“We got a lot of microbiology. We learned about diseases. We learned that vaccines were the solution to those diseases what they say are “vaccine preventable,” that’s the term that they used in my world, but what’s in the vaccines, I don’t really remember really learning anything.”
“During your training in the hospital, you get everything else except vaccines. You learn about all of the rare things. All of the super rare disorders that you may never see in the office. That’s what we spend the time learning and and and almost nothing about vaccination.”
Is anyone surprised that Suzanne Humphries, Joseph Mercola, and these other folks didn’t learn anything about vaccines during their training?
“Don’t buy into the lore, don’t make assumptions, and understand that the philosophical underpinnings of the vaccination program are predicated on an antiquated perspective: warring against and attempting to eradicate bad germs. Science has left that childlike notion in the dust, and so should we.”
Do you think that Kelly Brogan, a holistic psychiatrist, learned much about vaccines at NYU? Anything about science???
“Robert Sears became interested in vaccines as a medical student after reading “DPT: A Shot in the Dark,” a 1985 book that argued that the whooping cough vaccine was dangerous. (The makeup of the vaccine has since been changed.) Sears said the book, which helped spark a backlash against vaccines, exposed him to ideas he wasn’t hearing in school.”
Vaccination controversy swirls around O.C.’s ‘Dr. Bob’
Maybe, but as in the case of Dr. Bob, it is important to note that he was influenced by a book that we know to be wrong. Later studies have shown that the original DPT vaccine did not cause any of the serious side effects that were originally blamed on it, including in the anti-vaccine book that got him started.
Surprisingly, not all of the members of the American Academy of Pediatrics are on the side of advocating for vaccines!
Who Are the Anti-Vaccine Pediatricians?
Sure, except for a few outliers, most of the members of the AAP are typically strong advocates for vaccines.
In fact, one of the very first actions of the AAP was to establish the Committee on Immunization Procedures in 1936. They soon published the first vaccine recommendations for kids in the 1938 pamphlet, Routine measures for the prophylaxis of communicable diseases.
So what happened?
How did we end up with anti-vaccine pediatricians?
In 1954, Dr. Roger L. J. Kennedy, the president of the AAP, declared that he would not allow his own children to get Salk’s polio vaccine during the Polio Pioneer trials.
Since none of the polio vaccines produced directly by Jonas Salk caused any problems, no, Kennedy wasn’t right and could have put the whole trial at risk if folks had listened to him.
We next saw Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, a pediatrician who was against many standard practices, including ultrasounds in pregnancy, “water fluoridation, immunization, coronary bypass surgery, licensing of nutritionists, and screening examinations to detect breast cancer.”
He appeared on Donahue in the early 1980s, making claims that “The greatest threat of childhood diseases lies in the dangerous and ineffectual efforts made to prevent them through mass immunization.”
Mendelsohn also appeared as an “expert” in Vaccine Roulette, falsely calling the pertussis vaccine “probably the poorest and most dangerous vaccine that we now have.” Of course, none of the claims against the DPT vaccine ended up being true, but we are still left with the DTaP vaccine which is less effective.
Although he wasn’t the last anti-vaccine pediatrician, he was the last to be formally called out by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Jay Gordon, a celebrity pediatrician in California and Fellow of the AAP, appeared on Good Morning America with Cindy Crawford in 2000, saying afterwards that “They edited the segment to make me sound like a vaccination proponent. We also have to understand the impact of a person as well-known as Cindy Crawford delaying vaccines for over six months.”
Since then, he has continued to push the idea that kids should get vaccines on a slower schedule, perhaps only getting one or two at a time.
Although the AAP hasn’t formally called out today’s disease friendly pediatricians by name, they have repeatedly stated that there are no alternative immunization schedules.
“There is no ‘alternative’ immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a child 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
And the AAP has said that the views of pediatricians who push alternative immunization schedules “are counter to scientific evidence and clearly they do not reflect Academy policy or recommendations.”
“No alternative vaccine schedules have been evaluated and found to provide better safety or efficacy than the recommended schedule, supported by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC and the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the AAP (the committee that produces the Red Book).
Pediatricians who routinely recommend limiting the numbers of vaccines administered at a single visit such that vaccines are administered late are providing care that deviates from the standard evidence-based schedule recommended by these bodies.”
Countering Vaccine Hesitancy
Are there others?
Unfortunately, there are.
“Most of my patients make the educated decision not to give one vaccine-hepatitis B – to their infants. This is because you catch hepatitis B from sex and IV drug use so if a child is born to a mother that does not have hepatitis B, the child is at no risk of getting this disease. Preschool and young school-aged children are not at risk for hepatitis B, which is why most countries in the developed world only recommend this vaccine for at-risk groups and not for everyone.”
Paul Thomas is another pediatrician and Fellow of the AAP who has written a book about vaccines that pushes his own alternative vaccine schedule.
