Plandemic? Nope.

Have you seen that video featuring Dr. Judy Mikovits, wherein she claims that the current COVID19 pandemic was manufactured? I want to take you through reasons to disbelieve this video and its claims.

The first part of the video is not at all interesting to me as it is Dr. Mikovits’ defense of her own checkered past and a promotion of a book she is promoting. Central to her defense is a claim that NIAID is paying off people who have conspired against her. And, in fact, many of her claims rely on the idea that people have been able to conspire in order to make the science be what they want it to be.

In reality, a conspiracy against Mikovits could never have remained a secret for so long. All those many people who would have been paid off could not have kept quiet for so long. After all, NSA surveillance was exposed within 6 years of its launch, and we know that the current White House does not keep secrets. In fact, mathematical models prove it is not possible to keep a real conspiracy under wraps.

Dr. Mikovits was never important enough to launch a large-scale conspiracy against. That’s no knock against her; it’s just that she’s not Martin Luther King, Jr. or Galileo. Before her research into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she was never the primary researcher on a topic. When her CFS research, claiming that viruses caused the syndrome, was retracted, ten other studies had failed to replicate her findings and scientists came to the conclusion that she only found the viruses present because she (likely unintentionally) contaminated her own samples. Finally, her arrest was not part of the conspiracy against her, but was instead due to her stealing intellectual property from her former employer after she was fired.

Even though these claims cover half the video, they do not touch on public health claims. So let’s answer some of those concerns about COVID19 pandemic vs. PLANdemic.

Key questions the video poses:

Is Tony Fauci the “Bernie Madoff of science”?

While Larry Kramer did call Dr. Fauci a murderer, that isn’t the end of their story. In fact, they became great collaborators. As Kramer tells PBS:

I arranged a late-night meeting in my hotel room with Fauci and maybe a dozen of these treatment and data [experts and gay activists], who presented to him ideas of things that he should be doing and wasn’t.

He was just bowled over, and he was a great enough person to know that these kids were smart. And he opened the door; he let the activists inside. We were not allowed to participate in any of the NIH [National Institutes of Health] meetings even though by law you’re supposed to; we got thrown out of meetings if we showed up, literally. He said no, they are all welcome. He even put us on a few of the NIH committees.

That was the beginning of a major turning point. Dr. Fauci has become the only true and great hero in all of this, in the government, in the system.

Does that sound like a scientist with a preconceived notion who will not change his mind when presented with data? It doesn’t to me, either. I think, given this anecdote, we can assume that Dr. Fauci still operates in an evidence-based way, happy to be steered in whatever direction the science takes him.

Have vaccines killed millions?

Simple answer: no. We have pretty robust data that vaccines save millions of lives globally, in fact. That’s not to say vaccines are without risks, but almost always those risks are mild side effects. Globally, we have seen errors by clinics in adding diluents or administering vaccines that have caused deaths, but those cases are so rare that they make international news.

Is Mikovits anti-vaccine?

Yes. For the last few years, she has made a living by speaking on the anti-vaccine circuit. She’s not a big name, like Andy Wakefield or RFK Jr., but she makes a living.

Was the virus made in a laboratory in Ft. Detrick and Wuhan?

Scientifically, we know that the virus did evolve naturally in animals and then jumped to humans. While Mikovits has not had access to labs with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, others have, and their genetic research shows this evolution is the only possible explanation.

Can viruses jump directly from animals to humans?

Yes, and in fact, coronaviruses are known for jumping between species, and the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is being studied pretty thoroughly. Some of the research suggests that, unlike the claims made in the video, the virus has been waiting in some animal host for decades. We also know quite a bit about how viruses leap from animals to humans, as many of us may remember from the H1N1 pandemic, originally entitled Swine Flu after its origin in pigs.

Was Ebola created in laboratories in 1999?

Since the first known outbreaks of Ebola were in 1976, no. Aside from the timeline error, strong evidence leads us to believe that bats are the carriers of Ebola.

Are COVID19 death numbers being inflated?

Because of record-keeping and research, we know about how many people will die at any given time during the year. Right now, we are seeing about 40,000 more people dying than we would expect, and not all of those excess death are attributed to COVID19. Logically, we could say that people are likely dying from COVID19 (or maybe for reasons related to it?) whose causes of death are not being reported as COVID19. I think, given the data, we would have a hard time saying that we have an excess of COVID19 deaths being reported vs. actually occurring right now.

Are people being controlled by fear of the pandemic?

It’s possible that people are very afraid of COVID19 and that they are limiting themselves based on that fear, but it’s not what you think. Let’s compare the United States to Vietnam. Both the USA and Vietnam saw their first reported cases of COVID19 on the same day–yet Vietnam is reporting zero deaths from the disease (which–okay, take with a grain of salt) and fewer than 300 cases while the USA has reported about 70,000 deaths and over a million cases.

Vietnam, and authoritarian country, is limiting what people can do through actual fear tactics like this catchy song and through steep fines. However, an ethos of limiting self-interests in favor of a collaborative good permeates Vietnam, as is shown by their long-standing habit of wearing face masks in public.

The United States, by contrast, has a harder time balancing personal liberties and public good. And so we are seeing robust debate on this topic (and maybe you are part of the debate on your social media) and no effort by the government to stop the debate. It is hard to argue that people are being controlled by fear of the pandemic in the United States when we have evidence of what authoritarian countries are actually doing.

Did a new flu vaccine grown in a dog cell line make the pandemic worse in Italy?

The United States has been hit as hard or harder by COVID19 even though our influenza vaccines are not grown in dog cell lines. Additionally, as I pointed out above, we know the genetic makeup of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and it points to a bat as the host and not dogs. If dog cell lines in the flu vaccine were the culprit, we would certainly see a different genetic code.

The flu vaccine also does not make you more susceptible to COVID19. Independent fact-checkers have pointed out that large-scale, long-term studies do not reach this conclusion.

One recent study that they cite at the end goes to great lengths to point out that they do not assume any causal relationship between non-influenza respiratory infection and vaccination. The study concludes with:

Additionally those receiving the influenza vaccine were more likely to have no pathogen detected and reduced risk of influenza when compared to unvaccinated individuals.

There is some evidence that being sick with the flu interferes with other infections sickening you. So preventing the flu? Means you don’t have flu around to interfere.

Are there no double-blind controlled studies of vaccines?

Vaccines have been studied against placebos. Just wanted to get that one out there.

Is Hydroxichloroquine being downplayed even though it’s effective?

No. The question on hydroxichloroquine has been studied, and it is not effective. Additionally, because of heart-related complications, the FDA advises against giving it to COVID19 patients.

Does sheltering in place drop your immune system?

I promise you that your immune system is continuing to be challenged, even if you are sheltering in place. Pollen, dust, bugs, bacteria, animal dander, your family, all these factors keep your immune system fighting. You don’t have to be exposed to a pandemic novel virus to keep your immune system active, and you don’t have to get other infectious diseases, either. But if you are worried, you could always give your immune system some practice by getting vaccinated.

Am I part of the conspiracy? Am I being paid to write this post?

I am not part of a conspiracy. In fact, no one has yet been able to tell me what I can or cannot say. Seriously–ask some people. Also, this is my personal blog. I am doing this on my time off. I know that’s sad. It’s okay. I’m going to go back to rewatching 30 Rock now.


I No Longer Oppose Removing Non-Medical Exemptions

Once upon a time, I was against removing personal belief, religious, and non-medical exemptions that are often enshrined in the state laws that require children to receive certain vaccines to attend schools. These exemptions allow parents of under- and un-vaccinated children to send them to school.

I had wanted parents to happily and affirmatively accept vaccines for their children, and thought that by putting more obstacles to exemptions, parents could be given some time to come to the conclusion that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary.

But time has run out.

In most states, the experiment of allowing parents to opt out of school vaccine requirements is relatively new. Certainly, when I attended school, there was no option to go to school unvaccinated. My Kindergarten Round-Up included swallowing the Oral Polio Vaccine. I am certain some parents in those days did not like vaccines, but that attitude was exceedingly rare.

I’m not going to go into a history of the anti-vaccine movement, but we know that vaccine refusal has become much less rare. And refusing vaccines is even more common in places that make it easy. According to one 2018 study:

[I]n the past decade, the number of philosophical exemptions to vaccination has increased in two-thirds of the states that allow such exemptions. As a result, researchers suggest that these areas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.

If it were simply a rise in vaccine refusal, though, I still would not have become an advocate of removing the non-medical exemption. I got involved in working on vaccine legislation in Minnesota in 2011, when we were in the midst of a measles outbreak. 2017 saw yet another, larger, measles outbreak. Things have gotten progressively worse:

  • In the midst of the outbreak, anti-vaxxers flew out Mark Blaxill for a seminar with the afflicted community on continuing to file vaccine exemptions.
  • I have been told stories about the anti-vaxxers hiring students, during the outbreak, to hang “informational” flyers on doors in the neighborhood where measles was spreading.
  • I have been told stories about anti-vaxxers going into this neighborhood and telling women that the measles outbreak was fake–a health department trick to get them to vaccinate their children. Appointments to get vaccines were subsequently canceled.
  • Anti-vaxxers scheduled the “Vaxxed Bus” to arrive in Minnesota at the end of the outbreak.
  • Parents in Minnesota have tried to coordinate measles and chickenpox parties to make their children sick on purpose. Whether or not these parties actually happened, I have no idea.
  • Since the outbreak, anti-vaxxers have held “legislator only” events. This year’s featured Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. promoting a conspiracy theory about the Autism Omnibus Proceedings.

In this stew of disease activism, anti-vaxxers are asking for their “rights” to send their unvaccinated children to school be preserved because most parents are still vaccinating. Alternately, they claim their children pose no risk to other children or that herd immunity is fake.

In the meantime, because of anti-vaccine activism across the world, we all saw a 30% spike in measles cases in 2017.  The outbreak of measles in Clark County, Washington has taken attention away from an even larger outbreak in Rockland County, New York. Because measles is our most contagious disease, it is a harbinger of outbreaks of other diseases as vaccine refusal becomes more and more widespread.

Vaccine refusal has real consequences. It makes our communities sicker, and it threatens our classmates and neighbors who cannot be vaccinated or who are medically fragile. We are seeing this threat increase before our eyes. We don’t have the time to wait for parents to change their minds.

Lawmakers need to stop allowing anti-vaccine parents to advocate for their supposed right to rely on everyone else vaccinating in order to stop outbreaks while simultaneously and actively trying to convince parents to stop vaccinating. Their approach is two pronged: let me send my unvaccinated child to school while I work hard to make sure more and more unvaccinated children are going to school.

One pediatrician explained to me that allowing vaccine refusal is much like allowing second-hand smoking. You have the right to smoke, but you don’t have the right to smoke everywhere you want. You also have the right to leave your children unvaccinated. But you do not have the right to bring an unvaccinated child into the place where children are exposed to the most germs and spend the bulk of their day.

And listen–I’m not giving up on convincing parents that vaccinating their children is the best choice. I do still want parents to understand fully the benefits of vaccinating so that they feel good about doing so. This mission is still my primary mission. I want every single one of those children protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.

If we are serious about protecting children, then we really need to bar vaccine refusal at the door to every school. I take no pleasure in asking schools to turn away children, but we have reached a critical point. The anti-vaxxers have forced our hand. We all have to sign on to eliminating non-medical exemptions.

The Truth About TTAV Episode Seven: BUY MY STUFF!

Read this whole series by starting here.

Episode Seven: Natural Immunization, Homeoprophylaxis & Fundamental Freedom of Choice

The Cast

The Claims

Natural Immunization is the Best

  • The film claims that breastfeeding is the best immune defense for babies, but its effectiveness isn’t promoted because it would compromise the pharmaceutical industry’s interests.
    • Passive immunity through breastfeeding only protects infants from infections contracted through the gastrointestinal system. Airborne infections such as measles, chickenpox, influenza, rotavirus, and pertussis, are not covered by the immune passed from mother to child via breastfeeding.
    • Infant formula manufacturers do not manufacture vaccines.
  • The film also claims that healthy vaginal birth is the most important method to ensure a life of gut health for babies. I mean, whatever. Not dying in childbirth is pretty important to c-section mothers. There is some correlation with c-section delivery and asthma, Type-1 diabetes, celiac disease, and obesity, but the causation has not been proven. At this time, none of those conditions is vaccine-preventable. Why are we here? I don’t know.
  • The film claims that essential oils and probiotics provide natural immunity to viruses. But recent research shows that the claims of benefits from probiotics are overblown, and essential oils are a pyramid scheme and as reliable as one.
    • Were allegedly used to curb bubonic plague, gangrene, etc. But quarantine and hygiene likely ended the plague, and aggressive surgeries helped curb the high gangrene death rate, historically. Now we have antibiotics. 
  • The film promotes GcMAF – Gc Protein-Derived Macrophage Activating Factor
    • Claims by James Jeffrey Bradstreet that this diet could cure autism lead to an federal investigation shortly before he died by suicide.
  • It also claims that vitamin A is the cure for measles and reduces. incidence of mortality in outbreaks among children.
    • Children with serious malnutrition who are vitamin A deficient are at higher risk for severe measles infection. Supplementing these children is important, but there is no reason to believe a well-nourished child would see any difference in measles severity with Vitamin A supplementation. We can assume the children of the 1950s U.S. were well-nourished, yet 500 of them died each year before the vaccine was available.
  • The film claims that vitamin C is effective in curbing the spread of viral diseases, like whooping cough, because it energizes the immune system, loosens the secretions in the lungs, and frees the lungs (toxin-neutralizer)
    • Cited famed Dr. Klenner’s research on Vitamin C’s effectiveness, but health theories about Vitamin C have been repeatedly disproven, as early as 1938. But for people who promote natural health, they should realize that taking megadoses of any vitamin is unnatural and often dangerous.
  • The film states that health starts with the diet as feeding children real food, specifically breastmilk, fruits and vegetables, boots immunity, the microbiome and brain and boosting nutrition activates kids’ genetic code and invokes immune responses in a symptomless way (built-in immunology)
    • The idea of boosting immunity is a misunderstanding of how immunity works. Certainly, malnutrition hinders the immune system’s function. But there are two different types of immunity: innate and acquired. The innate immune system (the one that can be hampered by malnutrition) is the rapid-response to new germs the body encounters. The acquired immune system is the one that has been around long enough to recognize and fight off a particular germ. Real boosting immunity is what happens when the innate immune system encounters a germ and revs up: your body might respond with fever, phlegm production, and coughing. Your innate immune system cannot handle big germs like measles and chickenpox without you getting sick.
    • Put simply, measles doesn’t care what you had for breakfast.
  • The film claimed that a Norway study proved that folate taken through pregnancy prevented neurological disorders among children (autism rate was 1 in 1000 vs. 1 in 500 for mothers who didn’t take the vitamin). One study showed that oversupplementation is a risk factor for autism.
  • Finally, the film claimed that mortality rates from VPDs (vaccine-preventable diseases) were eradicated prior to the introduction of many vaccines because of basic improvements in quality of living. This is an extremely common anti-vaccine claim. Here are the facts:
    • Mortality and disease rates are not the same. The rates of mortality from VPDs declined, in part, because of many modernizations, including medical advances.
    • The incidence of VPDs remained somewhat steady even as many deaths from them were prevented. In order to eradicate a disease, the incidence has to drop to zero globally. The only human disease eradicated is smallpox, thanks to vaccines.
    • The drop in incidence in a disease followed the introduction of a vaccine for that disease.
    • Measles incidence dropped in the mid-1960s, chickenpox in the early 1990s, Hib in the early 2000s, and rotavirus in the mid-2000s. Quality of life improvements did not occur neatly at those particular times to coincide with reducing the cases of only one particular disease, except vaccines. Vaccines improved the quality of life.

