Stop Jenny From Hurting Others!

OK. So my last post was a silly one, make no mistake this one is Deadly Serious.

I will again start with the disclaimer that, with this post, I hope to neither cause offence, or to patronise. However I am aware that it is a hot topic, and those that disagree with my position may feel that I have done both.

I remember when we had Bart there was a big controversy over the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps and Rubella). Was it safe? Did it have links to autism?

Bart was born back in 2000, just a couple of years after Andrew Wakefield had published his paper on the link between MMR and autism, and so we were making the decision during the peak of the controversy. Even though every radio show and TV talk show was giving equal credence to both sides, once you scratched the surface it was clear which side the evidence was accumulating. Wakefield’s initial study was based on 12 children who had developed autism spectrum disorders soon after having their MMR vaccination.

While this was cause for concern and reason for further investigation in itself it proved nothing. That is the way science works … a hypothesis is formed based on initial observation, it is then followed by a detailed study to prove or disprove the hypothesis.

Each subsequent study hopefully being subject to tighter controls and applied to a statistically significantly larger test group, and therefore increasing its reliability and therefore relevance to the debate.

In this case, when you look at this evidence, the tighter the test, and greater the test group, the less deviation these tests showed from the statistical average.

This strongly indicates that MMR presents no statistically significant increased risk of autism. Let me repeat that … MMR PRESENTS NO STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT INCREASED RISK OF AUTISM!

Thus Bart got his Jabs, and subsequently so did Lisa and now Maggie.

The problem is due to the controversy and the way the media insist on giving balance, you still get programs where you have one person from each side giving their point of view. The problem with this “Balance” is that the overwhelming weight of medical opinion is being represented by one person, and a fringe few by another. This was bad enough.

But now we have celebrities entering the fold. Jenny McCarthy, yes with her MTV medical credentials, has decided to take the anti-Vaccine fight to the public. So now we have one anonymous doctor who is representing the majority of medical opinion verses a celebrity mom who blames the vaccines for her child’s autism. Now I feel very sorry for Ms McCarthy, and I understand her desire to have somebody/entity to blame, but she is consequently endangering innocent children.

Last year in the UK alone there were 1,217 cases of measles from January to November. This has caused the UK to be labelled as “one of the worst countries in Europe for measles”.

I will stress that obviously this is not by any means a medical blog, it is merely that this subject captured my attention 8 years ago and only seems to become more and more important. I also understand that you would be even crazier to take medical advice from “Some Bloke on the Internet” than Jenny McCarthy (Although not by much), but I do urge you that if you are in any doubt whether to immunise, do some research, read some of the following.

stopjenny.com More on the surrounding of the Jenny McCarthy story and why she is wrong.

The Times article on Wakefield’s conflict of interest.

Wikipedia list studies since Wakefield’s Lancet publication overwhelmingly indicating there is no link between MMR and vaccination.

Phil Plait talks about the American problems of the Anti-Vaccine movement

Or for far a more detailed look at this topic than I can begin to offer, Autism’s False Prophets by Paul A. Offit

Please note that I am not attacking parents that have chosen not to vaccinate their child, I am sure that they have made the decision based on the evidence presented to them at the time (although I do hope to direct them to more recent and scientifically accepted evidence). I know it seems to be the default fall back, but I do feel much of the mainstream media have indeed let parents down (Don’t get me started on Oprah!).

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14 Responses to Stop Jenny From Hurting Others!

  1. BookMama says:

    Where’s the little “thumbs up” smiley? πŸ˜‰

  2. Mr Geek says:

    BookMama: Was this meant for the previous post or is this a subtle way of agreement w.r.t this post? If the First … there isn’t one wordpress doesn’t provide one 😑 If the second … thankyou.
    P.S. I hope you didn’t mind me rocking the boat in your comments 😳

  3. RC says:

    I have friends who have chosen not to vaccinate. Although I disagree with their decision, I know the reasons they made that decision (from what they explained to us, it was more based on what they saw happening in their circle of friends, and on the research they did at the time, than on any celebrity movement).

    My mom, a nurse, even admitted to me that back in the 1970s, when I was born, she and my father had some big conversations prior to choosing to vaccinate. She considered not doing it, just by things she was seeing and hearing within the medical community during that time.

    All of this being said, we chose to vaccinate Little Dude. Through my work in the medical community (I work with many physicians and nurse), I’ve seen the choices my practitioners are making with their own children, and have talked extensively with many of them. I have more concerns about my child possibly being exposed to chemicals in the environment (cleaning solutions, second-hand smoke, smog, etc…) than I have concerns about the immunizations.

    I just listened to a very scary report about a community within the US that had tons of kids/people quarantined due to a measles exposure. I’ve talked to several of my physician acquaintances about some of the scary cases of diseases they’ve seen (including the REAL flu, which is why flu vaccines are pushed every year).

    As for Jenny, I feel bad for any mom who gets the news that their child is autistic or has some other disorder. I know it could happen to us, too. But I do not like that everyone is tying autism to vaccinations.

    I have looked at the modified vaccination lists, though, and do know several doctors who think it might not be a bad idea to revisit the immunization schedule.

  4. Nemma says:

    We had all these discussions with both boys, in the end we decided to vacinate.
    I must admit that I didnt hesitate once over the new Meningitis injection though. I used to look after a three year old who had contracted it as a baby and she was left suffering from fits every time she got too excited/warm and tired. She also had other physcal problems and she was facing having these problems for every day of the rest of her life.
    There was no question about vaccinating!

  5. BookMama says:

    I meant thumbs up for tihis post! πŸ™‚

    You know I don’t mind debates in my comments section – as long as everyone keeps it civil and respectful, it’s absolutely fine with me. (I did delete a bunch of comments once by some jerk who posted a ton of personal attacks spurred by one of my posts related to Michigan’s new-ish car seat law – that really made me mad – but I’ve never done it again.) I find a good discussion to be invigorating!

  6. imhelendt says:

    The problem was a suspected link between a preservative in vaccines and autism. I think it’s called thirmasol or something like that. It’s not the actual fricken VACCINE! Sigh.

  7. imhelendt says:

    Wait, not sigh at you! πŸ™‚ Sigh that people aren’t getting the info.

  8. Elena says:

    Assuming for a moment that it actually is beneficial to shoot toxic chemicals into a healthy baby’s bloodstream, where is it going to stop? Do we need to be vaccinated against chicken pox? Is it a good idea to give a newborn a vaccine for hepatitis? Do we know the longterm effects on the immune system to have a continual stream of shots in a young person’s body? How many is enough, or are we just going to add on to the schedule forever?

    I don’t see the medical community taking any concerns seriously. They do their studies, interpret the results for us, which shockingly enough support the vaccine industry that rakes in, what, a jillion dollars a year? as well as ensures participation in “well-child visits” which no parent would ever go to unless they were being forced to stay on the vaccine schedule, discount parents’ “unscientific anecdotal” evidence and then tell us to shut up and do as we’re told or else.

    Not confidence-inspiring, in my view.

  9. tendrils says:

    AMEN and TWO THUMBS UP on your post! I wonder where these people who choose NOT To get vaccinated get their info. Celebrities? Cuz they are in the know………NOT! People, talk to your pediatricians!!!!!!!!

  10. Mr Geek says:

    OK so I tossed out the grenade and did not get to come back to see the damage I had caused … until now. OK .. Here goes

    RC: I can understand people coming to that decision, because there are so many scare stories. What is it that lingers in the memory when people have seen these debates … The doctor that presents facts, which by the very nature of these debates he will not get to show you, or the heart broken mother with an ill child that quite clearly blames “Big Pharma”. I can also understand that in years gone by there may have been concerns within the medical community, but due to the controversy surrounding this issue, it has now been researched to death. I have yet to meet any medical professional that believes there is any link between MMR and autism.

    Nemma: It really is not an easy decision when you are a new parent, you have so many important decisions to make. That is why it is so important to get the right information out there. I considered writing about the topic when Maggie was vaccinated, but I ducked it as I have only so much time to blog and there is so many facets to the topic, I also (correctly it would seem) thought it may require too much follow up. However when I read the BBC article I felt I needed to let it out.

    BookMama: So far I have never had to delete anything (other than the same old spam that we all get). Here’s hopping I get through this one with civility intact πŸ™‚

    imhelendt: The preservative is called Thimerosal. Specifically it was that people we concerned about Mercury in Thimerosal. However in response there has been numerous studies disproving the link (1 2) not to mention the fact that in the US, Thimerosal was removed from vaccines in 2001, but there has been no reduction in autism spectrum disorder diagnoses, in fact there has been not even been a reduction in the rate of increase in cases. However, due to the regulation enforcing the absence of Thimerosal as a preservative, many places are now suffering from a shortfall in stocks of flu vaccine.

    Elena: I appreciate that it is not easy to be the lone voice standing up for what you believe, I am glad you chose to voice your opinion, and I hope that the following does not discourage you from continuing the discussion, that being said however, I think I disagree with almost everything you said πŸ™‚
    First of all I’m not sure I get you first statement. We are assuming that it is beneficial, yet you then ask when to stop … surely the answer to that is when it ceases to be beneficial!
    As for Chicken Pox, I don’t have experience with this particular vaccine as I don’t think it is part of the regular immunisation programme here at the moment, but were it to become so, I would as always compare the potential side-affects to the potential benefits.
    The same is true for hepatitis and any other immunisation, and any medication for that matter.
    As for a lack of knowledge of the long term effects of immunisations … you do realise that you are arguing the case of a lack of evidence one way or another here? We don’t know that they wont give them super powers either … but without a proposed methodology, I think it would be unwise to base our decision making process on it.
    As for the medical community not taking things seriously, but doing “their studies” … what would you rather they did … finger in the air guess work? That is exactly what they should be, and have been doing. Yes they “interpret the results for us” as that is the point in doing it, however the data is often available for scrutiny, and these results will have gone through the peer review process.
    You also imply a conflict of interest for the funders of these studies, that Big Pharma effectively pays for the results that they are after … WOW you REALLY are not a fan of doctors are you … You feel that in all this time, in all these studies, there has not been an ethical whistle blower amongst them that could have pointed to the inaccuracies? What about the studies funded by the UK government? We have a health care system funded by the tax payer. Do you not think that the government would appreciate being able to get rid of the vaccination schedule? To shave a “jillion dollars a year” off the UK tax bill (especially now that a dollar is worth something compared to the pound πŸ™‚ )
    The fact that the evidence points in a direction that is not what you had anticipated is not the same as your initial concerns being overlooked.
    I am sorry if you find all this to be “Not confidence-inspiring” but what would it take for you to gain confidence? Feel free to explore the any of the links in this post, I would also be happy for you to pick me up on any inaccuracies.

    tendrils: To be honest, I think there is a lot of misinformation being knocked around in the media, and it slowly seeps in to the public’s subconscious, so it sometimes takes quite a lot of explaining. I think it is also a fear of being actively culpable mixed with the fact that most of the adults making these decisions have grown up in a world where these diseases were practically nonexistent.

    Phew … Done

  11. mrsvierkant says:

    My hubby works with a vaccine researcher, as a statistician, and it has only been examined on an ecological not a personal level. Also he likes to quote Mark Twain “there lies, there are damned lies and there are statistics.” πŸ˜€

    Autism: It is terribly sad for parents to recieve this news. I understand the grasping in the dark looking for answers and hoping for a cure. However, has there truly been a rise in autism/aspergers? Or is there now a definition for all those who used to be institutionalized because they weren’t “normal.” Most children with special needs of all kinds are raised at home now, and educated in the school system, and doctors can define what those needs are and there are programs and specialists to help. I don’t know enough this, but this has been a thought of mine for a long time. Anyway, that’s just my two cents.

    My children are vaccinated, of course. πŸ™‚

    Did I make sense, or am I as clear as mud.

  12. mrsvierkant says:

    Oops it should say “there are lies, there are damned lies and there are statistics.” Shouldn’t type with cold fingers.

  13. Mr Geek says:

    mrsvierkant: I agree with your husband and Mark Twain, statistics can be bent to make almost anything sound sensible at first sight.
    I too think that a significant portion of the increase in diagnosis has much to do with the combination of increased awareness of the condition and the increased range of the “Autistic Spectrum”. In this country much of it seems to be subject to the parents decision to have the child statemented or not (the process of statementing causes the child to be entitled to additional support in school).

  14. Elena says:

    Thank you for your detailed response. Have you limited your research in vaccines to its relation to autism, or have you done a thorough investigation of all the arguments against them?

    The first sentence of my previous comment was meant to contain the possibility that vaccines aren’t beneficial; there is much evidence which points in this direction. It is “common knowledge” that vaccines wiped out certain diseases, but people are never told that those epidemics had already waned to a significant degree when the vaccine was introduced and the vaccine then rode on the wave of a disappearing illness. Some diseases had their definition/diagnosis changed when the vaccine was introduced, which had a huge impact on the number of reported cases. The list of misinformation goes on.

    There certainly have been whistle blowers. There are numerous articles and books published by medical doctors in which they detail their findings against the efficacy and safety of vaccines. This website lists links to many: http://www.whale.to/vaccine/articles4.html

    You are right that I am not a fan, no offense to anyone. Modern medicine blows the doors off any other type of healing when it comes to traumatic injury, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else after a car accident than your average hospital ER.

    But when it comes to diseases, I have learned extreme caution. I have had the experience of seeing the man behind the curtain too many times, up close and personal. I have had too many members of the medical establishment lie to my face and in the end their lies were exposed. I have also read about too many “medically necessary” procedures and medicines that are eventually uncovered as being genuinely harmful. I have found a lot of evidence that vaccines are yet another mistake.

    I appreciate you allowing me to be the lone voice on the other side of the fence. Oh, wait, I forgot, I have a few ditzy celebrities over here with me! Isn’t that just great… πŸ™‚

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