Category: Vaccine Misinformation

Fact Checking What Kids Receive When They Are Vaccinated

A new post is being shared in anti-vax groups that includes two trays of syringes and a long list of scary sounding chemicals, implying that they are all ingredients in vaccines. And that an infant would get them all at a single well child visit.

If you have seen the post and it has you wondering whether or not you should vaccinate your kids, open your eyes! This is classic anti-vaccine propaganda.

Fact Checking What Kids Receive When They Are Vaccinated

How do we know it’s propaganda?

Let’s begin with the fact that these vaccines have been drawn up for more than one child.

We know that because there is no situation in which a child would get 10 separate injections at one time. Even if a toddler was completely unvaccinated and was looking to get started and caught up on his missed vaccines all at once, he wouldn’t get 10 separate injections.

In fact, most of the time, thanks to combination vaccines, infants only get two or three injections at a time.

This post is also easy to recognize as anti-vaccine propaganda because of the way they describe ingredients of vaccines.

  • 2-phenoxyethanol – works as a stabilizer or preservative
  • aluminum(neurotoxin)
  • fetal bovine serum(aborted cow blood) – used as a growth media to provide nutrients to viruses and is removed from the final vaccine
  • formaldehyde(carcinogen, embalming agent) – formaldehyde in vaccines is not carcinogenic because “carcinogens do not cause cancer at all times, under all circumstances”
  • gelatin – (ground up animal carcuses) – a stabilizer that is formed from the connective tissue of certain animals, usually pigs
  • albumin – (human blood) – most vaccines are now made with recombinant albumin, anyway it is just albumin, a protein, that is in the vaccine, not “human blood”
  • monosodium L-glutamate(causes obesity & diabetis) – another stabilizer
  • MRC-5 cells(aborted human babies) – descent cells that have a “distant association with abortion” are mostly removed from final vaccines
  • neomycin –  (antibiotic) – used to prevent bacteria from growing while the vaccine is being developed and is removed from the final vaccine
  • polymyxin B – (antibiotic)
  • polysorbate 80(carcinogen) – an emulsifier that “helps ingredients mix together and keep them from separating.”
  • potassium chloride – (used in lethal injection)
  • potassium phosphate – (liquid fertilizer agent)
  • sodium bicarbonate – (baking soda)
  • sodium borate – (Borax, used for cockroach control)
  • sodium chloride – (table salt)
  • sodium citrate – (food additive)
  • sodium hydroxide – (Danger! Corrosive)
  • sodium phosphate – (toxic to any organism)
  • sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate – (toxic to any organism)
  • sorbitol – (Not to be injected)
  • streptomycin – (antibiotic)
  • sucrose – (cane sugar)
  • yeast protein – (fungus) – used as a growth medium and removed from the final vaccine
  • urea – (metabolic waste from human urine) – helps to improve temperature stability of some vaccines, but does not come from human urine!
  • other chemical residuals

Although they went out of their way to make them sound scary, it is important to understand that these ingredients are not toxins, at least they aren’t in the doses used in the vaccines.

And while chemicals like potassium phosphate and sodium hydroxide might indeed sound scary to some people, it is also important to remember that we routinely and safely use chemicals every day. As they listed, sodium chloride is table salt!

What about their list of “studies” that followed their list of ingredients? They are easily refuted too – just think cherry picking, VAERS, case reports, and more VAERS.

Basically, the whole post is a collection of PRATTs – anti-vaccine points refuted a thousand times!

Don’t fall for this kind of propaganda anymore.

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary.

More on Anti-Vaccine Propaganda

Do One Out of 39 Vaccinated Children Suffer Serious Injuries?

Why do some folks think that one out of 39 vaccinated children suffer serious injuries?

Serious injuries are not common after vaccines.
In addition to myths about serious injuries, these folks are getting hit with a lot of conspiracy theories about vaccines.

Because that’s what they are told in anti-vax Facebook groups

Do One Out of 39 Vaccinated Children Suffer Serious Injuries?

If they actually took the time to read the report cited in the post, the pilot study conducted by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) back in 2010, they would actually see that it doesn’t actually say anything about serious vaccine injuries.

The study actually looked at all possible reactions, not just "serious injuries."
They don’t mention this, but the study actually looked at all possible reactions, not just “serious injuries.”

The study, which look at VAERS reports, was actually talking about ALL possible reactions after a child was vaccinated, so would include more mild reactions, like fever, pain, and redness at the injection site.

“The same study found that typical clinicians see 1.3 vaccine injuries per month.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman, Children’s Health Defense

In case you haven’t recognized it yet, they are talking about the infamous “Harvard study.”

Well, infamous in anti-vax circles…

They use it to scare parents into thinking that vaccine injuries are more common than they really are and that they are rarely reported.

Don’t let this kind of vaccine misinformation get in the way of your vaccinating and protecting your kids.

Vaccines are safe, with few risks.

More on Serious Vaccine Injuries

How Jay Gordon On Bill Maher Helps Explain Our Anti-Vaccine Problems

Jay Gordon has been on TV a lot in his career.

“Parents from around Southern California choose Gordon for his outspoken and controversial stance on vaccinations, driving from as far away as Santa Barbara and Long Beach.

They know he will lend a sympathetic ear to their concerns about the possible adverse side effects of childhood vaccinations — even though several large scientific studies have failed to find a connection.

His openness to alternative approaches has earned him an avid following. With thousands of patients, his practice is so busy that he no longer accepts new patients.”

Los Angeles Times on Doctor Contrarian

Often described as a celebrity pediatrician, partly because he sees many of the kids of Hollywood celebrities, the Los Angeles Times once named him Doctor Contrarian.

How Jay Gordon On Bill Maher Helps Explain Our Anti-Vaccine Problems

Jay Gordon has become a bit of a celebrity in his own right too, with appearances on Good Morning America, with Cindy Crawford, the Ricki Lake Show, the Doctors, and he was even a regular on ABC TV’s Home Show back in the 1990s.

#SaidNoDoctor, except Dr. Jay Gordon, who made this statement about the HPV vaccine on the Ricki Lake Show.
#SaidNoDoctor, except Dr. Jay Gordon, who made this statement about the HPV vaccine on the Ricki Lake Show. How many kids ended up getting HPV because their parents listened?

Although he claims he is not anti-vaccine, Jay Gordon has made many other statements over the years that had vaccine advocates shaking their heads.

His main idea is that vaccines should be given on a slower schedule, just one or two at a time and that some shouldn’t be given until kids are “developmentally solid.”

Jay Gordon has no proof or evidence to back up any of his statements.
To clarify my statement, a severe reaction isn’t a reason to stop vaccinating a child all together.

Of course, giving vaccines later just leaves these kids at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease while they are waiting, without any extra benefit of fewer side effects.

Sure, we would see fewer reactions associated with vaccines, because the same conditions would be occurring, but the kids would not have gotten a vaccine to be associated with it.

Jay Gordon has been at the front lines of taking care of parents who don't want to vaccinate their kids.
His “front lines” are parents in Southern California who don’t want to vaccinate their kids…

Is Jay Gordon an expert on vaccines?

Jay Gordon dismisses the statements of a true vaccine expert.
Jay Gordon lists all of the credentials of Dr. Hotez, none of which he has, and then tells him he is wrong!

It should be clear that he is not.

“I talk much more quietly, because I have no proof.”

Jay Gordon

Talking on TV is not exactly talking quietly…

But let’s take a quick look at some of his statements on Real Time with Bill Maher to help those who might think that he is.

B. Maher: I’m just saying vaccines, like every medicine, has side effects… So let’s not deny that or pretend it doesn’t happen. Which ones? How much? How do we manage this? This is not crazy talk.

Jay Gordon: We don’t do it the way we should do it. Manufacturers don’t put… We don’t manufacture vaccines as well as we could. We have a schedule that is invariable for every single child, one size doesn’t really fit all. The polio vaccine that I would get as a 180 lb. man is the same that I give to a 12 lb. baby. We could do it a lot better. I don’t want to bring polio back. I don’t want to bring measles back. Measles is a nasty illness.

No one denies that vaccines have side effects. The thing is, vaccines do not cause each and every thing that anti-vax folks claim that they do. They don’t cause autism, SIDS, most non-febrile seizures, eczema, diabetes, MS, ADHD, asthma, cancer, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, or POTS, etc.

What about Jay’s comments?

Interestingly, Jay has often said that measles isn’t that bad…

“This measles outbreak does not pose a great risk to a healthy child. And quite frankly I don’t think it poses any risk to a healthy child.”

Jay Gordon on Doctor explains why he lets kids avoid the measles vaccine

Healthy kids can just die with measles though. And healthy kids are at later risk to develop SSPE, which is fatal.

And if he doesn’t understand that vaccines aren’t given based on the weight of the child or adult, then he is clearly not a vaccine expert.

Jay Gordon believes that his middle of the road approach gets more kids vaccinated.
If you are scaring parents away from getting vaccinated, then giving vaccines on an alternative schedule may mean that you are anti-vaccine…

If he doesn’t understand the consequences of his slow vaccine schedule, especially if more parents actually started listening to him, then he is clearly not a vaccine expert.

Mostly, he seems to be an expert on pandering to parents who already have fears of vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Jay Gordon's middle of the road approach only works because his kids can still hide in the herd, getting protected from everyone else who vaccinates and protects their kids.
The kids that are vaccinated at “a different pace and thought process” are simply hiding in the herd. They don’t get sick because the rest of us are vaccinated and protected, but that system breaks down if more people start listening to Dr. Jay.

And what he has never understood, even if he does get some of these parents to vaccinate on a slower schedule, his rhetoric likely gets many more parents started on the road to thinking vaccines are harmful or not necessary.

Jay Gordon has been wrong before, as you can see in the way he has changed his stance on the HPV vaccine, which he says he now gives, and he is wrong now.

Why is Jay Gordon still in the AAP?

And his advise is indeed contrary to that of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which makes you wonder why he is still allowed to be a member.

“There is no ‘alternative’ immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a chil​d at risk of disease for a longer period of time; it does not make vaccinating safer. 

Vaccines work, plain and simple. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time. Pediatricians partner with parents to provide what is best for their child, and what is best is for children to be fully vaccinated.”

Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics​

Maybe its time that Doctor Contrarian stopped thinking everyone else is wrong and he takes a long and hard look at his own views on vaccines.

“Nothing I do is free. I feel like I should give you a little bit of a discussion before I recommend Tylenol, because of the impact on the liver. A discussion about ibuprofen, because of the impact on the kidneys. And when someone gets antibiotics from me, I talk to them. You know, there could be a yeast infection. You could get diarrhea and a rash. Sorry about the diarrhea and the rash. But with vaccines, the discussion is closed.”

Jay Gordon

Health care providers are hopefully all giving their patients a vaccine information sheet and informed consent, so the discussion is certainly not closed when they give kids vaccines.

Does Jay discuss the potential risks of delaying or skipping vaccines?

Will he say sorry about the rotavirus, measles, tetanus, and diphtheria?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are very necessary.

Although he thinks he is taking the middle road, Jay Gordon simply helps fuel the modern anti-vaccine movement.

To be sure though, along the way, he certainly has been in the middle of things…

Jay Gordon was named Doctor Contrarian way back in 1997.
March 1997 article in the LA Times describing how media savvy “skeptics” were attacking vaccines.

From his appearance on Good Morning America in 2000 to discuss why Cindy Crawford wasn’t vaccinating her baby, just as Wakefield was getting started, to testifying against SB277, California’s vaccine law, that didn’t work because doctors simply started writing unnecessary medical exemptions, he has been there. And let’s not forget that he was Jenny McCarthy‘s pediatrician!

“I’m just saying, ‘we don’t know shit,’ that’s why when doctors, when you get a diagnosis, the other doctor gives you another one. They say, right away, get a second opinion.”

Bill Maher

Bill Maher was right about one thing, if you are going to Jay Gordon for advice about vaccines – get a second opinion.

More on Jay Gordon and Bill Maher

Getting Vaccinated to Protect Those Who Can’t Get the Vaccines

Most people get vaccinated because those vaccines have the direct benefit of reducing their risk of getting a life-threatening vaccine preventable disease. Protecting those who can’t get vaccines is a secondary benefit.

Should you get vaccinated to protect those who can't get the vaccines?
Does rationalizing your decision in anti-vax Facebook groups help you feel better that you are putting kids with cancer at greater risk to get sick?

A secondary benefit that anti-vax folks go to great lengths to convince themselves isn’t real and justify their decision to leave their kids unvaccinated and unprotected..

Getting Vaccinated to Protect Those Who Can’t Get the Vaccines

Of course, none of their explanations really hold water.

None of the vaccines that are routinely used on the CDC immunization schedule are a risk if you are around kids with cancer or other immunodeficiencies, except for FluMist and those with severe issues, like being in a bone marrow transplant unit.

One of the biggest misconceptions though, is that in getting vaccinated, parents are putting their own kids at great risk to protect someone else.

Don't set your kid on fire to keep mine warm!
Don’t set your kid on fire to keep mine warm!

Of course, that’s not true.

Remember, vaccines are safe, with few risks.

That why the analogy of setting their own kids on fire to keep others warm doesn’t make any sense.

After all, unlike vaccinating their own child, setting their child on fire offers them no benefit!

And they should understand that the one and only reason that their kids don’t get more vaccine-preventable diseases in this dog eat dog world is because the vast majority of us vaccinate and protect our kids.

Herd immunity is indeed real. In addition to protecting those who can’t be vaccinated, it protects the free-riders, those who just don’t want to get vaccinated.

What about the idea that it is unrealistic for folks who are immunocompromised to expect that they can lead normal lives and avoid infections?

You can't avoid all risks of infection, but why not avoid those that you can?

While it is true that there are other infections out there besides those that are vaccine-preventable, wouldn’t you want to at least reduce those risks that you can?

But could it be, as much as they seem to believe in shedding, that they think they are being altruistic in not vaccinating their kids?

Anti-vax folks are all about the shedding...
Anti-vax folks are all about the shedding

They aren’t.

In most cases, there are no restrictions on vaccinating people who have contact with those with immune system problems.

What about the idea that vaccines cause cancer?

Vaccines prevent cancer!
Vaccines prevent cancer!

That isn’t true. In fact, there are several vaccines that prevent cancer!

What other misconceptions do they have?

Most of the reasons folks use to avoid vaccines have been refuted a thousand times.
Most of the reasons folks use to avoid vaccines have been refuted a thousand times.

Let’s look at those last few issues…

  • vaccines are not associated with autism
  • vaccines aren’t perfect, but they do work very well
  • vaccines do help those with immune system problems, sometimes directly and more often because of herd immunity
  • people who have cancer are often vaccinated before they have chemo, but that protection gets wiped out during treatment and they can’t get caught up until after they have completed all of their treatments
  • kids with cancer might get some vaccines, but typically don’t get live vaccines

What about the idea that your unvaccinated child isn’t sick, so can’t get anyone else sick?

While that is a very common argument among anti-vax parents, it is very important that if your child is unvaccinated, then they are at much greater risk to catch a vaccine-preventable disease. And since you are often contagious even before you show symptoms, they might unknowingly expose many other people before they even realize that they are sick.

Hopefully you now understand it was never really a question.

That's why you get vaccinated, to protect those who can't get the vaccines!

Vaccinate and protect your kids.

If you don’t, in addition to putting them at risk to get sick, you put everyone around them at risk, including some who are at very high risk for severe complications from vaccine preventable diseases.

More on Risks from Unvaccinated Kids