Homeoprophylaxis (HP) is a Great Thing! (Shop My Store!)

  • Homeoprophylaxis is homeopathic immunization. Homeopathy is a method by which a substance is diluted down by water to such a degree that no active ingredient is left. Often the water is then shaken with a sugar pill and sold as a cure—or a vaccine—for something. The idea is that the medicine becomes stronger the more dilute it is because water has memory.
  • Homeopathy commonly uses the phrase “Like to cure like,” which means that any substance which can produce symptoms in a healthy person can cure symptoms in someone who’s sick. Which is nonsense.
  • The film says homeoprophylaxis has never caused deaths in anyone who uses the method. I mean, sure. It’s sugar pills with nothing in them.
  • These homeopathic nosodes supposedly prevent disease without “toxic” effects
    • Vaccines are not toxic.
    • Claims that you can use them to detox from vaccines are laughable. Your liver and kidneys detox for you. 
    • Nosodes are worthless.
  • The film claims a Cuban study showed that homeoprophylaxis was more effective in reducing the incidence of a swamp-related disease than pharmaceuticals.

Fundamental Freedom of Choice! 

  • Like many anti-vaxxers, the film disdain’s California’s SB 277, the bill that requires all children enrolled in schools be vaccinated unless medically contraindicated.
  • The film claims that Richard Pan was pressured by pharmaceutical lobbyists to push SB 277
    • In reality, Dr. Pan is a pediatrician who understand vaccines because he has seen what they do first hand.
    • Allegedly received $95,000 from pharma lobbyists before the bill passed, but I am not finding them among his top donors.
    • I mean, this film just spend a chunk of time being a commercial for homeoprophylaxis. They want to go to this direction?
  • The film claims the bill is an attack on parental rights. Of course, parents do not have the right to endanger communities, including school communities. 
  • The film claims that vaccine requirements will soon extend beyond education and employment; will be required for driver’s licenses, public events, etc. There is no way to debunk this because I can’t show something that isn’t happening. Prove to me that unicorns don’t exist. Ha! There! I win. 
    • Schools are reasonable places to require vaccine for entry because children are the most at risk for many diseases, the primary vectors of many diseases, and spend much time in close proximity to each other at school.
    • Healthcare settings, where vulnerable people congregate and where illnesses can also abound, are reasonable places to require vaccination for employment.
  • Healthy People 2020 – plans to get everyone vaccinated. Or more people, with the primary goal of reducing diseases.
  • Choose one of their crackpot theories that is the most offensive:
    • Plans to take away the right to vaccine refusal!
    • Plans to have extensive registries!
    • Mandatory vaccinations are completely contrary to America’s founding principles!
    • Forced vaccinations are legally assault and battery!
    • Can’t use one fundamental right to restrict another right; non-medical exemptions are at risk!
    • Losing informed consent makes us slaves!
  • The film proclaims that the anti-vaccine has united people of all backgrounds
    • In reality, most anti-vaccine activists are wealthy and white
    • They believe that they are a protected minority and their movement is akin to Black Lives Matter movement. This is a strategy that remind me of the Russian bot strategy recently discussed.
    • They call themselves “vaccine safety advocates,” claiming they’re against the toxins in them. This is where the film started, but I think the contents of this episode have proven that they are vaccine conspiracy theorists with something to sell you.

That’s it folks. Ultimately, this series ended with a commercial for things you can buy instead of vaccines. For this reason, I refer to the anti-vaccine movement as primarily fear-based marketing to promote alternative remedies.

Here’s what you need to know. The vast majority of experts across the world working in public, private, and educational organizations agree that vaccines are safe and save lives. There are some outliers, and scientific outliers are usually wrong. 

I’m going to go watch Fried Green Tomatoes now.

The Truth About TTAV Episode Six: Conspiracy Theory Extravaganza!

New to this series? Start here.

Episode Six: A Closer Look at the CDC, Chicken Pox and Rotavirus Vaccines & Retroviruses

The Cast

The Claims

CDC Conspiracy theories

  • The film claims that U.S.-based thinking on vaccines has shifted to ideology and dogma, as the scientific method has been rejected for the sake of rejecting unfavorable study results. 
    • If we are going to use the language of religion, it is important to note that the world’s major religions support vaccines.
    • But vaccines are not a religion, and the scientific method is deeply imbedded into the history and development of our current vaccine program.
  • The film thinks the public has a “misplaced faith in an undeserving authority” of the CDC.
    • The film claims that silences any kind of dissent so heretics get burned.
      • They mean that their wild theories are not taken seriously.
      • But spirited debate and dissent are done openly and publicly.
      • Heretics are religious dissenters. Researchers with differing conclusions are scientific dissenters. Replication of scientific conclusions proves who is correct.
    • They claim that if doctors question the dogma, they face retaliation
  • Claim: CDC-sponsored research is conducted in a manner to support the agency’s policies. However, the CDC is not the sole researcher of vaccines. Vaccines are researched across the globe and by labs in universities, corporations, and agencies everywhere. No one in any place in the world (outside the anti-vaccine community) thinks vaccines cause autism.
  • Claim: Doctors are taught to respect the CDC’s authority without question. In all of my research (googling ), I have yet to find this class.
  • Claim: CDC’s conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry are revealed through the vaccine schedule, as vaccines with questionable safety and effectiveness (i.e. Hep B vaccine for babies) are included.
  • Additionally, many high-ranking CDC employees end up working within the pharmaceutical industry with lucrative positions.
    • This isn’t completely incorrect, but keep in mind that people with expertise in such niche areas as vaccinology have few prospective employers.
  • Claim: CDC has a conflict of industry because they’re responsible for both vaccine safety and scheduling; impossible to objectively evaluate both areas 
  • The flilm called ACIP an agency to watch
    • Blah blah blah the CDC whistleblower William Thompson. 
    • Thompson supposedly lived with the fact that the CDC had found a causal link between MMR and vaccines for 13 years.
    • Recounted DeStefano study in Atlanta, the film alleged higher incidence of autism in African American boys upon MMR administration
      • In fact, the retracted Hooker reinterpretation of the data found a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys vaccinated late: between 24 and 36 months.
      • Likely, these children were diagnosed before being vaccinated, and were vaccinated so that they could enter early childhood special education services.
  • To prove they are conspiracy theorists, the film claims forced vaccines, or vaccine mandates, are in violation of the Nuremberg Code as their justification for “informed consent.”
    • The Nuremberg Code was written after the Holocaust to stop medical experiments done on people without their consent because the Holocaust was horrific and we can never let it happen again.This comparison is highly despicable.
    • Our vaccine program is not a medical experiment. Vaccines are well-studied before being added to the schedule.
    • By “informed consent,” anti-vaccine people mean they want their particular, disproven theories espoused to patients before vaccines are given. Before a vaccine, patients are informed about the vaccine, the diseases it prevents, possible side effects, and whom to contact in the unlikely event of a severe side effect.
  • The film claims that the number of vaccines on the CDC’s schedule was significantly increased when the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed in 1986. Perhaps no longer being tied up by frivolous lawsuits, pharmaceutical companies were able to invest more money in research and development. Vaccines take 15 years to research and develop, and most do not make it out of the first phase of research.
  • The film claims that the CDC and other regulatory agencies suppress data by forcing researchers to sign away their rights to data proving issues with vaccines.  
    • When you are doing research on behalf of an organization or corporation, they usually own the intellectual property and have the right to do with it what they wish. This isn’t specific to vaccines. I really don’t understand what crazy train this theory is on.
    • The film claims researchers like Judy Mikovits faced bankruptcy and censorship as retaliation for her findings. However, Mikovits refused to let a colleague have her data. Eventually, scientists found she had manipulated her data. 
  • The film say the science of anything is never settled, so the science around vaccines is not certain.
    • However, degrees of certainty around science certainly exist, and vaccines have more than 60,000 studies showing they are safe and effective. Replicating findings over and over again increases our degree of certainty.
  • Remember that Andrew Wakefield was a fraud for pay and continues to work toward building his own wealth.

