Tag: confirmation bias

Using Pubmed to Do Research About Vaccines

A lot of the vaccine research that folks do is on PubMed.

Using PubMed to Do Research About Vaccines

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“PubMed comprises more than 27 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.”

All of the studies that say that vaccines are safe, that vaccines work, and that vaccines are necessary are in PubMed.

So are the studies that show that vaccines are not associated with autism, SIDS, and other so-called vaccine induced diseases, like ASIA.

Unfortunately, there are also poorly done studies in PubMed that do purport that vaccines are associated with autism and that ASIA is a real thing.

Can You Use PubMed to Do Research About Vaccines?

Kelly Brogan didn't make history in getting a case report published in a low impact journal who's editorial board includes a Reiki Master, chiropractors, and naturopaths.
Kelly Brogan didn’t make history in getting a case report published in a low impact journal who’s editorial board includes a Reiki Master, chiropractors, and naturopaths.

Just like anyone can put up a website or Facebook page and say whatever they want, almost anyone can get a study or article published in a journal and get it indexed in PubMed.

While PubMed is an index with over 27 million citations, it doesn’t do anything to evaluate those citations to see if they include studies with design flaws, conflicts of interest, or are simply fraudulent.

That means that you need to know that a study does not get a badge of legitimacy for simply being in PubMed!

And it does not automatically mean that the evidence and conclusions from the article are of high quality just because it is listed in PubMed.

So use PubMed to find articles to help you do research about vaccines, but then read the article from beginning to end, not just the abstract, and make sure it is an article you can trust:

  • Was it published in a legitimate journal, like Vaccine or Pediatrics, and some of these high-impact journals? (good)
  • Was it published in a predatory journals?  (bad)
  • Does it involve simply looking at VAERS data?  (usually bad)
  • Is it written by folks with a conflict of interest that makes the article biased?  (bad)
  • Has it already been refuted by other people because it wasn’t designed properly or had other major flaws?  (bad)
  • Is it written by people who have expertise on the topic they are writing about? (good)
  • Has it been retracted?  (very bad)
  • Is it a case report (a glorified anecdote), case series, or animal study (lowest quality evidence) or a systemic review or meta analyses (highest quality evidence)?
  • Is it a case control study, cohort study, and randomized controlled trial, which lie somewhere in between case reports and reviews on the hierarchy of evidence scale?

Are you ready to get educated about vaccines?

That’s great, but PubMed shouldn’t be your first stop, or your only stop.

As you do your research or get bombarded with a list of links or abstracts from PubMed, remember that there is a hierarchy of evidence to consider before deciding if a paper or study is really evidence of anything. And finding a case report, study on rats, or an invitro study won’t win you an argument about vaccines when there are randomized control trials and systemic reviews on the other side.

What to Know About Using PubMed to Do Research About Vaccines

PubMed is a giant index of journal articles, but simply being in PubMed doesn’t mean that an article or study is reliable or of high quality, whether it is about vaccines, a vaccine-preventable disease, or any other medical topic.

More on Using PubMed to Do Research About Vaccines

Immunization Education Agreement

Having disagreements about getting kids vaccinated and protected are not rare these days.

“Many parents have questions about their children’s vaccines, and answering their questions can help parents feel confident in choosing to immunize their child according to the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule.”

CDC on Talking to Parents about Vaccines

They never were though.

The anti-vaccine movement, concerns about the pain from the shots, and worry about side effects have been around for as long as there have been vaccines.

Options When You Disagree About Vaccines

So what should you do if you disagree with someone about vaccines and you don’t want to get your child vaccinated?

It depends on who it is.

For example, if the person you disagree with is your pediatrician, then simply arguing about it likely isn’t a good idea, on either side.

Most pediatricians understand that many vaccine-hesitant parents are simply scared because of things they read and see on the Internet and they want to help you get educated, see through the myths and misinformation that are out there, and eventually get caught up and vaccinated.

They understand that terminating the physician-patient relationship over vaccines truly is a last resort for “when a substantial level of distrust develops, significant differences in the philosophy of care emerge, or poor quality of communication persists.”

Immunization Education Agreement

So what can you do besides arguing?

Will you agree to get educated about vaccines?
Will you agree to get educated about vaccines using recommended and reliable sources of information?

Pediatricians and other health care providers can agree to get better educated about all of the different ways to talk to vaccine-hesitant parents.

And vaccine-hesitant parents can agree to get educated about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases using books and websites that are recommended by their provider.

Reassure your pediatrician that you are not done talking about vaccines and agree to get educated about vaccines:

Immunization Education Agreement Form

Even if you think that you have already done enough research, do just a little more. And then talk to you pediatrician again. And again if you have to.

Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are necessary. Don’t let anyone scare you into thinking that they aren’t.

What to Know About the Immunization Agreement

Whether you find yourself on opposite sides about immunizations with a friend, your spouse, an ex, or your pediatrician, agree to get educated about vaccines using these recommended and reliable sources of information and then talk about it some more.

More on the Immunization Education Agreement

Who Is Tetyana Obukhanych?

It isn’t very hard to figure out who Tetyana Obukhanych really is.

Who Is Tetyana Obukhanych?

Every anti-vaccine article you read that is either about her, or by her, goes out of their way to make sure that you know that she:

  • has a Ph.D. in Immunology: working in the lab of Dr. Michel Nussenzweig, she presented her thesis on Immunologic Memory to Polysaccharide Antigens to the faculty of The Rockefeller University in 2006, in which she proved that vaccines work
  • trained at Harvard: started her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, which can lead to a tenure-track faculty position (it didn’t)
  • trained at Stanford: did some of her postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science at the Stanford University School of Medicine, which again, can lead to a tenure-track faculty position (it didn’t)
  • has 8 published peer-reviewed research articles: that she co-authored with many others and only one has her as the primary author, in which she concluded that “As the generation and regulation of immunologic memory is central to vaccination, our findings help explain the mode of action of the few existing polysaccharide vaccines and provide a rationale for a wider application of polysaccharide-based strategies in vaccination.”
  • wrote a book about vaccines: that she self-published for the Kindle
  • frequently lectures about vaccines: which are basically interviews and talks that push classic anti-vaccine misinformation, despite her having “studied immunology in some of the world’s most prestigious medical institutions”

Not surprisingly, the modern anti-vaccine movement loves her.

“All throughout my PhD training I was a faithful believer in vaccination. I believed for almost two decades that the reason I had contracted measles and whooping cough during my teenage years was because I wasn’t vaccinated against these diseases. Then, when I had to check my childhood vaccination records, I discovered that I was in fact fully vaccinated for both measles and whooping cough, and the resulting contradiction necessitated me to reexamine all my previous beliefs about the immunologic theory behind vaccination.”

Tetyana Obukhanych, Ph.D.

While getting a vaccine-preventable disease after being vaccinated might make some folks question the whole “immunologic theory behind vaccination,” for most others, they would simply question other factors that might have led to this possible vaccine failure.

Was she fully vaccinated according to the US immunization schedule (two doses of a measles containing vaccine and four doses of a pertussis containing vaccine, with a booster as a teenager)? Were the vaccines equivalent? Were there outbreaks going on?

Outbreaks?

Although it is not clear when she came to the United States to pursue her education, Tetyana Obukhanych was born in Ukraine and likely lived through the “massive epidemic” of diphtheria and other vaccine-preventable diseases in the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

“This epidemic, primarily affecting adults in most Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union, demonstrates that in a modern society diphtheria can still spread explosively and cause extensive illness and death.”

Diphtheria in the Former Soviet Union: Reemergence of a Pandemic Disease

In Ukraine alone, there were 17,387 cases of diphtheria and 646 deaths from 1992 to 1997. Also high, were cases of measles (over 23,000 cases in 1993) and pertussis (almost 7,000 cases in 1993).

Even if she had already left Ukraine, those outbreaks are great evidence that vaccines work and that vaccines are necessary.

Tetyana Obukhanych on Vaccines

Instead of discussing them, Tetyana Obukhanych operates using an appeal to authority to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

As an immunologist, isn’t she really an authority though?

Consider that even though she might be a Harvard trained immunologist with a PhD, there are:

  • over 7,600 members of the American Association of Immunologists
  • just over 8,000 residents and postdoctoral fellows at Harvard
  • 1,279 postdocs at Standford School of Medicine

and few, if any, agree with anything she says about vaccines.

“Research has repeatedly confirmed that vaccinations are safe and highly effective for all healthy children and adults, and any suggestions to the contrary have been discredited. Ongoing vaccine research continually reaffirms its safety and efficacy, including the number of vaccines administered at any one time and the recommended vaccination schedule.”

The American Association of Immunologists Statement on Vaccines

Now if “more than 7,600 basic and clinical immunologists, strongly support the use of vaccines to prevent disease,” then why would you even think about listening to just one who doesn’t?

We actually know why.

It’s called confirmation bias.

“Many questions in science and medicine are confusing and frustrating, but fortunately, the question of vaccination need not be one of them. Because for vaccines, the verdict is already in: guilty of being safe, effective, powerful, and highly recommended.”

Vivian Chou is a Ph.D. student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at Harvard Medical School.

So what does Tetyana Obukhanych think about vaccines?

  • A pic of a cherry on the cover would have been more appropriate, as a lot of cherry picking of studies and references goes on in the book.
    A pic of a cherry on the cover would have been more appropriate, as a lot of cherry picking of studies and references goes on in her e-book.

    that experts overlooked that the smallpox vaccine didn’t provide life-long immunity, even though it was known by the end of the 19th century that boosters could be needed and that was well before any other vaccine was developed

  • that Immunology has no theoretical or evidence-based explanation for immunity – she should read the book Immunity by William E. Paul, MD – an internationally renowned immunologist
  • that instead of simply helping vaccines work better, adjuvants are necessary to help vaccines work at all, because “purified protein antigens do not have an ability to induce antibody production in humans or animals (the recipients) on their own.”
  • that adjuvants are necessary to develop allergies, including food allergies – because “without an adjuvant, there will be no immune response to a food protein or peptide, and it will not become an allergen.”
  • that vaccines are only monitored for two or three weeks to make sure they are safe
  • that titer tests or “a positive serological test is a proof of immunity only in the absence of vaccination. In vaccinated individuals, a serological test of immunity is biologically meaningless.”
  • that we have created a so-called vaccine paradox, in which “vaccines reduce the overall incidence of childhood diseases, yet make them infinitely more dangerous for the next generation of babies.”
  • that homeopathy works
  • that “for most communicable viral diseases there is no herd immunity in the post – elimination era.”

Being Harvard trained can certainly be a big deal. After all, John Enders, “The Father of Modern Vaccines,” who won the Nobel Prize for his work on the cultivation of the poliomyelitis viruses and who developed the first live measles vaccine, trained at Harvard.

“The apparent absence of major viral epidemics in the U.S. is now due to the absence of endemic viral exposure, not herd immunity.”

Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD on Vaccine Illusion

Some would wonder if Tetyana Obukhanych even knows who John Enders was…

Tragically, as Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych, the Harvard trained immunologist from Ukraine goes on and on about how vaccines don’t work, Ukraine is facing outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases due to parents not vaccinating their kids and limited supplies of vaccines.

Unfortunately, they aren’t lucky enough to have an “absence of endemic viral exposure,” or in other words, herd immunity.

What To Know About Tetyana Obukhanych

While she is a Harvard trained immunologist with a PhD, Tetyana Obukhanych pushes classic misinformation about vaccines that you would be hard pressed to get any other immunologist or Harvard grad to agree.

More on Tetyana Obukhanych

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: