Central NSW Seminar tour – first impressions

A week ago, I came back from a 9-city seminar tour of country NSW. I was very lucky to have had Greg Beattie, author of Fooling Ourselves on the Fundamental Value of Vaccines (this book is available in both hard copy and electronic versions) and Vaccination: A Parent’s Dilemma, join me for 7 of those 9 stops. For those who haven’t heard Greg speak, you don’t know what you’ve been missing! His information on the lack of evidence for ANY contribution vaccines may have made to the decline in deaths from infectious diseases is irrefutable (it comes from the Australian and other international governments). By using graphs plotted from government information which were taken from from his book, Fooling Ourselves, it is easy to see that what we’ve been told about the necessity and effectiveness of vaccination is not based in fact.

This was an amazing, invigorating and totally exhausting 2 weeks!

So many of those we met said they were inspired by our talks and yet, I felt absolutely inspired by meeting them.

A group of people in Moree (our second stop) were motivated to contact a woman who attended our Inverell talk (the first stop) and who runs an organic co-op for information on setting up a similar group in their town which only has one health food store and very little in the way of organic produce. They may also have coffee mornings to provide local support for families who have chosen not to vaccinate and are feeling very isolated in that decision.

A woman in Bathurst visited her local member of parliament and ALL of the local media outlets, asking them why these seminars were not being publicised even though community announcements had been sent to all radio, and television stations as well as to newspapers well in advance of the event. The result of her activism was a large article in one of the local papers and a radio interview as well. She felt so good at having been successful in her efforts, and I felt incredibly supported simply through the fact that she had cared enough to go to the trouble of working on this issue off her own bat!

One of our professional members paid for a copy of our seminar flyer to be published as an ad in the local newspaper. This person did not take this action for any accolades it may have brought them. In fact, if I hadn’t seen a copy of the paper myself, I never would have known! They also paid for several of the practice’s clients to come to the talk because they felt the information was needed by these particular people. How’s that for dedication and doing something for the right reasons?

I will find the time to do a more in-depth analysis of some of the events that took place over the two weeks of our tour including actions by a potential candidate for the Australian Democrats for the seat of New England who harassed the Tamworth Ex-Services Club, asking them to cancel our talk there. The Club was so supportive! They kept a lookout for any trouble (there wasn’t any) and told me that the CEO had told this ‘gentleman’ that the last time he’d checked, Australia was still a democracy which meant that people had the right to express their views without fear of being shut up or shut down. Perhaps the Australian Democrats need to think carefully before allowing this person to be preselected for such an important seat?

Those who attended

And there were indeed two members of Stop the AVN who came to the talks. I will give more information about their appearances in separate blog postings, but there was no trouble from anyone, thank goodness!

The talks were not well attended. Part of that was due to the media not publishing our community announcements and the fact that we did not have the funds to advertise these events otherwise. Part of it was due to an organised campaign by members of Stop the AVN to tear down our posters which had been put up by volunteers and AVN members in these communities.

In one town, we personally put posters up on 3 community bulletin boards at 7 PM. By 10 the next morning, the two that we checked were gone. One of those was behind a glass front in a case! So not only do SAVN want to make it impossible for parents to choose not to vaccinate – they also want to stop them from getting any information that is not fully pro-medical.

In addition to these influences, however, the story we heard over and over again at each venue was that people were afraid to come to AVN talks because:

1- They feared that there could be violence at these events from members of Stop the AVN who are so incredibly vocal about their plans to harass anyone who supports informed choice; and

2- They were afraid that friends might find out they had come to the seminar and as a result, they would be blacklisted in town and their children would be victimised.

Those who did come, often drove long distances – over 2 hours in some cases – to get there. They had to drive home late at night on roads made dangerous by kangaroos and wombats but they did it because they were so hungry for knowledge and support and I thank them from the bottom of my heart!

The medical brown shirts

What has Australia come to when caring parents who have made informed choices in the best interests of their own children have to be afraid to let people know about these choices?

Why is it that parents who know nothing about this issue feel they have the right to berate and abuse families who are well-informed simply because their own fear of diseases has caused them to hate those whose unvaccinated children, they feel, might put their fully vaccinated kids at risk? Where is the logic? Where is the intelligence? Most of all, where is the understanding that in a democracy, we all have the right to make these choices?

I would love to have your input on these issues. Do you have any ideas about how to empower parents to own their health decisions because I can tell you right now, there are many more families in Australia who have decided not to vaccinate then we can tell from the small number of conscientious objectors. Many parents have chosen to forego the childcare payment and the maternity immunisation allowance just so they wouldn’t have to front up to a potentially abusive doctor or clinic nurse to get their conscientious objector form signed. The problem is that they all feel isolated and unsupported and think that they are the only ones who have made that decision.

Where do you stand? If you have chosen to vaccinate your children, are you concerned about them being around unvaccinated kids? If so, why? Do you think that harassment or abuse of non-vaccinating parents is justified and if so, why>

If you have chosen not to vaccinate, are you nervous about sharing that decision with your friends and family? Have you been placed under extreme pressure by your community and / or a medical professional who has – for whatever reason – tried to get you to change your mind?

Lastly, does this sort of pressure make it more or less likely that you will vaccinate? Does harassing parents for their medical choices make them change those choices or just make it more likely that they will go ‘underground’ with their decision and withhold information about their decisions from those around them?

Please let me know where you stand on all of this. All comments will be approved unless they attack someone, use foul language or are abusive.

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Public Officer - Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, Inc.
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219 Responses to Central NSW Seminar tour – first impressions

  1. Greg Beattie says:

    Candice (and others)

    You keep referring to ‘incidence’ data when there is no such thing. It doesn’t exist. If we were going to estimate incidence we would have to do that via sample survey as there is no registry of sickness. There is a registry of deaths, but no registry of sickness. You are referring to ‘notifications’, presumably because they are the closest you can think of that even resembles such a registry.

    I have serious concerns about any epidemiologist who would entertain using notifications to gauge the effect of our vaccination programs. For a start, they were never intended to be used in this way, a point clearly demonstrated in our own history. But you may be able to change my mind. In the spirit of my earlier post, here’s your opportunity to convince us that they are in fact useful for this purpose. If you can satisfactorily address the following concerns, you’ll be well on the way:

    1. The case definition for polio in the post-vaccine era is substantially different to that in the pre-vaccine era. What adjustments were made to the notification figures to control for this?

    2. Other illnesses have undergone significant changes to case definition (e.g. measles increasingly requiring lab confirmation in the past 20 years). What adjustments have been made to account for these changes?

    3. How often did doctors report illnesses they saw? For example: in the USA, where it’s mandatory by law to report them, one study found the reporting rate over the years 1970-2000 varied from 9% to 99%. Another (for measles) found it varied from 3% to 58%. Given this wide variance in participation, we could see deviations of up to 20-fold in a trend (just using these figures) without any real change in illness. Clearly the reporting behaviour of doctors has had the potential to affect trends in data at least as much, if not more, than real illness trends. So:

    a) What factors have influenced the reporting behaviour of doctors?
    b) Is it possible to map when, where, and how much these factors asserted their influence?
    c) What controls or safeguards are built into the system to adjust for all this?

    4. Doctors use the vaccination status of a patient as an aid in diagnosis. This is documented and frequently acknowledged, but rarely discussed.

    a) Has the potential effect of this practice on the data ever been quantified?
    b) If so, has the data been adjusted to control for this?

    There are more concerns but these will do for starters. If you have any regard for data quality I’m sure you’ll agree that ANY ONE of the above concerns, if unaddressed, is enough reason to discard the data. Being an epidemiologist who believes in using notifications to base your argument on, I imagine you’ll know just where to put your hands on the answers.

    Thanks
    Greg Beattie

    • I agree Greg and there is another aspect that you touch on here. Children who are vaccinated seem to be less likely to be sent for lab testing should they develop symptoms of any ‘vaccine-preventable’ diseases they’ve been vaccinated against? Children with clear symptoms of whooping cough and a history of exposure are being diagnosed with asthma or bronchitis; children with the symptoms of measles are being diagnosed with roseola (if they are infants) or scarlet fever (in later years), and so on. So straight away, the statistics are seriously skewed even if the figures the government is relying on are comprised solely of lab tested cases.

      In addition, as you say – adults generally don’t get tested nor do they go to the doctor when they have one of these conditions so a very large percentage of the disease occurring in Australia is never being reported at all. Another reason why incidence is virtually worthless. I am looking forward to seeing Candice’s response to your very valid questions, Greg.

      • punter says:

        “I know that for the work I do, we make adjustments for the changes in ICD editions which are coding changes. I can’t see how disease epidemiologists don’t do the same (I didn’t report national figures)”

        Sorry, how exactly do you adjust for the fact that 100 years ago they didn’t even have the lab data we have today (whatever that’s worth)? Do you have a time machine to go back and recheck every diagnosis? If that is what you are doing, can I suggest a million better things to do with said time machine?

        “Generally however, the labs come back negative and it’s all a fuss for nothing. It is however, taken seriously, and that’s before we have worked out if they are vaccinated (basically we don’t give a shit)”

        Yep. And if you were just able to use a teensy bit of logic you would see why that completely confounds historical comparisons of measles notifications. Hint: what percentage of measles reports in 1900 would have been rejected if they had tested them using today’s lab methods?

        “4. using vaccination status to make a diagnosis. Again, unless they are making diagnosis without pathology, we dont know they are accurate, but they are definitely not in the statistics. With something like measles which is so contagious, we are going to see a second case if they are out and about enough.”

        Even if there wasn’t a single lab technician anywhere on the planet who “gave a shit” about vaccination status, it wouldn’t alter the fact that pro-vaccine bias could affect which patients will get tested for measles, pertussis etc and which ones would be dismissed out of hand by the doctors.

        “If you cant quantify retrospectively, then how can you control for it? You just have to take what data you DO have to work with and quit whinging.”

        Right. So if you have a completely incomplete data set that is likely to provide a completely misleading picture of the situation then it is perfectly OK to use said data set to draw strong conclusions because otherwise that would make you a “whinger”. You should probably tell this to your mates who think that Wakefield is the devil incarnate for using what they perceive to be as a poor data set. Of course there is a slight difference – Wakefield simply concluded from his small data set that more study needed to be done. You want to conclude from your hopelessly incomplete and massively biased data set that vaccinations are absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt completely effective. Tell me, why exactly was he struck off the medical register?

      • Hear, hear, Punter! Excellent points and well-stated. Though there may not be bias in the laboratory today – there certainly is in the doctor’s surgery and today’s figures can’t possibly be compared with figures of ever 50 years ago when almost all of these diseases were diagnosed on clinical symptoms alone without confirmation from laboratory testing.

    • Candice says:

      No one person can address all these ‘concerns’ Greg. I’m an epidemiologist, not an expert in every area of public health, economics, history, virology, behavioural science etc etc. You will notice I only address questions I’m qualified to answer.
      So I’ll do that. Although I’m set up to ‘fail’ in your eyes because I can’t answer all of them – so why bother eh?

      1. considering as epidemiologists we generally don’t show you our ‘working out’ in our reports and articles, I would ask you to demonstrate they DIDNT make adjustments.
      I know that for the work I do, we make adjustments for the changes in ICD editions which are coding changes. I can’t see how disease epidemiologists don’t do the same (I didn’t report national figures)
      It’s your job to ask the right questions if you so desperately want to know the answer. If you have the answer ‘no we don’t control for that’, cool, show me. But going on what I know of injury epidemiology at a national level, yes, absolutely control for that.

      2. Basically the same answer for question 1. Except I know from first hand experience there is at least some control applied with more recent changes in case definitions (onset date etc) so , same as question 1.

      3. ‘seeing’ pertussis (i.e. doctor makes a clinical diagnosis) according to meryl’s many examples is apparently reported to the public health unit. But that is not enough to end up as a complete notification. Doctors are however, quite test happy, if pathology picks up anything – it goes straight to the disease surveillance unit.
      At that point it doesn’t matter if the doctor reported it first.
      However, that varies with things like measles, where doctors are quite excited to think they have a case and quite happy to call. Generally however, the labs come back negative and it’s all a fuss for nothing. It is however, taken seriously, and that’s before we have worked out if they are vaccinated (basically we don’t give a shit)

      4. using vaccination status to make a diagnosis. Again, unless they are making diagnosis without pathology, we dont know they are accurate, but they are definitely not in the statistics. With something like measles which is so contagious, we are going to see a second case if they are out and about enough.
      If a doctor says, ‘hey you’ve got measles, you’ll be fine, bugger off’, no I doubt this has been quantified BUT was that actually a case or not?
      How do you quantify that in retrospective studies?
      If you cant quantify retrospectively, then how can you control for it? You just have to take what data you DO have to work with and quit whinging.

      EVERY epidemiologist is concerned with data quality. There are ALWAYS *some* issues, but they’re generally not insurmountable, if that is your area of expertise, you’re generally acutely aware of your data issues and there is endless debate (I kid you not) about how to make the data ‘better’. We live for it.

      So while I haven’t answered your questions at least I’ve added some food for thought.
      Cheers.

      • Greg Beattie says:

        Candice

        Here’s question 1.

        1. The case definition for polio in the post-vaccine era is substantially different to that in the pre-vaccine era. What adjustments were made to the notification figures to control for this?

        And here’s your answer…

        “1. considering as epidemiologists we generally don’t show you our ‘working out’ in our reports and articles, I would ask you to demonstrate they DIDNT make adjustments.
        I know that for the work I do, we make adjustments for the changes in ICD editions which are coding changes. I can’t see how disease epidemiologists don’t do the same (I didn’t report national figures)
        It’s your job to ask the right questions if you so desperately want to know the answer. If you have the answer ‘no we don’t control for that’, cool, show me. But going on what I know of injury epidemiology at a national level, yes, absolutely control for that.”

        That’s a MASSIVE fail. You’ve been asked to substantiate YOUR argument. Instead of doing so (which would have silenced me) you want ME to look for an answer and prove it’s NOT there? It’s a simple question, Candice. If the figures have been adjusted for the massive change in case definition, show us.

        For the remaining questions your answers didn’t go close. In fact, in the main they had nothing whatsoever to do with the question. And you seem to forget that most diagnosis was clinical in the period when vaccines were introduced for whooping cough, measles, polio etc. So your constant falling back on laboratory testing is pointless, especially when you show no comprehension of the fact that the change from clinical to laboratory diagnosis was one of the things you were asked to address.

        “Again, unless they are making diagnosis without pathology, we dont know they are accurate, but they are definitely not in the statistics.”

        Punter has already told you but let me say it too so you understand. DTP vaccine was introduced in 1953, polio vaccine in 1956, and measles in 1970. Do you want us to believe people diagnosed without pathology testing back then were definitely not in the statistics?

        A big problem with your position is this: You say it’s not your line of epidemiology, and “You will notice I only address questions I’m qualified to answer”. If that’s the case, why are you here showing your badge and arguing on behalf of vaccines by referring to notifications? You had better be prepared to face some fundamental scrutiny of your argument… and this is pretty fundamental. You can’t have it both ways. If these influences have not been accounted for in the data then your argument is completely invalid. As an epidemiologist I’m sure you appreciate this. Are you prepared to back it up or not?

        Greg

    • dave colemansen says:

      Greg states in 4:

      “Doctors use the vaccination status of a patient as an aid in diagnosis. This is documented and frequently acknowledged, but rarely discussed.”

      This is documented.

      Please provide the references for this documentation.

      Many thanks

      Dave

      • Dave, I said earlier though it may have been on another thread, but Greg is away and will not be able to check anything online for at least a week. You may want to make a note to repeat this question in a few days’ time?

      • punter says:

        If I provide documentation to show that many doctors are taught to use vaccination status as an aid in diagnosis Dave, will you admit that the main thrusts of the AVN’s arguments are valid and promise to have nothing to do with the SAVN ever again?

        Or will you simply do what all the skeptics do and tell people that even 100 per cent unequivocal proof isn’t nearly good enough for you to change your mind?

        I wouldn’t bother asking this of others but the reason I ask you is because I have noticed that you are almost the only person to ever even attempt to provide relevant arguments on the SAVN site.

      • dave colemansen says:

        Thanks Meryl, I will try to remember to do that, but as an old man I cannot rely on my memory as I once could.

        Tristian, I merely asked Greg to provide the documentation he said existed that doctors use vaccination status of a patient as an aid in diagnosis. If he can provide it I am happy to evaluate the quality of it.

        In fact, the only documentation I am aware of shows exactly the opposite of what Greg suggests. The abstract of the paper can be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X10018852

        Yours is clearly a separate issue, which I am happy to respond to.

        You suggest you can provide documentation to show that “many” doctors are taught to use vaccination status as an aid in diagnosis.

        I am not sure what form such documentation may take. Using the term “many” would suggest some widely, perhaps even globally, used clinical algorithm (I am not aware of such an algorithm, but that might not mean much), as opposed to notes from say one medical school. But what would such documentation mean – it’s an upstream issue. I really want to know what is happening at the level Greg is talking about: that is, that doctors actually use vaccination status as an aid in diagnosis.

        As for the rest of your comment, you are asking me to commit to something before I am even aware of the nature or contents of your data. If your information is 100% unequivocal proof of something, then it would be hard for me to refute. But given that sort of proof doesn’t really exist, as far as I am aware, I think you are unlikely to provide it.

        I am happy to assess any documentation you provide, but I respectfully refuse to be locked into a position on its meaning or impact until I have had a chance to assess it.

        Dave

      • Rhianna says:

        Funnily enough, I have just looked after 12 people in a hospital inpatient setting with laboratory confirmed influenza. 10 of whom were unvaccinated, 2 vaccinated. Funnily enough, I still ordered the influenza swabs in the vaccinated individuals because fevers, coryza and myalgias were enough to clinch a test for me regardless of vaccination status. Either I am an amazing doctor who thinks more broadly than the average, or I am just like the rest of us (considerably more likely.) My anectode seems to concur with Dave’s evidence rather than Punter and Greg’s assertions.

      • You’re the best Dr Rhianna! not only can you use language that would make a sailor blush when you disagree with someone, but you also can order swabs for people you suspect of having influenza! Incredible!

        I know that Greg is away, and I don’t have a lot of time, but two minutes of searching found this very recent reference and I’m sure there are more where this came from.