Chickenpox Vaccines Are Terrible

  • The film cited Gary Goldman’s story of his research on chicken pox being censored
    • His research, available right here, purported to show that adults were coming down with shingles at higher rates because they were no longer exposed to kids who have chickenpox. Other studies show that shingles was on the rise before the vaccine was licensed.
  • Chickenpox was a rite of passage!
    • No, it wasn’t. 
    • The film wrongly claims that deaths from the disease are rare and only occurred in immunocompromised populations. It is also important to note the 10,000 hospitalizations a year caused by chickenpox before the vaccine.
  • The film claims, wrongly, that because the chickenpox vaccine has been effective in curbing the disease, debilitating shingles cases have risen in adult populations.
  • The film says chickenpox vaccine contains human aborted fetal cells (diploid cells) to be produced as antigens for vaccine. These are, in fact, cell lines procured from an aborted fetus in the 1960s. The cell line is considered “immortal” in that it replicates endlessly, and no further tissues from aborted fetuses need to be obtained for vaccines.
    • The film incorrectly claims that the vaccine conflicts with religious beliefs

Rotavirus Vaccines Are Terrible

  • The film basically asserts that the rotavirus vaccine was added to the schedule because Dr. Paul Offit is evil and has made money developing the vaccine.
    • Dr. Offit is not evil. 
    • His rotavirus vaccine was not the only one added to the schedule.
    • Dr. Offit does not control ACIP or the CDC.
    • I’m really tired of debunking pharma shill gambits from a group of people who sell supplements on their websites.
  • The film claims the rotavirus vaccine is not appropriate for American children
    • As evidence, the film says nearly every child under 5 gets the disease and is easily cured through rehydration (I.V. fluids); benign disease that only causes dehydration in the U.S.
      • Before the vaccine, rotavirus caused up to 450,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year. I.V. rehydration is not a small deal. Going to the hospital is not a good outcome for a child.
    • The film claims wrongly that vaccinated rotavirus patients had more diarrhea, cases of gastroenteritis – the conditions the vaccine is intended to prevent. If a baby gets diarrhea after the vaccine, it is much milder than full-blown rotavirus.
    • The film asks why the rotavirus vaccine is dangerous for anyone over 9 months, but safe for 2 month old babies? This is a misunderstanding of the licensure of the vaccine. The burden of disease is in the youngest babies, and the older a child is when she receives the first dose, the (very slightly) higher their risk for side effects is.
  • The film claims norovirus has emerged since the emergence of the rotavirus vaccine, which is a far more virulent disease. The research into norovirus is young and interesting to follow, and we should still prevent rotavirus.

Retroviruses Are Because of Vaccines

  • The film claims mouse-related viruses were introduced to human populations through vaccines.
  • Claim: There is reverse transcriptase activity in MMR vaccines that has been formally recognized since 1994

And finally, Episode Seven: Natural Immunization, Homeoprophylaxis & Fundamental Freedom of Choice

The Truth About TTAV Episode Five

Did you just find this series? Start from the beginning.

Episode Five: “Considering the HPV and Hepatitis B Vaccines, SIDS & Shaken Baby Syndrome”

The Cast

The Claims

HPV Vaccines Are Terrible

  • HPV vaccines contain aluminum, which the film claims is dangerous. But it isn’t.
  • The speakers say it’s not appropriate to mandate this vaccine; of course, but right now, it is only required for school entry in D.C., RI, and VA. The way this claim is made shows the tendency of anti-vaccine leaders to conflate recommendations, requirements, and mandates.
  • The film suggests it should instead be recommended for people with a family history of this cancer, but HPV is a virus, not a genetic trait. HPV causes almost all cervical cancer, 95% of anal cancers, and 70% of oropharyngeal cancers. Family history has little to no bearing on these cancers.
  • The film also claims that HPV vaccines only target the strains that cause the most cases of HPV and creates a vacuum for other strains to take their place. However, the vaccines targets the most oncogenic (cancer-causing) strains of HPV
    • They use an analogy of U.S. troops taking out Isis or the Taliban – other group will take their place. But pretend these other groups aren’t the Taliban or ISIS but a group of mean 2nd graders who throw marshmallows at people. That’s a more apt analogy at this time. 
  • The film argues the HPV vaccine was fast-tracked. In fact, the research into a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer was a 70-year quest. Because of the length of research into the cancer, the researchers were able to communicate early on with the FDA for expedited approval, but did not skip any steps in or skimp on the process. As of 2017, 270 million doses of the vaccines have been given with no serious side effects detected.
  • The film disparages trials of this vaccine, that used aluminum as the placebo. Using a placebo with aluminum was important for this vaccine so that participants in the study would not be able to detect that they had not received the vaccines if they had received a placebo. (The aluminum in the vaccine causes some stinging, whereas a shot of simple saline would not). Fortunately, we know that aluminum used in vaccines is safe.
  • The film also claims HPV vaccine adverse reaction reports make up 25% of all vaccine adverse event reports: 42,532, including 250 confirmed deaths. A closer look at these statistics shows that none of the deaths were confirmed to be caused by the vaccine, and many of them were demonstrably not connected at all to the vaccine. Furthermore, VAERS is an open-reporting system, which means anyone with internet access can report an adverse vaccine reaction without proof or evidence. (The nature doesn’t mean VAERS is without value.)
  • The film also claims that HPV-free viral DNA found in post-mortem analysis of New Zealand girl, despite CDC claims that there is no free-viral DNA in the vaccine; concluded that HPV vaccine most likely killed her. If that sentence makes no sense to you, then rest assured that the claim also makes no sense. The pathologist making this claims uses poor pathological practices.
  • Joel Gomez provided as another example of death caused by HPV vaccine, but the medical examiner determined that his death was caused by myocarditis. 
  • Mario Lamo Jiménez makes claims that Columbian girls harmed by HPV vaccine. Studies of the incidents show that the vaccine was not related to what happened to these girls. 
  • The film compares the science around HPV vaccines to “tobacco science” and draw an analogy of people being told cigarettes were healthy. The difference between the science done to support vaccines and the science done to sell tobacco is that vaccine science has held up to many decades of scrutiny and attempts to replicate various findings. 

Hep B Vaccine Is Terrible

  • The film claims that the number of people who voluntarily signed up for the original study was too small to extrapolate a conclusion. The original clinical trial included 664 infants total. Since then, many millions of doses of this vaccine given have shown it to be extremely safe.
  • The film discusses the push in 2001 to switch population vaccinated to newborns.The original recommendation to vaccinate at-risk adults and then adolescents was able to eliminate most of the Hepatitis B in the country, but many infants were still contracting the virus despite targeting the perceived vectors of the disease. Chronic Hep B infection is more likely to happen the younger a person is when exposed to the virus, and such chronic infection causes about 780,000 deaths per year.
  • The film expresses concern that the Hep B vaccine contains aluminum, which is still safe.
    • It claims that babies are injected with 10 times the known safe dose of aluminum.This claim is conflates the amount of aluminum an infant can receive intravenously. The vaccine is not injected into a person’s blood stream (like an IV), but into their muscle and can be easily eliminated by anyone with functional kidneys.
  • They argue that contract Hep B from sex/drug use and the only way baby can get Hep B is from mother during birth. In fact, the virus can survive outside a body for a few weeks and can be transmitted many ways, including through birth, human bites, and touching bodily fluids from an infected person. 
  • Dr. Paul Thomas cites personal experience of not running into any mothers with Hep B. Of course, Dr. Thomas is a pediatrician, not an obstetrician, so he would not test these mothers. If he were the person testing these mothers, he would know that testing anomalies can occur with Hep B testing during pregnancy.

