Tag: vaccine myths

Vaccines and SIDS

Rates of most causes of sudden infant death, including SIDS, have dropped since the mid-1990s.
Rates of most causes of sudden infant death, including SIDS, have dropped since the mid-1990s.

Long before Andy Wakefield scared parents with the idea that vaccines could be linked to autism, we had the myth that vaccines caused SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.

SIDS

SIDS is the “cause assigned to infant deaths that cannot be explained after a thorough case investigation, including a scene investigation, autopsy, and review of the clinical history.”

Like other types of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), including sleep related deaths, the incidence of SIDS decreased dramatically in the mid-1990s after the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced their safe sleep recommendations.

These recommendations have evolved over the years, which is now called Safe to Sleep, and now include advice about room sharing instead of bedsharing, the protective role of breastfeeding and getting immunized, avoiding overheating, using pacifiers, and getting regular prenatal care, etc.

Vaccines and SIDS

The fact that getting immunized is thought to have a protective role against SIDS should help folks understand that vaccines do not cause SIDS.

“There is no evidence that there is a causal relationship between immunizations and SIDS. Indeed, recent evidence suggests that vaccination may have a protective effect against SIDS.”

AAP Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

It is very easy to see why some would think they could be linked though. The highest risk of SIDS coincides with the ages of the two and four month well child checks, when infants are vaccinated. But as many of us understand, correlation does not imply causation. Just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean that one caused the other.

It also didn’t help that in 1999, ABC’s 20/20 did a misleading episode, “Who’s Calling the Shots?,” which claimed that the hepatitis B vaccine could cause SIDS.

But it is easy to see that they were wrong.

For one thing, even as we are giving infants more vaccines and protecting them from more diseases, fewer infants are dying of SIDS. How can that be if vaccines are linked to SIDS?

And why is the infant mortality rate in the United States continuing to go down, recently reaching a record low?

Also, many studies, such as this one, “Probability of Coincident Vaccination in the 24 or 48 Hours Preceding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Death in Australia,” showed that coincident vaccination and SIDS can be expected to occur by chance alone. In fact, for the infants in this study, they showed that “if a child experienced an illness at the age of 8 weeks, then there is a 7% chance (or probability of 0.07) that the child would have been vaccinated in the preceding 24 hours.”

“…when a number of well-controlled studies were conducted during the 1980s, the investigators found, nearly unanimously, that the number of SIDS deaths temporally associated with DTP vaccination was within the range expected to occur by chance. In other words, the SIDS deaths would have occurred even if no vaccinations had been given.”

WHO Six Common Misconceptions About Immunization

And other studies actually showed that getting vaccinated reduced an infant’s risk of dying of SIDS.

What To Know About Vaccines and SIDS

Vaccines do not cause SIDS.

In fact, getting vaccinated is now thought to have a protective effect against SIDS!

For More Information on Vaccines and SIDS

Fake Vaccine News

Lately, after the election of Donald Trump, there has been an effort by Facebook and Google to crack down on fake news.

What is fake news?

Although some people include satirical news stories, it is mostly stories with made-up statistics or out-of-context quotes that intentionally mislead people to get clicks and pageviews.

Unfortunately, these click-bait type fake news stories aren’t just about politics.

Fake Vaccine News

Some websites cross over and deal with fake political news and fake health and vaccine news. These are typically sites that talk a lot about conspiracy theories:

  • Collective-Evolution
  • InfoWars
  • LewRockwell

Alex Jones’ InfoWars recently did a story “Shock: Scientists Work To Destroy Old Polio Vaccine After Admitting it Causes Polio.” While there is a touch of truth to that headline, the old polio vaccine is simply being destroyed because it is no longer needed – type 2 polio has been eliminated and we are moving to a safer bivalent polio vaccine.

That polio vaccine story is fairly mild by InfoWars standards though. Consider another of their “news” articles concludes that “With people globally becoming increasingly aware of the role of vaccines in the agenda to reduce world population, the cover-up of debilitating diseases, soft kill side-effects, and instant fatalities as a result of vaccinations will continue to implode, until authorities are forced by law to implement vastly more stringent screening procedures and remove the toxic additives from vaccines that are causing these deaths and diseases.”

Other InfoWars headlines include:

  • Bill Gates: Use Vaccines To Lower Population
  • Rockefeller Foundation Developed Vaccines For “Mass-Scale” Fertility Reduction
  • Are Populations Being Primed For Nano-Microchips Inside Vaccines?

Of course, Alex Jones isn’t the only one pushing fake vaccine news.

Other fake vaccine news sties are run by people and organizations who are obviously anti-vaccine, but in addition to scaring people about supposed toxins in vaccines and anecdotal vaccine injury stories, they publish obvious fake news.

We saw some good examples of this when Prince died. TruthKings, which also has stories about politics and weather wars, was quick to say that “Vaccine Injury Suspected In Prince’s Death.”

Suspected by whom? The only evidence was that “he was battling a flu.” While we now know that he died of an overdose, it is beyond silly to go from “battling a flu” to dying of a vaccine injury.

Another example?

Multi-dose vials of flu vaccine still contain the preservative thimerosal.
It is no secret that multi-dose vials of flu vaccine still contain the preservative thimerosal.

In an “exclusive” report, NaturalNews found “a shockingly high level of toxic mercury in an influenza vaccine.”

The only problem? They tested a multidose vial of the flu vaccine that still contains mercury, and they found exactly as much mercury as it was supposed to have. While that would have been news if they had tested one of the many flu vaccines that are thimerosal free, the article doesn’t mention that at all. It instead goes on and on about how everyone else is in on some elaborate lie or conspiracy tricking people into thinking that mercury has been removed from vaccines.

Ironically, NaturalNews thinks this is a reason that they shouldn’t be labeled as being fake news.

Natural News is the only website to have tested flu shots for mercury composition using ICP-MS instrumentation and published the mercury numbers in the interests of public health and safety.

Mike Adams, the “Health Ranger”

Many other sites that often push fake vaccine news including:

  • TruthWiki.org
  • TheLibertyBeacon.com
  • ActivistPost.com
  • TheDailySheeple.com

Where have you read fake vaccine news?

For More Information on Fake Vaccine News

Paul Offit

Paul Offit, MD, FAAP is a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, completing his training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

If people choose not to get vaccinated it’s because they’re not scared of the disease, and they have false concerns about what the vaccine can do.

Paul Offit, MD

His abbreviated resume is 34 pages long…

Paul Offit's books will help you do real research about vaccines.
Paul Offit’s books will help you do real research about vaccines.

In addition to being the co-inventor of RotaTeq, one of two rotavirus vaccines in use today, Dr. Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education Center and a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Even more importantly, whether it was his appearances on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report and other places in the media, his free vaccine course, or the 150 papers he has published in medical and scientific journals, Dr. Offit has been a leading force in educating pediatricians and parents about the importance and safety of vaccines

His books and articles are essential reading, especially for health care providers and parents who might be thinking about skipping or delaying one or more vaccines. They include:

  • Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure
  • Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All
  • Vaccines and Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction
  • Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine
  • Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine
  • Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases
  • The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis

Not surprisingly, he is a frequent target of anti-vaccine groups.

It also shouldn’t be surprising that all of their attacks are very easily debunked.

For More Information on Paul Offit:

Pediatricians as Vaccine Pushers

We often here that pediatricians are vaccine pushers, at least from anti-vaccine folks…

If that is the case though, how come pediatricians don’t routinely push any of the following vaccines on kids:

  1. Adenovirus vaccine – only given to enlisted soldiers during basic training
  2. Anthrax vaccine – high risk people only
  3. BCG vaccine vaccine – high risk people only
  4. Cholera vaccine – recently approved in the United States as a travel vaccine
  5. Hepatitis E – not available in the United States
  6. Japanese encephalitis vaccine – a travel vaccine
  7. Meningococcal C vaccine (MenC) – not available in the United States
  8. Meningococcal B vaccine (MenB) –  has a “permissive” recommendation in that parents are told they can get it if they want their kids to avoid MenB infections, but it is not required yet.
  9. MenHibrix – a combination between Hib and Meningococcal Groups C and Y, but it is only given to high risk kids
  10. Plague vaccine – discontinued
  11. Rabies vaccine – high risk people only
  12. Shingles vaccine – seniors only
  13. Smallpox vaccine – high risk people only
  14. Tick-borne encephalitis – not available in the United States
  15. Typhoid fever vaccine – a travel vaccine
  16. Typhus vaccine – discontinued
  17. Yellow fever vaccine – a travel vaccine
The oral adenovirus vaccine is approved to prevent adenovirus infections in military populations.
The oral adenovirus vaccine is approved to prevent adenovirus infections in military populations.