        Whooping cough in school age children with persistent cough: prospective cohort study in primary care
        Source: BMJ. British medical journal [0959-8138] Harnden, Anthony yr:2006 vol:333 iss:7560 pg:174 -177

        For school age children presenting to
        primary care with a cough lasting two weeks or more,
        a diagnosis of whooping cough should be considered
        even if the child has been immunised. Making a
        secure diagnosis of whooping cough may prevent
        inappropriate investigations and treatment.

        Despite data showing that neither
        infection nor immunisation results in lifelong immunity,
        whooping cough is seldom diagnosed in primary
        care because of the lack of specificity of clinical symptoms
        and signs.Whooping cough is perceived as a disease
        of very young children who have not been
        immunised
        (emphasis added)
        and who have classic features such as
        whoop.

        Doctors are very reluctant to diagnose a fully vaccinated child with whooping cough – or any other so-called vaccine-preventable illness. This is not new information. It isn’t even hard to find. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes vaccination look more effective then it actually is. If people are vaccinated, they are less likely to be tested and prior to routine testing, they were far less likely to be diagnosed. One of the diagnostic criteria for determining if a patient had polio after the release of the polio vaccine in the US was that they hadn’t received a polio-containing vaccine in the previous 30 days.

      • dave colemansen says:

        I’m not sure if you had a chance to read my post above Meryl, or the article or even the abstract that I link to. This is the only published research-based evidence on this specific topic, and it contradicts your opinion, and the meaning you take from the BMJ paper.

        Best wishes

        Dave

      • Dave – I downloaded it last night and scanned it but haven’t had a chance to read it. Are you saying that there are no other articles published on this subject because if that’s the case, I don’t believe you’re correct.

        Also, from my scan of your article, and please remember, this is a preliminary scan, it appeared to me that this study took place during a trial of flu vaccination so everyone was being tested anyway and there were a lot of ‘estimates’ based on the information in that study whereby the doctors were trying to compare what happened with the group in that particular centre where the study was taking place and what actually happens in the real world. Again, I only scanned it, but that was my first impression. As you can see from the section I have cut below, there was altogether too much use of the word ‘simulated’ for my liking. But I can stand corrected if you have studied this paper more thoroughly than I have – and doubtless you have.

        2.4. Sensitivity analysis
        To examine the magnitude of potential bias from differential
        diagnostic evaluation more fully, we developed a decision tree
        model that mimics the structure of a pediatric influenza vaccine
        effectiveness case–control study and performed sensitivity analysis
        to examine the impact of differential diagnostic evaluation
        on simulated estimates of vaccine effectiveness. In the simulated
        case–control study, children with acute respiratory infection who
        received a rapid diagnostic test for influenza at clinician discretion
        and tested positive are defined as cases; controls were age-matched
        children without influenza or a respiratory condition. We assumed
        a true VE of 70%. By varying the likelihood of receiving a diagnostic
        test for influenza based on vaccine status, we were able to
        examine the impact of this variation on the observed VE. Because
        we were interested in the influence of differential diagnostic testing,
        we assumed perfect test sensitivity and specificity. Values of
        other factorsknownto influence VE, including vaccination coverage
        and the probability that a child with symptoms of acute respiratory
        infection truly has influenza, were based on information from
        observational studies of VE and clinical literature. We simulated
        the total number of cases, number of vaccinated cases, and ratio
        of vaccinated to unvaccinated cases. This ratio multiplied by the
        ratio of unvaccinated to vaccinated controls yielded the observed
        odds ratio; 1 minus the observed odds ratio gave the observed VE.
        Bias was measured as the difference between true VE (70%) and the
        estimate of observed VE generated by the simulation model.

      • Rhianna says:

        Excellent article, Meryl (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1513463/)

        Not only does it highlight that medical research has been pushing to doctors for the past six years the importance of considering pertussis in isolation from the vaccination status (the very thing you state doesn’t happen), it also provides is these pearls of wisdom:

        “Although immunisation failed to protect them against pertussis, it did result in attenuated clinical features.”

        “This finding is important because secondary attack rates of pertussis in non-immunised household contacts have been estimated to be 90%. Younger children are more likely than adolescents to have a newborn sibling to whom they could transmit the infection with potentially devastating consequences.”

        Great find.

      • Rhianna, you really are a piece of work, aren’t you? This article demonstrates that doctors are less likely to test people for diseases they have been vaccinated against, thereby skewing the data on effectiveness. This was what we were discussing, remember? And to me, out of what you quoted, the important phrase is “Although immunisation failed to protect against pertussis…” Well, if it failed to protect, why are we using it? Great find indeed.

      • Doc Scooter says:

        Well isn’t this a doozy!!

        Despite Tristian and Meryl’s insistance that Doctors don’t consider vaccine-preventable diseases in immunised people, I went looking for myself.

        I got bored after the first 3 state’s guidelines that I found UNIVERSALLY did not consider immunistaion in their case definition. If it wasn’t so late I would look up the others, but I’m sure they are all the same.

        Measles:
        SA – http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/PDF-files/Measlesflowchart-cdcb-phcc-1006.pdf
        NSW – http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/guideline/measles.html
        Vic – http://ideas.health.vic.gov.au/bluebook/measles.asp

        Pertussis:
        SA – http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/PDF-files/PertussisFlowChart-CDCB-091229.pdf
        NSW – http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/guideline/pertusis.html
        Vic – http://ideas.health.vic.gov.au/diseases/pertussis.asp

        Now Tristian, considering you stated:
        “If I provide documentation to show that many doctors are taught to use vaccination status as an aid in diagnosis Dave, will you admit that the main thrusts of the AVN’s arguments are valid and promise to have nothing to do with the SAVN ever again?”
        And I have shown the opposite, will you pay us the common courtesy of doing what you suggest?
        I won’t hold my breath, however…… if there is one thing that is obvious, it’s that ‘Punter’ can NEVER be wrong…..

      • Doc Scooter – what did you think about the article from the BMJ that was posted earlier and that demonstrated that doctors were being asked NOT to use vaccination status when diagnosing whooping cough? And the article stated that being vaccinated against whooping cough had been used to determine whether or not to test a patient for whooping cough but that shouldn’t be done because being vaccinated didn’t mean you couldn’t get the disease. Did you read that and ignore it or did you not see it? I will give you the benefit of the doubt. By the way Doc Scooter – and I know you’ve been told this before – his name is Tristan – not Tristian.

      • punter says:

        “Now Tristian, considering you stated:
        “If I provide documentation to show that many doctors are taught to use vaccination status as an aid in diagnosis Dave, will you admit that the main thrusts of the AVN’s arguments are valid and promise to have nothing to do with the SAVN ever again?”

        And I have shown the opposite, will you pay us the common courtesy of doing what you suggest?

        I won’t hold my breath, however…… if there is one thing that is obvious, it’s that ‘Punter’ can NEVER be wrong…..”

        Don’t know about never being wrong but I reckon I have a pretty good understanding of the meaning of the term “opposite” and you didn’t (even ostensibly) provide it. The opposite of providing evidence that many doctors are taught to use vaccination status is NOT a few guidelines where they don’t mention it at all it would be…well it wouldn’t be anything because you can’t prove a negative.

        But you can show a positive so here we are: Under the banner “Risk Assessment” we have: “Persons considered susceptible to measles are those who were born in or after 1966 who have neither serological evidence of measles immunity nor documented evidence of receiving two doses of measles containing vaccine.” Note the terms “risk assessment” and “susceptibility”. Now, do I need to explain what any of those words mean?

        Now do you know where I got that from? It was in fact one of the links you provided Doc http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/guideline/measles.html. So congratulations! I think you just scored one of the most devastating own goals since Ashley Locke provided me with the data that the introduction of the Hep B vaccine coincided with a massive increase in liver cancer. (Although unfortunately for both of you it is still less of an own goal than Katie Brockie providing me with the data which shows that rates of physical disability have skyrocketed since the introduction of the polio vaccine. Never mind though. I’m sure you have some more tricks up your sleeve.)

        The same goes for your NSW pertussis link by the way (although it is a tiny bit less explicit). I can’t access the SA links but the Victorian link says this: “Vaccinated persons may still develop pertussis however illness is usually milder and they are less likely to present with the typical whoop.” So again, whilst this doesn’t rule pertussis out it definitely implies that vaccinated children with severe symptoms more likely have something else. So again, another own goal from you. And for Victorian measles under the banner “Susceptibility and resistance” it states: “Vaccination at 12 months of age produces a protective antibody in approximately 95% of recipients. The second dose of vaccine, recommended at 4 years, increases protection to approximately 99% of recipients.” So again, it explicitly states that the vaccinated are at vastly lower risk for measles if they present with various symptoms.

        So Doc Scooter, it doesn’t look great for you I’m afraid. Every single one of the links you provided that I could access simply confirmed Greg’s point. Now, even if they hadn’t your point still would be invalid of course, but my God! How embarrassment for you!

        Now you want to refer to the absence of vaccination status in a case definition but this is meaningless because there is no definitive condition for any of these diseases. Every single symptom (or other factor) contributes to a “risk assessment” by the doctor. That is why under the banners for symptoms/clinical presentation their descriptions are littered with terms like “usually”, “maybe” “such as” and “include”.

        Amazingly, the Victorian site even says “Measles infection (confirmed virologically) may rarely occur without a rash.” So basically what are you left with? Practically anything and everything can be associated with any of these diseases – or nothing at all. In other words the doctor can send you for a lab test (for whatever that’s worth) on whatever basis they like.

        Let me help you out here. If you wanted to show that the diagnostic bias is trivial using the approach you have taken then what you need to do is provide a representative sample of the commonly used textbooks that specifically tell doctors NOT to use vaccination status for all of these diseases under any circumstances. You would then need to provide the same thing for all the public health websites etc. Even then we would still need to take a dramatic leap of faith that all the propaganda that doctors (and everyone else) had been fed since the day they were born about the efficacy of vaccinations had absolutely no effect on them whatsoever when they made their diagnosis. Good luck with that!

        And Meryl, misspelling my name is probably the wittiest thing he has ever said or done in his life – we probably shouldn’t spoil it for him.

        Dave: “I am not sure what form such documentation may take. Using the term “many” would suggest some widely, perhaps even globally, used clinical algorithm (I am not aware of such an algorithm, but that might not mean much), as opposed to notes from say one medical school.”

        There is no globally used definitive algorithm for these diseases and never has been (see the above text). That is exactly the point. Practically every single diagnosis depends largely (and sometimes entirely) on the prejudices of the doctors. One of those prejudices is that vaccines work and for the most part the various medical systems actively promote this prejudice. That is why it is so unbelievably foolhardy to use inter-temporal/inter-country/inter-regional/inter-doctor data to demonstrate the efficacy of vaccinations. That is why we plead with you guys to actually do some real science to test their efficacy. But you won’t – instead claiming that actually finding out whether or not they work is “unethical”.

        And, my point of asking you the question is quite simple. You want evidence for a statement from Greg but even if you are provided with the evidence it won’t make you reconsider your views. That is why I wanted to back you in a corner. The skeptics will NEVER change their minds on this and you will simply keep on repeating the same old arguments in the hope that the majority of the population will only ever hear them and never hear our counter-points.

        At any rate consider the documentation provided – by one of your own no less. There is plenty more too if you need it for example textbooks teaching vaccination status should be used as part of a diagnosis. But like I said, nothing will ever be enough will it?

        You see the difference? I have made my stand. I have stipulated what would be enough to make me stop debating on this topic. Any vaccine defender (although preferably a whole bunch of them) taking a weight-adjusted dose of the vaccines. If you do that and come out unscathed I will no longer treat this as a significant issue. I still won’t believe they work of course but as far as I am concerned it will be a non-issue. On the other hand you guys constantly demand the world from us but you never say what will be sufficient to make you change your minds – because you know you never will. Your only objective is to obfuscate and intimidate.

      • punter says:

        And I find it hilarious that both Rhianna and Dave are trying to use the supposed integrity of flu diagnoses to support their case.

        You guys both do realise that the epidemiological evidence to support flu vaccinations is a big fat zero right? Here is just one example: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5933a1.htm. (The authors are actually sensible enough to realise that these figures are little more than wild guesses. If only this level-headed approach was taken all the time).

        So what you are effectively saying is that when the data has even the remotest level of integrity the vaccine will likely be shown to have no benefit. No arguments here. Indeed, we are clearly getting a similar result with pertussis right now. An increased willingness of doctors to diagnose the condition in the vaxed translates into data that shows essentially no benefit for vaccinating.

        Most doctors understand that the flu vaccine is nigh on useless so they won’t consider it too strongly when faced with overwhelming clinical evidence (what they will do when faced with underwhelming clinical evidence is another matter). Of course this just leads to the question. If doctors don’t think that flu vaccines should be part of the risk assessment (ie they don’t believe that it works) why on earth do they recommend the bloody things?

        You see this is your problem Rhianna, Dave and Scooter – there is a Catch-22 here. If you want to claim the bias doesn’t exist then you are effectively saying the doctors don’t believe in the vaccine (either that or doctors draw their conclusions on clinical features only). But if doctors don’t believe in particular vaccines then why give them to us?

      • dave colemansen says:

        Tristan says “You want evidence for a statement from Greg but even if you are provided with the evidence it won’t make you reconsider your views.”

        I don’t want evidence for any statement Greg made. Please read my original post. I only want the documentation Greg said existed. If he can provide it I am happy to assess it.

        Best wishes

        Dave

      • Greg Beattie says:

        Dave Colemansen

        I’m looking for answers to my questions… not obfuscation. It would be more proper for me to ask YOU for documented evidence that the bias DOESN’T exist (the proper approach when there is obvious potential for it). You thought you found “the only published research-based evidence on this specific topic”. Good grief! So easily pleased. Meryl has shown you more and so has Doc Scooter (admittedly via Punter as Doc didn’t seem to follow it). As well, had you been following the above forum you would have seen ample documentation of it.

        Now… back to the questions. Let’s see if we can get an answer for question 1. Remember, you’re trying to convince us of something. I know you’re a true believer so I’m expecting you to assist where Candice obviously failed. Without a satisfactory answer to these concerns your argument dissolves.

        To start with, if no one can address number 1 then no one should be using the polio graphs to demonstrate the effect of the vaccine. In fact, no one should be graphing the polio figures to start with. It would be a cut and dried example of scientific illiteracy. Not the sort of thing epidemiologists would be proud of. This is an opportunity for you so-called experts to show us you haven’t made such a mistake. Demonstrate the data you use is legitimate by answering the questions. Either that or abandon the argument.

        In fact, question 1 seems right up your alley Dave. Remember the discussion on this thread?

        https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/vaccination-respectful-debate/sefBsbDDnnY%5B26-50%5D

        Look at the messages from 29/9/2011… you posted twice suggesting I was wrong about polio, and asked me to explain all sorts of things about it. I did, and after that you never returned with any response, thank you, or anything. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not after a thank you. But I’m surprised to see you waltz back with more requests a year later.

        Back to question 1. Candice the epidemiologist has nothing, and appears uninterested, both of which I find gobsmacking. Perhaps Chopsii, Doc Scooter, or Rhianna can help you.

      • dave colemansen says:

        Great to have you back Greg.

        Whilst I’d like to play Barbara Steisand’s misty, watercoloured memories with you Greg, this long series of posts started with a simple question.

        Greg states in 4:

        “Doctors use the vaccination status of a patient as an aid in diagnosis. This is documented and frequently acknowledged, but rarely discussed.”

        Can you provide the documentation you said existed?

        Further, I may be confused, but I can’t see any “published research” of the type that answers this question provided by Meryl or Dr Scooter via Punter on this thread.

        I am very interested to know if further published evidence exists.

        I only get to read this stuff at the end of a day at work, so if I have missed links to this published research in another thread, please forgive me, and point me in that direction.

        Many thanks

        Dave

      • punter says:

        Dave, do you believe in “herd immunity”? I am guessing you do. But where is the actual physical or statistical evidence for it? It doesn’t exist does it? You believe it because it is a logical consequence of the beliefs that diseases spread by way of germs and that vaccines stop the proliferation of those germs.

        Similarly, the idea that there is a bias in diagnosing is a logical consequence of the assumptions that doctors believe in vaccines and doctors use judgements to make their conclusions rather than a strict non-ambiguous algorithm.

        Now both use valid arguments irrespective of how much ‘published research’ has gone into them. The question is how true are the assumptions that underpin them? Now in the case of herd immunity both of their underlying assumptions are in question in the case of diagnostic bias neither of its underlying assumptions would be questioned by anybody.

        So the argument for one is extremely controversial whereas the argument for another is completely sound.

        Now guess which one the skeptics believe is an absolute fact and one they dismiss out of hand?

      • dave colemansen says:

        Thanks for that Tristan. It gave me a lot of LOLs.

        1. I understand you don’t believe in germ theory http://i.imgur.com/r7TXt.jpg so not that surprising you don’t believe in herd protection (this is the less specific term which I prefer; I only use herd “immunity” when I mean herd immunity). Me trying to argue this with you would be like trying to convince someone of the moon landing when they didn’t believe in the combustion engine.

        2. You want evidence for herd protection, but you’re happy to wave through the idea of bias in diagnosing because it sorta sounds right? It’s a “logical consequence” apparently? Not buying that one tonight sorry.

        3. …much “published research”: this is my point. There is, as far as I am aware, no published research supporting the diagnostic bias argument. That one paper I provided the link to disproves the concept. Which leads me to 4…

        4. Happy to receive at any time from Greg the documentation he said existed.

        Best wishes

        Dave

      • Greg Beattie says:

        Dave

        You say… “Whilst I’d like to play Barbara Steisand’s misty, watercoloured memories with you Greg, this long series of posts started with a simple question.”

        No. It started with MY questions. And I’m still waiting for answers. Your attempt to divert attention from that only confirms you have no answers. And your refusal to consider documents which have already been offered to you add to that.

        Either answer my questions or realise that notifications are garbage data for your purpose (something which has been fairly obvious to many of us for some time). When we get past that we can discuss what you think the word “documented” means.

      • dave colemansen says:

        Actually Greg if you go to the top of *this*post (the place where you you hit reply) you’ll find you are actually replying to my original post, the one where I asked the questions. I’m not sure what questions of yours you are talking about. I’ve found in the past that you, Tristan, and I can’t seem to agree on much so I don’t really have time for the endless back and forward.

        Notifications are garbage data? I haven’t had the pleasure of reading your book Greg, but I understand from what I’ve read you make quite extensive use of notification data to forward your arguments. If you genuinely believe they’re garbage data I wonder why you would do that? Correct me if I am mistaken about you using notification data in your book.

        What I was originally interested in though was your statement that there was documentation for the concept of diagnostic bias by immunisation status. I’m not aware such data exist. But you said they did, there was documentation of the same. I am just asking you to provide it. It’s not a trick question, I am genuinely interested in seeing the data. If they don’t exist that’s fine, but I won’t be engaging in the mindless back and forward with overly long posts you and Tristan spend you time writing.

        Best wishes

        Dave

      • Greg Beattie says:

        Dave

        You say… “Actually Greg if you go to the top of *this*post (the place where you you hit reply) you’ll find you are actually replying to my original post, the one where I asked the questions. I’m not sure what questions of yours you are talking about.”

        No Dave. You didn’t even have an “original post”. You were actually responding to MY questions (the post where YOU hit reply). Remember, you said “Greg states in 4″. Please stop obfuscating. You can think your own question through without continuing to write about it here. Ask yourself what “documented” means. And ask yourself why you don’t accept official documents as documentation. I’m not going to supply more of them just because you arbitrarily reject the ones that have already been given. Your question is an internal issue for you. It doesn’t involve the rest of us.

        Mine are not trick questions either. Here they are….. again.

        http://nocompulsoryvaccination.com/2012/08/22/1937/#comment-6759

        They are absolutely fundamental to your argument. Without addressing them you don’t have one. And it’s obvious you are simply trying to avoid that with all this waffle. And might I suggest you don’t bother discussing a book you haven’t read. I actually do talk about notifications in the book, primarily to point out why they are garbage.

    • Greg, can you produce a graph that shows the deaths notices for diabetes to show that diabetes are not a problem.

      Using the same logic behind your vaccine graphs, the complications from diabetes are irrelevant. The technological and medical advances as confounding factors are irrelevant.

      I will then use your graph to promote the fact that diabetes no longer causes any problems and that people should ignore all and any all evidence to the contrary. Diabetics should stop injecting themselves with insulin because the graph will prove that hardly anyone dies from diabetes any more.

      • Greg Beattie says:

        Harry Phillips

        You’ve obviously missed the point of my graphs. That’s understandable if you’ve never read my book or heard me speak about them. Tell me which graph you’re referring to and what you think I am trying to demonstrate with it.
        Thanks.

      • Greg, you are obviously confused about the point I was making, I never asked about a specific graph of *yours*.. wait let me check.. nope never asked, I was asking about your methods.

        Let me simplify it for you:

        1. Do you only use the deaths to vaccine preventable diseases in your graphs? Yes or No?
        2. Do you control for confounding factors such as the implementation of better medical that would save a persons life where they would have been one of the death notices? Yes or No?

        In reading what you have written here and other locations my guess at your answers would be Yes to question 1 and No to question 2.

        Using your methodology please create a graph on diabetes that only shows death notices, ignores any complications that people have to live with and ignores the confounding factors. I am sure you can prove “increased sanitation” (or whatever) has made diabetes a non problem and can be ignored.

      • punter says:

        Your point is understood but nothing more than desperate and ridiculous obfuscation Harry. If we have terrible data for diabetes – or anything else – then anybody who would rather take an evidence based approach to a faith based one should treat any concrete conclusions drawn from such data with the utmost caution. That is Greg’s point. NOONE has ever argued that diseases that don’t lead to death MUST be a walk in the park what we have said is that the ONLY data with even the slightest level of integrity is mortality data. The rest is complete nonsense. I don’t know whether you are just being dishonest or you simply don’t have the ability to grasp this point.

        The data for any disease/condition that is diagnosed on anything other than symptoms alone should be treated with the utmost caution. And the data for conditions that are often mild and transient should be treated with nothing but the utmost contempt.

      • Greg Beattie says:

        Harry

        You’re talking to yourself at this stage. If you want me to join in please answer my question. There are 28 original graphs in my book and I use them to illustrate various points. Tell me which you are referring to and what you think I’m trying to illustrate with it, or them (my guess is you’ll be wrong, but we’ll see). If you can’t do this I can’t contribute.

        Some people look at one of my graphs and THINK they know what I’m attempting to illustrate. Rather than have me guess at what you’re thinking, it’s best you tell us. And please don’t try to be a smart-arse. You’re not in a position for that at the moment.

      • Greg Beattie says:

        And Harry, I’m not confused about the point you’re making. I just think you need to take a step back and see if you understand the point I was making with the graph you saw. In case you don’t understand my insistence, these are your words:

        “Using the same logic behind your vaccine graphs…”

        What logic? My graphs are just tables of numbers presented as a picture. I guess you’re referring to the logic behind the point I was making. But I suspect you don’t even know what my point was.

      • Harry Phillips says:

        Greg, your point is valid, I have not seen the graphs themselves just reports about what they contain. Please provide a link to them, I will have a look and get back to you.

      • Greg Beattie says:

        Harry

        I’m glad we sorted that out. As I said, you obviously missed the point of my graphs. Now it seems you haven’t even seen the graphs! Of course viewing the graphs alone will not enlighten you as to why I use them. You need the accompanying presentation for that, and you get that in my book. If you don’t wish to purchase a book, you can find some of my arguments and graphs on the vaccination respectful debate site https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/vaccination-respectful-debate

        Either way don’t bother asking me to plot a graph to help you make a point. That’s your job.

  2. Greg Beattie says:

    Meryl

    Thanks for the opportunity. It was fun. Public speaking isn’t exactly fun, but doing it alongside an old hand like you was a learning experience. Not exactly what I’d call a holiday, but they say a change is just as good. Actually I think in this case it was better. We visited some interesting places and met lots of wonderful people, while all the time grappling with the challenge of presenting such a huge subject in only one hour each. There were many highlights for me, not the least of which was finally meeting the brilliant Punter.

    The singing, the jokes, the long drives through interesting towns… running out of fuel miles from nowhere on a ‘back road’ to Goulburn. But the best part was the debriefing session at your house on the way home. The bike ride with Ken and the detailed geological explanations. Great stuff!

    To all who have made a choice not to vaccinate…
    We are certainly fortunate to be living in a free and enlightened society. One which nurtures open discussion and rational thought, and discourages tyranny and ‘rule by fear’. This has only been possible because of the will of the people. It’s important that we show ALL prospective bullies that intimidation will not be tolerated. Whether we choose to vaccinate or not, we should be proud of our decision. We should be willing to change it as and when we see fit, but proud that it is well considered, and based on information we judge to be important.

    Many who don’t vaccinate think it’s difficult to defend their decision. They feel they have to have to justify it by answering awkward questions. But what they don’t realise is it’s quite the opposite. Making the decision to avoid vaccines is in some ways an easier position to occupy. ‘Not vaccinating’ is what we’ve done for many thousands of years. So not vaccinating is the ‘norm’ in a sense. It’s only in the last 200 years of our existence that one particular field of health care has been trying to convince us to take it up. And they have tried and tried to produce a convincing argument. This is their job.

    Let me say it again…. this is THEIR job. The burden of proof is on them to convince us, because they are arguing the positive. If we become convinced then we simply make a decision to vaccinate. While we remain unconvinced then we simply REMAIN UNCONVINCED. We don’t have to explain why we are unconvinced. In other words, we don’t have to argue the negative. We simply smile and thank them for their information. If they get hot under the collar, we can again offer them an opportunity to convince us. If you are hounded for specifics as to why you’re still not convinced, remember you DON’T have to answer. But if you wish to, you could try the following:

    1. Show them a book that you feel has a compelling argument, and ask THEM to address that argument. Remember, it isn’t your responsibility to recall and repeat the argument in your own words. Simply showing them the book is sufficient. If they wish to refute it they will. Then you can make a call as to whether their rebuttal has convinced you.

    2. Tell them you are aware that, as part of their previous attempts at convincing, they tried to take credit for the drastic declines in infectious disease mortality, arguing that vaccines were our greatest tool. You now know this was a fairy tale, and that vaccines had little (in fact, probably nothing) to do with the decline. Ask them how you can trust any other statements from a camp which has mislead you in such a fundamental way.

    3. In clinical trials we compare vaccines with other vaccines, rather than placebos. Tell them you’re not convinced this is sound science, and invite THEM to convince you that it is.

    Perhaps others here can come up with empowering questions that non-vaccinating parents can use to shift the focus back where it belongs. The bottom line is we must remember where the burden of proof rests. Assert yourself by showing that you understand the dynamics of what is going on. Shift the task of answering questions back to where it belongs — squarely on the shoulders of those who want to convince us. It’s THEIR job.

    Greg

    • Thanks Greg – I really enjoyed it too – it was very tiring! But lots of fun as well :-)

      I look forward to seeing the ‘experts’ who have been commenting on this page come forward with their proof of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines which you have very reasonably asked them to provide.

    • Jennifer Power says:

      Thank you, Greg. Your book is the one that I refer to anyone who asks.

      Thank you also for the suggestions in this post. The courage one needs to defend their convictions is really only the belief that those convictions do not need defending.

  3. Doc says:

    patients in my surgery are all masked if they present with a potentially infected disease, alcohol hand wash and if possibly isolated in a spare room. Id does require self reporting or careful survillance and triage by the receptionist so of course some slip through.

    • punter says:

      You put everybody with a so-called infectious disease in the same room? How on earth do they survive each other?

      And if everybody already knows what diseases they have why do doctors get paid the big bucks? I always thought that patients googling their symptoms to try and self-diagnose was frowned upon by doctors.

      Why do I get the feeling that when you say “some” slip through what you actually mean is “practically all” slip through?

      But it’s a nice tale all the same Doc – completely ridiculous of course but judging by the number of likes it has clearly helped the skeptics to breathe a little easier over my line of questioning.

  4. Harry Phillips says:

    You have been told again and again Meryl the only purpose of the SAVN is to counter the “information” you spread with real facts and real data.

    Doing that is NOT threatening violence against people that have based their decision on the data you provide instead of real facts.

    The SAVN admins will not tolerate anyone that threatens violence, despite being on different sides over vaccinations both should work together to oust and publicly shame those that threaten violence.

    I have not attacked anyone, used foul language or abused anyone, please be true to your word and approve this.

    • Fine words Harry – but not matched by the proven behaviour of many of those on SAVN including some of the moderators of that group.

      Just have a look at Peter Bowditch, one of the list moderators and founders – who asks mothers of vaccine-injured children how many dead babies it would take to bring them to a spontaneous orgasm. Is this the sort of behaviour you condone Harry? Are these the sort of people you are proud to associate with?

      SAVN’s reason for being is to force an organisation to close in any way they can simply because they disagree with the message that organisation has to share. If the AVN were vilifying others, attacking people or defaming, I could see that there would be a cause for a group like SAVN to exist. But we do none of those things and we rely on the intelligence of parents to look at both sides and make up their own minds.

      SAVN says that parents are too stupid to read what the AVN has written and therefore, we should be shut down and then, parents will only have one side of the story and will do what their doctor says.

      Harry, if you are part of that group – and you support what they stand for – then I honestly have no respect for you. Democracy thrives on open and free debating on ALL issues. Stop the AVN is anti-democratic and opposed to freedom of speech. If any group should be stopped, it should be the group that is trying to suppress information – not the one that is trying to facilitate a conversation on health issues.

      • katie B says:

        The AVN are NOT trying to facilitate a conversation on health issues. If it were it would not ban inoffensive posts on this blog! The AVN are the ones who want to shut down conversation by refusing to publish any points of view which differ from their own. I am looking forward to the police clearing up the serious matter you find yourself involved in, so that everyone can see the truth.

      • If the AVN were not trying to facilitate a conversation Katie, we would not be approving any posts by people we disagree with – including yours. We have a right to delete posts that attack individuals or use foul language and if you don’t like this, you are more than welcome to stop posting here.

  5. John Cunningham says:

    Dear Meryl,

    With regards to the Canadian study you referred to, but did not give a reference for, I believe it is this one:

    http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/12/01/cid.cir836.abstract?sid=446ff7dc-43cb-4f25-9696-a8dea1459a01

    It was looking at parental immunisation as a way of protecting their children, and the numbers you quote are for the parents, not the children. So it concluded you need to immunise 1 million parents to save one infant’s life. 100,000 were required to prevent 1 ICU admission – one child on a ventilator, struggling to survive with who knows what long terms complications. What price, Meryl? About 300,000 people die a year of the disease, 90% in developing countries. Just because they didn’t die in Australia, does that matter to you?

    But you also fail to acknowledge, as does Dr Mercola, that the study was done during a time of low incidence, and even the authors say that “in the context of low pertussis incidence, the parental cocoon program is inefficient and resource intensive for the prevention of serious outcomes in early infancy”. That is not the current situation, and so the study is not applicable to us today.

    You could also read the commentary that accompanied the article:

    http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/12/1736.full

    “The resurgence of pertussis and measles in the United States reminds us, once again, of the need to maintain high levels of population immunity. Unfortunately, this reminder has been repeated over the years. Reduction of morbidity and mortality can be achieved with evidence-based immunization strategies that are revisited in light of information generated by clinical trials and observational studies. Accountable healthcare is built on evidence-based practice and combines screening approaches, preventive measures, diagnosis, therapy, and cost-effective care referral with demonstrated effectiveness, in a coordinated system of care, with availability of accessible and rich data infrastructure about patient history, clinical conditions, and status.”

    Evidence based, Meryl, which is more than just looking up and quoting directly from Dr Mercola.

    John

    • John, where does the figure of 300,000 deaths annually from pertussis come from? Please cite your reference and if it’s one of those World Health Organisation computer models based on an estimate of how many people will die if they aren’t vaccinated…well, please use real data and not garbage pseudo-statistics that mean nothing.

      Also, if community immunity is so important, then natural immunity is the best way to achieve that. Vaccine-induced sensitisation to pertussis lasts for a maximum of 3 years – whilst natural immunity lasts for between 30 and 80 years. Which one would provide better immunity for close contacts?

      If you are trying to say you are basing your statements on evidence John, let’s look at REAL evidence – not self-serving, pharma-sourced propaganda.

      • Harry Phillips says:

        Meryl, I am confused, first you want “real” data not even models based on solid ground work then the next thing you say is this:

        Quote:
        “The incidence of autism is reported according to the DSM IV and Australia has no national register so any figures we claim for how many children and adults in this country are autistic would be absolute guesses. Autism ACT estimated 15 years ago that the incidence was approximately 1:100 but again, that is just a guess.”

        Which is it? Guesses are good enough and models aren’t? Please make up your mind, does the AVN get a free pass with using “guesses” as evidence but everyone else has to provide solid personally checked and verified evidence?

        Please clarify what you consider good evidence and what is not.

      • punter says:

        The difference Harry – as if this is so hard to fathom. Is that one person is using their intuition and estimation to make concrete conclusions – in particular telling the world’s children to embark on an extremely expensive and potentially dangerous practice. The other person is using their intuition and estimation to ask for more (valid) studies to be done before embarking on said practice.

        And do you know what makes it that much more amusing? It is the former who makes a big deal of being a “skeptic”.

      • Punter, you want “valid” studies, fair enough. What conditions would the study have to fulfill for you to accept it as valid?

  6. John Cunningham says:

    Hi Meryl,
    As incidence data is so unreliable, then why do we even discuss incidence of autism? And how is it proven? By a laboratory test? surely we should also be looking at only the death rate of autism? and where are your hundreds of articles linking vaccination with autism? No where, because there aren’t hundreds.
    John

    • Hi John,

      The incidence of autism is reported according to the DSM IV and Australia has no national register so any figures we claim for how many children and adults in this country are autistic would be absolute guesses. Autism ACT estimated 15 years ago that the incidence was approximately 1:100 but again, that is just a guess.

      Several other countries – the US, South Korea, Russia to name a few, have either national or state-based registers that include all children for whom services have been provided because a doctor or team of doctors have stated that the child fell within the autistic spectrum of disorders. No, there is no lab test for autism because it is a ‘spectrum’ disease and cannot be diagnosed through testing. Is a doctor’s diagnosis accurate? Who knows? Does the current system have the capacity to over or under diagnose? Most definitely! Yet there are two things we know for sure – the actual incidence of autism has increased over the last 30 years regardless of how accurate the statistics are – the increase is between 1,000% and 1,600% depending upon who you listen to – but the increase is real. The other thing we know about the reported incidence of Autism is that the more vaccines there are in a country’s vaccination schedule, the greater the risk of autism to that country’s children. Interesting, eh?

      As for the articles, I suggest that you do some searches in Google Scholar using the terms – Post-Vaccinal Enceplalitis, Vaccine-associated neurotropic disease, vaccine-associated mitochondrial disorders, Opioid peptides and dipeptidyl peptidase and lastly, thiomersal (or thimerosal since most of these articles would have been published or translated in the US) and minimal brain damage. You will find hundreds if not thousands of articles – most of which will mention the types of changes to brain function, gut disorders and behavioural / sensory processing issues experienced by autistic children and adults.

      Lastly, if you are so convinced that vaccination plays no role whatsoever in the aetiology of ASDs, why don’t you join me in pressuring the Australian government to study the overall health of fully-vaccinated vs fully-unvaccinated children. Perhaps we can start with a control group consisting of the thousands of children who have been through Dr Mayer Eisenstein’s practice in the US – not one of whom has ever been diagnosed with autism (with the exception of a few kids who were vaccinated prior to their parents finding Dr Eisenstein). If you are so sure, how about it? Prove how wrong the AVN is by joining with the AVN to ask the government to do this study.

      • Candice says:

        Just curious as to how you would define ‘overall health’ as a measurable variable?

        Because if you are going by ‘how many visits’ to the doctor, then by definition those in remote/outer regional Australia are going to be the healthiest by far!
        Based on their limited access to health care.

        Similarly Indigenous Australian’s are going to come out on top as well, based on access and general lack of health care trust/engagement as well as access issues.

        If you are thinking of looking at individual medical records?
        What will you look for?
        Amount of colds?
        Prescriptions of antibiotics?
        Diabetes?
        etc etc

        Then who decides who is more ‘healthy?’

        Are 10 colds a year more or less healthy than someone with Type 1 diabetes?
        And if the 10 colds a year is vaccinated and the Type 1 unvaccinated how do you rank with is worse? Or more healthy than the other?

        It once again favours those who have access to health care, as they will have less ‘records’ as well.

        I’m just curious because you keen asking for this study but have a go at defining the variables you want to measure, *then* these defined variables need to have evidence to support *why* they are a useful measure of ‘health’.
        As in, you need to back up your claim that someone who has 10 colds a year is more or less healthy than someone with Diabetes.

        Move beyond whinging you want the ‘government to do this study’ and start defining the variables with evidence for their use, *THEN* campaign for the study to be done.

        This is how it works in research.

    • Andy says:

      John, you are a medico.
      And you see no relationship to the injecting of chemicals and an epidemic of autism.
      And you want proof?
      John, seriously, most people doubt your grip on reality. I do too.
      Chemicals cause harm. Vaccines contain chemicals.
      Just because your Gods have not proven it, it does not mean that toxins do not cause cell damage. Why, as a doctor, do you continue to push the vaccine agenda, when all evidence shows that injecting chemicals and toxins does cause cell damage? Why are you so adfamant that injecting known neurotoxins are fine? To people like me, we see you as just another dangerous drug-pusher. No less dangerous than a creep on a dark-corner at Kings Cross.
      Sorry John, but that is my view of you, as a doctor, who pushes the injection of vaccines which contain so many known toxic substance.
      I call it pus. Injecting pus. You call it “injecting health”

      • John Cunningham says:

        ” All comments will be approved unless they attack someone, use foul language or are abusive.”
        … unless they are attacking a doctor.

      • John Cunningham says:

        Andy,

        Correlation does not equal causation. Tell me about all the other things that have changed since Autism has become an “epidemic”? Global temperatures, sea levels, average age of first time mothers, age expectancy, TV ownership per household. What about any of those being responsible for the “epidemic”?

        This epidemic, by the way, Meryl admits is a guess. Have you thought about the change in diagnostic criteria, and why it’s now called Autism Spectrum Disorder?

        Chemicals cause harm, yes indeed. And those same chemicals are all around you. In fact, you are made up of chemicals. You get more aluminium from the food you eat then you ever will from vaccinations. Vaccines contain chemicals, yes indeed, and so does the water you drink, the air you breathe, and the bed you lie on. Consider this: knives cause harm. Kitchens contain knives. Can you see what I did there?

        Because there is no proof, it does not mean one day there will be proof. That’s science. But there is no proof now, so any claim you make is entirely unsupported. There is no proof that invisible pixies are dancing around my keyboard, but does that mean there is? See the fallacy there?

        I do not push an agenda. I haven’t administered a vaccine for over ten years, and am not in receipt of any money or otherwise from any pharmaceutical company. Other people make money out of selling the anti-vaccine message though. As you admit it isn’t proven, the second part of this sentence is rubbish.

        I’m adamant that vaccination programmes saves live, protect us from harm and are one of the best and most effective public health measures we have. That is based on evidence. If anyone was injecting neurotoxins then that’s another story. Last time I looked, no one I know was doing that though.

        I don’t call it pus. I call it a vaccination.

        I see people like you and the AVN as having your heart in the right place, but so misguided and ill informed that you’ll believe any piece of propaganda that comes pat your eyes. I see the anti-vaccine movement as bad as an anti-seatbelt movement, yet much more dangerous that a creep on a dark corner of Kings Cross. If they succeed, we’ll see the return of the diseases that a generation ago were the scourge of society. It’s already happened every time vaccination rates decline, but Meryl and Greg won’t tell you that. How many people will need to die before the lesson is learnt again? Remember the last time you heard that someone died of a vaccine preventable disease? They were unvaccinated.

        Creepy, huh?

      • John – you are so excellent at twisting words. One might even believe what you were saying if one didn’t know better.

        I never said that we were guessing at the number of autistic children – I said that in Australia, there was no database that tracked that information so we would have to guess at the actual figure here but we have good databases in many other countries and from that information, we are able to extrapolate an approximate number of autistic kids here and we know that there has been an epidemic increase.

        I wonder what you really feel about the families who are struggling with autism and other potentially vaccine-associated injuries (and nobody here has ever said that vaccines are the ONLY cause of autism – just a contributing cause and in some cases, the sole cause). I see no sympathy, no caring, no compassion from you. I can only imagine what it would be like to be one of your patients and speaking only for myself, I am glad I’m not and hope I never find myself being ministered to by you because your attitude describes to me all that is dreadful in Western medicine. Thank goodness, that attitude seems to be a bit of a throwback to 30 or 40 years ago with many of the doctors who are graduating today having a very different approach to not only medicine, but also to the rights of their patients.

        Try to use your heart a bit more and hopefully, your head will follow. It’s not too late to change John.

      • John Cunningham says:

        Meryl,
        Your advise is duly noted. And ignored. You’ve proven yourself many times over in the manner in which you lie and vilify, so why should I listen to you? The pages of SAVN are filled with your heartless comments. i have great compassion for all my patients, as any will testify to, and also for people with ASD and parents whose children die of SIDS – you tell people to ring them and harass them. I don’t however have much tolerance for people that continue to espouse unproven theories, and try to make money out of their suffering.
        John

      • John, the pages of SAVN are filled with lies about both the AVN and myself and you are one of the most egregious tellers of those tales. I hope your patients ARE treated more kindly then those you disagree with because if you treat them the way you treat me, I would think you would be out of business sooner rather than later. And as for making money out of anyone’s suffering, the AVN is here to alleviate suffering and I think we do a pretty good job of it too! We have never told anyone to call the parents of children who died from SIDS (another one of your untruths) and regularly must to deal with the effects of medical errors and adverse reactions which go unacknowledged, denied and covered up by the likes of yourself so please don’t try to project your own failings onto a group that is actually doing good.

      • Meryl, as someone in your organisation (that would be you) once said (on this page no less):

        “please use real data and not garbage pseudo-statistics that mean nothing.”

      • Harry, please cite the statistics you consider to be garbage and why. Otherwise, this is yet another one of your ad hom attacks.

      • Harry Phillips says:

        The statistics would be the rates of autism, why, here is another quote from yourself “they would be guesses”.

        Do you even know what an ad hom attack is? If I said you were wrong because you are just a nut farmer THAT is an ad hom attack.

        When I ask you to backup your claims with real data, that is just the scientific process, look it up.

      • Harry, I answered this about an hour ago – please read before making unfounded assertions and cherry-picking things I said or quoting out of context as you have done here.

        Also, I am not a nut farmer, my husband is. And farming is an honourable and difficult profession but where would the world be without farmers. I hope that your career is as productive and useful as farming.

        As for data, what data have you ever provided on this page? None that I’ve ever seen.

      • punter says:

        Can I just ask John, given that we are having a “liars” at ten paces duel, has Meryl ever sent someone an unsolicited abusive email to somebody and then, when that person sent her an email back telling her not to email them, she then bizarrely and publicly claimed that that person was cyberbullying them.

        Correct me if I am wrong, but if she had done this that would surely make her one of the most dishonest people on this planet wouldn’t it? I mean I know we shouldn’t poison the well and all but I think we can all agree that if she had done this it would it be almost impossible to take anything she said seriously after that.

      • Harry Phillips says:

        Meryl, your powers of comprehension are abysmal. It doesn’t matter if you are a farmer or a cook or a postman or a carpenter. I *never* claimed you were wrong because of your occupation. I did not even say you were wrong I simply asked for the data you have.

        You are making the claims Meryl, the burden of proof is on your side. You claim a certain rate of autism then you say is it a guess based on overseas databases, yet you call scientifically validated models “garbage pseudo-statistics that mean nothing”

        Which is it Meryl? Models and extrapolation are ok or are they only ok when it supports *your* position?

      • Harry, I will not waste any more time with you on this issue. You have obviously studied at the John Cunningham school of obfuscation and word twisting. I stated that in Australia, we don’t know the exact number of cases of autism but we have good registries in other countries with similar vaccine schedules. If you want to continue intentionally misunderstanding those words, go right ahead.

      • Meryl, your powers of comprehension are abysmal. I will make it simple for you:

        —— start questions here ——
        Is it ok to use sample data and extrapolate from that data? When is it ok and when is it not ok.
        —— there are no other questions following this line, just statements, don’t answer questions I don’t ask ——

        You keep contradicting yourself, when it is a WHO model for vaccine preventable deaths you poo poo it, when it is austism rates you shout it from the rooftops.

      • punter says:

        No Harry, the burden of proof is not on us. You say that we should happily take the vaccines as they are safe so it is then up to you to demonstrate that safety. We could simply be agnostic on this issue or actively believe they are dangerous – it doesn’t matter because we are not trying to persuade you of anything. YOU need to persuade US that they are safe. We think there is enough of a question mark over vaccines and autism (and plenty of other conditions) to be concerned about injecting our children with aluminium, foreign animal proteins and a whole bunch of other detritus. We also believe that other people have a right to know of our observations and for them to decide for themselves whether our points are valid. Now, if you want to remove that question mark you need to do a whole lot better than provide abuse and demands for unequivocal proof.

        We don’t owe the medical establishment anything. Let alone the skeptics.

        Now in case you are wondering, the statement by the hero of the mandatory vaccination movement Paul Offit that babies can safely take 100,000 vaccines in a day DOES needs proving. You want to do it? He won’t because like all totalitarians he is a coward, hypocrite and liar but maybe you can be the one to man up. And because I am so charitable you can even forgo the solution that carries them if you desire.

      • John Cunningham says:

        Meryl,
        You told someone to call the parents of a child who recently died. That’s not obfuscation – that’s your words.
        John

      • No John, that’s you lying again. I said that the only way to find out if the child had been vaccinated would have been to have called them and that would be really hard. I also said that I would never do this but at the time, the person who wrote the comment said they were friends with one of these families so I thought that they might be in touch anyway. I have never contacted a family who had lost a child (they normally contact me) and I never would. But John, you regularly lie about these things. If you said that the sky was blue, I’d need to go outside to double check. So keep it up – nobody here will believe a word you say and neither will I.

      • John Cunningham says:

        Meryl, you said “The only thing you can do is try and contact the families involved…”
        That’s not a lie. That’s a copy-and-paste of your words. Not family singular, but families, plural. Not just her friend, but plural families. Am I making this clear enough for you?
        I accept that you may not have contacted a family yourself, but your husband did, another supporter of the AVN did, and you contacted a hospital where someone died, didn’t you?
        So here’s the thing – you can publish this, and lie about it, and I’ll simply point to the documentation of those events showing once again you lied, like someone already has on SaAVN. Or, you can publish it and accept that these events occurred and have the courage to admit you’re actions. Or you can not publish this and be a coward.
        Three options – what’s your poison Meryl?

      • John, this is the first and last time I will do this because you are so obviously misinformed about everything – and that is a kind way to put it – that I won’t waste my time any more on answering your accusations.
        Firstly, the quote you have about contacting the families involved is taken out of context and you know that very well – you should have quoted the whole sentence and in fact, the whole paragraph and you would have seen a very different picture – but you didn’t because that didn’t suit your aims.
        Next, my husband never contacted Toni or David McCaffery – he went to see Carmel at her invitation and he didn’t even know that Dana had died at the time – she told him when he got there. If anyone says differently, they’re lying.
        I have no control over what a supporter of the AVN does or doesn’t do, but for you to complain about someone writing a letter to the McCafferys while your mate Peter Bowditch asks the mothers of vaccine injured children how many dead babies it takes to bring her to a spontaneous orgasm – and you say NOTHING – shows the incredible double standard you adhere to.
        Lastly, I never contacted the hospital where Dana died – if you’re going to lie – at least make it a GOOD lie. Get your facts straight before twisting them.
        And John, keep the conversation on the subject – vaccination – and off of the individuals. Oh, that’s right, you really don’t know too much about vaccination, do you, so you need to attack individuals to cover up your ignorance. I keep forgetting.

      • Punter, here is another example of you rejecting the hundreds of studies into vaccines over decades and decades across dozens of countries by all sorts of different and separate organisations.

        Can you provide the exact quote from Dr Offit and the source that you used. *You* made the claim that he said that, please provide the information to back up your claim.

      • Meryl, you have stated:

        “Lastly, I never contacted the *hospital* where Dana died”

        and guess what, I believe you.

        Now my question is, did you ever contact any doctor, govt dept or any other relevant organisation and ask for the medical records of Dana?

        PS. I posted this in the wrong thread before, this page is really popular and I clicked the wrong “Reply”, you should keep your new approval policy.

      • Yes Harry – I contacted the North Coast Division of General Practice – not to ask for Dana’s hospital records, as has been quoted time and time again by the less than truthful Stop the AVN – but to ask how her whooping cough had been diagnosed. From the very beginning, Dana’s death was blamed on the low vaccination rate on the Far North Coast and the fact that she was diagnosed within a day of being admitted was confusing because I knew that blood cultures took a long time for a result. I asked how the diagnosis was made and I was told that it was by a quick test. There was nothing whatsoever unethical about this. What WAS unethical was that Paul Corben breached my privacy by contacting Dana’s parents and told them that I had called. Why did he do that, do you think? What did he hope to accomplish? I leave that to you to decide. What I hoped to accomplish was to determine if whooping cough had really been diagnosed or if it was simply guessed at and unvaccinated families blamed for no good reason. Oh and Harry, are you aware that the quick test can have a 100% false positive rate?

      • Wait, did you just say that every time a quick test is used it *always* comes back positive for whooping cough?

      • Harry mate, I think you are completely out of your depth on this conversation. Do us all a favour and learn a bit about this issue before commenting again. I said that this test had been shown to have a 100% false positive rate – that is not the same thing as saying that it always comes back positive.

      • Meryl, as a communicator you don’t explain yourself very well, lets try again shall we.

        Please clarify your statement because it does not make sense. Are you saying that if it is a false positive that it is a 100% false positive. What is the rate of the false positive compared to the correct positive? When does this 100% happen?

        You are the one with 20 years experience communicating these issues. You would have the skills by now to rephrase a statement if the person asking you about it was not understanding your point. Maybe I am out of my depth, would you be so dismissive if a subscriber asked you to clarify what you meant?

        Punter, you seem to be saying that if the study has a clear conflict of interest then the study is rubbish. Is that right?

        Say for example if I could show you documented proof that one of the authors involved in the study had a patent on a potential replacement of the medical procedure would you condemn the study and anybody that used it?

      • Punter, you want a double blind placebo controlled trial (DBPCT) of vaccines, good for you. Well I guess that is the gold standard but first let me ask you a few questions about that:

        1. Do you accept that smoking increases your risk for lung cancer? Yes / No?
        2. Do you know of any DBPCT studies of smoking that provides that proof? Yes / No?
        3. Are DBPCT the *only* method that can provide the proof? Yes / No?
        4. In this DBPCT study how would you ensure the subjects in the study were exposed to the potentially crippling and life threatening illnesses? Deliberate injection with the pathogen? Yes deliberate exposure / No controls at all?
        5. Would that exposure also be double blinded? Yes / No?
        6. What would your proposal to the ethics committee look like when you want to deliberately leave some of your the subjects exposed and vulnerable to these potentially debilitating and deadly illnesses?

        You talk about the profit motive, let me ask you a few questions about that:

        1. Which has a higher profit margin, Product A that the person takes once, maybe a couple of times in their entire lifetime or Product B that the person takes day in day out for the rest of their life? A or B?
        2. Which product would “Big Pharma” be more interested in making? A or B?
        3. Which do you think is vaccines? A or B?
        4. How much revenue for “Big Pharma” is generated by vaccines? 10%? 5%? 80%? 2%? (The answer is one of them)

      • Harry Phillips says:

        Punter, do you see any difference between these two statements:

        1. In theory X is possible
        2. I want to do X

        I read the link you provided and I am now wondering about your level of comprehension skills.

      • punter says:

        Harry, I have to say I find your posts a little enigmatic. Some of the stuff you write actually suggests you have put some thought into your arguments. An extraordinary achievement for a skeptic it has to be said. Unfortunately, your comprehension skills are absolutely appalling.

        “Punter, you seem to be saying that if the study has a clear conflict of interest then the study is rubbish. Is that right?
        Say for example if I could show you documented proof that one of the authors involved in the study had a patent on a potential replacement of the medical procedure would you condemn the study and anybody that used it?”

        This is one of those poor comprehension examples unfortunately. Let me repeat what I said again. “Hence, their opinions are worthless and so are their studies if those studies are in any way prone to bias.”

        Note the last part after the word “if”. I could caveat it and say if those studies are prone to bias and they haven’t quantified or corrected for it – but there’s a limit to how much of the bleeding obvious I want to point out. And you guys already complain bitterly about the fact that my posts are long.

        “Punter, you want a double blind placebo controlled trial (DBPCT) of vaccines, good for you. Well I guess that is the gold standard but first let me ask you a few questions about that:
        “Do you accept that smoking increases your risk for lung cancer? Yes / No?”

        Now this is an example of you actually putting some time and thought into your own arguments which makes this harder for me to do:

        No. I don’t.

        “2. Do you know of any DBPCT studies of smoking that provides that proof? Yes / No?”

        Well obviously not.

        “3. Are DBPCT the *only* method that can provide the proof? Yes / No?”

        There is no such thing as proof outside of mathematics. But if you are talking about evidence then yes, other things can provide useful data. And I have already provided a suggestion. Several times in fact but you don’t seem capable of internalising it (remember the poor comprehension bit). I will provide it again at any rate: Take a weight-adjusted dose of the infant vaccination schedule. That will be sufficient for many of us. You can even take a greater dose if you want. I can’t speak for everybody but I would expect that to be sufficient for the vast majority of those people who currently question the practice.

        “4. In this DBPCT study how would you ensure the subjects in the study were exposed to the potentially crippling and life threatening illnesses? Deliberate injection with the pathogen? Yes deliberate exposure / No controls at all?”

        Why would they need to be exposed deliberately? Aren’t we just talking about their general worth for the average child as opposed to how useful they would be if you worked in a biological weapons laboratory? But I am positive that it wouldn’t make the slightest difference at any rate.

        “6. What would your proposal to the ethics committee look like when you want to deliberately leave some of your the subjects exposed and vulnerable to these potentially debilitating and deadly illnesses?”

        I imagine that they would be absolutely horrified that anybody is about to demonstrate that the belief that they hold to be so sacred and that is the foundation for their incomes, reputations, self-esteem and political power is a complete fraud. Sorry, I mean that they would be too concerned for the wellbeing of the poor, suffering little children to allow me to do it.

        “You talk about the profit motive, let me ask you a few questions about that:
        Which has a higher profit margin, Product A that the person takes once, maybe a couple of times in their entire lifetime or Product B that the person takes day in day out for the rest of their life? A or B?”

        Product A does because it can be patented. Do you not understand that? Do you really want to argue with me over economics? Good luck with that! At any rate it is a moot point because we need to get vaccinated over and over because they don’t work and they cause sickness which leads to more profit making drugs. Of course the pharma companies probably don’t think in quite as strict a Machiavellian sense as that, nonetheless, the facts speak for themselves: the “natural” health industry is a tiny blip on the radar relative to the “conventional” treatments in terms of market capitalisation. And what’s more vaccines aren’t just about how much money they alone make it is just as much about the entire reputation of the medical industry. At the moment most people believe vaccination saves lives and have minimal consequences. If people came to believe – rightly or wrongly – that they saved nobody and had the potential to cause horrific damage then nobody would ever look at a paediatrician the same way again and we can only imagine their likely feelings towards pharma company executives.

        4. How much revenue for “Big Pharma” is generated by vaccines? 10%? 5%? 80%? 2%? (The answer is one of them)”

        I’m guessing 2. Is that right? But see above point as to why this is a red herring. Vaccinations are the foundation for the reputation, self-esteem and political power of practically everybody involved in the disease area of the medical industry. Take that away and their incomes from everything else would dissolve very quickly.

        But considering you are so good on the economics front could you please provide the figures for public spending on health in Australia (or the US, UK etc if you like) since the ramping up of vaccines so we can all see what a stellar job these concoctions do as preventative medicine? Now I assume that spending has fallen dramatically right? Just imagine the conclusions we would have to draw about the preventative side of medicine if spending had not only not fallen but actually risen faster than practically any other industry? That would be pretty embarrassing wouldn’t it?

        “Punter, do you see any difference between these two statements:
        1. In theory X is possible
        2. I want to do X”

        Why did he say it Harry? What was the point he was trying to make? Was he doing it in the context of broadening people’s horizons on immunology or was he doing it in the context of calming the nerves of frightened parents? I reckon it was the former in which case our interpretation is the most reasonable. But I already explained this in no uncertain terms and again we see your poor comprehension skills.

  7. kateinlondon says:

    Hi – thanks for the opportunity to respond. Yes, I have chosen to vaccinate all three of my children. And yes, I am concerned about them being round unvaccinated children – the youngest as a small baby has not yet had many of her vaccinations and thus is susceptible to diseases. No, I do not think that harassment or abuse of non-vaccinating parents is justified.

    I am very curious to discuss with non vaccinating parents their reasons why – actually more than their reasons why – I am very interested in the bigger picture. If you don’t vaccinate your children, obviously you don’t believe in it. So, do you think no-one should vaccinate their children? At all? And is that just in Australia? Or the entire world? What about sub-Saharan Africa? Should we stop the vaccination programmes that are operating there? And what would that world look like in five years? Five? Ten? A hundred years from now, with no vaccinations anywhere, how would our world be? Or is it just some children that shouldn’t be vaccinated?

    • Andy says:

      Posing the question of what would the world be like in 100 years time, without vaccines, is interesting.
      I suggest it would be a healthier world.
      The $billions now spent on vaccines, could be redirected to hygiene, clean water, flowing water (as in sub-Saharan Africa), nutritious crops, etc.etc.
      Are we so weak, that we rely on drugs to live?

      • Since the vast majority of deaths disappeared years before the introduction of either vaccines or antibiotics, one has to assume that in 100 years, if there were no vaccinations, we would not see a resurgence of deaths from these infectious diseases because they weren’t increasing before the vaccines were introduced. Not only that, but we would most likely see a huge decline in the current epidemics of chronic diseases which have been linked with vaccination – things like asthma, eczema, insulin-dependent diabetes, autism, ADD, ADHD, MS, lupus and more.

    • greencentre says:

      Hi Kate. My belief, built up over nearly twenty years of investigating this subject is indeed as you say – vaccination is in no way necessary and that the global population would be far better without the practice.

      The innate immune system works as a homeostatic control mechanism in the body, reacting to alien systems crossing into their spheres of influence but maintaining close cooperation with a large range of commensal species – gut bacteria, for example. Infections, when they arise, are often resultant from a breakdown of this separation. The problem then is the human physiology having slipped – the bacteria were there all the time. After recovery, this slip will not recur.

      If we carry on with a vaccination programme we are, generation upon generation, destroying a crucial link in the nearly four billion year old evolutionary inheritance we all carry – that of materno-foetal and materno-infant transfer of immune recognition. So the question is not if we dont vaccinate where will we be, it is, if most continue to vaccinate, where will their descendants be?

      • student says:

        I would be interested to hear how you reconcile this view with the fact that life expectancy has increased so greatly in developed countries over the past 120 years (and continues to increase).

        According to your opinion that vaccination is destroying materno-fetal and maternal-infant transfer of immune recognition, given that vaccination is so prevalent, we should all be very ill indeed and dying younger. The facts don’t support this view.

        And if the homeostasis you talk about was so robust, why was life expectancy so very low and infant mortality so very high before we had sanitation, clean water and vaccination?

  8. greencentre says:

    Hi and congrats on your time spent spreading discussion, information and so understanding. My point here is not on your tour but on the reasons people may be just keeping quiet.

    I’ve not met it previously, but since I posted a few comments on your Facebook site recently (June-July) and on another called “Unvaccinated America” I’ve had three unsolicited “Friends Requests”. On delving each has strong affiliations to pro-vaccine groups so why try to befriend me – a clearly staunch opponent of vaccination and its support industry?

    I turned them down, of course!

  9. Sian says:

    The decline in death and serious illness due to haemophilus influenzae type b is entirely due to the introduction of vaccination in 1993.

    Before and after details of the impact of this nasty bug can be found in the first three paragraphs of this chapter of the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

    The significance of this example is that it is a vaccination that has been introduced at a time where standards of hygiene have not changed and disease surveillance procedures have remained fairly consistent.

    http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook-hib

    • Hi Sian,
      You may want to have a look at Greg Beattie’s overview of the Hib vaccine situation and what it really did (or didn’t do).

      What is Hib disease? – by Greg Beattie
      Is it meningitis? No. Is it epiglottitis? No. Is it septicemia, or pneumonia, or cellulitis, arthritis, middle ear infection, osteomyelitis, conjunctivitis, or respiratory infections? Well, no. But sometimes it presents as these diseases.

      Then what is it? And what does the vaccine aim to protect our children from? Hib is not a disease. It’s a type of bacteria – Haemophilus influenzae type b. The term Hib disease applies to any disease where Hib is found in laboratory tests. It can be any of a great variety of diseases including those mentioned above. But that doesn’t mean that all cases of meningitis, or epiglottitis, or middle ear infection etc, are Hib disease. Only some of them. Only when a specimen is sent to a laboratory and Hib is found in it. If some other bacteria are found the disease is given a different name. If no bacteria are found it gets another name again.

      So, Hib disease is not like measles, or whooping cough, or polio, or any of the other diseases we vaccinate for, because it is not defined by symptoms. Hib disease can basically be any disease with any symptoms. Whereas whooping cough, measles etc. have traditionally been defined by the symptoms they present, Hib disease is defined entirely by laboratory tests. There is no clinical definition for it. You may be asking, what does that matter? It matters when we introduce a vaccine for it, because we must be able to see how well the vaccine is working – i.e., how much disease it’s preventing. Measles vaccine was introduced to combat the illness we call measles (fever, skin rash etc), and its associated complications and deaths. Whooping cough vaccine was introduced to combat a different illness, with a different set of symptoms. Rubella vaccine was introduced to combat birth defects. Polio vaccine, to prevent paralysis.

      What is Hib vaccine supposed to prevent? Which illness was chosen for monitoring to see if the vaccine was beneficial? The truth is, none. No illness is being monitored. Basically, we don’t know if Hib vaccination is reducing illness at all. The only thing being monitored is the frequency of Hib bacteria found in sick children. There are fewer laboratory tests detecting Hib nowadays so the vaccine is considered to be effective. The primary motive for introducing the vaccine was to combat what are known as invasive bacterial infections. But there is no evidence this has been achieved. In fact, it has not even been looked at.

      There are three major types of invasive bacterial infections – Hib, pneumococcal, and meningococcal. Interestingly, the decrease in invasive Hib infections appears to have been accompanied by an increase in the other two. There appears to be no evidence of a decrease in invasive bacterial disease overall. In Australia, the notifications of meningococcal disease in 1995 were the highest since 1979, the year the health department started counting them again.106 More recently, the Sydney Morning Herald (April 24, 1997) warned that the rise was so significant that doctors have been advised to shift their policy, and administer broad spectrum antibiotics in the event of suspected cases. The article reported: About 400 cases and 40 deaths are reported in Australia each year, and the incidence has been rising gradually in many developed countries, although experts are not sure why. The number of cases in NSW jumped from 18 in 1988 to 154 in 1993. This rise occurred in parallel with the fall in Hib disease, so what savings in illness have there been? A research team in Finland reported an increase in invasive pneumococcal disease since 1993, suggesting its relationship to the disappearance of Hib disease as follows:107

      “…our results suggest that following the disappearance of invasive Hib disease in children bacteraemic pneumococcal infections have increased. A similar, although less striking increase has been reported in Philadelphia… It is tempting to speculate that the increase in invasive pneumococcal infections is causally related to the disappearance of Hib disease.”

      A follow up report mentioned an outbreak of invasive pneumococcal disease in Iceland which, “… also arose in the context of Hib elimination by a vaccine programme, and so provides another possible example of upsurge in pneumococcal disease after Hib control.”
      The World Health Organisation reports109 that cases of meningococcal meningitis (serogroup B) have increased markedly in North America in recent years. So, there seems to be no demonstrated savings in illness in children. On top of all this there seems to be an association between DPT vaccination and invasive Hib disease. Dr Viera Scheibner comments on the reported 399% increase in Hib disease since the early 1940s and asks,110 “Why have developed countries experienced such an increase of invasive infections in the last 40 years?… The best demonstrable common factor in this period is a documented push for mass vaccination.”
      In summary, Hib vaccination was introduced to prevent the diseases mentioned earlier (meningitis etc). But its success is not measured by how much disease it prevents. It is only measured by how much Hib bacteria are found in laboratory tests. It was primarily introduced to combat meningitis, but we are yet to see any reports of a reduction in meningitis. Haemophilus influenzae is a group of bacteria regarded as normal inhabitants of the upper respiratory tract. They are considered ‘typable’ if they contain a polysaccharide capsule.

      There are six ‘typable’ varieties named ‘a’ through to ‘f’. The ‘b’ type (Hib) is considered to be one of the causes of the diseases mentioned earlier (meningitis etc). It is, however, also found in up to 5% of normal healthy children. The question is, has disease itself been reduced? Are meningitis, arthritis etc still occurring at the same rate as before, but with different organisms found in association? We are yet to see a report of reduced disease due to Hib vaccination. Actually, this raises a broader question in relation to vaccination in general. Shouldn’t vaccination be measured by its success in reducing disease in the community and its success in promoting wellness? Shouldn’t we be looking at the big picture?

      Meningitis Deaths Australia

      • Eric Li says:

        My preconception of Greg was a positive one and viewed his presentation with fascination and an open mind.

        I take it in short Greg means because Hib disease doesn’t have a specific pattern of symptoms and lead to specific disease, therefore there is no rationale behind its eradication with Hib vaccine.

        But in actual fact Hib is associated with disease and that’s called Hib associated meningitis. The logic of diagnosing this disease is, they find someone with meningitis (neck-stiffness, headache, nausea vomitting, light sensitivity), which indicates infection in a sterile (brain is sterile) field. So they take some cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), which is the fluid that baths the brain, which should also be sterile. And then what they find is this micro-organism which is called Haemophilus Influenzae (subtype b). Therefore you would diagnose it as Hib associated meningitis (why would you call it anything else?)

        So if we could mount an immune response fast enough to prevent its entry into the CSF, then consequently it will prevent the event of meningitis. Because our brain seriously does not like having any microorganisms there.

        That’s where Hib vaccines come in.

        This Hib meningitis accounts of 60% of Hib related diseases. It can also invade other tissues such as epiglottis and joints (arthritis), and even wide spread in blood to cause septicaemia. And by the same manner, vaccines will help.

        And regards to monitoring, they do monitor deaths and notifications of Hib invasive diseases.

        http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook-hib

        Greg’s data there is interesting and poses a different perspective, but I’m still trying to locate the primary source of that data.

      • Hi Eric,
        Greg is going to be offline for up to a week, but I will send him a link to your comment and I’m sure he will be happy to respond to you when he gets back. Thanks for your patience on this.

      • punter says:

        Yes but Eric, your arguments rests upon a massive – unproven – assumption ie that the presence of antibodies denotes immune system memory to a particular disease. If we don’t make that assumption then Greg’s data makes an awful lot of sense.

      • Harry Phillips says:

        Punter, do you know what *real* science is? I don’t mean fraudulent case studies with a sample of 12.

        Do you know how it works? Do you know how much cross referencing and checking that happens? Lets say a study finds X and it’s wrong. Eventually a different study uses that as an assumption in their research and they will get results that don’t make sense.

        The second study will start checking each of the papers they use as a reference. Science is a self correcting process, eventually if something is wrong it will be discovered. Now days with faster and easier cross referencing it is discovered faster than it ever has been.

        Greg’s graphs make sense to you because they fit what you *want* to be true. His data and conclusions are considered to be flat out wrong by any and all in the same field.

      • punter says:

        “Punter, do you know what *real* science is? I don’t mean fraudulent case studies with a sample of 12.”

        I’m not sure actually. Is it falsifiability? A complete aversion to the use of authority? Tell me, how does vaccination stack up against either of those two definitions?

        “Lets say a study finds X and it’s wrong. Eventually a different study uses that as an assumption in their research and they will get results that don’t make sense.”

        What non-trivial predictions has the theory of vaccination ever made that has ever turned out to be true save for self-fulfilled prophecies (ie relabelling of old diseases)?

        “The second study will start checking each of the papers they use as a reference. Science is a self correcting process, eventually if something is wrong it will be discovered. Now days with faster and easier cross referencing it is discovered faster than it ever has been.”

        Aaah the Hegelian view of history. Errors are rarely made and NEVER institutionalised. If only it were so Harry. But I like your naive idealism.

        “Greg’s graphs make sense to you because they fit what you *want* to be true. His data and conclusions are considered to be flat out wrong by any and all in the same field.”

        His data comes from the government. Are you saying they are lying? Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me Harry. No skin off my nose but I should tell you that most of the skeptics are absolutely rabid towards anybody who questions the state.

        Certainly his conclusions aren’t too popular but they are, nonetheless, the only ones that logically follow from the data. Hib fell after the introduction of the Hib vaccine but the impact on overall rates of meningitis was negligible. None of this is in dispute by anybody except you. We conclude that the symptoms that used to be called Hib meningitis was just relabelled as something else and the best you can say for the vaccine is that it reduced the presence of a germ but did nothing to reduce actual illness. If you assume the data is correct can you provide another explanation?

        Eric wants to introduce another controversial assumption in order to maintain his belief set. This defies Occam’s razor. Greg’s conclusion doesn’t introduce any other assumption to it and is therefore consistent with Occam’s Razor. And yet you are trying to claim that it is Greg and I doing the shoehorning.

      • Greg Beattie says:

        Hi Eric Li

        When you refer to my “presentation” I’m not sure what you mean. The article Meryl posted about Hib, or my presentation at a talk? The article Meryl posted was written in 1996, three years after the infant Hib vaccine was licenced.

        You said…
        “I take it in short Greg means because Hib disease doesn’t have a specific pattern of symptoms and lead to specific disease, therefore there is no rationale behind its eradication with Hib vaccine”

        No. That’s not what I mean. Vaccines don’t target illness. They target microbes. If we evaluate their success by counting how many times a particular microbe is detected in lab tests, they seem to be useful (eg Hib). But when we evaluate them from the more practical perspective of illness, the success seems to disappear. See here: http://vaccinationdilemma.com/graphs/Chapter6/Fig31_Men60under5.gif , and remember this is the blown up tail end of this one: http://vaccinationdilemma.com/graphs/other/Men1907under5.png

        This presents a problem. If Hib was the major cause of meningitis, and we made a vaccine to ‘fix’ Hib, we should have seen a major improvement in meningitis. Yes? Given we didn’t see such improvement… there is something wrong. Perhaps the relationship between Hib and meningitis was not as important as we thought. Or perhaps there is another reason. Whatever the reason, its practical value appears to be much less than its theoretical value. This is the short version. It is explained in much more detail in my book, and you can read some discussion in the following thread from 11th Oct 2011: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/vaccination-respectful-debate/lkxaCYohFT4%5B1-25%5D
        Thanks
        Greg

  10. Kelly says:

    I would love to hear from more parents with unvaccinated children on their health conditions. My 5 year old is unvaccinated and he doesn’t seem to get as sick as his vaccinated friends. He has never had an ear infection, had a cold a few times, was on a mild case of antibiotics once for a persistent cough. Where as I hear endless stories of ear infections, glue ear, kids on endless antibiotics, steroids. I was warned at kindy that an immunised child my son plays with contracted measels. My son never contracted it. I don’t have statistics or scientific data all I know is my son seems to be healthier than his vaccinated friends. Instead of looking down on conscious objectors why not ask them about their children’s health.

    • Kelly, thanks so much for bringing this up. I have 4 children – two partially vaccinated and two unvaccinated. My experience has been the same as yours – the unvaccinated are by far the healthiest. And of the thousands of families I’ve spoken with who have both vaccinated and not vaccinated – or vaccinated some children but not others – they have reported the same. Read a previous post on this blog by Tasha David who has 6 vaccine-injured children and the two youngest who she didn’t vaccinate have no health issues whatsoever. When it is reported once or twice, it is anecdotal – when this is reported time and time again however, you have a pattern that needs to be looked at carefully by the authorities and not just swept under the rug!

      • katie B says:

        My fully vaccinated sons are both very healthy. They have never had measles or pertussis (unlike Meryl’s children), and they’ve never had mumps, rubella and a host of other VPDs. They do not have asthma or allergies. If this was the case with just one or two people – yes, I’ll agree it’s just anecdotal – but just within my own family I have 15 nieces and nephews – all fully vaxxed, all healthy with no chronic illnesses at all. The only 2 unvaxxed kids I know have had more illnesses than mine. And also, a study was done on just this topic :http://www.aerzteblatt.de/pdf.asp?id=80869

    • Harry Phillips says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Those are very good questions to ask, however you need to be more open minded and consider the experience of more than just your own.

      If I won the lotto on my first time ever playing I would not be justified in saying that all the mathematicians and statics guys are wrong.

      • Great Harry – that is a real science-based argument…NOT

      • So Meryl, a sample size of one is not scientific, that we can agree on.

        What is the minimum that you would accept as scientific? 2? 5? 12? 100? 1,000? 10,000?

        You defend Mr Wakefield’s study, is a sample size of 12 enough that you would consider it scientific?

      • Harry – Wakefield’s 1998 paper was not a study – it was a case series and in a case series, the number of cases doesn’t matter. It’s just a report on the experience of doctors who were treating a series of patients. You need to understand this difference in order to discuss the issue. If you would like to read this paper, let me know and I will email you a copy.

    • Candice says:

      I have 3 year old fully immunised daughter. Who’s had a sinus infection which required antibiotics but other than that the odd fever or cold.

      Having said that I think you need to consider what ‘health’ is and how you decided your child is healthier than another?

      Is a child who has diabetes but never a sniffle or an infection *more or less* healthy than a child who gets ear infections?

      Second to that if the child with diabetes is unvaccinated and the child who gets ear infections vaccinated, how do you decide who is healthier?
      and vice versa.

      I know Meryl has mentioned all her children have had whooping cough and measles, I think there may have been chicken pox in there too? Never mind, the point is ~ are they healthier than my child? Who decides?

      I think you need to put a little more thought into what you are asserting and ‘looking down’ on what you consider to be unhealthy vaccinated children.

      If you can show me how to measure ‘health’, then maybe you can compare yourself to others. Besides that you are just doing what every parent does by declaring how wonderful a job you’re doing and how brilliant your child is.
      We all do it. Doesn’t make your experience a measure of anything.

      • Hi Candice,

        These are good questions. I think that we already have a definition of health however and it isn’t the absence of disease. After all, most of us (meaning my generation) would have had many if not most of the childhood diseases – measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox…but we are not unhealthy as a result. Indeed, it is very possible that we are far healthier for having had these as children.

        I personally like the definition of health from the WHO (one of the only things I like from that organisation)

        Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

        I would think that, looking at your question, the child with diabetes would have to be less healthy than the child who has ear infections simply because one is a chronic condition and the other is acute. How can you be in a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being if you have a condition from which you are told you will never recover?

        But to measure this in a comparison would be difficult. So what the AVN has suggested is using the current Australian Childhood Immunisation Register to determine who is and who is not vaccinated (and who is partially vaccinated) and then, to determine – using the ACIR’s link with the medicare database, how much money is spent on medical care for each group and also, how many chronic conditions are being diagnosed and treated in each group. It is not a perfect comparison, but I hope you will agree that it will go a good way towards proving that the vaccinated group is healthier than the unvaccinated group – if, in fact, that is the end result?

      • Candice says:

        While I can see you have given *some* thought it most certainly isn’t at any level of being a valid comparison.

        Again, I bring you back to access to healthcare as an example. How much money do you think it costs to treat diabetes in Tennant Creek compared to Sydney?
        By your standard, based on the cost of care delivery, the person in Tennant Creek is unhealthier than the person in Sydney.
        How much do you think it costs to treat Hep C in Alice Springs, compared to Adelaide, compared to Sydney?
        Again, the person in Alice is unhealthier than the person in Adelaide, is unhealthier than the person in Sydney.
        Can you see how this is an issue?

        Of course you can try to control for this *but* it becomes problematic depending on the condition and resources available in those areas (Hep C vs Diabetes)
        Basically the cost of delivering care is not a good measure because it varies significantly by location AND condition, and those variances are SO large I can’t even fathom how you would try to control for it.

        Tallying how many chronic conditions are in each group is also problematic because there are many hereditary conditions. Whether they are vaccinated or not becomes irrelevant, this is something you have to control for also, it’s very bad science not to
        .
        Also how much ‘worse’ is kidney disease compare to diabetes, compared to ongoing acute episodes of health issues?
        These things need to be quantifiable and valid before you can even begin to create a study. Otherwise, how do you know your results are valid and significant?

        As far as ” How can you be in a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being if you have a condition from which you are told you will never recover?”
        I ask the same question if you keep suffering from acute episodes of infection which leaves you in bed for a week, fever, vomiting etc etc.
        Is someone who gets infections all the time with acute episodes of pain, fever etc etc more or less miserable than someone who needs to monitor their controlled chronic condition?

        This is starting to move into the area of QALYs (Quality Adjusted Life Years) and The Health Utilities Index (which is validated for those over 5 years of age).
        This is trying to capture the impact of child health interventions on health-related quality of life which is an economic tool for the evaluation of health interventions.
        basically is it worth spending $X on treatment X or Y?

        These measures try to put a ‘value’ on how much impact a condition has on someone’s life. So we could try to say, having diabetes is worse/better than someone with URTI every month with a measure.

        “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

        Unfortunately, we need to be able to measure what ’100%’ is, and the impact of every single condition you want included in the study BEFORE you can do the study.
        I know you probably think I’m being a spoil sport but it’s definitely not as simple as you think it to be. Which is probably why nobody is interested in doing the study.

        Figure out a way measure the impact of every condition, compared to others and you may just have your study. Tallying who has what in a tick box and ‘how much it costs’ is a very poorly constructed study.

      • You don’t get it Candice. I believe that the group without vaccines won’t have diabetes; or kidney disease, or asthma, or eczema or any of those other conditions that are chronic and can be life-changing and fatal. Let’s do the study and see. It is not hard to examine health outcomes in two groups of people. There just has to be an honest intention to do so. The medical community and the government have not demonstrated that intention.

      • Harry Phillips says:

        Wait, did you *seriously* suggest that people that avoid vaccination won’t get those ailments?

        Do you think that these things only started happening after vaccines were introduced? Nobody got diabetes? Nobody got kidney disease, or asthma, or eczema?

      • No Harry – I suggested that we don’t know that and until we look at it, we won’t. Why is it so hard to consider that a study should be done to compare the rates of chronic illness in the fully vaccinated vs the fully unvaccinated? It seems to be a basic test that should have been done some time over the last 200+ years of vaccination. The fact that it hasn’t been done is concerning to anyone who is thinking about this issue – or should be.

      • chopsii says:

        Why do you and other “anti-vaxers” seem to lump all vaccines into the one category anyway? They aren’t all the same. If you have problems with specific vaccines or specific aspects that are common to all then say that. Saying anything about vaccines in general as a whole is incredibly ignorant.

        Maybe I misunderstand in the same way that an “anti-vaxer” might think a “pro-vaxer” is pro all vaccines in general as well…

      • Yes, you have misunderstood. First of all – we (meaning the AVN) aren’t ‘anti-vaxxers’ – we are vaccine critical and pro-vaccine safety / informed choice – big difference.

        Next, who says that we lump all vaccines together? Each vaccine is taken on its information and judged accordingly.

      • chopsii says:

        Well that is never made clear, as far as I can tell. You definitely appear to be anti-vaccines in general, and I think you would do well with regard to being taken serioulsy to make much more specific claims.

      • Chopsil- how long have you been following the AVN? I am thinking it is only a short time – perhaps only a few days? If so, then you really have no idea what we have done and what we stand for. With the greatest of respect, I suggest you read a bit about us – and not from the organisation that has been set up to shut us down.

        You might start with this – http://nocompulsoryvaccination.com/2011/12/22/what-pro-vaccination-choice-means-to-me/

    • Kelly says:

      Ok thanks all for your imput. I’m not a scientist, Dr etc I don’t have a range of statics and facts to keep this debate going. I trust my instinct, my decision not to vax started when i had a bad reaction to a diptheria vax in 1994 i fainted in the Drs surgey just after i was given the needle, i was 21 years old and it felt like i had been injected with poison. After I recovered my Dr was very angry and told me I was just scared of needles( which I wasn’t) This was not reported. It got me thinking about the safety of vaccines. My instict says why does a child who is born pure ( hopefully) needs so many needles and intervention before they turn 5. I trust the process of life, I do expect my son to get sick and catch some of those dreaded viruses , my job is to keep him as healthy as possible so his body can fight them.

      • katie B says:

        Hi Kelly,
        I’m not sure what you mean when you say a child is born “pure”. Some children are born with genetic illnesses. Some are born to mothers with Hep B, and contract it themselves. Some children are born already addicted to whatever drugs their mother was taking. Some children are born in parts of Africa where there is very little food, clean water, or security. Some children are born with HIV/AIDS. Some children are born with immunosuppressive illnesses. Etc etc.
        Can you please explain what you mean? Thank you.

      • Kelly says:

        Hi Katie
        I did have in Brackets (hopefully) after my statement that a child is born pure (hopefully) so why do they need so many needles at such a young age. For children born in the conditions you mentioned, yes some medical intervention could be needed but why give those vaccines to all children. Just in Case? no thanks not for us.

      • Hi Kelly,
        I read Katie’s comment and didn’t really understand what she was on about? It seemed very obvious that you were referring to the vast majority of babies who are born healthy and without problems. It seemed a strange point for her to make so I’m glad you’ve taken the time to clear up any potential questions.

  11. Thijs Smithjes says:

    I do not understand how people who are not trained in medicine, epidemiology, infectious diseases, immunology or common sense can be take seriously

    Clinically compatible case

    A clinical syndrome generally compatible with the disease, as described in the clinical description.
    Confirmed case

    A case that is classified as confirmed for reporting purposes.
    Epidemiologically linked case

    A case in which a) the patient has had contact with one or more persons who either have/had the disease or have been exposed to a point source of infection (i.e., a single source of infection, such as an event leading to a foodborne-disease outbreak, to which all confirmed case-patients were exposed) and b) transmission of the agent by the usual modes of transmission is plausible. A case may be considered epidemiologically linked to a laboratory-confirmed case if at least one case in the chain of transmission is laboratory confirmed.
    Laboratory-confirmed case

    A case that is confirmed by one or more of the laboratory methods listed in the case definition under Laboratory Criteria for Diagnosis. Although other laboratory methods can be used in clinical diagnosis, only those listed are accepted as laboratory confirmation for national reporting purposes.
    Probable case

    A case that is classified as probable for reporting purposes.
    Supportive or presumptive laboratory results

    Specified laboratory results that are consistent with the diagnosis, yet do not meet the criteria for laboratory confirmation.
    Suspected case

    A case that is classified as suspected for reporting purposes.

    • Thijs – are you truly saying that only people with medical qualifications have anything worthwhile to say about medical issues? If so, I could not disagree with you more. Lastly, there is no such thing as a qualification in common sense – more’s the pity, but my experience of academics is that their education, in many cases, has beaten all evidence of common sense right out of them.

  12. mmg says:

    You asked Cass:

    “can you please share with me what statements have been made on this blog that you believe are not backed by scientific fact?”

    Well, I for one can point to this statement:

    “His information on the lack of evidence for ANY contribution vaccines may have made to the decline in deaths from infectious diseases is irrefutable”

    As being ridiculously without merit and goes to show that rather than using actual science to back your beliefs you just choose to believe the things that support your current stance. Anyone can see the statistics for deaths from diseases with vaccinations available and see that they all have significantly decreased with the advent of the vaccination. I suppose you might point that out as purely coincidental and the decrease comes about by other mechanisms but that is also just your belief and not scientifically accurate.

    • MMG – Greg’s graphs are from Australian government statistics (the GRIM books, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the AIHW. If you believe that this information is not reliable, then you will need to take that up with the government. If you do believe that government data is reliable however, then you will have to admit that more than 90% and as much as 99.9% of deaths from infectious diseases had declined BEFORE the relevant vaccination was introduced. This means – as I said – that there is NO evidence that vaccinations played any role whatsoever in the decline in infectious diseases.

      If you disagree with this, that is your right. But where is your evidence?

      • chopsii says:

        The issue is that deaths do not equal incidence. The incidence data is quite clearly strongly correlated with introduction of vaccines.

      • Regarding incidence data, it is so useless (because the vast majority of cases are never reported as well as reports being made without laboratory confirmation) that even the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recommends that the best way to determine incidence is extrapolating from mortality data. So no – you are not correct here. Incidence data is not strongly correlated with anything because of the reasons cited above plus the fact that Australia did not have a national notification database until the 1980s which was well after most of the vaccines were introduced anyway.

      • chopsii says:

        Nope, you’re wrong again. The incidence data is so strongly correlated that the uncertainty of it is quite low. When medically understood situations arise that mean the vaccines are less effective, like the new strain of pertussis which the vaccine is a little less effective for, the incidence rate rises from the almost exactly 0 it had been since ever since the vaccine was introduced.
        There was enough data to see that effect clearly, despite the fact that the incidence data was not recorded for a period of time as you say.

      • You might want to explain that to the Australian government then because they don’t agree with you. Can you answer this question for me – what percentage of whooping cough cases are reported?

      • chopsii says:

        I think they do agree, or they wouldn’t be promoting the use of the vaccines?

      • mmg says:

        I don’t know what charts this Greg character puts up but the ones I have linked below clearly show a significant drop off AFTER the introduction of various vaccines.

        http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-cdi31suppl.htm~cda-cdi31suppl-apx1.htm

        Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Vaccination Coverage in Australia

        Appendix 1. Historical charts of notifications of vaccine preventable diseases

      • Also, MMG, here from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. If they are saying that incidence should be extrapolated from mortality – why are you reluctant to accept that? Do you have some special knowledge that should be shared about the accuracy of incidence reporting?

        Why are mortality data important?
        Mortality data are important in the measurement of disease and consequently health in the planning of public health care. Studying trends in mortality over time helps to understand how the health status of the population is changing and assists in the evaluation of the health system.

        Mortality data also provide a basis for investigating the incidence of disease, its severity and the quality of life before death. The patterns of mortality in the community in terms of cause, age, sex, population group, and geographical distribution, inform the work of epidemiologists, medical personnel, and those working in health policy, planning and administration.

        A diverse range of commercial companies use mortality data to, amongst other things, anticipate demand for services (e.g. funeral directors), calculate risk (e.g. life insurance companies) or monitor trends (e.g. employers, motor vehicle manufacturers).

        Measuring and comparing mortality rates across populations also helps to highlight health differences among different groups of people (e.g. people of various cultural or social backgrounds or different age groups). It may also help to highlight differences in how readily one group can access a health care service compared to another group. For instance, people living in remote geographical areas often need to travel large distances to larger population centres to access specialised health care services, compared with their counterparts living close by the services in the cities. This can result in poorer health outcomes.

        In discussing mortality it is necessary to identify the impact of increases and reductions in mortality. The effect of changes in mortality is often best appreciated through increases in life expectancy.

      • punter says:

        chopsii, it truly is telling that the skeptics are so fond of your comments. If you think that notification and incidence data are exactly the same then you have absolutely no idea about statistics whatsoever. How often do you visit a doctor when you are sick? What about everybody else? How often does that doctor test for a potentially notifiable disease?

        The answer to these questions is nobody has the foggiest idea. Therefore notification data is completely worthless for the task you have given it.

        I realise that the skeptics like to take our weakest arguments and use it to make it look like anybody who criticizes vaccines does so from a false basis but they seem desperate to give us so much ammunition themselves.

      • mmg says:

        My graphs were taken from the Australian Government Department of Health. If you believe that this information is not reliable, then you will need to take that up with the government. If you do believe that government data is reliable however, then you will have to admit that there is a significant drop off AFTER the introduction of various vaccinations. They placed markers on the charts indicating various milestones to show that various drop offs correlated with the implementation of vaccines.

      • My graphs (or Greg’s graphs) are also taken from the Australian government but relate to mortality data which the AIHW says is a more accurate way to determine incidence. Why are you so anxious to ignore not only their advice but the information as well?

      • Candice says:

        “Regarding incidence data, it is so useless (because the vast majority of cases are never reported as well as reports being made without laboratory confirmation) ”

        I see you have trouble learning anything.
        I have spent the time to explain clearly how the notification process work and within an hour you go back to your misinformed thought that notifications are complete without laboratory confirmation.

        This is why people call you a liar. In the face of facts, backed up with evidence, and first hand knowledge you choose your own belief.

        I have moved from calling you misinformed on the notification process (not just a call made but how it actually gets ‘counted’ in the official incidence data) to a liar on the notification process.

        And you wonder why professionals such as myself get so frustrated, you say we don’t want to participate in educating people ~ I’ve tried.

      • Candice, the quote you have cited was made by me at 2:28 PM. Your last response to me, where you explained how, according to your experience, reports to the NNDSS work – was at 3:09 PM. So who is the liar here?

        You skeptics love to call those you disagree with liars and to find any and all ways to prove that your assertion about our veracity is correct.

        But your ruse here is nothing more then your usual attempt to find some way – any way – to denigrate what the AVN stands for whether that denigration is based in fact or not.

        I am still waiting for you to respond to me about how the reports are made and whether or not there is any form. If you can’t answer this question, please let me know.

        In the meantime, I do expect an apology from you for your obvious mistake (and calling it a mistake is being kind on my part).

      • Candice says:

        I just re-checked. I told you that a notification needs pathology evidence at 1.40pm, 1.54pm, and 2.12pm in three separate posts.
        There were additional posts after that, yes, but I’m not going to apologise for your misunderstanding on the notification process. That is something you should probably think about clearing up though, for you members.

        I take offense to being labelled a ‘sceptic’, but I’m not going to demand an apology. I’m just a mum, who used to be a hairdresser then went to uni to study.