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act, passed in 1986

  • It claims that the pharmaceutical industry is protected from liability. VICA established a special court that allows those with certain claims of harm from vaccines a lower standard of proof in order to receive compensation. In other words, it is easier to get a settlement from this Vaccine Court than it would be to sue for liability in civil court.
  • It also claims that right after passage of the act, the vaccine program saw a dramatic increase from 10 to 69 vaccines in the pipeline. Here’s an actual timeline of the development of vaccines, which began in 1000 AD. 

SIDS and SBS are Vaccine Injury

  • The film asserts that SIDS deaths are misdiagnosed vaccine deaths. SIDS is diagnosed after an autopsy, clinical history review, and scene investigation yield no explanation of death. A child who died because of a vaccine would have indicators in an autopsy that showed a vaccine was in play, such as anaphylaxis.
  • The film also argues that Shaken Baby Syndrome is a cover-up for vaccine injuries.
    • Yes, this is one of the most despicable anti-vaccine claims.
    • The diagnosis of SBS requires many tests, and blood tests for metabolic disorders that can mimic SBS is often some of the testing done. Vaccines do not cause metabolic disorders.

Up next, Episode Six: A Closer Look at the CDC, Chicken Pox and Rotavirus Vaccines & Retroviruses

The Truth About TTAV Episode Four: Herd Immunity AND MORE!

Did you just find this piece? Start here.

Episode Four: Examining Influenza, the HIB and Pneumococcal Vaccines & Herd Immunity

The Cast

  • Ty Bollinger is the producer/creator of this series and a previous The Truth About Cancer series. His films and books are steeped in conspiracy theories and his primary M.O. is to stoke fears about mainstream anything.
  • Dr. Toni Bark is an MD and homeopath who sells chocolate and skincare on her website and travels the country testifying at hearings.
  • Dr. Suzanne Humphries is a nephrologist and homeopath who sells books she’s written.
  • Sayer Ji is the founder of non-evidence based website GreenMedInfo.
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is an environmental lawyer who remains convinced that the thimerosal that was removed from childhood immunizations is somehow still causing autism.
  • Dr. Larry Palevky is a “holistic” pediatrician who sells supplements at his website.
  • Neil Z. Miller is a conspiracy theorist and author of anti-vaccine books who helped his daughter self-publish a book about how they’ve spoken with aliens.
  • Del Bigtree is a self-proclaimed award winning television producer who has also produced Wakefield’s film VAXXED and a live YouTube show.
  • Barbara Loe Fisher is the founder of the poorly named National Vaccine Information Center.
  • Eric Zielinski is a chiropractor and “Biblical Health Educator” who promotes essential oils at his
  • Dr. Paul Thomas is a pediatrician who sells supplements and anti-vaccine books at his website.
  • Dr. Jack Wolfson is a “holistic cardiologist” who made a name for himself for a particularly vicious attack against vaccinating parents.
  • Robert Scott Bell is a homeopath, a podcaster, and an HIV denialist.
  • Julian Tharpe is a cinematographer.
  • Dr. Janet Levitan is a pediatrician practicing with Dr. Sherri Tenpenny.
  • Thom and Candice Bradstreet are related to Dr. Jeffrey Bradstreet, whose death by suicide they believe to be a murder to stop his disproven autism treatments.
  • Dr. Joseph Mercola runs a highly profitable online supplement store who has violated federal law by making dangerous claims about alternatives to mammograms.

The Claims

Influenza Vaccines Are Terrible

  • The film disputes the CDC’s annual influenza death estimate (typically around 36,000) as inaccurate and misleading
    • The primary dispute is that the total allegedly does not match the numbers reported in the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report). Influenza, however, is not reportable in people over 18. The CDC uses estimates because influenza has a history of being underreported on death certificates.
    • Another argument is that the CDC does not report the fact that most flu deaths occur in people with preexisting conditions. People with chronic health challenges are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. However, health people can and do die from influenza.
  • Influenza vaccine is generally ineffective 
    • Sometimes the film throws in science-y sounding sentences like: “Antibody (humoral) immunity stops the body from producing cell mediated immunity.” I don’t understand immunology, but here’s a link.
    • As proof, they cited the CDC’s 2014 statement on the inability of the flu vaccine to prevent flu that year because the virus had mutated. In fact, the changes in the virus were due to antigenetic drift, which rendered the vaccine less effective but not completely ineffective.
    • As more proof, they cite the Cochrane Collaboration (independent group of MDs, scientists, etc.) and the assertion that the flu vaccine is ineffective in their med analysis, and that for every 100 patients told that they have flu, only 7 actually have the flu. The author of this review is Dr. Thomas Jefferson (not this one), who has significant biases against the flu vaccine and has had dalliances with the anti-vaccine community. Multiple studies show that the flu vaccines is effective.
    • They also cited a 2012 study in which groups of study participants were either given the trivalent influenza vaccine or a saline placebo; the incidence of influenza was similar, but the vaccinated group was found to be “4-5 times more likely to contract a non-influenza viral infection.” One important criticism of this study is that the vaccinated group had 69 people, and the unvaccinated 46. It’s an interesting starting place for research, but not a definitive indictment of anything.
  • Influenza vaccine causes mutations at the level of germ cells, including embryos.
      • The film claims that most vaccines have never been tested for mutagenicity or carcinogenicity (causing cancer). This common anti-vaccine claim comes from a misreading of the package insert, as vaccines and their components are tested for mutagenicity and carcinogenicity in pre-clinical testing.
      • The mutations are allegedly due in part of the presence of thimerosal, which is said to be safe in vaccines (because it is) but the film deems dangerous (which is wrong).
  • Thimerosal was removed from some vaccines but added to others
      • They cite a study on pregnant mothers claiming that flu vaccines caused increased circulation of inflammatory immune markers for their babies, including schizophrenic disorder and autism. However, the study in question looked at illness from influenza and increased risk of schizophrenia and autism. Vaccination, of course, could mitigate that risk.
      • The films asserts that amount of mercury in vaccines is a toxic hazard. Thimerosal, which is sometimes used in some vaccines, is an organic mercury compound that metabolizes into ethylmercury—a different type of mercury than that we might be exposed to through fish and breathing. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that the amount present in vaccines is safe. 
      • Th assertion that the amount of mercury that vaccinated people are exposed to exceeds legal limits set by the EPA is due mostly to the confusion between ethyl- and methyl- mercury.
      • Also, thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines in the U.S.
  • Influenza vaccine marketing is awful
      • The film claims that the vaccine is linked to kidney failure. While there are some case reports of patients on statins suffering kidney failure after a flu vaccine, this claim is made mostly through the observations of Dr. Suzanne Humphries. If real, it would be exceedingly rare.
      • The assertion that children who have had the flu vaccine are more likely to be infected by pandemic flu is based on a 2010 Canadian study which found an association but did not posit causation.
      • The film also claims that over-vaccinating harms your ability to fight other infections (and increases susceptibility to them). It’s not clear how they would define “over-vaccinating,” There is some evidence to suggest that getting a flu vaccine in multiple seasons consecutively could reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine, but many confounding factors make it difficult to explain why this observed effect is occurring.
      • Flu vaccine is poison, say the film. Of course, the old adage that the dose makes the poison applies, and if you’ve ever watched yourself getting a flu shot, it’s a tiny amount of anything.
      • The film follows up by claiming that getting sick after the vaccine is administered is your body’s way of rejecting the poison. In fact, feeling achey and bleurghy is your immune system’s way of mounting a defense against influenza.
  • Addressed flu requirements for workers
      • The film discusses that many workers who have refused the vaccine have never gotten sick. People used toot wear seat belts and not die in car accidents, too. It’s hard to see why this is a persuasive argument. The average adult over the age of 30 will catch influenza twice each decade. It’s reasonable to believe that healthcare workers exposed to more germs than the average person would be more at risk for catching and passing along influenza.
      • The film also talks about some who have refused but subsequently taken the vaccine for job security have become ill after being vaccinated. Side effects from the flu vaccine can include headaches, fevers, muscle aches, and other feelings of unwellness that are far less severe than actual influenza.
  • Physicians don’t read the science around vaccine safety
      • The film claims that rather than reading their misinformation, doctors blindly follow CDC recommendations and information. Of course, CDC is not the only governmental agency in the world that agrees on vaccine safety. From the UK to Australia to Canada to every corner of the globe, vaccines are promoted as safe. It also must be noted that doctors learn quite a bit during residency and through continuing education when they become providers.
      • The film claims strong financial incentives for doctors to comply with the vaccine schedule
        • The claim that if 63% are not compliant, doctor forfeits a bonus from Blue Cross Blue Shield is a misunderstanding of BCBS policy. Providers pay into a pool and are reimbursed if they meet certain measurements.
        • Of course, the film says that the vaccine schedule is not about the patient, but it’s a money-driven system. For many pediatricians, however, giving vaccines is not a moneymaker.
        • As evidence, they cite Australia’s “no jab, no pay” policy. While this policy has increased vaccine uptake, it’s important to note that the Australian government offers healthcare to everyone and pays for the vaccines given.

Hib and Meningococcal vaccines

  • The speakers say that you never see bacterial meningitis or type B anymore. Like since the vaccines. Again, it’s hard to understand why they think this proves anything for them.
  • Hib only causes a handful of serious diseases a year. Again, since the vaccines.
  • The film points to problem with vaccines and the food proteins present within them.
    • The claim that food allergies have boomed since the development of certain vaccines has been studied and found to have no substance.
    • The film asserts that the Hib vaccine has peanut oil and consequently has caused food allergies. This falsehood is belied by the fact that such ingredients are, by law, required to be listed and peanut oil or any derivative of it is listed as an ingredient.

Pneumococcal Vaccines 

  • The film says that previously “harmless” strains of pneumococcal bacteria became vaccine-resistant after 7-valent pneumococcal vaccine was licensed. The strains were actually never harmless, but they become more common after the 7-valent pneumococcal vaccine came to wide use. Theses emerging strains are now covered in the 13-valent vaccine. 
  • The claim that pneumococcal bacteria are immune to the strains that Prevnar 13 guards against is easily rebutted by looking at the drop in incidence of pneumococcal disease.
  • Of course, the cast members claim that the pneumococcal vaccine has never been studied with a true placebo control group, which is incorrect.

Vitamin K and Tylenol

  • It’s important to clarify that the vitamin K injection is not a vaccine.
    • The film asserts that the vitamin K injection has been linked to childhood cancer. Reviews of the original studies making this assertion have not held up, and no study has replicated that finding.
    • The film says the shot is unnecessary because mothers can eat leafy greens to get their babies Vitamin K or babies can take oral supplements. The benefit of the injection is that there is a known quantity of the vitamin the baby’s body absorbs.
    • Another claim is that VKDB (vitamin K deficiency bleeding) is not that common. While the incidence without vitamin K supplementation is between 0.25% and 1.7%, the consequences can be severe, from lifelong neurological difficulties to death.
  • One common anti-vaccine theory is that acetaminophen (Tylenol) prevents children from detoxing and could possibly be the cause of why more boys than girls are affected by autism. The theory hinges on the idea that Tylenol reduces the glutathione levels in a child’s body. The theory was bolstered by a study suggesting a correlation between pregnant women who used acetaminophen and whose children developed autism. A third part of the theory rests on another study suggesting the acetaminophen given after vaccines could render them less effective. Many anti-vaccine theories function this way: stringing together three unrelated studies to come to a new conclusion. However, there’s no association between autism and children being given Tylenol after vaccines.
    • The film claims that incidence of autism and vaccine injury is lower outside of the US because children aren’t required to be vaccinated before age two. In actuality, a number of countries have higher autism rates than the United States. Also, worldwide immunization schedules are not a lot different from the  CDC schedule.
    • The film claims that rates of infant mortality are also lower worldwide than in the U.S. The U.S. rate is due in part to poverty and access to healthcare. Another contributor is preterm birth rates.

Herd immunity is a myth

  • Yes, this is a super common claim. It keeps coming up.
    • First, they say that the DTaP does not prevent illness or transmission in vaccinated people. In the first few years after it is given, the vaccine is about 80% effective. But it is important to note that public health tells people not to rely on herd immunity to prevent pertussis.
    • Doctors don’t know vaccine ingredients and therefore can’t evaluate safety. Next time you go grocery shopping, ask the manager for the chemical makeup of a banana. Refuse to buy it if she cannot list all of them. 
    • We’ve known for a very long time that herd immunity is super real. That’s why disease outbreaks occur where vaccine refusal is high.

Next up, Episode Five: Considering the HPV and Hepatitis B Vaccines, SIDS & Shaken Baby Syndrome

The Truth About TTAV Episode Three

If you are new, start here.

Episode Three: In Depth Analysis of the MMR and DTaP Vaccines & Vaccinating for the Greater Good

The Cast

The Claims

Vaccine Effectiveness

    • MMR Vaccine is ineffective
    • Vaccines are effective for some, but what is the “price” we pay? For the MMR, about $21 per dose. Sorry, that was snarky. The price is healthy communities and certainly not what the anti-vaccine world asserts it is.
    • One commonly repeated claims is that we were already at the end of mass epidemics because of other reasons, such as clean water and refrigeration, not because of vaccines. This misperception comes from misunderstanding the difference between mortality (deaths) and morbidity (cases of disease). In fact, every time a vaccine came in widespread use, we can see the incidence of that disease decline dramatically. Note that the decline in disease is different depending on the vaccine, and that clean water and refrigeration did not change multiple times in the 20th Century to neatly coincide with any of these dates.

Doctors and Public Health use fear to their own nefarious ends 

    • The claim that “vaccine tyranny pushers” create fear in order to get people vaccinated and to take away medical choice was a common one during the push against California’s SB277 bill. Of course, there is always the choice not to vaccinate your child. However, the consequences of that choice range from exclusion from public schools to needing to apply for a vaccination waiver. And the beneficiaries are the children who do not get sick because immunization rates around them are high.
    • The film argues that measles is not a deadly disease, even though many are afraid of it. Between 2000-2016, the MMR vaccine prevented an estimated 20 million deaths from measles. And it isn’t just death! About 25% of people who catch measles will require hospitalization.

Natural exposure to viruses is superior 

    • The film claims there are health benefits from being exposed naturally to diseases. This claim is wildly false. Measles, for example, wipes out a person’s immune response to other infections for years, making them more susceptible to illness. Some claim that measles infection can prevent cancer, but this is a misguided and wrong extrapolation from a Mayo Clinic study done with the MMR vaccine and blood cancer. 
    • The film claims that DTaP and Polio vaccines deliver three diseases at the same time. However, the vaccines actually deliver only parts of the bacteria and viruses, not the whole shebang, as a wild disease would. The DTaP provides 7 antigens (mostly surface proteins) that cannot reproduce or cause disease. The inactivated polio vaccine has 15 antigens. These antigens are just enough to train an immune system how to fight a disease that will look similar without subjecting a person to a very serious illness.
    • The film also claims that diseases never occur in the body at the same time. Again, this is untrue. Many VPDs can lead to secondary infections. In fact, we are exposed to all sorts of germs all the time. Our immune system is constantly fighting off infections
    • The argument that having two diseases close together, as a result of these vaccines, will result in problems like inflammatory bowel changes comes straight from the Andrew Wakefield playbook. In fact, combination vaccines such as the DTaP and the MMR are very safe.
    • The film frames the idea of conventional immunization practice as eliminating germs, stating that we need germs. It’s true that there are good germs and bad germs. The germs that vaccine teaches the body to eliminate are definitely bad, as they cause illness, disability, and death. Good germs generally keep us healthy.

The CDC is malicious and terrible 

    • Like many anti-vaccine activists, those in this film claim the CDC knows that vaccines are bad and have ignored the safety issues with them. What this really means, though, is that the CDC doesn’t agree with the litany of things anti-vaccine leaders claim vaccines cause.
    • It’s also important to note that the CDC is not the only governmental agency in the world that agrees on vaccine safety. From the UK to Australia to Canada to every corner of the globe, vaccines are promoted as safe.
    • The anti-vaccine folks think they have a slam-dunk with so-called “CDC whistleblower” William Thompson. Read his papers here and a primer on him. His story is the basis of Andrew Wakefield’s VAXXED movie. 
    • The films claims that Thompson found children receiving the measles and mumps vaccines close together may get inflammatory bowel disease. This is not at all what Thompson ever said. That is Andrew Wakefield’s claim in his retracted Lancet paper. No one outside of Wakefield devotees makes this claim at all.
    • The film also says that Thompson found a link between the MMR and autism. The actual claim that Thompson made was that African-American boys between the ages of 24 months and 36 months were three times more likely to be diagnosed with autism. A look into these numbers suggests that the explanation was that these children were set to begin early childhood interventions for autism and needed an MMR to be enrolled.
    • The film accuses pharmaceutical companies of colluding with CDC. No matter where a person falls in believing this conspiracy exists, it’s hard to imagine it would exist around the issue of vaccines which are not the most profitable portion of pharmaceutical business. The CDC would do better to collude about erectile dysfunction.

Andrew Wakefield is a hero

    • A number of speakers were adamant that his findings hold up and have been replicated in other studies. Wakefield’s claim was that the MMR vaccine, because it is a combination vaccine, creates inflammatory bowel disease that leads to autism. The studies they claim support his findings have nothing to do with his findings.
    • They allege that instead governments don’t want to know what’s happening to their children, which is an odd claim. Autism (which isn’t caused by vaccines) costs the U.S. government over $250 billion a year. If the government wanted to cash in, mitigating those costs would be a start.
    • They argue that his reputation was destroyed because his findings threatened the market for combined vaccines. It should be noted that, before publishing his now-retracted paper, Wakefield applied for a patent for a measles-only vaccine. Wakefield’s findings would have personally enriched him. He did a fine job ruining his own reputation.

Lack of medical choice

    • The films draws an analogy between holding pro-choice abortion beliefs and allowing parents to make decisions about vaccinations. No matter what a person believes about abortion, vaccines are in no way similar. Opting out of vaccines puts a child and his/her community at risk.
    • As evidence, they claim that 86% of those infected at Disneyland measles outbreak in 2014 were vaccinated, but blamed those without vaccines. In actually, 45% were unvaccinated, while only 12% had proof of one or more dose of MMR.
    • They feel the outbreak was subsequently used to push Senate Bill 277 in CA, removing all vaccine exemptions. They aren’t completely wrong, except that SB277 allows for exemptions for medical reasons or for children who are schooled at home or online.
    • They emphasize that whatever a parents feels is right for his or her child, and if there is no immediate risk to that child, the law says the parent is permitted to do so. The focus on parental rights should give everyone pause. I’ve argued before that parents do not own their children. Rather they owe them health and protection. A child’s rights to those things supersedes a community’s right to be protected from outbreaks of disease. 

Whooping cough/pertussis vaccines

    • The film presents cases of DTP allegedly resulting in seizures, including Barbara Loe Fisher describing what happened to her son. The DTP likely never caused those seizures.
    • Describe how in 1970s, 11 children died from DTP vaccine and the company was sued – Graham v. Wyeth. Further study since then has shown the vaccine was almost certainly not related to those deaths.
    • Subsequently switched from DTP to DTap or TDaP; however, argue that people who get vaccinated may not get sick, but they are still silent carriers of pertussis. This claim is based on the infamous “baboon study,” but doesn’t take into account that someone not sick with pertussis is not coughing pertussis germs everywhere and not infecting others. Still, mothers should get their pertussis vaccines during the third trimester of every pregnancy.

Vaccines take the utilitarian approach 

    • The film accuses industry of testing vaccines on African women and children 
    • It uses Buck v. Bell (forced sterilization of mentally impaired women), a ruling from the 1920s, to illustrate the problems with utilitarianism, but is unrelated to vaccines. 
    • It’s important to note that ethics in medical studies has improved a great deal recently. We should absolutely learn from the mistakes of the past, and we now do a better job with human trials of any kind in science.  


Read more! Episode Four: Examining Influenza, the HIB and Pneumococcal Vaccines & Herd Immunity. Dang, this thing is long.

The Truth About Episode Two of The Truth About Vaccines

Just finding this post? Start here.

Episode Two: What’s in a Vaccine? Are Vaccines Effective? … and … What About Polio?

The Cast

  • Ty Bollinger is the producer/creator of this series and a previous The Truth About Cancer series. His films and books are steeped in conspiracy theories and his primary M.O. is to stoke fears about mainstream anything.
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is an environmental lawyer who remains convinced that the thimerosal that was removed from childhood immunizations is somehow still causing autism.
  • Brandy Vaughan is a former pharmaceutical representative who now raises money to put anti-vaccine billboards up around the country.
  • Barbara Loe Fisher is the founder of the poorly name National Vaccine Information Center.
  • Dr. Suzanne Humphries is a nephrologist and homeopath who sells books she’s written.
  • Dr. Sheri Tenpenney is an osteopath and doomsday prepper who sells  supplements on her website.
  • Robert Scott Bell is a homeopath, a podcaster, and an HIV denialist.
  • Dr. Larry Palevky is a “holistic” pediatrician who sells supplements at his website.
  • Eric Zielinski is a chiropractor and “Biblical Health Educator” who promotes essential oils at his website.
  • Dr. Paul Thomas is a pediatrician who sells supplements and anti-vaccine books at his website.
  • Mike Adams is a conspiracy theorist and Scientology-apologist who runs the website/webstore NaturalNews.
  • Dr. Irvin Sahni is a spinal surgeon.
  • Rep. Bill Posey is a U.S. Representative from Florida with close ties to many in the anti-vaccine community.
  • Stephanie Seneff is an MIT computer scientist who has published multiple anti-vaccine articles in low-impact journals.
  • Dr. Toni Bark is an MD and homeopath who sells chocolate and skincare on her website and travels the country testifying at hearings.
  • Dr. Debra Gambrell is trained in pediatric anesthesiology who now practices “biodynamic osteopathy” and offers unscientific alternatives to vaccines.
  • Jennifer Margulis has a PhD in American Studies and is the author of several anti-vaccine and pro-homebirth books.
  • Dr. Rashid Buttar is an osteopath who uses chelation and hydrogen peroxide treatments and was investigated for the deaths of four cancer patients.
  • Dr. Judy Mikovits is a biologist and a controversial Chronic Fatigue researcher whose papers have been retracted.
  • Robert J. Krakow is a vaccine court lawyer.
  • Sayer Ji is the founder of non-evidence based website GreenMedInfo.
  • Dr. Shawn Centers is a holistic osteopath who treats autistic children with non-scientific treatments.
  • Erin Elizabeth is a conspiracy theorist and the wife of Dr. Joseph Mercola and self-described “Health Nut” who runs her own website.

The Claims

Clinical Trials are bad

    • The film claims that epidemiological studies are susceptible to manipulation, but it’s important to note that not one of the people appearing in this episode is an epidemiologist. The WHO has published guidelines for epidemiological research.
    • Another claim is about clinical trials being small and the not reflective of the population. Vaccine clinical trials are voluntary and include up to 50,000 people. Further surveillance is done through the Vaccine Safety Datalink and other sources.
    • Anti-vaxxers often express concerns that trials do not use a saline-only placebo as a control, but rather another vaccine. The WHO has addressed some of the ethical issues regarding placebo use in vaccine trials, particularly when it comes to preventing diseases where a safe vaccine is available.

Vaccines contain harmful ingredients

    • One claim is that pharmaceutical companies know what vaccines contain and are “shady” 
    • The film claims that ICD9 codes specifically warn that ingredients may cause reactions, but the truth is that these codes are used to help investigators find reactions and monitor vaccine safety. 
    • A common conspiracy theory is about the Simpsonwood Conference, where the CDC purportedly acknowledged and promised to hide a link between thimerosal and autism. Seth Mnookin covered the truth about this conference and thimerosal at length in his Panic Virus book.
    • Polysorbate 80 is found in ice cream, and isn’t dangerous!
    • Aluminum does not cause neurological damage and autoimmune diseases as it is quickly eliminated from the body.
    • RFK Jr. claims that the Institute of Medicine threatened to defund the CDC if it looked into the connection between thimerosal and autism. On top of this not happening, the CDC is funded primarily by the federal government.

No one can prove vaccines are effective

    • The film criticizes measuring effectiveness by the vaccine’s ability to create an anti-body response, which they argue is not necessarily related to the human response. However, there are multiple ways to measure vaccine effectiveness and efficacy, including observational studies. 

Polio isn’t a thing

    • The film claims that 7 or 8 other viruses also cause paralysis, so the current perception of polio is misguided because polio isn’t so bad. Even though people lined up for the first vaccine.
    • If 100 people had the polio virus, 95% of people would have no symptoms, and less than 1% would suffer paralysis. In the 1950s, this meant 15,000 people each year were paralyzed by polio.
    • Simian Monkey Virus: the film points to a supposed connection between contaminated polio vaccines and cancers, saying that SV40 DNA was found in the tumors of individuals with cancers who had received the vaccine, but that the federal government had denied any association. Evidence also supports this denial as people who did not receive this vaccine also had SV40 DNA in their tumors and receiving the vaccine made people no more likely to get cancer.
    • The film calsl out the Gates Foundation as responsible for spreading viruses in Africa because of administration of vaccines there. However, SV40 has not been found in any vaccines since 1963.

Next up, Episode Three: In Depth Analysis of the MMR and DTaP Vaccines & Vaccinating for the Greater Good

The Truth About Episode One of The Truth About Vaccines

What is The Truth About Vaccines? Start here.

Episode One: The History of Vaccines, Smallpox, Vaccine Safety & the Current CDC Schedule

The Cast

The Claims

  • Anti-Vaccine Labels 
  • Vaccine safety education in medical schools 
  • Vaccine hesitancy is valid 
    • The film claims that AAP study in defense against vaccine hesitancy is irrelevant now, because the children in the study were vaccinated between 1993-1997 when children received fewer vaccines. Fortunately, this study was published in 2016.
  • Number of doses in vaccine schedule has tripled over decades but health has allegedly declined 
    • The rise in pediatric chronic diseases and neurological disorders seems to have a root in poverty rather than vaccines.
    • The film claims, without evidence, that CDC and doctors aren’t even adhering to the vaccine schedule themselves. One 2005 study  and another 2012 study show that the vast majority of doctors did adhere to the schedule for their own children. (It really should be 100%. Let’s work on that.)
    • The film claims current combination of vaccines has never been tested for safety. It’s important to note that every time a vaccine is added to the schedule, it is first studied concomitantly with other vaccines. Also, there’s this IOM study on the vaccine schedule.
  • Vaccines are dangerous because pharmaceutical companies are immune from litigation 
    • The claim that Congress was pressured into the Childhood Vaccine Injury Act after threats from the pharmaceutical industry to abandon vaccines manufacturing due to the number of vaccine injury lawsuits is not altogether false. But it is wrongly framed. In the 1980s, American lawyers filed a flurry of lawsuits related to the pertussis vaccine, despite no studies supporting a causal relationship between the vaccine and the supposed injuries. The legislation was meant to protect lifesaving medicines while supporting people injured by them.
    • The claim that vaccines are the only product mandated use in the U.S. that are liability-free is false in that vaccines are not truly mandated and they are not liability-free.
    • The film also claims that parents are the only parties held liable for vaccine injury, as they are left with the task of caring for their children. It should be noted, of course that parenting a disabled child is not a liability, and that parenting an autistic child has nothing to do with vaccines.
  • Doctors don’t recognize adverse reactions to vaccines because they think they are normal 
    • The claim that unvaccinated populations don’t have the levels of disease seen in vaccinated children is a common, but false, one. It is often based on two (now retracted) studies and a telephone survey they conducted which shows that vaccinated children are healthier. In fact, one German study found no difference between the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, except that vaccinated children contracted fewer vaccine-preventable diseases.
    • Have healthcare practitioners have normalized chronic diseases allegedly caused by vaccines? Or has the triumph over infectious diseases and malnutrition meant a shift toward more chronic illness? After all, you can’t have asthma if you die from polio.
    • The film claims autism rates are indeed skyrocketing and that the expanded definition is not reasonable explanation for the increase. Certainly, operating in a community of people who are convinced that vaccines and autism are related will reinforce that belief. However, the evidence shows that changes in diagnostic criteria and expanded support and awareness account for a large part of the increase in incidence. Here’s a nice article on how to think about the risk of autism.
  • The film views vaccine injury cases as redemption for families who have blamed themselves for damage their child obtained from vaccination 
    • One case cited was the Hannah Poling case. I’d say more, but everyone should really read that linked article.
    • The film claimed that the NVICP (“Vaccine Court”) has paid out over $3 Billion in settlements, which is cited as a large amount. However, this number means that 99.997% of children who receive vaccines do not have a reaction.
  • The film argues that as smallpox vaccinations increased, infection rates and deaths from the disease increased as well. 
    • This claim is part of a common argument that the eradication of smallpox was a function of quarantine and containment rather than vaccinations. Of course, quarantine and containment were an important part of eradication efforts, which would not have succeeded without vaccines.
  • The film discussed censorship in academic research for studies questioning vaccine safety. A New York Times article provides some validity to this argument, but the issue the film has is not the same as the one raised in the Times. Anti-vaxxers want legitimacy by being published in real journals, but they have little success in doing so because of the shabbiness of their own research.
  • The film claims the media have played a key role in reinforcing our blind belief in the power and value of vaccines 
    • They claim the system to promote vaccine effectiveness is deep and dependent upon advertising dollars from the pharmaceutical industry. However, the media is even more dependent on ratings, as was the case with Wakefield and continue to be the case with falsely framing vaccines as a controversy.

Coming soon, Episode Two: What’s in a Vaccine? Are Vaccines Effective? … and … What About Polio?

The Truth About The Truth About Vaccines

Thanks to some wonderful helpers, I have been able to put together some highlights about this seven-part anti-vaccine docuseries. I will do a separate post for each episode.

I wanted to begin, however, with an explanation of my introduction to this docuseries.

In February 2017, I received this email from someone whose job title is “TTAV Affiliate Manager.”

Hi, hope you’re well :-).

Sorry to hear about what happened to your son.
Thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do for the Vaccine Movement. Your efforts have helped forward the cause and has saved a ton of precious lives.

There’s an upcoming new docuseries, called The Truth About Vaccines coming in April. It’s being pro

duced and launched by the same team that did the epic The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest that has now reached more than 20 million people worldwide.

It’s a new and free 7 part series featuring Dr. Robert Kennedy Jr., Dr. Mercola, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny and 51 other experts. (full list of experts featured)

Several other big vaccine advocates are confirmed to promote including VAXXED, Vaccines Revealed and Green Med Info to name a few.

We’d love for you to be involved to support the same mission and earn money to further your efforts.

Go here to learn more

Please let me know if you have any questions and if we can count you in.


And, in fact, no–they couldn’t count me in. Even though she followed up with three more emails. So a few notes about this email.
  1. Nothing bad happened to my son. She had copied and pasted this email for someone else who apparently had a thing happen to his/her son.
  2. She clearly did not spend even half a second looking into what I do.
  3. Becoming an affiliate means you share in the profits of these videos, pyramid-scheme-like. So if you see this spreading lie Lularoe or doTerra, you now know why.

I debunk each episode: