Tag: Sherri Tenpenny

Is the Samoan Measles Outbreak Fabricated?

Why do some folks think that the Samoan measles outbreak is fabricated?

There are actually folks out there pushing the idea that the measles epidemic in Samoa is fake or fabricated.

It’s more than the usual suspects.

Understanding the Anti-Vax Response to Measles Deaths in Samoa

It is because wild conspiracy theories are the fuel of the modern anti-vaccine movement.

No one should be surprised either that they have invented 101 different theories about why kids are dying in Samoa.

It can’t simply be that they are unvaccinated and that measles is a life-threatening disease! That would interfere with their whole world view that it is okay to leave their own kids unvaccinated and unprotected because they think that vaccines are dangerous, aren’t necessary, and vaccine-preventable diseases aren’t that big of a deal.

Is the Samoan Measles Outbreak Fabricated?

And that gets us to the idea that the measles outbreak in Samoa is fake or unnatural.

Zach Vorhies spread the UNICEF vaccine conspiracy theory.
Zach Vorhies spread the UNICEF vaccine conspiracy theory.

Was the measles outbreak in Samoa started by shedding from vaccines sent by UNICEF in early October?

Folks who spread the UNICEF vaccine conspiracy leave out the fact that the first cases were in September...
Folks who spread the UNICEF vaccine conspiracy leave out the fact that the first cases were in September…

Wait, why did UNICEF start sending measles vaccines to Samoa in October?

Yeah, that’s right. The first cases were actually in September, triggered by visitor from New Zealand in August.

There were 22 dead children at the time, but Erin Marie RN, just for fun, was spreading the conspiracy theory that the epidemic was caused by a vaccine strain of measles.
There were 22 dead children at the time, but Erin Marie RN, just for fun, was spreading the conspiracy theory that the epidemic was caused by a vaccine strain of measles.

Anyway, the strain in Samoa is D8, not A as you would expect if it was a vaccine strain.

And the idea that the outbreak was fabricated by Merck to sell more vaccine?

Remember the CDC price list conspiracy?

That seems reminiscent of the CDC price list conspiracy that anti-vax folks were pushing last year…

UNICEF gets vaccines at a steep discount.
UNICEF gets vaccines at a steep discount.

No one is making any money on the vaccines being used in Samoa anyway.

Folks in Samoa put out a red flag to let vaccination teams know that they needed to get protected.
Folks in Samoa put out a red flag to let vaccination teams know that they needed to get protected.

But they are forcing people to get vaccinated, right?

Taylor Winterstein thinks Samoa is turning into Nazi Germany because they want to stop a measles epidemic...
Taylor Winterstein thinks Samoa is turning into Nazi Germany because they want to stop a measles epidemic…

Even those who have been made to think that the vaccines are toxic?

When folks turned away vaccination teams they weren't forced to get vaccinated...
When folks turned away vaccination teams they weren’t forced to get vaccinated…

Nope.

While there is a vaccine mandate, no one is being forced to get vaccinated.

Most were very happy to get vaccinated and protected!

What about the rogue strains of mutated measles that Bobby Kennedy warned the Prime Minister about?

They aren’t causing the measles epidemic in Samoa

Jim Meehan doesn't think that the measles epidemic is natural...
Jim Meehan doesn’t think that the measles epidemic is natural…

Again, neither are vaccine strain measles.

Yes, let's get to the bottom of this and call out each and every person that is scaring parents away from vaccinating their kids in Samoa.
Yes, let’s get to the bottom of this and call out each and every person that is scaring parents away from vaccinating their kids in Samoa.

What about the idea that kids are only dying in Samoa because it is a third world country?

Well, it’s not. It is a developing country and more people with measles are dying everywhere, as we see more and more cases.

“This would be news if outbreaks of similar intensity occurred in first world countries, such as the United States or the European Union. But they don’t. Nor do they occur in a similar scale or severity. This means that hygiene, nutrition, refrigeration, and potable water—items many in the modern world take for granted—are the real delta between measles deaths in the Third World versus mild measles cases in the first, which come and go, and rarely result in fatalities.”

Measles Hysteria – from Samoa to the Congo

While we are lucky that there have been no measles deaths in the last few years in the United States, there have been 100s in Europe.

Can you blame the 8 measles deaths in Italy on poor nutrition?

And the deaths are not because kids have been getting Tylenol or not been given vitamin A.

Remember when our state Legislatures worked to protect us from infectious diseases, instead of trying to pass laws that make it easier for kids to skip or delay their vaccines? Remember the 55,622 cases of measles and 123 deaths in the United States measles epidemics between 1989 and 1991? Did we not have good hygiene and nutrition then?
Remember when our state Legislatures worked to protect us from infectious diseases, instead of trying to pass laws that make it easier for kids to skip or delay their vaccines? Remember the 55,622 cases of measles and 123 deaths in the United States measles epidemics between 1989 and 1991? Did we not have good hygiene and nutrition then?

It is because they are not vaccinated and not immune to measles!

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

Don’t spread anti-vaccine propaganda that helps contribute to these kinds of outbreaks and epidemics.

More on Samoan Measles Epidemic Conspiracy Theories

The Timeline of the Measles Epidemic in Samoa

The timeline of the measles epidemic in Samoa seems fairly easy to understand.

Vaccination rates went down, the people in Samoa got caught up in the rise in measles cases and outbreaks happening all over the world, and they soon had a measles epidemic on their hands, with lots of kids dying.

In an outbreak situation, everyone who is not immune would need to get two doses of a measles containing vaccine and that's why you need 215,000 doses of measles vaccine... And despite what Sherri Tenpenny might think, everyone on Samoa is still not vaccinated yet.
In an outbreak situation, everyone who is not immune would need to get two doses of a measles containing vaccine and that’s why you need 215,000 doses of measles vaccine… And despite what Sherri Tenpenny might think, everyone on Samoa is still not vaccinated yet.

Unfortunately, anti-vaccine folks continue to exploit the tragedy, trying to make it sound like vaccines actually caused the epidemic.

“The Samoa Measles Appeal is being launched by the Government of Samoa to receive financial assistance from partners to support national efforts to contain the outbreak, to effectively treat people who contracted measles, and to achieve herd immunity for long term protection of the population.”

National Measles Response and Recovery Appeal

They are even making up conspiracy theories about the money the Government of Samoa is requesting to help control the epidemic and prevent future outbreaks.

The Timeline of the Measles Epidemic in Samoa

Maybe what is happening in Samoa isn’t so easy to understand…

Let’s give it a try!

To truly understand what is happening in Samoa, you have to go back a little further than when the epidemic started.

In fact, we have to go all of the way back to July 2018, when two young children died very shortly after getting their routine MMR vaccines. Although they died because of a mixup between the vaccine diluent and a powerful anesthetic, the tragic deaths led to the suspension of all vaccinations in the country.

Taylor Winterstein was planning an anti-vax workshop in Samoa in June.
Taylor Winterstein was planning an anti-vax workshop in Samoa in June.

And while the suspension was eventually reversed, they continued to hold MMR vaccinations for another nine months, until April 15, 2019.

Bobby Kennedy actually wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Samoa on November 19th making every effort to blame the epidemic on a defective MMR vaccine, mutant measles strains, or vaccine strain measles.
Bobby Kennedy actually wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Samoa on November 19th making every effort to blame the epidemic on a defective MMR vaccine, mutant measles strains, or vaccine strain measles.

Combine that with the efforts of anti-vax folks and it is easy to see how immunization rates in Samoa eventually tumbled to a low of just 30%!

What happened next?

On October 9, we got the first report of a measles case in Samoa and that it was related to a someone who visited from New Zealand for a conference at the end of August.

But by the time of that first report, at least 86 people had already been tested for suspected measles!

“Of the 28 specimens of suspected measles cases sent to Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory Melbourne, Australia on the 30th Sept 2019, twelve (12) results have been received over the week end. Of these twelve there were four confirmed cases; one adult and three children. All have been treated and discharged with no complications.

On the 2nd of October 2019, we sent another 8 specimens of suspected measles cases. Current results received this afternoon of these eight specimens sent revealed three new confirmed cases. Of these three positive cases, two were children under five years and 1 was an adult of 22 years old. All have been treated and discharged.

A total of seven confirmed cases have been reported to date. In anticipation, we now confirm a Measles Epidemic.”

Ministry of Health Press Release 1 – Measles Epidemic (October 16)

With that many cases already, it should be obvious that the measles outbreak in Samoa started in late September. That explains why UNICEF had begun to send measles vaccines and vitamin A to Samoa in early October.

Measles cases in Samoa began in September, which is why UNICEF began sending vaccines in October.
Wait. If the outbreak is caused by the vaccine strain (A genotype), why are folks testing positive for the D8 strain?

And that should put to rest the myth that this is some kind of unnatural, vaccine induced outbreak that got started because of the UNICEF vaccines.

“The deceased child of one year two months was admitted on the 8th October 2019 with a history of febrile convulsions, cough and skin rash typical of measles associated with severe dehydration. Verification of immunization status for this child revealed that he has not been vaccinated against measles.”

Ministry of Health Press Release 1 – Measles Epidemic

Tragically, we very soon saw the first measles death (October 15) in Samoa, an unvaccinated toddler. With continued cases, they soon declared a measles epidemic on October 16.

With continued cases and deaths, the Government of Samoa closed all preschools and daycare centers on October 31.

On November 8, they lowered the age to get the first dose MMR in Samoa to 6 months.

It wasn’t long before the Government of Samoa declared a full fledged state of emergency (November 15), closing schools, restricting children from gathering in public, and making vaccination mandatory.

“The outbreaks in Samoa and Tonga are caused by the D8 strain (genotype) of measles virus. Measles vaccine coverage varies in Pacific island countries and areas, ranging from 31% in Samoa to 99% in the Cook Islands, Nauru and Niue.”

Measles Outbreak in the Pacific – Situation Report No 1, 22 November, 2019

It was at this time that more help came from New Zealand, 12 nurses to help administer vaccines. Australia also soon sent a team of 34 doctors and nurses to help at Samoa’s main hospital in the capital Apia.

“Samoa’s government is warning anyone trying to discourage people from getting measles vaccinations to stop it.”

Measles Update: Samoa warns against anti-vaxxers; issues new emergency orders

And now, although there have been some roadblocks put up by anti-vaxxers both in and out of Samoa, with lots of help, they are hopefully getting their epidemic under control.

“As of December 6th, 2019, approximately 89% of all eligible people in Samoa have been vaccinated against measles.”

National Emergency Operation Centre: Update on the measles outbreak (Press Release 21) December 7, 2019

In fact, many people were vaccinated when the Government of Samoa shut down on December 5th and 6th.

“On 03/12, the Government announced that a nationwide mass vaccination will take place on Thursday and Friday (05 + 06/12) and all public services (excluding power and water, police, and health services) as well as the private sector (with few exceptions) will be shut down from 7 am – 5 pm to enforce the mass vaccination programme. Citizens were asked to stay at their residences and await the visit of mobile vaccination teams. There are 128 teams carrying out the mass vaccination campaign during this period.”

National Measles Response and Recovery Appeal, 6 December 2019

During the door to door mass vaccination campaign, families were told to stay home and hang red flags outside their homes if they needed to be vaccinated.

Photo courtesy of the Government of Samoa.
Photo courtesy of the Government of Samoa.

Amazingly, with all of the cases and deaths, some folks resisted and didn’t want to be vaccinated and protected.

Still wondering why some parents are scared and don't want their kids vaccinated?
Still wondering why some parents are scared and don’t want their kids vaccinated?

They turned the vaccination teams away!

So much for the idea of forced vaccination, right?

There have been 70 deaths in the measles epidemic in Samoa.
An update from Samoa on December 9th.

Most have gotten vaccinated and protected though.

They understand that while traditional healers might still be popular in Samoa, they can not be used for life-threatening diseases such as measles.

In addition to overloading kids with vitamin C, a traditional healer working with Jim Meehan was arrested for making many claims that scared people away from getting vaccinated and protected.
In addition to overloading kids with vitamin C, a traditional healer working with Jim Meehan was arrested on December 6 for making many claims that scared people away from getting vaccinated and protected.

So what’s next?

The measles epidemic in Samoa has greatly slowed down as most folks are now vaccinated and protected.
The measles epidemic in Samoa has greatly slowed down as most folks are now vaccinated and protected.

While it isn’t over yet, hopefully we are in the ending stages of their epidemic, as many people have now been vaccinated and protected with at least one dose of a measles containing vaccine.

And hopefully everyone has learned a big lesson and this epidemic will serve as a warning to everyone to vaccinate and protect their kids.

Samoan children should have been vaccinated and protected.
Samoan children should have been vaccinated and protected.

They have hopefully also learned to not listen to anti-vax folks, especially those who would try and exploit this kind of epidemic to push their propaganda.

More on the Measles Epidemic in Samoa

What Do Anti-Vaccine Doctors Know About Vaccines?

Here’s a tip for pre-med students – simply going to a good, or even great medical school, doesn’t guarantee that you will become a good doctor. Or even that you won’t become a bad doctor.

One of the few things that Del Bigtree has ever gotten right. Anti-vaccine doctors are a big part of the problem.
One of the few things that Del Bigtree has ever gotten right. Anti-vaccine doctors are a big part of the problem.

There are plenty of folks that end up being quacks that have gone to NYU, Harvard, and Dartmouth, etc.

“Gordon hated medical school. He almost flunked out.”

Pediatrician Jay Gordon Talks Babies, Breast Feeding, Vaccines and Almost Flunking Out of Medical School

But there are a few things that anti-vaccine pediatricians have in common.

What Do Anti-Vaccine Doctors Know About Vaccines?

For one thing, they never consider themselves to be anti-vaccine.

That probably goes without saying. Well, at least by them.

There is something else that they have in common that likely won’t surprise you.

Anti-vaccine doctors don't seem to know anything about vaccines.

They all say that they didn’t learn very much about vaccines in medical school or residency!

In fact, Bob Sears and Paul Thomas say that they learned nothing about vaccines and they are the ones who wrote books with alternative immunization schedules that are influencing parents to avoid vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Having read their books, I believe them!

“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.”

Paul Thomas

Wait, what?

Does that mean he doesn’t think that measles and polio and other diseases can really be prevented by vaccines?

“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.”

Bob Sears

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.”

Kelly Brogan

Do you think that Kelly Brogan, a holistic psychiatrist, learned much about vaccines at NYU? Anything about science???

Why does anyone listen to these folks?

But they learned about vaccines later, right?

“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.

More on Anti-Vaccine Doctors

Should I Stop Calling Chickenpox and Measles Diseases?

Sherri Tenpenny wants us to stop calling chickenpox and measles diseases.

She thinks that we should call them infections instead…

Should I Stop Calling Chickenpox and Measles Diseases?

If you are like most people, you are probably thinking to yourself and maybe even shouting at your computer screen right now, “who cares what you call them, just get vaccinated and stop the outbreaks!”

When you vaccinate to avoid an infection, what you are potentially doing is preventing a death!
When you vaccinate to avoid an infection, what you are potentially doing is preventing a death!

Believe it or not, there is actually some precedent for changing the way we talk about diseases. While you may still refer to them as STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases out of habit, the prefererable term is actually STI, or sexually tranmistted infection.

Of course, this has nothing to do with Tenpenny’s reasoning.

“Why the change? The concept of ‘disease,’ as in STD, suggests a clear medical problem, usually some obvious signs or symptoms. But several of the most common STDs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of persons infected. Or they have mild signs and symptoms that can be easily overlooked. So the sexually transmitted virus or bacteria can be described as creating ‘infection,’ which may or may not result in ‘disease.’ This is true of chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV), to name a few.

For this reason, for some professionals and organizations the term ‘disease’ is being replaced by ‘infection.'”

ASHA on STDs/STIs

In fact, their definitions sound nothing like Tenpennys…

Unfortunately, many STIs, even if they aren’t causing symptoms and disease, can still be contagious.

Measles and chickenpox don’t do that. Although you can be contagious just before you start to have symptoms, you will very quickly develop symptoms.

It is true that some viruses and bacteria can lead to subclinical infections, in which you develop immunity without ever developing symptoms, but that doesn’t usually happen with measles and chicken pox.

Polio is one of the best examples of when it does happen. Remember, nearly 75% of kids who got polio never had any symptoms. Tragically, those symptoms could be severe in the small percentage who did.

So as usual, Sherri Tenpenny is wrong.

Chickenpox and measles are infections that cause disease. And while most people recover after 7 to 10 days of symptoms, including a high fever and rash, some don’t.

Both also put you at risk for long-term complications, namely shingles and SSPE.

Remember, if you listen to folks like her and skip or delay your child’s vaccines and they get chickenpox or measles, the only thing you are doing is causing more people to get sick. A catchy slogan won’t prevent that or keep your kids healthy.

More on Diseases vs Infections