of-directors.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “American Academy of Pediatrics Refuses to Back Vaccine Claims with Science”, JeremyRHammond.com, March 28, 2017, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2017/03/28/american-academy-of-pediatrics-refuses-to-back-vaccine-claims-with-science/.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “The CDC’s Criminal Recommendation for a Flu Shot During Pregnancy”, JeremyRHammond.com, May 14, 2019, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2019/05/14/the-cdcs-criminal-recommendation-for-a-flu-shot-during-pregnancy/.
 “Our Team”, Children’s Health Defense, accessed October 3, 2019, https://childrenshealthdefense.org/about-us/our-team/.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “Is the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Evidence of Vaccine Safety?” JeremyRHammond.com, July 1, 2019, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2019/07/01/is-the-vaccine-injury-compensation-program-evidence-of-vaccine-safety/.
 Dr AJ Wakefield et al., “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children”, The Lancet, February 28, 1998, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(97)11096-0.
 To cite just a few examples, see: Laura de Magistris et al., “Alterations of the Intestinal Barrier in Patients With Autism Spectrum Disorders and in Their First-degree Relatives”, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, October 2010, https://doi.org/10.1097/MPG.0b013e3181dcc4a5. Tanja V.E. Kral et al., “Eating Behaviors, Diet Quality, and Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Brief Review”, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, March 26, 2013, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2013.01.008. “The Gut May Offer Clues About Autism”, Medical News Today, July 5, 2013, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/262894.php. RMIT University, “Research confirms gut-brain connection in autism”, ScienceDaily, May 30, 2019, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190530101143.htm.
 For discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “Facebook ‘Fact-Checker’ Misinforms Users about Vaccine Safety”, JeremyRHammond.com, June 17, 2019, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2019/06/17/facebook-fact-checker-misinforms-users-about-vaccine-safety/.
 Wendy Roberts and Mary Harford, “Immunization and children at risk for autism”, Paediatrics & Child Health, November 2002, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796520/.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010”, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), March 28, 2014, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6302a1.htm.
 Jerry W Sayre et al., “Case Reports, Case Series – From Clinical Practice to Evidence-Based Medicine in Graduate Medical Education”, Cureus, August 7, 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5630458/.
 General Medical Council, “Fitness to Practice Hearing”, National Health Service, accessed October 4, 2019, https://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/01January/Documents/FACTS%20WWSM%20280110%20final%20complete%20corrected.pdf.
 Editors, “Retraction—Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children”, The Lancet, February 6, 2010, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60175-4.
 England and Wales High Court, Walker-Smith v General Medical Council, March 7, 2012, accessed October 4, 2019, http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2012/503.html.
 News Release, “Co-Author of Lancet MMR-Autism Study Exonerated on All Charges of Professional Misconduct”, Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy, March 7, 2012, accessed October 4, 2019, https://www.ebcala.org/areas-of-law/vaccine-law/co-author-of-lancet-mmr-autism-study-exonerated-on-all-charges-of-professional-misconduct.
 Institute of Medicine, Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines: A Report of the Committee to Review the Adverse Consequences of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccine (National Academy Press, Washington, DC 1991), https://www.nap.edu/catalog/1815/adverse-effects-of-pertussis-and-rubella-vaccines.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism”, CDC.gov, updated November 23, 2015 and accessed October 7, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html.
 Institute of Medicine (IOM), Immunization Safety Review Committee, Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2004), pp. 135, 136, 138; https://www.nap.edu/catalog/10997/immunization-safety-review-vaccines-and-autism. The IOM was reformed in 2015 as the National Academy of Medicine.
 Institute of Medicine, Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule, The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2013), p. 6, https://www.nap.edu/catalog/13563/the-childhood-immunization-schedule-and-safety-stakeholder-concerns-scientific-evidence.
 2004 IOM Review, p. 4.
 Institute of Medicine, Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines, Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2011), pp. 145 – 148, http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2011/Adverse-Effects-of-Vaccines-Evidence-and-Causality.aspx. (Hereafter “2011 IOM Review”.) There were other studies finding no association, but the IOM deemed them of too poor quality to rely upon as a basis for their conclusion.
 David Kirby, “The Vaccine-Autism Court Document Every American Should Read”, Huffington Post, February 26, 2008, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-vaccineautism-court-d_n_88558. Note that the rebranded HuffPo has now censored this article from their website. I have archived a copy here: https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/080226-Vaccine-Autism-Court-Document-Kirby-HuffPost.pdf.
 CNN, House Call With Dr. Sanjay Gupta, March 29, 2008, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0803/29/hcsg.01.html.
 Dr. Andrew Walter Zimmerman, Affidavit, September 7, 2018. Published by Sharyl Attkisson, “Dr. Andrew Zimmerman’s full Affidavid on alleged link between vaccines and autism that U.S. govt. covered up”, SharylAttkisson.com, January 6, 2019, https://sharylattkisson.com/2019/01/06/dr-andrew-zimmermans-full-affidavit-on-alleged-link-between-vaccines-and-autism-that-u-s-govt-covered-up/. See also: Sharyl Attkisson, “The Vaccination Debate”, Full Measure, January 6, 2019, http://fullmeasure.news/news/cover-story/the-vaccination-debate. Sharyl Attkisson, “How a pro-vaccine doctor reopened debate about link to autism”, The Hill, January 13, 2019, https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/425061-how-a-pro-vaccine-doctor-reopened-debate-about-link-to-autism. Children’s Health Defense, “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Demands the Office of the Inspector General and Congress Investigate Department of Justice for Fraud and Obstruction of Justice”, PRNewswire, January 14, 2019, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/robert-f-kennedy-jr-demands-the-office-of-the-inspector-general-and-congress-investigate-department-of-justice-for-fraud-and-obstruction-of-justice-300777802.html.
 Mary Holland et al., “Unanswered Questions from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury”, Pace Environmental Law Review, 2011, https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol28/iss2/6/.
 Sharyl Attkisson, “CDC: ‘Possibility’ that vaccines rarely trigger autism”, December 10, 2018, SharylAttkisson.com, https://sharylattkisson.com/2018/12/10/cdc-possibility-that-vaccines-rarely-trigger-autism/.
 Jenna Patterson et al., “Comparison of adverse events following immunisation with acellular
and whole-cell pertussis vaccines: A systematic review”, Vaccine, August 22, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.08.022.
 D L Miller et al., “Pertussis immunization and serious acute neurological illness in children”, British Medical Journal, May 16, 1981, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1505512/.
 R J Robinson, “The whooping-cough immmunisation controversy”, Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1981, https://adc.bmj.com/content/archdischild/56/8/577.full.pdf. A R Hinman, “The pertussis vaccine controversy”, Public Health Reports, May-June 1984, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1424579/.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Polio Disease – Questions and Answers”, CDC.gov, updated August 11, 2014; archived copy available at https://web.archive.org/web/20150103130229/http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/polio/dis-faqs.htm.
 Food and Drug Administration, “Additional Standards for Viral Vaccines; Poliovirus Vaccine, Live, Oral”, Federal Register, Vol. 49, No. 107, June 1, 1984, https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/FR-1984-06-01.
 Institute of Medicine, Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1994), pp. v, vi, 7, 17, https://doi.org/10.17226/2138.
 For discussion and documentation, see: Hammond, “Is the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Evidence of Vaccine Safety?” 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/.
 Ross Lazarus, “Electronic Support for Public Health – Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS) – Final Report”, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US Department of Health and Human Services, 2010, accessed October 10, 2019, https://healthit.ahrq.gov/ahrq-funded-projects/electronic-support-public-health-vaccine-adverse-event-reporting-system.
 The Times links to the following study: Julia M. Brennan et al., “Trends in Personal Belief Exemption Rates Among Alternative Private Schools: Waldorf, Montessori, and Holistic Kindergartens in California, 2000–2014”, American Journal of Public Health, January 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5207363/.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Rates Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2017–18 School Year”, MMWR, October 12, 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6740a3.htm.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Vaccination Coverage for Selected Vaccines, Exemption Rates, and Provisional Enrollment Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2016–17 School Year”, MMWR, October 13, 2017, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6640a3.htm.
 American Academy of Family Physicians, “CDC: Vaccination Coverage of Children Remains High”, October 19, 2018, https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20181019kidsvaccs.html.
 For further discussion and documentation related to measles vaccine failure, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “How to Immunize Yourself Against Vaccine Propaganda”, JeremyRHammond.com, February 7, 2019, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2019/02/07/how-to-immunize-yourself-against-vaccine-propaganda/. Jeremy R. Hammond, “CDC Lies About, and Media Repeats, Risk of Dying from Measles”, Children’s Health Defense, April 23, 2019, https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/cdc-lies-about-and-media-repeats-risk-of-dying-from-measles/.
 Public Health Service, “Epidemiological Basis for Eradication of Measles in 1967”, Public Health Reports, March 1967, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1919891/.
 Gregory A. Poland and Robert M. Jacobson, “Failure to Reach the Goal of Measles Elimination: Apparent Paradox of Measles Infections in Immunized Persons”, Annals of Internal Medicine, August 22, 1994, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/619215.
 For documentation, see: Hammond, “How to Immunize Yourself Against Vaccine Propaganda.”
 Public Health Service, “Epidemiological Basis for Eradication of Measles in 1967”.
 Poland and Jacobson, “Failure to Reach the Goal of Measles Elimination”. For further discussion, see: Hammond, “CDC Lies About, and Media Repeats, Risk of Dying from Measles.
 Hammond, “CDC Lies About, and Media Repeats, Risk of Dying from Measles”.
 California Department of Public Health, “Measles”, January 28, 2015, archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20150128202420/http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Transcript for CDC Telebriefing: Measles in the United States, 2015,” January 29, 2015 (the transcript is misdated 2014), http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2015/t0129-measles-in-us.html.
 Felicia Roy et al., “Rapid Identification of Measles Virus Vaccine Genotype by Real-Time PCR”, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, February 22, 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5328441/.
 National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, Children’s Health, the Nation’s Wealth: Assessing and Improving Child Health (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2004), https://doi.org/10.17226/10886.
 Christina D. Bethell et al., “A National and State Profile of Leading Health Problems and Health Care Quality for US Children: Key Insurance Disparities and Across-State Variations”, Academic Pediatrics, May 11, 2011, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2010.08.011.
 Philip J. Smith, Susan Y. Chu, and Lawrence E. Barker, “Children Who Have Received No Vaccines: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?” Pediatrics, July 1, 2004, https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.114.1.187.
 Jessica Smartt Gullion, Lisa Henry, and Greg Gullion, “Deciding to Opt Out of Childhood Vaccination Mandates”, Public Health Nursing, August 21, 2008, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1446.2008.00724.x.
 Glen Nowak, Ph.D., “Increasing Awareness and Uptake of Influenza Immunization”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presentation at the Institute of Medicine Workshop on Pandemic Influenza: Assessing Capabilities for Prevention and Response, Washington, DC, Institute of Medicine Forum on Microbial Threats, June 17, 2004, http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/PublicHealth/MicrobialThreats/Nowak.pdf. For citation information not provided in the slideshow presentation itself, see: Stanley M. Lemon and Adel A. F. Mahmoud, “The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready?” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, 2005, http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/bsp.2005.3.70?journalCode=bsp.
 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.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Update on Vaccine-Derived Polioviruses — Worldwide, April 2011–June 2012”, MMWR, September 21, 2012, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6137a3.htm. Jason Beaubien, “Mutant Strains Of Polio Vaccine Now Cause More Paralysis Than Wild Polio”, NPR, June 28, 2017, https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/06/28/534403083/mutant-strains-of-polio-vaccine-now-cause-more-paralysis-than-wild-polio.
 Prasad S. Kulkarni, Suresh S. Jadhav, and Rajeev M. Dhere, “Horizontal transmission of live vaccines”, Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, January 1, 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667938/.
 Merck & Co., Inc, “Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live”, Package Insert, FDA.gov, accessed October 14, 2019, https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines/measles-mumps-and-rubella-virus-vaccine-live. The insert is downloadable as a PDF file here: https://www.fda.gov/media/75191/download.
 Jennifer B. Rosen et al., “Outbreak of Measles Among Persons With Prior Evidence of Immunity, New York City, 2011”, Clinical Infectious Diseases, February 27, 2014, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciu105.
 For further discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “The Ugly Untold Truth About the Pertussis Vaccine”, JeremyRHammond.com, September 14, 2015, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2015/09/14/the-ugly-untold-truth-about-the-pertussis-vaccine/.
 Tom Jefferson et al, “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults”, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, July 7, 2010, https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD001269.pub4. The most recent update to this review, published in February 2018, similarly notes that prevention of transmission is one of the key assumptions underlying the CDC’s recommendation, but cites its prior finding of “no evidence” to support this. For further discussion and documentation, see: Hammond, “Should You Get the Flu Shot Every Year? Don’t Ask the New York Times.”
 Roger E Thomas, Tom Jefferson, and Toby J Lasserson, “Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who care for people aged 60 or older living in long‐term care institutions”, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, June 2, 2016, https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD005187.pub5.
 US Department of Health and Human Resources, Health Resources & Service Administration, “Vaccine Injury Table”, accessed October 14, 2019, https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/vaccinecompensation/vaccineinjurytable.pdf. For further discussion and documentation related to the risk of flu shots causing GBS, see: Hammond, “How You’re Being Lied to about the Risks of Getting a Flu Vaccine Annually”.
 Institute of Medicine, Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines, p 89.
 For documentation, see: Hammond, “How the CDC Uses Fear and Deception to Sell More Flu Vaccines”, endnote 59.
 For discussion and documentation, see: Hammond, “The Rotavirus Vaccine: A Case Study in Government Corruption and Malfeasance”.
 For discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “Pro-Vax Stupidity from a Clueless Writer at Daily Kos”, JeremyRHammond.com, April 20, 2019, https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2019/04/20/pro-vax-stupidity-from-a-clueless-writer-at-daily-kos/.
 For discussion and documentation, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “Why Does the CDC Recommend Hepatitis B Vaccination for Infants?” Children’s Health Defense, April 2, 2019, https://childrenshealthdefense.org/child-health-topics/why-does-the-cdc-recommend-hepatitis-b-vaccination-for-infants/.
 For discussion and documentation, see: Hammond, “How You’re Being Lied to about the Risks of Getting a Flu Vaccine Annually”. Hammond, “Why Does the CDC Recommend Hepatitis B Vaccination for Infants?”
 Paul A. Offit, “What Would Jesus Do About Measles?” New York Times, February 10, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/opinion/what-would-jesus-do-about-measles.html.