Vaccine Misinformation from Bob Sears is Not Harmless

The latest from Bob Sears helps illustrate exactly why his vaccine misinformation is far from harmless.

Misinformation about febrile seizures from Bob Sears.
Misinformation about febrile seizures from Bob Sears. He neglects to mention that if fewer kids are vaccinated, more will get vaccine-preventable diseases that actually cause febrile seizures!

What’s he talking about?

Vaccine Misinformation from Bob Sears is Not Harmless

He is talking about a study, Childhood seizures and risk of psychiatric disorders in adolescence and early adulthood: a Danish nationwide cohort study, which looked at “the relation between childhood seizures and the risk of psychiatric disorders in adolescence and early adulthood.”

Wait, so this isn’t a study about vaccines?

No, not directly.

“Children with epilepsy and febrile seizures—with and without concomitant epilepsy—are at increased risk of developing a broad range of psychiatric disorders in later life.”

Dreier et al on Childhood seizures and risk of psychiatric disorders in adolescence and early adulthood: a Danish nationwide cohort study

Vaccines come into the discussion because they are one of the causes of febrile seizures.

Kids are more likely to get a febrile seizure after a natural infection though, including many that are vaccine-preventable, such as the flu, measles, mumps, chicken pox, and pneumococcal disease, etc.

In fact, we have seen a protective effect against febrile seizures caused by rotavirus infections since the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine!

Bob Sears doesn’t mention any of that…

And whether or not febrile seizures can rarely be dangerous and cause long-term harm, we know that vaccine-preventable diseases are life-threatening and their complications can definitely cause long-term harm.

“In our study, we have shown that children with febrile seizures do seem to be at slightly higher risk of developing psychiatric disorders as teenagers and young adults, even in the absence of subsequent epilepsy… We noted that the association with mental illness was strongest in individuals with recurrent febrile seizures and with onset of febrile seizures after the age of 3 years.”

Dreier et al on Childhood seizures and risk of psychiatric disorders in adolescence and early adulthood: a Danish nationwide cohort study

Bob Sears also doesn’t mention that the small extra risk was mostly in kids with complex febrile seizures, which aren’t as common as the single, simple febrile seizures that most kids get.

Not surprisingly, Bob Sears also doesn’t mention that vaccines typically cause simple febrile seizures.

Misinformation is Not Harmless

The bottom line is that you should be more worried about anti-vaccine misinformation than febrile seizures…

Instead of being worried about your child getting a febrile seizure after the MMR vaccine, you should be even more concerned about febrile seizures, epilepsy, encephalitis, SSPE, and death after a natural measles infection.

Anti-vaccine misinformation is not harmless.

If you knew that skipping or delaying your child’s vaccines could put them at increased risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease and THAT would increase your child’s risk of febrile seizures and a host of lifelong mental health disorders, would you have wanted your doctor to warn you about that risk?

“This means for the average pediatrician, who may care for 1000 children younger than 5 including 3 to 500 between 6 and 24 months of age annually, one could expect to see at most 1 child who experiences a febrile seizure every 5 to 10 years due to administration of these vaccines together in the first 2 years of life. This would be in addition to the 30 to 75 patients in each birth year cohort in a practice that would experience a febrile seizure from other causes given the background rate of 2% to 5%.”

Sawyer et al on Vaccines and Febrile Seizures: Quantifying the Risk

Learn about the true risks of vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, the benefits of vaccines, and the risks of skipping or delaying any vaccines as you make a truly informed choice about vaccinating and protecting your kids.

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