Then there is Larry Palevsky, the pediatrician “who utilizes a holistic approach to children’s wellness and illness…”
Some folks are likely wondering how Larry Palevsky still has a medical license after the things he said at the so-called vaccine symposium in Rockland County this year. Yeah, that Rockland County with the longest active measles outbreak since the endemic spread of measles was declared eliminated.
“The pediatrician who spoke on Monday night, Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, is regularly cited in pamphlets circulated in New York City that urge women not to get their children vaccinated. His views have no basis in science, experts said.”
Despite Measles Warnings, Anti-Vaccine Rally Draws Hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews
Most others who are familiar with things he has said in the past aren’t surprised by his statements though. After all, he was an “expert” for the anti-vaccination movie The Greater Good.
And they are familiar with other holistic and integrative pediatricians who are obviously anti-vaccine.
What Makes a Pediatrician Anti-Vaccine?
Although none consider themselves anti-vaccine, preferring to think of themselves as pro-safe vaccine, pro-vaccine choice, or pro-informed consent, as they continue to push myths and misinformation about vaccines, it should be clear who they are and what they are doing.
No, a pediatrician isn’t anti-vaccine just because some of their patients follow a non-standard, parent-selected, delayed protection vaccine schedule. They are anti-vaccine if they encourage parents to skip or delay vaccines, scaring them away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics is dedicated to the principle of a meaningful and healthy life for every child. As an organization of physicians who care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, the Academy seeks to promote this goal by encouraging and assisting its members in their efforts to meet the overall health needs of children and youth; by providing support and counsel to others concerned with the well-being of children, their growth and development; and by serving as an advocate for children and their families within the community at large.”
preamble to AAP Constitution
It’s time that more pediatricians call them out, even if they aren’t members of the AAP, as we see more outbreaks and more parents following their advice, leaving more kids unvaccinated, unprotected, and at risk to get vaccine-preventable diseases.
And there are still others spreading misinformation.
“I know that a lot of people read, ‘Oh, Del spreads misinformation,’” he said. “That’s an opinion. I like to call it missed information. This is the information that the mainstream media establishment doesn’t want you to hear.”
I attended an Orthodox anti-vaccine rally. Here’s what I saw.
So what’s some of the “missed information” that Del Bigtree is spreading?
“Over the course of about 12 minutes, Bigtree linked vaccines to the Holocaust and then to child sacrifice. He compared them to Nazi experimentation on unwilling Jewish medical subjects, then to the intentional ritual murder of children, in an effort to debunk the scientific consensus that a critical mass of vaccinated people, or herd immunity, means that even those who cannot be vaccinated for genuine medical reasons will have some protection from getting sick.”
I attended an Orthodox anti-vaccine rally. Here’s what I saw.
While it isn’t surprising that someone like Del Bigtree would say these things, that he would do it at an anti-vaccine rally in the middle of the biggest measles outbreak in 27 years in New York is unbelievable.
More Misinformation from Bob Sears
Want to hear the latest misinformation from Bob Sears?
The guy who brought us his own made up vaccine schedule is claiming that there are “physical pieces of fetal tissue” in vaccines.
Yes, some vaccines are made with fetal embryo fibroblast cells from cell lines that were derived (they can replicate infinitely) from two electively terminated pregnancies in the 1960s.
The cells used today have been copied, over and over again. They are descendant cells, which is why a common way to explain all of this is to say that vaccines are said to have a “distant association with abortion.”
Missed Information About Vaccines
Not only do vaccines not contain aborted fetal tissue, the fetal embryo fibroblast cells that are used to grow the viruses in these vaccines are mostly removed from the final vaccine our kids get!
“Some vaccines may contain residual quantities of components used during the manufacturing process, including inactivating agents, antibiotics, and cellular residuals. These agents are removed at the end of the manufacturing process, but trace amounts may be present in some vaccines.”
NIH on Other Vaccine Ingredients
If any of the fetal embryo fibroblast cells are present, it is only in trace amounts and as cellular residuals, not even as complete cells.
Anti-vaccine folks don’t usually tell you that…
What ever they now want to call the anti-vaccine misinformation they are pushing to folks, just understand that it is all the same propaganda that is designed to scare you away from vaccinating and protecting your kids.
So their immunization schedule is right for their country, even if it doesn’t match the United States schedule.
Australia’s Vaccine Schedule
In Australia, for example, the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule is set by National Immunisation Committee (NIC), which reports to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) through the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA).
Notice any differences between Australia’s vaccine schedule and the US schedule?
they give the routine second dose of MMR earlier, at 18 months
they don’t give a second dose of the chickenpox vaccine
they give the routine first dose of the meningococcal vaccine earlier, at 12 months
the hepatitis A and flu vaccines are only given to high risk kids
While there are some minor differences, it is fairly similar to the US immunization schedule.
“There is a legislative requirement for all vaccines provided under the NIP or the PBS to undergo a thorough and objective assessment process.”
National Immunisation Strategy for Australia
Why the earlier dose of meningococcal vaccine?
This is a good example of why immunization schedules vary between countries.
“The notification rate for meningococcal disease to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System peaked at 4.3 per 100 000 in 2002 and declined to 0.4 per 100 000 in 2013.”
Meningococcal disease incidence rates in the United States were much lower, about 0.6 per 100,000, when they started giving meningococcal vaccines in Australia (2001).
The UK Vaccine Schedule
But aren’t the immunization schedules from other countries supposed to be a lot different from the US schedule?
Let’s look at another…
It’s not the easiest schedule to read, but you should notice that vaccines for hepatitis A and chickenpox are missing, but younger children get extra meningococcal shots.
You may also have noticed yet another dosage schedule for the Prevnar 13 vaccine.
While the United States gives a three dose primary series and a booster, many other countries give either a three dose primary series alone or a two dose primary series with a booster.
“A large and growing body of evidence from immunogenicity studies, as well as clinical trials and observational studies of carriage, pneumonia and invasive disease, has been systematically reviewed; these data indicate that schedules of 3 or 4 doses all work well, and that the differences between these regimens are subtle, especially in a mature program in which coverage is high and indirect (herd) effects help enhance protection provided directly by a vaccine schedule.”
Whitney et al on Dosing schedules for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine: considerations for policy makers.
That doesn’t mean that they are all guessing at the dose! All of these schedules are well studied and in this case, there isn’t much difference.
There are even studies that suggest giving only one primary dose, combined with one booster dose might work, but only in areas where pneumococcal disease is already well controlled and infants would be protected by indirect herd immunity.
But that doesn’t mean that other schedules would work just as well too. For example, giving the doses later or on a slower schedule would not be better.
Infants are most at risk for many of these diseases, especially Hib and pneumococcal disease, when they are young and delaying when infants get vaccinated simply leaves them unprotected and at risk to get sick for a longer period of time. You also want infants to be protected by the time they lose the passive protection they get from their maternal antibodies.
What about the chickenpox vaccine?
While the UK has not added the chickenpox vaccine to their schedule because their models predicted an increase in cases of shingles (which has happened anyway) with a decrease in exogenous boosting (the theory that exposure to chickenpox lowers your risk of shingles), they are now looking at this again.
“This study confirms that severe complications of varicella, including death, continue to occur in the UK and Ireland.”
Cameron et al on Severe complications of chickenpox in hospitalised children in the UK and Ireland
Mostly it has been said that the chickenpox vaccine isn’t on the schedule because they have not thought it to be cost effective.
Iceland’s Vaccine Schedule
When anti-vaccine folks talk about immunization schedules from other countries, they aren’t usually talking about the UK or Australia though.
They are talking about Iceland, the country that they believe gives far fewer vaccines than the United States.
Vaccines for flu, chickenpox, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B and also available for those who are considered high risk.
Want to follow Iceland’s immunization schedule?
Then you should move to Iceland.
Hopefully you are starting to see that immunization schedules are different in each country because each country has different rates of disease, different populations, and different healthcare systems.
Iceland is a small country (338,349 people), with high vaccination rates, and universal health care. Compare that to the United States, with 327,200,000 people, clusters of unvaccinated people, and lots of people without health care.
It should be easy to see that what works in one country might not work in the other…
Vaccine Schedule Comparison by Country
What about other countries?
On the immunization schedule in Austria, the columns in red are for vaccines that are recommended and free. The blue columns are also recommended, but they aren’t free.
Japan has two separate schedules – the routine schedule for everyone (in dark blue above) and the voluntary schedule, with extra vaccines. Note that the primary series of infant vaccines are given at 2, 3, and 4 months.
Germany also gives their primary series of infant vaccines at 2, 3, and 4 months.
Although they only use a two dose primary series, Switzerland gives many of the same vaccines as the United States.
Are you surprised to see that infants in Denmark get more vaccines before they turn 12 month old than infants in the United States and an extra set by four months?
Even if they aren’t routine in other countries, all of the same vaccines that are offered in the United States, including vaccines to protect kids against rotavirus, chickenpox, and hepatitis A, are available in most other countries.
The latest immunization schedule in Israel includes hepatitis B, DTaP, polio, pneumococcal, rotavirus, MMR, chickenpox, HPV, and flu vaccines.
What’s missing in South Korea’s immunization schedule? Meningococcal vaccines. But they do have some that we don’t give in the United States.
What don’t these different immunization schedules influence? Prevalence rates of autism, SIDS, and other things that scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
The One Wrong Way to Give Vaccines
Since the immunization schedules from all of these countries are just a little bit different, does that support the idea that an individualized approach to vaccinating kids is a good idea?
Of course not!
In many countries, even if they are missing protection against a few diseases that we routinely vaccinate against in the United States, many get their vaccines earlier! And all start by three months and don’t split up the schedule to just give one or two vaccines at a time.
Everyone knows that later and slower just leaves kids unprotected for longer periods of time. More risks. No extra benefits.