Sure, it would be hard to push a vaccine that has been discontinued or not even available in the United States, but if your goal was to aggressively push vaccines, how hard would it be to get Big Pharma to start making them available?

That would more than double the number of vaccines that kids would have to get.

Those Times “Vaccine Pushers” Said No To Vaccines

And how come some of the biggest vaccine advocates have been against plans for mass immunizations if they are vaccine pushers?

In addition to Dr. Albert Sabin advising against President Gerald Ford’s plans for universal vaccination against swine flu in 1976, Dr. Paul Offit missed the chance to push the small pox vaccine on us in 2002. He instead advised for a different plan:

Here’s another way to do it. We can make the vaccine. Make sure we understand who’s going to get it, who’s going to be giving it. Then wait, wait for there to be one case of documented smallpox somewhere on the face of this earth and then we can move into vaccinating people, large numbers of people.

Dr. Paul Offit

Dr. Offit, who is routinely called a shameless vaccine pusher by anti-vaccine websites, was the sole member of a CDC vaccine advisory committee to vote against President George Bush’s 2002 plan to vaccinate about 500,000 health care workers against smallpox. He feared that the risks might outweigh the benefits.

For More Information on Vaccine Pushers

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Vaccine Allergies

The Cervarix HPV vaccine lists latex as an ingredient - in the tip caps.
Cervarix tip caps contain natural rubber latex and can be a problem if your child has an anaphylactic reaction to latex.

Can you be allergic to a vaccine?

Of course.

In fact, having a severe, life-threatening allergy to a vaccine is one of the main reasons to not get vaccinated.

Specifically, guidelines usually state that you should not get vaccinated:

  • if you have a severe allergy to any component of the vaccine
  • if you have had had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine

Fortunately, these types of serious allergic reactions are very rare. In fact, most kids with egg allergies can even get a flu shot, something unheard of just a few years ago.

How rare?

The WHO states that “The rate of anaphylaxis has been documented to be variable, with a rate of 3.5 to 10 per million doses following a measles-containing vaccine.”

Rates of 0.65 to 1.53 cases per million doses have also been reported when including more commonly used vaccines.

Vaccine Allergy Myths

Still, instead of true vaccine allergies leading to problems, it is much more common for misinformation about vaccine allergies to scare parents away from getting their kids vaccinated.

Some of the most common vaccine allergy myths include that:

  • you can’t get vaccinated if you have a history of a penicillin allergy, cephalosporin allergy, or sulfa drug allergy – you can
  • you can’t get vaccinated if you have non-vaccine allergies, have relatives with allergies, or are receiving allergy shots – you can
  • you can’t get vaccinated if you have a latex allergy that is not anaphylactic – you can
  • you can’t get the MMR vaccine if you have an egg allergy – you can
  • you can’t get the flu vaccine if you have an egg allergy – you can, although your pediatrician will observe your child for 30 minutes if he has a severe egg allergy
  • vaccines are causing a peanut allergy epidemic – they aren’t and you can get vaccinated if you have a peanut allergy.

And know that vaccines don’t actually cause allergies.

Allergies and Vaccine Components

Components of vaccines can rarely trigger allergic reactions, including:

  • antibiotics – but these aren’t antibiotics that are commonly used anymore, like Amoxil. Instead, some vaccines contain residual amounts of either gentamicin, neomycin, polymyxin B, or streptomycin. And anyway, the small amounts that could be leftover in the vaccine aren’t known to trigger allergic reactions.
  • eggs – while your child with an egg allergy can get the flu shot, and then being observed as a precaution, the yellow fever vaccine could still be an issue
  • gelatin – some vaccines use gelatin, like in Jell-O, as a stabilizer
  • latex – if your child has a severe (anaphylactic) allergy to latex, you should likely avoid vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain natural rubber latex
  • yeast – although they aren’t thought to be an issue for kids with yeast allergies, a few vaccines can have residual amounts of yeast in them

What about aluminum? Some recent studies, including one in Pediatrics, “Case Report of Subcutaneous Nodules and Sterile Abscesses Due to Delayed Type Hypersensitivity to Aluminum-Containing Vaccines,” do suggest that aluminum can very rarely cause a non-anaphylactic delayed type IV hypersensitivity reaction. These children could have persistent redness and nodules at the site of vaccination for weeks or months when an aluminum containing vaccine is given.

Fortunately, these are mild, non-life-threatening reactions and aren’t a reason to stop vaccinating your child. And, as another study reported, “Unexpected loss of contact allergy to aluminum induced by vaccine,” many of these children outgrow their allergy.

Keep in mind that persistent hard nodules can also be caused by irritation and may not be an allergic reaction at all.

What To Know About Vaccine Allergies

The 2011 IOM report, “Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality,” while concluding that most vaccines, including MMR, varicella, flu, hepatitis B, tetanus, meningococcal, and HPV could cause anaphylaxis,  stated that “It appears likely to the committee that the risk of anaphylaxis caused by vaccines is exceedingly low in the general population.”

Do you think that your child has an allergy keeping him from getting vaccinated?

Talk to your pediatrician or a pediatric allergist. They can review the “Algorithm for treatment of patients with hypersensitivity reactions after vaccines,” which “provides a rational and organized approach for the evaluation and treatment of patients with suspected hypersensitivity.”

This is especially important if you think that your child is allergic to all vaccines, something that is almost unheard of, as vaccines have different components and are made in different ways.

For More Information on Vaccine Allergies

Chiropractors on Vaccines

greg-werner-vaccines-facts
Most chiropractors list the same 9 to 11 anti-vaccine myths on their websites.

Are chiropractors anti-vaccine?

Although there is overwhelming evidence to show that vaccination is a highly effective method of controlling infectious diseases, a vocal element of the chiropractic profession maintains a strongly antivaccination bias.

Chiropractors and Vaccination: A Historical Perspective

It would be hard to find someone who says that they aren’t. Even their own professional association policy statements don’t endorse people getting vaccinated.

Since the scientific community acknowledges that the use of vaccines is not without risk, the American Chiropractic Association supports each individual’s right to freedom of choice in his/her own health care based on an informed awareness of the benefits and possible adverse effects of vaccination. The ACA is supportive of a conscience clause or waiver in compulsory vaccination laws thereby maintaining an individual’s right to freedom of choice in health care matters and providing an alternative elective course of action regarding vaccination.

That’s the public policy of the American Chiropractic Association that was revised and ratified in 1998. The problem though, is that even with all of their talk of vaccine choice, most chiropractors don’t seem to give their clients must choice, only talking about negative aspects of vaccines and the risks.

For example, many chiropractors:

  • don’t believe in the germ theory of infectious disease – they don’t think that viruses or bacteria actually cause people to get sick
  • think that vaccines are harmful and too risky
  • don’t believe that vaccines work or are necessary
  • think they can stimulate the immune system via chiropractic spinal manipulation, as an alternative to immunization

Of course, many of these are standard myths that other anti-vaccine groups use.

Surprised? You probably shouldn’t be, as many anti-vaccine ‘experts’ give talks at chiropractic conferences, from Sherri Tenpenny to Andrew Wakefield.

And with more chiropractors trying to do “pediatrics,” even seeing newborn babies to do craniosacral therapy, their anti-vaccine message could reach more parents.

We saw that as chiropractors tried to influence the passage of SB277 in California in 2016. Chiropractors overwhelmingly lobbied against the vaccine law.

For More Information on Chiropractors on Vaccines:

Contaminated Vaccines

comvax
Hib and Comvax vaccines were recalled in 2007 over concerns about bacterial contamination.

Tragically, vaccines can sometimes become contaminated with substances that can get kids sick.

In addition to the Cutter Incident, in which live polio virus contaminated the inactivated polio vaccines, problems with contaminated vaccines include:

  • two children in Chiapas, Mexico who died after getting vaccines that were contaminated with bacteria
  • hepatitis-contaminated yellow fever vaccines during WWII
  • tetanus contaminated smallpox vaccine in the 1890s and early 20th century

Other findings of contamination have not led to any problems, such as:

Still, that has not stopped some from scaring many people about the idea of contaminated vaccines – from misinformation about glyphospate in vaccines to conspiracy theories of a polio vaccine cancer cover up and hidden ingredients that contaminate vaccines.

Worries about contamination should certainly not keep you from vaccinating your kids though.

The most recent episode, in Chiapas,  was because of local conditions in a remote village in Mexico. It had nothing to do with how the vaccine was produced.

In 2007, it is reported that “routine testing identified B. cereus in the vaccine manufacturing process equipment, but not in individual vaccine lots.” Although the vaccines were quickly recalled, no one got sick.

Other cases, like when tetanus or hepatitis contaminated some vaccines, while tragic, was long before the latest safeguard from the FDA were put in place.

Vaccines are very safe from contamination.

For More Information on Contaminated Vaccines: