Tag: vaccine scare stories

Did Japan Ban the HPV Vaccine?

Why do some folks think that Japan banned the HPV vaccine?

Looking at an immunization schedule from Japan, it is easy to see that none of this is true.
Looking at an immunization schedule from Japan, it is easy to see that none of this is true.

The usual suspects…

Did Japan Ban the HPV Vaccine?

But no, Japan never did ban the HPV vaccine.

The HPV vaccine is still on the immunization schedule in Japan and it is actively recommended by the Japan Pediatric Society.
The HPV vaccine is still on the immunization schedule in Japan and it is actively recommended by the Japan Pediatric Society.

What did happen is that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare stopped formally recommending that everyone get vaccinated and protected with the HPV vaccine.

They removed their proactive recommendation for girls to get vaccinated against HPV infections.

Why?

“In Japan, coverage rates for the HPV vaccine have plummeted from 70 percent in 2013 to less than 1 percent today. This happened after a preliminary (and allegedly fraudulent) mouse study showing the vaccine caused brain damage was spread by the media, along with unconfirmed video reports of girls in wheelchairs and having seizures after getting immunized.”

Why Japan’s HPV vaccine rates dropped from 70% to near zero

Sounds like they got Wakefielded

But they quickly reinstated the recommendation though, right?

“To better understand the significance and health impact of the purported adverse symptoms from the HPV vaccine, a national epidemiological study of the general population in Japan was conducted by a research arm of the MHLW. In the research, similar numbers of girls with the same symptoms were reported in both vaccinated and unvaccinated girls.”

Ikeda et al on HPV vaccination in Japan: what is happening in Japan?

After all, all of their investigations found no merit to the initial reports that led to the “ban.”

“In January, 2014, the Vaccine Adverse Reactions Review Committee investigating these adverse events concluded that there was no evidence to suggest a causal association between the HPV vaccine and the reported adverse events after vaccination, but they still did not reinstate proactive recommendations for its use.”

JB Hanley et al on HPV vaccination crisis in Japan

Tragically, they didn’t.

“Suspension of the recommendation for vaccination has continued to the present, despite no scientific or epidemiologic evidence showing a causal link between postvaccination symptoms and HPV vaccines. This situation is unique to Japan.”

Matsumoto et al on Reduction in HPV16/18 prevalence among young women with high‐grade cervical lesions following the Japanese HPV vaccination program

What was the effect?

We have long known that their policy led to much lower HPV vaccination rates in Japan.

And not surprisingly, lower HPV vaccination rates will once again led to higher rates of HPV infections, after years of declines among those who were vaccinated and protected.

Ueda et al showed the Dynamic Changes in Japan's Prevalence of Abnormal Findings in Cervical Cervical Cytology Depending on Birth Year
Ueda et al showed the Dynamic Changes in Japan’s Prevalence of Abnormal Findings in Cervical Cervical Cytology Depending on Birth Year (CC BY 4.0)

And this is all happening in a country that is already seeing increasing rates of cervical cancer, “despite a decreasing trend in most developed countries.”

“We can’t afford to sit back and allow a similar situation to develop in which unscientific claims jeopardize lives around the world. The Japanese government should reinstate its proactive recommendation for the HPV vaccine and set a positive example before irrational fear of the vaccine gains further momentum in other countries.”

Riko Muranaka on Stopping the Spread of Japan’s Antivaccine Panic

The only real questions now are why are they still waiting to reinstate a proactive recommendation in Japan?

“In Japan, the percentage of women getting a cervical cancer screening is low, while the incidence of cervical cancer is increasing. Therefore, the nationwide introduction of HPV vaccination was expected to bring cervical cancer under control.”

Ikeda et al on HPV vaccination in Japan: what is happening in Japan?

And how many people will unnecessarily get HPV infections and cervical cancer until they do?

More on Banned Vaccines

Anti-Vax Debate Techniques

It shouldn’t be a surprise that few people want to debate someone who is against vaccines, especially when you become familiar with their typical debate techniques.

Anti-Vax Debate Techniques

Since all arguments against vaccines have been refuted a thousand times, what do these folks do when they get in a situation where they have to talk to someone about vaccines or vaccine-preventable diseases?

At a gathering for the New York Alliance for Vaccine Rights and First Freedoms Community during the recent "alleged" New York City measles outbreak, Larry Palevsky (left) made wide use of many of the anti-vax debate techniques discussed below.
At a gathering for the New York Alliance for Vaccine Rights and First Freedoms Community during the recent “alleged” New York City measles outbreak, Larry Palevsky (left) made wide use of many of the techniques discussed below.

Science isn’t on their side, so they instead have to resort to fallacious debate tactics to try and trick and scare people into believing them, such as:

  1. copypasta – arguments, stories, or links that people save and repeatedly copy and paste into online forums and Facebook groups.
  2. gish gallop – trying to drown or overwhelm someone in arguments, often by posting copypasta.
  3. firehosing – similar to a gish gallop, but occurs “over time and in multiple venues.”
  4. JAQing off – these are the folks who say that they are “just asking questions…”, but aren’t really looking for answers.
  5. cherry picking – when someone chooses to only use information that fits their beliefs (often conveniently packaged in anti-vax binders), ignoring any and all other information that would prove them wrong.
  6. gaslighting – making someone doubt their reality.
  7. scare stories – telling vaccine injury stories are perhaps one of the prime tools that are used to scare parents on the Internet.
  8. vaccine choice – why do some people think that “they” are going to force their kids to be vaccinated without their consent?
  9. false balance – when all opinions are given the same weight, even those that have no facts to back them up or have already been disproven and discredited.
  10. dismissing everyone they disagree with as Big Pharma shills.

Whatever technique they are using, don’t fall for it.

You are not making an informed choice if your decision is based on misinformation and propaganda.

“Well, if you’re going to inform yourself about vaccines, I think anybody who’s truly informed will realize that getting a vaccine is much better than not getting one. If you’re choosing not to vaccinate your child, it’s because you’re getting, frankly, bad information about vaccines.”

Paul Offit, MD

Instead know that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary.

More on Anti-Vaccine Debate Tactics and Techniques

January 18 – This Day in Vaccine History

Would folks be more likely to get vaccinated and protected if they remembered what it was like in the pre-vaccine era?

Since anti-vaccine folks like to make it sound like cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and everything else are caused by vaccines, will they be surprised to know that in addition to now vaccine-preventable diseases, they were big killers in the pre-vaccine era?
Since anti-vaccine folks like to make it sound like cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and everything else are caused by vaccines, will they be surprised to know that in addition to now vaccine-preventable diseases, they were big killers in the pre-vaccine era?

A lot of people died of diseases that are now vaccine-preventable, and no, you can’t simply thank better hygiene and nutrition instead of vaccines for saving all of those lives.

A lot of people were still getting smallpox in 1920.
A lot of people were still getting smallpox in 1920.

Since the smallpox vaccine has been around for hundreds of years, can you believe that people were still getting and dying of smallpox 100 years ago?

How about 50 years ago?

January 18, 1970 - everyone was excited about all of the progress that was being made in getting smallpox under control.
January 18, 1970 – everyone was excited about all of the progress that was being made in getting smallpox under control.

That’s hard to imagine, isn’t it, as it was long known how to control smallpox with quarantines and vaccination.

On January 18, 1870, the Chicago Tribune described how Chicago was getting smallpox under control - by getting folks vaccinated.
On January 18, 1870, the Chicago Tribune described how Chicago was getting smallpox under control – by getting folks vaccinated.

Still, it took a long time before smallpox was finally declared eradicated.

And with smallpox under control, fifty years ago, many communities were eager to get kids vaccinated and protected to stop measles.

This paper in Nebraska announced "Stop Measles Day" on January 18, 1970.
This paper in Nebraska announced “Stop Measles Day” on this day in vaccine history – January 18, 1970.

Something changed once we got these diseases under control though.

Can you guess what it was?

Todd Wiley was convicted of manslaughter for shaking his child, but his “DPT defense” made the papers for months, including this article on January 18, 1995.

There were more and more vaccine scare stories in the media. Initially they were about the DPT vaccine and they then moved on to MMR once Andrew Wakefield hit the scene.

The Disneyland measles outbreak was well underway on January 18, 2015.

And even though none of the stories were true, that didn’t stop them from influencing people.

Have we learned our lesson?

Do we need to repeat history?

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

Anti-vax groups are raising money in Maine and elsewhere to influence parents and politicians and new vaccine laws.
Anti-vax groups are raising money in Maine and elsewhere to influence parents and politicians and new vaccine laws.

Vaccinate and protect your kids. Don’t bring back these deadly diseases.

More on History of Vaccines

Is the TODAY Show Stoking Vaccine Fears?

We know that historically, the media has done a very good job of scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

From pushing vaccine misinformation and vaccine scare stories to providing false balance about vaccine stories, many in the media have promoted myths and fake controversies when reporting about vaccines.

Things have been getting better though.

Is the TODAY Show Stoking Vaccine Fears?

Or have they…

The TODAY Show later deleted this tweet about vaccines.
The TODAY Show later deleted this tweet about vaccines.

Do you see what’s wrong with the TODAY Show story about Jessica Biel?

Are they really asking whether or not vaccines are safe?!?

It’s not a debate!

Vaccines are safe!

HuffPo called out the Today Show for posting an irresponsible message about vaccines.
Even HuffPo called out the Today Show for posting an irresponsible message about vaccines.

Did they really get called out by HuffPo for irresponsibly covering vaccines?

You might realize how ironic that is if you remember just how bad HuffPo used to be, regularly posting some of the worst anti-vaccine stories. Have they gotten better?

The HuffPo is better, but certainly not perfect, by any means…

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is not a vaccine skeptic!

The TODAY Show’s Coverage of Vaccines

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that the TODAY show has scared parents away from vaccines. After all, they are the ones who aired excerpts of Vaccine Roulette, the show which many people credit with starting the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Autism is not associated with vaccines. It isn't a debate!
Autism is not associated with vaccines. It isn’t a debate!

More recently, the TODAY Show had Robert De Niro on to talk about Andrew Wakefield‘s VAXXED.

The TODAY Show fixed their mistake and irresponsibe headline that could stoke vaccine fears.
The TODAY Show fixed their mistake and irresponsibe headline that could stoke vaccine fears.

After so many missteps in the past, the TODAY Show shouldn’t be making these kinds of mistakes anymore.

If they do, there will be plenty of folks ready to call them out.

More on the TODAY is Show Stoking Vaccine Fears