Tag: Andrew Wakefield

Explaining the Correlation of Autism After Vaccines

Vaccines have nothing to do with autism.

It’s not the MMR vaccine. It’s not thimerosal. It’s not anything else about vaccines.

It has been proven time and again.

“The parental focus on vaccines as a possible cause of autism has been encouraged by the recent growth in popularity of ‘unorthodox biomedical’ theories and therapies in autism…”

Fitzpatrick on MMR: risk, choice, chance

Not surprisingly, that hasn’t stopped some parents from continuing to blame vaccines, mostly because they didn’t notice any symptoms of autism until after their child got their routine vaccines as a toddler.

Recognizing the Early Signs of Autism

In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines for universal screening of all children for autism at 18 and 24 months. Since then, many kids are getting diagnosed at an earlier age.

That’s good news, as an earlier diagnosis should mean that more kids will be able to benefit from earlier supports and accommodations.

“…the average age of diagnosis for those born before 2005 was just under four years old; for those born during during or after 2005, it was roughly two-and-a-half years old.”

AAP on Children are Diagnosed with Autism at Younger Ages Since Push for Universal Screening

Looking at the early signs and symptoms of autism, it is easy to see why autism isn’t always recognized that early, even with a screening tool, like the M-CHAT-R:

  • What if you don’t recognize that your child isn’t really speaking single words because he or she is simply parroting or echoing what you are saying without knowing what the words mean?
  • What if you don’t recognize that your child isn’t responding to his name being called because he responds to other noises, so sometimes coincidentally turns when you call his name?
  • What if you don’t recognize that your child isn’t bringing objects to share with you (as an interest), because he or she sometimes will bring them to you to have you help open or use them?

And if your child is eventually diagnosed with autism, will you recognize that those were early signs that were just difficult to detect, or just think that your child didn’t have any developmental differences and then lost those skills?

Explaining the Correlation of Autism After Vaccines

Many people understand the idea that “correlation doesn’t imply causation.”

So just because your child was vaccinated and you soon noticed signs and symptoms of autism, that doesn’t mean that it is really linked to vaccines.

Temporal binding is a phenomenon that reinforces that assumption of cause and effect once we have linked two events causally in our minds. The effect biases our memory so that we remember the apparent cause and effect occurring closer together in time. In experiments we tend to remember the cause as happening later and the effect happening earlier.”

Steven Novella

Of course, a phrase about correlation and causation isn’t going to be enough of an explanation for most parents, especially if they have already heard a bunch of vaccine scare stories.

Fortunately, there is plenty of evidence to back up that idea, including that:

  • many studies have shown that there is no link between vaccines and autism
  • unvaccinated kids develop signs and symptoms of autism at the same time as children who were vaccinated
  • some studies have shown that even when parents think that their child’s first signs and symptoms of autism didn’t occur until right after a specific vaccine, like the 12 month MMR shot, when experts looked at the child’s home movies, they could detect subtle signs at a much earlier age, well before the child got those vaccines
  • while regressive autism is real and some kids with autism regress significantly in their development, losing many of the early skills they had picked up, even then, these children often had some subtle, early developmental delays. They don’t usually have a sudden regressive type of autism.

What about package inserts? Don’t they say vaccines cause autism? No, they do not.

And all of the studies that anti-vax folks say support a link between vaccines and autism? They aren’t what you think they are.

Mostly remember that the scientific evidence overwhelming supports the fact that vaccines have absolutely nothing to do with autism!

What to Know About the Correlation of Autism After Vaccines

Vaccines having nothing to do with autism, even though it might sometimes seem to you that your child’s signs and symptoms of autism are correlated with recently getting vaccinated.

More About Explaining the Correlation of Autism After Vaccines

Anti-Vaccine Heroes and Experts

Every movement has heroes and villains.

alicia-silverstone

Who are the heroes of the anti-vaccine movement?

“To our community, Andrew Wakefield is Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one.”

J. B. Handley

In addition to Wakefield, there is:

  • Meryl Dorey – founder of the AVN, she has compared vaccinating a child to rape, has harassed the parents of a newborn who died of pertussis, and suggested the name “Shaken Maybe Syndrome” as a campaign slogan to help associate vaccines with shaken baby syndrome
  • Mayer Eisenstein, MD  – now deceased, he was the founder of Homefirst, a medical practice in Chicago which claimed to have no autistic kids among their unvaccinated patients. He also used Lupron to treat autism and filed bankruptcy several times to escape paying malpractice settlements.
  • Barbara Loe Fisher – wrote DPT: A Shot in the Dark, which influenced Bob Sears and she founded the NVIC
  • Mark and David Geier – this father and son pair are infamous for pushing a chemical castration treatment (Lupron) for autistic children, a treatment that led to Mark Geier losing his medical license (he’s a geneticist) in several states.
  • Suzanne Humphries, MD – a nephrologist who became a homeopath and now pushes anti-vaccine talking points, including that vaccines don’t work and that polio never really disappeared, instead we don’t see it anymore because we changed its name to acute flaccid paralysis
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr – continues to push the idea that thimerosal in vaccines is causing an autism epidemic
  • Jenny McCarthy – one of the most famous anti-vaccine celebrities who’s anti-vaccine/anti-autism rhetoric hurts autistic families
  • Neil Z. Miller – a psychologist who has written many anti-vax books, he also gives lectures at chiropractic associations.
  • Tetyana Obukhanych, MD – the Harvard trained immunologist who believes that Immunology has no theoretical or evidence-based explanation for immunity
  • Tim O’Shea, DC – a chiropractor, he speaks at anti-vax conferences and wrote an anti-vaccination book called The Sanctity of Human Blood: Vaccination is not Immunization. Dr. O’Shea does not believe that germs make us sick (germ theory denialism), thinks that vaccines cause peanut allergies, and he sells supplements and seminars.
  • Viera Scheibner – the micropaleontologist who thinks that getting a vaccine-preventable disease is good for kids, that vaccines are contaminated with amoebas, and that they cause SIDS and shaken baby syndrome
  • Yehuda Shoenfeld, MD – an immunologist who heads the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases and is on the scientific advisory board for the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute. He is the latest to blame adjuvants for causing disease – his Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA), which describe as “basically a made-up syndrome that isn’t generally accepted.”
  • Robert Sears, MD, FAAP – a pediatrician who thought he could get more parents to vaccinate their kids by telling them that vaccines are dangerous, vaccine preventable diseases aren’t that big a deal, and it is okay to space out and skip some vaccines that are less important than others
  • Stephanie Seneff – the MIT doctor (she has a doctorate in electrical engineering) who thinks that half of kids will have autism in 8 years and that glyphosate causes everything from autism to school shootings and terrorist bombings
  • Sherri Tenpenny, DO – described as anti-vax “expert” whose advise is “chock full of vaccine pseudoscience.” Once board certified in emergency medicine, Dr. Tenpenny now sells DVDs and supplements on her website, speaks at chiropractic health events, and provides holistic medical care. In a rant about freedom of choice in vaccination, she talks about General Robert E. Lee feel, Southern war hero and postwar icon of the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy,” the extinction of humanity, and about slavery and eight veils that must be pierced if you want to see what is really going on in the world – that the Illuninati and other secret organizations control us and that they are being controlled by time traveling dragons, lizards, and aliens.
  • Lawrence Palevsky, MD – an holistic pediatrician, he was an “expert” for the anti-vaccination movie The Greater Good and he links to and quotes other notorious anti-vax “experts.” He even appears on the Gary Null Show – in addition to being anti-vax, Gary Null is among the alternative medicine folks who actually denies that HIV causes AIDS.
  • Lawrence D. Rosen, MD – an integrative pediatrician who has endorsed flexible immunization schedules and has given talks at anti-vax conferences.
  • Russell Blaylock, MD – a retired neurosurgeon who thinks that he is an expert on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases among other things that are not related to neurosurgery. In addition to believing that vaccines are dangerous and don’t work, Dr. Blaylock also thinks that mercury in dental fillings and fluoride in water are dangerous, among many other conspiracy theories. And while decrying BigPharma and telling people to avoid vaccines, including flu shots, he sells his own “wellness report” and his own supplements to help you “repair your brain.” He even offers ‘natural strategies’ for cancer patients.
  • Joseph Mercola, DO – like Dr. Blaylock, Dr. Mercola is against fluoride in water, vaccines, mercury fillings, and he is even against giving newborns vitamin K shots. He also sends out a “health” newsletter to paying subscribers and sells supplements, many of which have caused the FDA to issue warnings based on Mercola making illegal claims on what they can do.
  • Christina England – the “high priestess of vaccinology,” Ms England seems to specialize in the vaccines causes shaken baby syndrome conspiracy theory.
  • Stephanie Cave, MD – board certified in Family Medicine, Dr. Cave now practices integrative medicine. She wrote one of the first anti-vaccination books I ever read (2001) and came up with her own alternative immunization schedule. She appeared as an “expert witness” in some of the cases in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings.
  • Kelly Brogan, MD – a holistic psychiatric who warns about stuff like “A veritable body-bomb, the MMR contains recombinant human albumin, fetal bovine serum, and chick embryo fibroblasts, and the potential for interspecies activation of unknown retroviruses, molecular mimicry, and reactivation of the virulence of the infectious virus itself – a completely unstudied and medically unacknowledged risk.”

These are the heroes and “experts” in the anti-vaccination community.

Whether you are on the fence, delaying a few vaccines, or skipping them all, it is often their conspiracy theories and ideas that you buy into when you believe that vaccines aren’t safe, aren’t necessary, or don’t work.

What To Know About Anti-Vaccine Heroes

The heroes and so called experts of the the anti-vaccine movement includes celebrities, some doctors and scientists who are practicing way out of their field of expertise when they talk about vaccines, and others whose work is not supported by the great majority of experts in their field.

More About Anti-Vaccine Heroes

Vaccines and the Holocaust

Nazis and Nazi symbolism have been in the news a lot lately.

Surprisingly, it isn’t all coming from rallies at Confederate statues.

Some of it is coming from the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Vaccines and the Holocaust

Most people understand what the Holocaust was.

Or do they…

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum defines the Holocaust as “the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.”

As often as folks in the modern anti-vaccine movement use the word Holocaust, it makes you wonder sometimes if they really understand what it means.

Among the most recent (2015) to demonstrate “the violent rhetoric of the anti-vaccine movement” has been Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., when he said that:

“They get the shot. That night they have a fever of 103. They go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone. This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr

Kennedy certainly isn’t the only or even the first to describe a vaccine holocaust though.

That wasn’t even his first time…

As the keynote speaker at the 2013 Autism One conference, Kennedy reportedly compared Dr. Paul Offit to a Nazi war criminal and said that “To my mind this is like the Nazi death camps.” He was reportedly referring to kids who he and others thought developed autism after being vaccinated.

Paul Offit is a Nazi and should be in prison at the 2013 Autism One conference.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr implied that Paul Offit is a Nazi and should be in prison at the 2013 Autism One conference.

Actually, after calling Dr. Offit a liar, he talked about how his father would talk to him about Vietnam:

“He used to talk about Vietnam and about how we were dropping napalm on villages and he said, ‘what’s the difference between us and the Nazis. What is the difference between us and the Nazis…’

And these people, these people should be in prison…

I would do a lot to see Paul Offit and all of these “good people” behind bars.

…Is it hyperbole that I think these people should be thrown in jail?

They should be thrown in jail and the key should be thrown away.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr

And yes, in the Q&A, when asked “why hasn’t the CDC acknowledged autism as an epidemic,” even though he said in his speech that they had admitted that it was, he replied that he couldn’t get into someone else’s head to tell why they were doing something.

Robert F. Kenny, Jr describing how 'this is like Nazi death camps' when talking about kids getting autism.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr describing how ‘this is like Nazi death camps’ when talking about kids getting autism because the CDC didn’t take thimerosal out of vaccines.

Kennedy also went on and on about science and research that supports a link between vaccines and autism and continues with the idea that kids get just as much thimerosal as ever because of the thimerosal in flu vaccines, leaving out the fact that thimerosal flu vaccines are a thing…

But before Kennedy, in 2010, Claire Dwoskin of the NVIC, CMSRI, and the Dwoskin Family Foundation wrote that:

“At least his daughter is alive, smiling, educated and enjoying life. That cannot be said for the hundreds of thousands of vaccine injured children in the US. What his daughter went through is NOTHING compared to what the families of autistic children go through every day of their lives. No disease can match this record of human devastation. Vaccines are a holocaust of poison on our children’s brains and immune systems. Shame on you all.”

Claire Dwoskin

Dwoskin and Kennedy haven’t continued to say vaccines are a holocaust, at least not in public.

The one person that most commonly uses holocaust imagery when talking about vaccines, and who will likely never stop, is the Health Ranger – Mike Adams.

Adams has used the “vaccine holocaust” term for years and has now created a dedicated website exposing his ideas of a conspiracy of a “media cover-up of vaccine violence against children.”

Adams has also called for making a “Nuremberg List” of all of the people working in Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Biotech, with individuals from “mass media, politics, government regulation bodies, finance, and from wherever appropriate,” including their names and “their observed crimes against humanity.”

Surprisingly, using the term even draws some disagreement among folks who think that vaccines do cause autism and that we are in an ‘age’ of an autism epidemic.

“I haven’t read it yet, but it looks very much like the view shared by most of our readers and myself – corruption at the CDC and big pharma leading to a vaccine-induced catastrophe – a holocaust…”

Dan Olmsted on The Autistic Holocaust – The Reason Our Children Keep Getting Sick

In discussing the book, The Autistic Holocaust – The Reason Our Children Keep Getting Sick, Dan Olmsted found that one participant had “a strong view that the choice of the word “Holocaust” is not appropriate and does not serve the interests of our children.”

Another thought that “Holocaust is a word with too powerful associations to be of much use describing anything other than the crimes of the Nazis.”

And still, the site he founded continues to publish articles like:

  • A Dozen Things We Can Do RIGHT NOW to Help Stop the Vaccine Holocaust
  • Rabbi Handler on Vaccines, Politics and the Autism Holocaust

Yes, they interviewed an anti-vaccine Rabbi who is upset with the CDC and NYC health department over their warnings about metzitzah b’peh (oral suction) during traditional bris milah (circumcision). The concern is that oral suctioning can spread herpes (cold sores) to the newborn baby, which can be fatal. And it still does

“Webster’s dictionary defines a holocaust as follows: “great or total destruction of life, especially by fire.”

Yes, there is a vaccine-triggered holocaust of autism and autoimmune diseases, like asthma, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and various forms of ADHD and brain damage.

As one of the last living survivors of Hitler’s Nazi Holocaust, I am outraged that the Anti-Defamation League and other politically-Liberal Jewish organizations have claimed exclusive ownership of this very powerful English word and blocked its use by Autism activists.”

Rabbi William Handler

Rabbi Handler has been called out for other controversial opinions too, including that he supported a Rabbi who molested his own daughter and that he is against child protective services investigating and the state prosecuting those who physically abuse or sexually abuse children in the Orthodox Jewish community, instead advocating that a rabbinical counsel should do it instead.

Dr. Bob has even gotten in on the Holocaust imagery to scare parents about California’s vaccine laws:

“…So I tell them they don’t have to whisper. They can say it loud and clear, with confidence. Ya, I guess you don’t want to advertise it around the neighborhood – that will come soon enough. Scarlet “V” anyone? No, not scarlet. Let’s make it yellow. And not a V – a star would be better. That way everyone can know at first glance who is safe to be around and who is not. That way, if your old doctor and his children are walking down the street, they can easily identify your kids and quickly cross to the other side before they get too close.

Ask your Assemblyperson which color and shape they think would be most appropriate.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as a reference to a holocaust. Rather, it’s intended to raise the issue of prejudice and discrimination. Others have likenend vaccine injury to a holocaust. Instead, we are talking about families who choose to not vaccinate. No holocaust here.”

Dr. Bob Sears on The Vaccine Whisperers

And unbelievably, there are others.

Also in California, Wakefield‘s anti-vaccine movie Vaxxed was introduced at a screening in Roseville by a speaker who said that:

“It is WE who are going to have to work non-stop to put an end to this ever-increasing medical tyranny, this abominable Vaccine Holocaust, this present evil…

For those who think “holocaust” is too strong a word, I assure you it is not.

“Holocaust” is defined as “destruction or slaughter on a mass scale”, and that is indeed what vaccinations are doing to those who receive them, which can often be observed in the short term, always in the long term, and for generations to come as you will learn as you study these issues more.”

Laura Hayes

And if it isn’t the Holocaust, many anti-vaccine folks still find ways to invoke Godwin’s Law – “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler rapidly increases.”

There is even a band about refusing vaccines with a song called Vaccine Gestapo.

Rob Schneider calling California lawmakers Nazis after they passed a vaccine law that didn't even involve mandates to be vaccinated...
Rob Schneider calling California lawmakers Nazis after they passed a vaccine law that didn’t even involve mandates that kids be vaccinated…

Remember when Rob Schneider tweeted that California lawmakers were Nazis for passing a law that required parents to get educated before getting a vaccine exemption?

“Mandates effectively use schoolchildren as research subjects without informed consent, in violation of the Nuremberg Code.”

AAPS Executive Director Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Schneider also talked about the Nuremberg Laws. That one was surprising, as most other folks who are anti-vaccine invoke the Nuremberg Code instead.

Of course, both are offensive. As is bringing up the Holocaust when talking about vaccines, vaccine mandates, or autism.

What to Know About Vaccines and the Holocaust

That they would invoke the Holocaust when talking about vaccines and autism, and compare doctors and lawmakers to Nazis, tells you a lot about the modern anti-vaccine movement.

More on Vaccines and that Holocaust

Competing Anti-Vaccine Autism Theories

Vaccines don’t cause autism.

We know that.

donald-trump

Well, most of us know that.

But did you know that there are actually competing theories from anti-vaccine folks about how they think vaccines ’cause autism?’

Wakefield and MMR Causes Autism Theory

On one side, you have the followers of Andrew Wakefield who think that the MMR vaccine is to blame.

To be clear, they seem to think that the problem isn’t necessarily vaccines, but rather the combination of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines into one.

“Again, this was very contentious and you would not get consensus from all members of the group on this, but that is my feeling, that the, the risk of this particular syndrome developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.”

Andrew Wakefield

Wakefield had even filed a patent on his own vaccine replacement – a measles vaccine.

No, Thimerosal Causes Autism Theory

Then you have folks like Robert F Kennedy, Jr who claim that it is thimerosal in vaccines, which was actually removed in the late 1990s, that is to blame.

The thing is, although RFK, Jr believes that kids are still exposed to lots of thimerosal in vaccines, the MMR never ever contained thimerosal. So, if the MMR vaccine causes autism, it isn’t because of thimerosal.

And if thimerosal causes autism, then you can’t really blame the MMR vaccine…

No, Glyphosate Causes Autism Theory

And believe it or not, some folks don’t even blame vaccines!

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, with a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, believes that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is causing kids to become autistic.

“Is there a toxic substance that is currently in our environment on the rise in step with increasing rates of Autism that could explain this?… The answer is yes, I’m quite sure that I’m right, and the answer is glyphosate.”

Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D.

Well, they still blame vaccines.

They think vaccines are contaminated with glyphosate.

Stephanie Seneff actually believes that autism will “afflict 50% of American children by 2025.”

That’s right, she thinks half of all kids will be autistic in just 8 years.

It’s Everything About Vaccines That Causes Autism Theory

And lastly, you have folks who just want to blame anything and everything about vaccines.

They may have blamed the MMR vaccine or thimerosal at one time, but may have moved on to other vaccine ingredients, like aluminum or formaldehyde, or simply getting too many vaccines at the same time.

Or they may believe in combinations of theories, with all of the ‘toxins‘ in vaccines supposedly having a synergistic effect – causing autism.

In many cases, they might not even be sure what it is about vaccines that causes autism, but they are still sure it is vaccines.

Why are there so many competing theories about how vaccines could cause autism?

Could it be because vaccines don’t cause autism?

What To Know About Anti-Vaccine Autism Theories

Whichever anti-vaccine expert is pushing their theory, remember that vaccines still don’t cause autism.

For More Information on Anti-Vaccine Autism Theories

Who was Ignaz Semmelweis?

Anti-vaccine folks don’t seem to like most medical doctors.

There are some that they simply love though.

No, I’m not talking about Andrew Wakefield

This is about Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis.

Never heard of him?

Who was Ignaz Semmelweis?

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was a doctor in the early to mid 19th century who discovered that hand washing with a chlorine solution before surgery and delivering babies could keep people from getting sick and dying, including the women who gave birth in Dr. Semmelweis’ maternity ward.

“Due to his new ideas and his passionate tone his views were rejected and attacked by the majority of Hungarian doctors and doctors from abroad as well.”

Semmelweis University on Ignác Semmelweis

Surprisingly, no one believed him.

Why not?

Although the germ theory of disease was first proposed in 1546 by the Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro, in the early 19th century, most people still believed in the miasmatic theory of the Greek physician Galen of the early Roman Empire.

In 1847, most people didn’t even know about bacteria yet, even though Antonie van Leeuwenhoek had seen them in his microscopes and described them as early as 1676.

So if you believed that the miasma, or bad air, caused disease, what difference would it make if you washed your hands? And would you really believe Semmelweis and his new theory that medical students were carrying “cadaverous particles” on their hands from the autopsy room to the delivery room and making new mothers sick?

Doctors at the time didn’t think that childbed fever was contagious anyway.

What is childbed fever? It is a postpartum infection of the uterus or genital tract that is usually caused by streptococcal bacteria, and which can lead to sepsis.

“Semmelweis’s findings did not immediately improve sanitary conditions in hospitals, but surgeons gradually adopted aseptic and antiseptic techniques and became leading innovators of techniques to reduce patients’ susceptibility to postoperative infections.”

Richard E Dixon, MD  on Control of Health-Care-Associated Infections, 1961-2011

He should have been believed, as he was able to correlate lower death rates in the maternity wards with hand washing, but he likely wasn’t because he never proved causation.

“By nature I am averse to all polemics. This is proven by my having left numerous attacks unanswered. I believed that I could leave it to time to break a path for the truth.”

Ignaz Semmelweis in The Etiology, Concept, and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever

Another problem?

Semmelweis didn’t answer all of the attacks of his critics, including that a large number of women in his maternity wards died between 1856 and 1858, even though the doctors were washing their hands. The deaths were later traced to poorly laundered linen though, not the doctors, after the laundry service for the hospital had been “released to the minimum bidder.”

Semmelweis published his book The Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever in 1860.
Semmelweis waited 13 years to publish his book, The Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever.

It also didn’t help that he waited years to formally publish anything about his work. In fact, his treatise, The Etiology, Concept, and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever, wasn’t published until 1860, which amazingly, is 13 years after he made his discovery!

There was also a lot of political stuff going on in Hungary and the Austrian Empire at the time, including the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

So instead of doctors believing him, he was said to have been driven out of the medical profession, although he still taught medical students, and he eventually died in an insane asylum.

It was at about this time that Louis Pasteur was doing his experiments on germs, disease, and pasteurization. Also, Robert Koch and his Koch’s postulates would soon help doctors and scientists identify which germs were causing a specific disease. And it wasn’t long before Joseph Lister promoted the ideas of antiseptic surgery.

“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.”

Pierre Pachet

That’s not to say that everyone believed Pasteur, Koch, or Lister right away either.

The Semmelweis Reflex

Although most people didn’t believe him before he died, a paradigm shift soon came and Semmelweis became known as one of the early pioneers of antiseptic policies and procedures.

This reactionary short-sightedness gave rise to the the term The Semmelweis Reflex: “the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs or paradigms.”

Carl Hendrick on The Semmelweis Reflex

The Semmelweis Reflex.

There’s your explanation for why anti-vax folks like to invoke Ignaz Semmelweis.

They think that since the ideas of Semmelweis were rejected, but ultimately proven to be right, then every crank and quack who thinks that vaccines don’t work, that vaccines are full of toxins, or that vaccines cause autism must be right too.

And since most are also anti-vaccine, all of the people who believe in autism bio-med cures must be right too.

“Today’s vaccine injury denialism is a modern-day Semmelweis reflex. Pediatricians who care passionately about the welfare of children understandably find repulsive the idea that autism is largely iatrogenic.”

Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland in Vaccine Epidemic

They are all Semmelweis!

Of course they aren’t.

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis had data and statistics showing that he was right. On the other hand, we have data and statistics showing that the anti-vax heroes, including those who push autism biomed cures, these Semmelweis wannabes, are wrong.

“This rhetorical sleight-of-hand, which is sometimes referred to as the Semmelweis Strategem, is a variation of the Galileo Gambit, whereby someone whose work is debunked argues that the fact that Galileo’s work was also debunked proves he is actually correct. Semmelweis is frequently invoked by anti-vaccinationists.”

Seth Mookin in The Panic Virus

Want to know the real irony in their invoking Semmelweis?

Many anti-vaccine folks don’t even believe in germ theory!

That’s right, germ theory denialism is a thing, with advocates discounting the work of Joseph Lister, Robert Koch, Louis Pasteur, and Ignaz Semmelweis.

What To Know About Ignaz Semmelweis

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was ahead of his time in the mid-19th Century when he tried to get doctors to wash their hands to avoid getting their patients sick.

More About Ignaz Semmelweis

Worst Vaccine Books

There are many books to help you get educated about vaccines and avoid getting influenced by vaccine scare stories and anti-vaccine talking points.

Some can even help you understand why you are afraid of vaccines.

Worst Vaccine Books

Unfortunately, if you simply search Amazon for books about vaccines, you are going to be hit with a list of anti-vaccine books. These include books that push their own made-up, so-called alternative immunization schedules and use misinformation about vaccines to scare you away from vaccinating and protecting your kids.

“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… Sears said the book, which helped spark a backlash against vaccines, exposed him to ideas he wasn’t hearing in school.”

Paloma Esquivel on Vaccination controversy swirls around O.C.’s ‘Dr. Bob’

While it is obvious that some are anti-vaccine, with stories about wild conspiracy theories, and that they have no scientific basis for their recommendations, it is also easy to see how others can fool parents, not knowing that the books “rely on the same tired old fallacious arguments that have been heard before and rejected by knowledgeable scientists.”

“…the book is also dangerous in the way in which it validates the pervasive myths that are currently scaring parents into making ill-informed decisions for their children.”

John Snyder on Cashing In On Fear: The Danger of Dr. Sears

These books, which are often described as anti-vaccine, include:

  • Alfred Russel Wallace played a big role in the antivaccination movement in the late 19th Century.
    Many of today’s anti-vaccine books use the same arguments from the 19th century anti-vaccine movement.

    The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public by Anne Dachel

  • The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line by Jennifer Margulis
  • Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines–The Truth Behind a Tragedy by Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy
  • Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History by Suzanne Humphries MD
  • Don’t Vaccinate Before You Educate by Mayer Eisenstein
  • DPT: A Shot in the Dark by Harris L. Coulter and Barbara Loe Fisher
  • Dr. Mary’s Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans and Cancer Causing Monkey Viruses are Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics by Edward T. Haslam
  • Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional? by Leonard Horowitz
  • Evidence of Harm by David Kirby
  • Fowl! Bird Flu: It’s Not What You Think, by Sherri Tenpenny, D.O.
  • Germs, Biological Warfare, Vaccinations: What you Need to Know by Gary Null
  • Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide by Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Jerry Kartzinel
  • Healing Our Autistic Children: A Medical Plan for Restoring Your Child’s Health Paperback by Julie A. Buckley
  • Horrors of Vaccination Exposed and Illustrated by Chas. M. Higgins, M.D.
  • How to Prevent Autism: Expert Advice from Medical Professionals by Dara Berger
  • Jabbed: How the Vaccine Industry, Medical Establishment and Government Stick It to You and Your Family by Brett Wilcox and Kent Heckenlively J.D.
  • Lethal Injections Why Immunizations Don’t Work and the Damage they Cause, by William Douglass, M.D
  • Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism by Jenny McCarthy
  • Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies: 400 Important Scientific Papers Summarized for Parents and Researchers by Neil Z. Miller
  • Melanie’s Marvelous Measles by Stephanie Messenger
  • Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds by Jenny McCarthy
  • Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Pit, by Alan Cantwell, M.D.
  • Raising a Vaccine Free Child, by Wendy Lydall
  • The Sanctity of Human Blood: Vaccination is Not Immunization, by Tim O’Shea, D.C.
  • Saying No to Vaccines: A Resource Guide For All Ages, by Sherri Tenpenny, D.O.
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome Diagnosis on Shaky Ground, by Viera Scheibner, Ph.D.
  • Some Call it AIDS: I Call it Murder, The Connection Between Cancer, AIDS, Immunizations, and Genocide, by Eva Snead M.D.
  • Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: The Evidence Supporting the Immediate Removal of Mercury–a Known Neurotoxin–from Vaccines by Jr. Robert F. Kennedy and Mark Hyman M.D.
  • Vaccination: 100 Years of Orthodox Research Shows Vaccinations are a Medical Assault on the Immune System by Viera Scheibner, Ph.D.
  • Vaccine A: The Covert Government Experiment That’s Killing Our Soldiers – And Why GIs Are Only the First Victims by Gary Matsumoto, Ph.D.
  • The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library) by Robert Sears, MD
  • Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland
  • The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health-from Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years by Paul Thomas M.D. and Jennifer Margulis
  • Vaccine Illusion by Tetyana Obukhanych
  • Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners by Neil Z. Miller
  • Vaccine Whistleblower: Exposing Autism Research Fraud at the CDC by Esq. Kevin Barry and Dr. Boyd E. Haley
  • Vaccines 2.0: The Careful Parent’s Guide to Making Safe Vaccination Choices for Your Family by Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted
  • Vaccines: A Reappraisal by Richard Moskowitz MD and Mary Holland
  • Vaccines Are They Really Safe and Effective? by Neil Z. Miller
  • Vaccines: An Ounce of Prevention? Or a Pound of Death? by Keidi Obi Awadu
  • Vaccines Are Dangerous: A Warning to the Black Community by Yoshua Barak
  • Vaccines: The Risks, the Benefits, the Choices, a Resource Guide for Parents by Sherri Tenpenny, D.O.
  • The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher
  • What The Pharmaceutical Companies Don’t Want You To Know About Vaccines by Todd Elsner, D.C.
  • When Your Doctor Is Wrong, Hepatitis B Vaccine and Autism by Judy Converse, M.P.H., R.D
  • What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave, M.D.

Most parents will likely have few illusions of what these books are really about, even after simply reading the titles or seeing the names of the authors.  For the rest, just read some of the reviews below.

And if you are looking for books to help you make the right decision about vaccinating your kids, try these other vaccine books instead.

What To Know About the Worst Vaccine Books

These vaccine books, many of which are featured on Amazon, mostly rely on the same arguments that vaccines are full of toxins that will poison your kids, that vaccines don’t even work, and that vaccines aren’t even necessary. They are just what you need if you are looking for help to justify your decision to not vaccinate your kids.

More Information on the Worst Vaccine Books:

Vaccine Scare Stories and the Media

We know why some parents are hesitant to get their kids vaccinated and protected against vaccine preventable diseases.

“In today’s world, smallpox has been eradicated due to a successful vaccination program and vaccines have effectively controlled many other significant causes of morbidity and mortality. Consequently, fear has shifted from many vaccine-preventable diseases to fear of the vaccines.”

Marian Siddiqui et al on the Epidemiology of vaccine hesitancy in the United States

These vaccine-hesitant parents have become more afraid of vaccines than of the vaccine-preventable diseases that they have never seen – thanks to effective vaccine programs.

Although there have always been folks around pushing misinformation about vaccines, stoking those fears, there is no denying that vaccine scare stories in the media have played a very big role in the history of the modern anti-vaccine movement.

The Media’s Role in Pushing Vaccine Misinformation

The media has done a good job in helping vaccine controversies either get started or at least spreading to a lot of people.

In addition to helping to publicize the controversy in the first place, you are likely see false balance in their reporting, making it seem like many experts believe that these are real controversies.

“Many recent immunization programs have suffered setbacks from immunization scares. Children have been needlessly put into danger by frightened parents that refused immunization for their children after “scare stories” about particular vaccines.”

WHO on the Impact of rumours and crises

This was certainly true during the “media’s MMR hoax” surrounding Andrew Wakefield.

Why blame the media for Andrew Wakefield’s MMR scandal?

Did a case report about 12 kids really set off a panic about vaccines and autism? Of course, Wakefield deserves a lot of the blame too, but why were his papers so widely  publicized?

“Whatever you think about Andrew Wakefield, the real villains of the MMR scandal are the media.”

Ben Goldacre on The MMR story that wasn’t

Maybe because the British media didn’t learn anything after the pertussis outbreaks of the 1970s and 80s.

In 1973, Dr. John Wilson took to the media to scare parents because he had “seen too many children in whom there has been a very close association between a severe illness, with fits, unconsciousness, often focal neurological signs, and inoculation.” What followed was a drop in DPT vaccinations in many countries and vaccine lawsuits, even though his study was later found to be seriously flawed, with most having no link to the DPT vaccine.

When articles from daily and Sunday papers in Great Britain from the time were analyzed, they were found to be “irresponsible in their attitude” towards vaccines and often depicted “rare, negative events.”

In the United States, Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, one of the first celebrity, anti-vaccine pediatricians, was a frequent guest on Donahue and other talk shows during the 1970s and 80s.

And in 1982, Lea Thompson‘s anti-vaccine documentary DPT: Vaccine Roulette, helped start the modern American anti-vaccine movement.

“Many activists, like Robert Kennedy Jr., have blamed some vaccines for IQ loss, mental retardation and autism. I think that activists and lawyers may be killing people by frightening the public about vaccines. My own daughter got whooping cough after our pediatrician saw a 20/20 report that scared viewers about the whooping cough vaccine and didn’t give her the final vaccination. Fortunately, my daughter recovered, and she will appear on the program. I confront one of the lawyers about “scaring people for money.”

John Stossel 20/20 “Scared Stiff: Worry in America” (2007)

What followed were vaccine scare stories about DPT “hot lots,” vaccine injury stories on Nightline, and Jenny McCarthy on Oprah. There was also a lot of Wakefield on TV, from a 60 Minutes segment in 2000 to a long interview with Matt Lauer in 2009.

Vaccine Scare Stories

What else have we seen? Stories about:

The New York Times did a report about the First Deaf Miss America, saying a reaction to a DPT shot - she didn't.
The New York Times did a report about the First Deaf Miss America, saying a reaction to a DPT shot – she didn’t. The revised story didn’t get as much attention though.
  • hepatitis B vaccine causing multiple sclerosis
  • DPT and other vaccines causing SIDS
  • the HPV vaccines causing autoimmune diseases and other side effects

Lately, the media seems to be doing a better job talking about vaccines, except for a few cases, including Katie Couric discussing the HPV vaccine on her show in 2013 and the TODAY Show letting Robert DeNiro talk about Andrew Wakefield’s anti-vaccine movie VAXXED in 2016.

Worldwide, most vaccine scare stories are limited to tabloid type papers these days. The mainstream media is finally learning about the damage false balance in reporting can cause.

CBS News, who previously had been credited with having a four year run of “extremist views of vaccines and autism,” even ran a story recently educating viewers that dozens of studies have confirmed that the HPV vaccines are safe and that “We need to do better at protecting our children from cancers they never need to get.”

“The stories in the media have focused on anecdotal reports of adults and children who developed several different disorders after vaccination.”

Institute of Vaccine Safety Position on Hepatitis B Vaccines

Unfortunately, yesterday’s vaccine scare stories have been replaced by vaccine injury stories on Facebook and YouTube. These also focus on anecdotal reports of  children developing different disorders after getting their vaccines.

Are they the new fuel for the modern anti-vaccine movement?

Or is it talk about choice and mandates, making parents fear that they will be forced to vaccinate their kids?

Get educated about vaccines so you don’t get scared away from vaccinating and protecting your kids.

What To Know About Vaccine Scare Stories

Vaccine scare stories in the media, fueled by anecdotal reports and false balance in their reporting, have helped scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

More About Vaccine Scare Stories