        It’s not a ‘ruse’ me being here. I genuinely wanted to give you the actual facts on what happens in disease surveillance and epidemiology. It isn’t my opinion either. We have to slavishly stick to case definitions and very strict protocols.

        I attempted it once before, explaining the ’54,000 die in hospital from medical error’ but seeing as you still stick to that story. I guess, I did wonder why I bothered.

        I appreciate you thanking me for my explanation, I did notice that, and you’re welcome. I just hope you’ll actually take it on board. Otherwise, yes, then you become a liar in the face of facts.

      • Candice, you don’t need to apologise for me for any misunderstanding. You need to apologise for calling me a liar when it was YOUR error in assuming that I had made a post after your explanation. I would never call another person a liar without proof that they had lied. But then again, I’m not a pseudo-sceptic, am I?

        I don’t ask for much – just a respectful debate and the right for both sides to be heard. Why is that so hard for you?

      • Candice says:

        I just re-checked. I told you that a notification needs pathology evidence at 1.40pm, 1.54pm, and 2.12pm in three separate posts.

      • Bully for you Candice. So because I mentioned something about the usefulness – or otherwise – of incidence reports before you had sent me your final response, you say I am a liar. And I’m supposed to just accept that like a nice little girl. Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. You were out of line and disagreements are not lies.

      • Candice says:

        Your comment was ” (because the vast majority of cases are never reported as well as reports being made without laboratory confirmation) ”
        And I told you that a notification needs pathology evidence at 1.40pm, 1.54pm, and 2.12pm in three separate posts.
        So, sorry. not going to roll over like a nice little girl either.
        I’m not asking for an apology, but I’m not going to give one when clearly you had been told three times before making that post, with evidence. Whether you accept it or not is irrelevant. I’m happy to leave it at that. but you ain’t getting an appology when there is evidence you had prior knowledge before.

      • Candice, you have still not shown that the vast majority of cases are reported. All you’ve done is show that the cases that are reported are confirmed by laboratory results. This does not deal with the issues discussed – of adults generally not getting reported, of people not going to the doctor when they are sick (so therefore, their cases are not reported) or of the large number of vaccinated children who are never tested for these diseases simply BECAUSE they are vaccinated.

        And I have not called you a liar because you have disagreed with this and I appreciate your taking the time to give such complete and obviously well thought out responses. But what part of respectful conversation don’t you understand?

      • chopsii says:

        Regardless of the whatever authority says what, how exactly could mortality data be useful for a disease which is almost never fatal now? The error bars inherent in such extrapolation would make such extrapolation essentially useless.

      • Chopsli – if the case of a disease “which was almost never fatal” occurred before the introduction of the vaccine, don’t you see that this is important information to know about?

      • chopsii says:

        I didn’t say anything about it being almost never fatal in the past. I am saying that mortality rates are fatality rates. These are inherently useless when fatalities are almost zero with or without vaccines. Therefore to make meaningful conclusions, we need to look at other data.

    • Bilby-Jo says:

      How amusing…. Looks like the post by Candice at 3.09pm has disappeared into the Internet abyss :)

  13. Bec says:

    Vaccinated = less likely to get whooping cough = less likely to spread it.
    I think that statistics support that.

    • Hi Bec,

      Can you quote the statistics that lead you to say that “Vaccinated = less likely to get whooping cough = less likely to spread it.” Since we are talking about science here, referencing where you got this information from would be really helpful. Thanks :-)

    • punter says:

      According to the notification data (which you guys are so desperate to use) rates of pertussis are split around 75:25 between fully vaxed for age and not fully vaxed for age for children between 0 and 5. It just so happens that, according to the ABS this is roughly similar to the ratio of fully vaxed for age and not fully vaxed for age in that age group. Of course, you want to use the rate of vaccinated at the snapshots don’t you? Now, if you knew anything about statistics you would understand why this is spurious. But then if you knew anything about statistics you wouldn’t be using notification data as a proxy for incidence in the first place.

      When are you people going to learn about this stuff?

      • Candice says:

        Punter, If you knew anything about statistics you would know what a denominator is, right?

        I would love to know what is so wrong with using notification data as incidence?

      • punter says:

        Yes Candice one should know what a denominator is. The trouble is that YOU don’t know which denominator to use. You are using a denominator of 1 in 20 not fully vaxed kids to get your figure of around a 5 times greater likelihood of catching the disease if you aren’t fully vaxed. But the actual figure is more like 1 in 4. This means that the numerator and the denominator are roughly the same so the vaccine (according to the notification data) is worthless. You can’t use the 95 per cent figure at the 2 year old snapshots because then you aren’t comparing apples with apples – you have to use the figure from a random survey (ie the ABS data). I doubt that you will ever understand this concept – John Cunningham often boasts of his expertise in epidemiology but he was like a deer in headlights when Greg and I tried to explain this to him – nonetheless I will give you a clue.

        What is the recorded vaccination status of two kids: one who doesn’t receive their 3rd vaccinated until 18 months of age and gets pertussis when they are 9 months old and another child who also doesn’t receive their 3rd vaccination until 18 months but doesn’t get pertussis?

        You see? They both have the exact same vaccination status profile but one will be recorded as having pertussis and not being fully vaxed, the other will be recorded as not having pertussis and being fully vaxed.

        This is why your denominator is wrong. Again, if you were intellectually honest you would retract your claim about the pertussis vaccine and accept that the notification data demonstrates that it is useless.

        And by the way, assuming you are correct about what gets counted as a notification (which by the way runs completely contrary to what most doctors have told me previously) then that actually makes the inherent pro-vaccination bias in notification even worse.

        So here are the problems with notification data:
        1) Nobody has the slightest clue how often people get sick and don’t go to the doctors. This alone completely obliterates its value but it gets worse.
        2) Nobody has the slightest clue whether doctors are just as likely to look for certain conditions today (eg diphtheria, pertussis, measles) as they were 100 years ago when faced with a patient displaying various symptoms. What’s more you would expect them to look for it in the unvaxed far more than the vaxed due to their own biases. Again, this alone would completely obliterate the value of notification data.
        3) Once the case has been reported the investigators have their own (generally pro-vaccine bias) in determining whether a case is likely to be pertussis.
        In conclusion, only somebody incredibly desperate or completely oblivious to the bleeding obvious would use notification data as a suitable replacement for incidence data. Needless to say, both of those descriptions are appropriate for those trying to defend the lunacy of vaccines.

      • Candice says:

        For starters I am an epidemiologist currently in injury surveillance. I’m so glad you just told me I’m doing my job completely wrong. I’m sure the AIHW will be so disappointed in my work! lol

        The denominator in this case is actually the 0-4 year old estimated population in Australia.
        The percentage vaccinated status is actually taken from 5 years old, to allow for some ‘lag’ in vaccination. (so I actually didn’t use the ’2 years snapshot anyway)
        Taking it from 5 years would actually *inflate* the denominator of vaccinated making it look worse, not favouring the vaccine.

        The mid section of your rant is useless because I took the percentage vaccinated from 5 years, not 2 years.

        Notification data for pertussis and vaccination status is confirmed from ACIR. Believe it of not disease surveillance officers check this in real time when the lab confirmation for pertussis comes in.
        And that is looking at THAT child’s record for their vaccination status not assuming from their age. So, its a fairly robust dataset.

        “And by the way, assuming you are correct about what gets counted as a notification (which by the way runs completely contrary to what most doctors have told me previously) then that actually makes the inherent pro-vaccination bias in notification even worse.”

        Do you think doctors know more about disease surveillance than disease surveillance officers? To be honest doctors are the LEAST reliable in knowing how the process works, save they have to fill out a form or call immediately on suspicion of certain diseases.
        I don’t see how this favours pro-vaccination bias AT ALL??

        A sample is taken…..vaccinated or not, if the path comes back positive disease surveillance knows about it, whether or not the doctor wants to notify their clinical symptoms, because that person is vaccinated is out of their hands.

        To answer your other wishy wash statements.
        1. Someone sick and not going to the doctors. Is still going to transmit. The next person will go to the doctors. But out of the Australian population this happening is going to not be significant in the data. But still if you want to entertain the idea that it is, go get some funding and produce the evidence. Seriously, not a bad PhD topic.
        2. The conditions you mentioned…are contagious and present in very specific ways especially measles, in a very specific order of events.
        Having said that, if something ‘unexplained’ comes in the doctors office ~ they send bloods to have a ‘look’ and hence, disease surveillance picks it up if you believe all doctors are that incompetent there is that second ‘net’ in the process. Pathology which doesn’t care if you’re vaccinated.
        3.”Once the case has been reported the investigators have their own (generally pro-vaccine bias) in determining whether a case is likely to be pertussis”
        That would be my previous job. We have to work to case definitions. Its not something we have a choice about. While we do collect the vaccination status, it is for information purposes only it is not a part of the case definition.

        I hope this clears a few things up for you. But seriously, telling an epidemiologist they don’t know how to do a simple Risk Ratio is pretty bloody funny. Thanks for the giggles.

      • punter says:

        “A sample is taken…..vaccinated or not, if the path comes back positive disease surveillance knows about it, whether or not the doctor wants to notify their clinical symptoms, because that person is vaccinated is out of their hands.”

        Yes. And?

        “To answer your other wishy wash statements.
        1. Someone sick and not going to the doctors. Is still going to transmit. The next person will go to the doctors. But out of the Australian population this happening is going to not be significant in the data. But still if you want to entertain the idea that it is, go get some funding and produce the evidence. Seriously, not a bad PhD topic.”

        What? How do you know they will transmit? So what if they did anyway? What if the person they transmit it to doesn’t go to the doctor either? And so on and so on. Not significant in the data? Que?

        So let me get this straight. According to what you seem to be implying, if one million people get the flu then all but one person will definitely visit the doctor.

        How about you just give me the funding for the PhD? I can’t imagine it could be particularly hard to come up with the sort of rubbish that is currently being taught.

        “2. The conditions you mentioned…are contagious and present in very specific ways especially measles, in a very specific order of events.
        Having said that, if something ‘unexplained’ comes in the doctors office ~ they send bloods to have a ‘look’ and hence, disease surveillance picks it up if you believe all doctors are that incompetent there is that second ‘net’ in the process. Pathology which doesn’t care if you’re vaccinated.”

        You think measles presents in a very specific way? You are such good value Candice. Let me tell you something, measles is a rash and a fever. Do you know any other diseases that are also a rash and a fever? I do. Plenty in fact. But according to you there is just one. 150 years ago a rash and a fever more than likely meant measles (actually it could mean plenty of things back then too like scarlet fever). Today it could be roseola, fifth disease, hand, foot and mouth, allergic reaction etc. We don’t know how consistent diagnostic techniques were back then with what they are today. We know they didn’t use lab confirmation. So trying to compare the data is idiotic. Trying to compare the data between two countries is idiotic. Indeed comparing it between doctor and doctor is idiotic because diagnosis of most diseases depends massively on the biases of the doctors. It boggles the mind that anybody could be foolish enough to trust that notification data equals incidence data.

        What is even more extraordinary (well extraordinary until you get to know what these people are like) is that these are the same people who pour scorn over the notion that correlation equals causation when it comes to vaccine injury.

        I never said it was part of the case definition I said that there was another avenue for bias. And there is. A big one.

        No. Thank you Candice. You have some things to work on though. Understand what denominators do. Learn about age-matching cases. Learn about the non-specificity of diseases and why diagnosis is more an art than a science. Learn about the fact that not every single person visits a doctor every time they are sick (is this one really that hard to come to grips with?).

      • punter says:

        Sorry, that last part should read: ““That would be my previous job. We have to work to case definitions. Its not something we have a choice about. While we do collect the vaccination status, it is for information purposes only it is not a part of the case definition. “

        I never said it was part of the case definition I said that there was another avenue for bias. And there is. A big one.

        “I hope this clears a few things up for you. But seriously, telling an epidemiologist they don’t know how to do a simple Risk Ratio is pretty bloody funny. Thanks for the giggles.”

        No. Thank you Candice. You have some things to work on though. Understand what denominators do. Learn about age-matching cases. Learn about the non-specificity of diseases and why diagnosis is more an art than a science. Learn about the fact that not every single person visits a doctor every time they are sick (is this one really that hard to come to grips with?).

      • punter says:

        I will try again. “For starters I am an epidemiologist currently in injury surveillance. I’m so glad you just told me I’m doing my job completely wrong. I’m sure the AIHW will be so disappointed in my work! Lol”

        I sincerely doubt demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of statistics will disappoint too many people at a government health agency. You should fit right in.

        “The denominator in this case is actually the 0-4 year old estimated population in Australia.”

        Yep. That is what the denominator should be. But you haven’t measured it correctly.

        “The percentage vaccinated status is actually taken from 5 years old, to allow for some ‘lag’ in vaccination. (so I actually didn’t use the ’2 years snapshot anyway).”

        You can’t use either. You have to use a random sample over the whole population (from ages 0 to 4 (or 0 to 5 if you prefer)).

        “Taking it from 5 years would actually *inflate* the denominator of vaccinated making it look worse, not favouring the vaccine.”

        Ummm, no. Increasing the number you say is vaccinated makes the vaccine look better. That is how denominators work. The greater the rate of vaxed in the general population (for a fixed percentage of pertussis sufferers being vaxed) the better it looks for the vaccine.

        Must have been a tough interview process. Them: “Do you support vaccinations unquestioningly”. You: “Yes, I have never entertained a contrary opinion on them in my life”. Them: “Welcome aboard!”.

        “The mid section of your rant is useless because I took the percentage vaccinated from 5 years, not 2 years.”

        No, my rant is completely relevant. Again, it doesn’t help that you are taking it from 5 years or 2, what matters is that you are taking it at a snapshot rather than from a random survey. You can’t do this. Well you can, but your analysis is completely invalid.

        “Notification data for pertussis and vaccination status is confirmed from ACIR. Believe it of not disease surveillance officers check this in real time when the lab confirmation for pertussis comes in.
        And that is looking at THAT child’s record for their vaccination status not assuming from their age. So, its a fairly robust dataset.”

        Yes Candice all of that is true, but they don’t look at the vaccination status of all children AT THAT EXACT AGE to compare them to. That is why the denominator you use is wrong. I’m sorry, but you are on a hiding to nothing here. You need to age match cases to take into account the fact that very few kids will be up to date at 6 months but most will be by 2 years old. We don’t have that data but a random survey provides a reasonable estimate so long as we assume that pertussis cases are uniformly distributed over this age group. (This is of course quite a precarious assumption but even if it is spurious it would only make your analysis that much more invalid.)

        “Do you think doctors know more about disease surveillance than disease surveillance officers? To be honest doctors are the LEAST reliable in knowing how the process works, save they have to fill out a form or call immediately on suspicion of certain diseases.”

        You want to tell me about the ignorance of doctors? Preaching to the choir let me assure you. The problem is that you haven’t demonstrated a great level of understanding of the critical concepts yourself.

        “I don’t see how this favours pro-vaccination bias AT ALL??”

        You’re an epidemiologist who doesn’t understand the concept of age-matching cases. No offense but I don’t take your lack of comprehension as a failing on my part.

        “A sample is taken…..vaccinated or not, if the path comes back positive disease surveillance knows about it, whether or not the doctor wants to notify their clinical symptoms, because that person is vaccinated is out of their hands.”

        Yes. And?

        “To answer your other wishy wash statements.
        1. Someone sick and not going to the doctors. Is still going to transmit. The next person will go to the doctors. But out of the Australian population this happening is going to not be significant in the data. But still if you want to entertain the idea that it is, go get some funding and produce the evidence. Seriously, not a bad PhD topic.”

        What? How do you know they will transmit? So what if they did anyway? What if the person they transmit it to doesn’t go to the doctor either? And so on and so on. Not significant in the data? Que?

        So let me get this straight. According to what you seem to be implying, if one million people get the flu then all but one person will definitely visit the doctor.

        How about you just give me the funding for the PhD? I can’t imagine it could be particularly hard to come up with the sort of rubbish that is currently being taught.

        “2. The conditions you mentioned…are contagious and present in very specific ways especially measles, in a very specific order of events.
        Having said that, if something ‘unexplained’ comes in the doctors office ~ they send bloods to have a ‘look’ and hence, disease surveillance picks it up if you believe all doctors are that incompetent there is that second ‘net’ in the process. Pathology which doesn’t care if you’re vaccinated.”

        You think measles presents in a very specific way? You are such good value Candice. Let me tell you something, measles is a rash and a fever. Do you know any other diseases that are also a rash and a fever? I do. Plenty in fact. But according to you there is just one. 150 years ago a rash and a fever more than likely meant measles (actually it could mean plenty of things back then too like scarlet fever). Today it could be roseola, fifth disease, hand, foot and mouth, allergic reaction etc. We don’t know how consistent diagnostic techniques were back then with what they are today. We know they didn’t use lab confirmation. So trying to compare the data is idiotic. Trying to compare the data between two countries is idiotic. Indeed comparing it between doctor and doctor is idiotic because diagnosis of most diseases depends massively on the biases of the doctors. It boggles the mind that anybody could be foolish enough to trust that notification data equals incidence data.

        What is even more extraordinary (well extraordinary until you get to know what these people are like) is that these are the same people who pour scorn over the notion that correlation equals causation when it comes to vaccine injury.

        “That would be my previous job. We have to work to case definitions. Its not something we have a choice about. While we do collect the vaccination status, it is for information purposes only it is not a part of the case definition. “

        I never said it was part of the case definition I said that there was another avenue for bias. And there is. A big one.

        “I hope this clears a few things up for you. But seriously, telling an epidemiologist they don’t know how to do a simple Risk Ratio is pretty bloody funny. Thanks for the giggles.”

        No. Thank you Candice. You have some things to work on though. Understand what denominators do. Learn about age-matching cases. Learn about the non-specificity of diseases and why diagnosis is more an art than a science. Learn about the fact that not every single person visits a doctor every time they are sick (is this one really that hard to come to grips with?).

  14. Barry says:

    Why would anyone “fear(ed) that there could be violence at these events from members of Stop the AVN”?

    Does this group have an actual documented history of violence, or threats thereof?
    Where would the management of these venues got that impression from otherwise?
    If this is the case, could you provide some evidence please?

    • Hi Barry,

      You must be a newcomer to this issue. Please read over the posts on this blog under the heading – Medical Bully Boys and you can read more about these threats over the last 2 years. While I was away, there were some very serious threats which the police are currently investigating. I am not at liberty to release information about this right now as it is under investigation, but hopefully, there will be an outcome soon. The one thing I can tell you is that the person who made the threats is one of the more prominent member of Stop the AVN and we have the details of where they live and the exact times that these threats were forwarded.

      • Barry says:

        So no actual evidence that you can present, at this time.

      • Barry, If you want evidence of past harassment and threats, search this blog and you will find it.

      • Daniel says:

        As a member of SA(a)VN I would be happy to follow this up.

        If an individual did make such serious threats, we would be happy to cooperate in any police investigation of the offense.

        We would also be careful to make sure that it was clear that there was no way that the leadership of the SA(a)VN condones such behaviour. Such a person would be sure to be removed from our discussions as soon as possible after reasonable evidence of guilt was produced.

        I am required to give my email to post this – please use it to inform me of the person’s name and address, and any police incident numbers that may be relevant.

      • Dear Daniel,

        Thanks so much for your offer. Right now, the police are working on this case and in fact, I’m following up today with the Constable I originally reported to.

        At this point, I don’t want to do anything to interfere with or make their job more difficult but should I require any assistance, I will definitely be in touch.

        May I ask if you are simply a member of SAVN or if you are one of the administrators of that group and speaking for them as a whole because I hadn’t heard your name before?

      • Harry Phillips says:

        You ask for evidence and we have to go find it.

        However when we ask for evidence we have to go find it.

      • Gee Harry – the evidence is on this very blog and I told you which category to find it in. If that is too much trouble for you, sorry. You can either take my word for it or join the rest of SAVN and call me a liar. I don’t really mind which you do because it is obvious that you have a barrow to push on this issue and nothing that anyone can say will change your position.

      • Harry Phillips says:

        I am open minded Meryl, if and when better evidence comes along that stands up to scrutiny then I will change my position.

        I am not sure you understand how science works. The rock stars in the scientist world are not the ones that prove that gravity makes things fall towards the earth. They are the ground breaking world flippers, like Eisenstein, like Darwin, like Newton etc. They had radically different ideas than the paradigm of the day.

        Yes their ideas were attacked from all sides at once but guess what? The attacks came and they went, the data stood up. Other scientists started doing their own independent work that could have proved the ideas wrong. Do you know why they are not considered cranks?

        Where are these “hundreds” of studies you keep alluding to? Are they able to with stand the rigours of the scientific method that relativity and evolution have been able to endure?

        Produce them and I will subscribe.

      • Daniel says:

        Hi Meryl,

        Why does my position in the hierarchy bother you? The fact that we are willing to exclude any such person from our group is the point I am trying to make.

        We are unable to do so if you do not give us information regarding who has made such threats.

        Regardless of any differences we have, violence or threats thereof are never part of a civil argument and won’t be tolerated by our group. I would be happy to help with any investigation, and I am sure many other members of SAaVN would too.

        So – kindly let me know via the provided email address:
        - The name of the person who has threatened you and the nature of the threat
        - The police incident report so that we may help with any current investigation

      • Thank you again for your offer Daniel. I didn’t care what your position with Stop the AVN is – I was simply interested if you were officially speaking for the group or simply for yourself as an interested party.

        As you can understand, I am sure, I cannot provide you with those details – even in private – because that might be interfering with the police investigation so I’m afraid that you will just have to wait until the investigation is complete but once it is, I will be sure to publicly announce the name and details of the person involved so you will find out then.

    • Liz Hempel says:

      Why would they? Because some Police Communications Officer threatened to throw rotten fruit at Meryl, thats why. Thats probably at the more tame end of the spectrum of threats, but its a threat that I myself bear witness to.

  15. JPower says:

    Hi Cass, have you done a personal risk/benefit study to determine if the known risks of vaccines are truly outweighed by the alleged benefits? You may be interested to find out that in 2011 the CDC outlined its 5-year research agenda to study vaccine safety issues. Included for study: autism as a clinical outcome of vaccination; the effect of simultaneous vaccinations (as per the current schedule) and immune-system disorders; as well as a study of the health outcomes of the vaccinated, the partially vaccinated, and the unvaccinated.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/00_pdf/ISO-Final-Scientific_Agenda-Nov-10.pdf

    Seems even the “experts” are in doubt…

    • mmg says:

      You do realise that the original study supposedly showing a link between autism and vaccination has been proven to be an out and out falsification don’t you? Anyone that mentions autism as reason to not get vaccinated is completely unaware of scientific facts and instead relies on the opinions and beliefs of like minded individuals to support their position.

      • Actually MMG – the case series was never shown to be a falsification – Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, three of the thirteen researchers named on this study were accused of fraud and the case series was withdrawn as a result of that accusation. One of these doctors, Walker-Smith, has since won a case before the UK high court against the General Medical Council over these accusations. Wakefield is currently trying to take an action against the person who brought the original action, Brian Deer, and the journal that has been defaming him for some time, the British Medical Journal. To date, that hasn’t yet been successful, but he is not giving up. But out of all this, we have one case series with 12 children which has never been found to be incorrect in any way – and hundreds of other peer-reviewed articles linking autism with vaccination. So…you were saying?

      • punter says:

        I know this won’t do any good mmg but I will mention it anyway. Wakefield faithfully reported what was told to him by the parents of the children he studied. Virtually no parents of autistic children anywhere came to believe that vaccines caused their child’s condition as a result of that paper – that belief had been around for a long time – but they were thrilled that someone in the medical community had actually voiced their concerns. Hitherto they had confronted practitioners almost completely hostile to their plight.

        It speaks volumes that such a caring, honest and principled individual was no longer deemed fit to be part of the medical community purely because he committed the mortal sin of listening to his patients.

      • mmg says:

        http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7452

        “As the ensuing vaccine scare took off, critics quickly pointed out that the paper was a small case series with no controls, linked three common conditions, and relied on parental recall and beliefs. Over the following decade, epidemiological studies consistently found no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism”

        So why do you believe one set of doctors who say autism is linked to vaccines and not another – larger – set of doctors who say that the paper was, at a minimum, flawed or even, at a maximum, fraud? You believe the first because the findings back your position and no other reason. How else can you ignore the weight of scientific evidence? Where are your hundreds of peer reviewed papers that establish the link? There are countless more that disprove it. And as a person with an eye on science, you no doubt know that a case series with 12 individuals is far to small a data set to reach any meaningful conclusions.

      • MMG – perhaps you should read the paper in question before commenting on it? Because what you are saying is not what the paper said. Let’s leave it here until you’ve had a chance to actually examine what it is you’re talking about.

      • mmg says:

        So you are not going to answer my question then? Why do you choose to believe one set of doctors over another? Is it simply because the set you choose to believe reach conclusions that back your particular world view? This is not science, it is belief.

      • I have answered your question – I don’t choose to believe anyone – I look for the evidence. The evidence that vaccines are one of the causes of autism is there and Wakefield’s paper is just one of many hundreds going back since well before there was even a name for autism. So why do you choose to believe that all of these papers and doctors are wrong, MMG?

      • Harry Phillips says:

        Hundreds huh? Care to name a single one?

      • mmg says:

        You answered my question? So you don’t choose to believe the doctors, you choose to believe the evidence? What evidence are you basing that off? Would it be the studies by the doctors or anecdotal evidence? Which means you obviously believe the doctors because everyone interested in science knows that anecdotal evidence does not equal proof. As for why I don’t agree with the paper that falsified evidence/conclusions is because not only has the paper PROVEN to be wrong, so has the premise it was based on. Your stubborn refusal to accept that one of the cornerstones of your belief system is a lie moves anything you say on the subject away from science and into the realm of fantasy.

      • MMG – I told you already – the case series was NEVER proven to be wrong – in fact, we know that the information in the study was correct as the parents reported it. So please stop saying that or else, if you truly believe that the study was withdrawn because of some problem with the data, provide proof.

      • mmg says:

        It appears that you will continue to defend a flawed study until the end of time purely because it supports your current beliefs. No matter how many other studies that follow a far more scientifc approach come along to disprove the theory, you refuse to listen. I can see now that it is a waste of my time trying to convince you so I will have to settle with trying to convince anyone who might be exposed to your sermons. I am not going to bully or attack anyone but just as it is your right to convince people to not vaccinate it is equally my right to convince people that you are wrong. I’m not going to make a campaign about it but if anyone that I personally know expresses an interest in your ideas I will counsel them against following them – using FACTS and not anecdotes to show that what you say is demonstrably wrong.

      • And unfortunately, MMG, your continual refusal to accept that the study was never found to be incorrect means that you have closed your mind completely to looking at what the study actually said. In other words, the FACTS of this case. So while you insist on being ignorant on this topic, there is nothing more that I can say. People can learn but if they refuse to even read, there can be no intelligent debate.

      • mmg says:

        http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7452.full?sid=33c5a12b-0147-48c8-a6db-cb761db43e39

        “Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent”

        “The Office of Research Integrity in the United States defines fraud as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism. Deer unearthed clear evidence of falsification. He found that not one of the 12 cases reported in the 1998 Lancet paper was free of misrepresentation or undisclosed alteration, and that in no single case could the medical records be fully reconciled with the descriptions, diagnoses, or histories published in the journal.”

        http://www.ncirs.edu.au/immunisation/fact-sheets/mmr-vaccine-ibd-autism-fact-sheet.pdf

        “Numerous studies and expert panel reviews have concluded that there is no link between MMR vaccine and autism or IBD.”

        “Medical and scientific experts who have reviewed the few studies suggesting a relationship between measles or MMR vaccine and autism/IBD have found them to have many significant weaknesses.”

        You talk of intelligent debate yet you refuse to see the evidence before you? You talk of opening the mind to ideas yet you continue to defend the indefensible? You talk of ignorance yet you ignore the truth? You may continue to have your beliefs but perhaps you might like to find something a little more substantial to hang your hat on than a dodgy study. Until a conclusive study without any whiff of impropriety comes along proving a link between MMR [or any other vaccine] and Autism

      • MMG – Wakefield is trying to sue the BMJ for defamation as a result of that article. The BMJ were not involved in the GMC investigation and the GMC did NOT find that the article was fraudulent. So please stop harping on this when it is embarrassingly obvious that you have never even read the article in question. I have a copy of it if you would like to read it – just let me know and I’ll send it to you.

      • mmg says:

        What is embarassing is the fact that you continue to cling to Wakefield and the study. The GMC found the production of the study to be dishonest and irresponsible – which is so much better than being called fraudulent. And just because someone is suing someone else, doesn’t make them right. Did you look at the second link I gave above? The part where it lists all of the MUCH LARGER studies that found absolutely no link? How do you explain them away? I am actually quite interested in how you will attempt to do that – it’ll just be further proof that you only choose to believe things that support your own viewpoint. Or perhaps you won’t even try as often people faced with evidence that they are wrong will ignore it completely or go of on another tangent. So which is it to be?

      • I’m not going to discuss this with you further MMG – you insist on your own ignorance and who am I to take that away from you?

        An estimated 10% of children could potentially have the same mitochondrial disorder as Hannah Poling. By the way, Hannah’s Mother is a Registered Nurse and her father is a Paediatric Neurologist.

        For those who are interested in learning more, I recommend the research of Dr Vjendra Singh, Paul Shattock and the University of Sunderland, Dr O’Brien in Ireland etc. Independent researchers linking vaccine-induced autoimmunity, gut damage and enterocolitis to the onset of autism and ASDs

      • mmg says:

        I’m so disappointed that out of all the choices you chose “Ignore and go off on a tangent” – as well as further proving you only believe things that support your stance by not even looking at or commenting on the studies in the link that I provided which are much larger than all the micro-cases you keep using as your “proof”. And then when these micro-cases fail to sway me due to the over-whelming evidence against them you imply that I am ignorant or incapable of intelligent debate or whatever. If you truly want to have a dialogue you have to accept that other people might not agree with you and that doesn’t make them automatically inferior to you.

  16. Bec says:

    “Where do you stand? If you have chosen to vaccinate your children, are you concerned about them being around unvaccinated kids? If so, why? Do you think that harassment or abuse of non-vaccinating parents is justified and if so, why?”

    Yes, they are vaccinated and, since you ask, yes, I am concerned about my children being around unvaccinated kids. Why? Because even though people who get whooping cough after vaccination tend to get a less severe infection, I have been told that even a mild case of pertussis is likely to kill her because of her low muscle tone. I depend on herd immunity to protect her from that and many other vaccine-preventable diseases. Which brings me to the second part of the question: I do not think “harassment or abuse” of anyone is justified unless you include exclusion as harassment. I would like unvaccinated children to be excluded from the childcare/respite/kindergartens/schools my kids attend. You may CHOOSE not to vaccinate, but I think in doing so you must also choose isolation for otherwise your choices put others at risk and that is reckless and unethical.

    You did ask.

    • Hi Bec, yes, I did ask and I’m glad you answered. My question to you now is, do you think that unvaccinated children are more likely to get and spread whooping cough (since that’s the disease you’ve mentioned) then the vaccinated? We have almost 40,000 cases of whooping cough reported last year and a large percentage of those cases were in recently-vaccinated children and infants (those aged between 0 and 4 years of age). 75% of those who got it in that age group were fully vaccinated against it; 14% were partially vaccinated and only 11% were completely unvaccinated or too young to have been vaccinated. So you want to exclude unvaccinated children from childcare to protect your baby (I don’t blame you for this – we all want the best for our own children). But are your fears misdirected? If the vaccine doesn’t prevent a person from getting whooping cough (and by your own admission and the evidence all around us, that is the case), then would 100% vaccination provide what you refer to as herd immunity? And would your child be just as likely to come into contact with this and other ‘vaccine-preventable’ diseases from the fully vaccinated as from the unvaccinated since no vaccine can prevent someone from being an asymptomatic carrier of disease.

      Thank you for your input and for the respectful manner in which you approached this issue. I would like to keep the conversation going if you have the time and energy.

      • Candice says:

        Unvaccinated people are more likely to get whooping cough.
        Of the 40,000 cases you claim a large percentage were recently vaccinated children and infants?
        In 2010 from Greg’s graph there were 2,391 vaccinated or partially vaccinated cases, 0-4 years, with whooping cough. Hardly a large percentage but likely recently vaccinated.
        And of the claim ’75% of those 0-4 years were fully vaccinated’, no problem if you forget that vaccinated children in that age group represent around 90-95% of that population. You have to apply the denominator.

        If you take that ‘count’ and use the denominator you find on average unvaccinated or partially vaccinated are 3.2 times more likely to get pertussis than vaccinated children.
        To leave out the denominator is misleading and bad science.

        So no, Bec’s fears are not misdirected at all.

        I have explained the epidemiological calculations in this post:

        Are my calculations incorrect? Please point out where, happy to discuss.

      • Candice, would you like to have a look at the article I linked to below which stated that those who were vaccinated were much more likely to be vectors for b. parapertussis which causes a disease that is indistinguishable from pertussis. Where does this sit in your calculations of the relative risks?

      • One more thing Candice – sorry, I forgot to say this previously. Unvaccinated children may be more likely to be DIAGNOSED with whooping cough since doctors regularly take a child’s vaccination status into account when diagnosing any of these diseases, but there is no evidence that they are actually more likely to GET whooping cough. If you have references to show that they are using laboratory proof, please do provide it.

      • Candice says:

        Leaving out the denominator is akin to me doing my current report on ATSI vs non-ATSI self-harm, looking at the counts and advising there isn’t a problem because the numbers are significantly lower than non-ATSI. Because the ‘count’ is 16x lower there isn’t an issue?
        When you apply the denominator of the total ATSI population as a ‘rate’ you can see there IS an issue in that population.

        By saying 75% of the vaccinated kids 0-4 years got pertussis you are DENYING the issue in the unvaccinated population, because they are the minority.

      • Candice, you may want to read through what you’ve written and edit it because what you’ve said makes no sense. I never said that 75% of the vaccinated kids 0-4 years got pertussis and I did mention the 11% who were unvaccinated. Please let me know if you can clarify your question.

      • Bec says:

        I would like to know the rates of whooping cough infection for vaccinated vs unvaccinated/partially vaccinated. Given that the majority of kids are fully vaccinated, you would expect a greater overall number of infections as it is a much larger population, however, what is the rate in the much smaller, unvaccinated population? Fewer cases can still mean a higher rate. Do we have those numbers? How much more likely are you to get whooping cough if you are not vaccinated? Is it true that the latest outbreaks have occurred in locations where there are more unvaccinated people?
        As for other vaccine preventable diseases, I have heard that some people who are anti-vaccination actually try to pass on chicken pox and measles and mumps between their kids? If so, then they will put my child at risk through deliberately spreading these illnesses and that is not on.
        Herd immunity is our best defence as we can never got to 100% vaccination rates as there will always be some who can’t have their shots for medical reasons. The closer we get to 100%, the better. Those people need our protection so I think we all need to do our bit.

      • Hi Bec,
        That is a good question but it’s not necessarily an important one. The fact is that our vaccination rates have increased from under 50% in 1953 when the DTP vaccine was introduced (nobody knows the real rate of vaccination at that time. It wasn’t until 1998 that we got a real vaccination register and even then, our records are inaccurate) to over 95% today (and many people will say that adults are a vector for infection, but since adult whooping cough vaccination was only introduced in 2005, that should have no bearing on the real risk of infection) and our per capita reported incidence is now as high as or higher then it was in 1953. So if we have had such a huge increase in vaccination, why have we also had such a huge increase in disease? Do you see my point? So it doesn’t matter what the rate is amongst the unvaccinated (especially since an unvaccinated child or adult is much more likely to be diagnosed with whooping cough then someone who has been fully vaccinated). The overall result is that the increase in vaccination rates should have corresponded with a decline in disease – but it hasn’t. So something is wrong with the vaccine. Therefore, fearing the unvaccinated may not make as much sense as you might think it should.

      • Candice says:

        “We have almost 40,000 cases of whooping cough reported last year and a large percentage of those cases were in recently-vaccinated children and infants (those aged between 0 and 4 years of age). 75% of those who got it in that age group were fully vaccinated against it; 14% were partially vaccinated and only 11% were completely unvaccinated or too young to have been vaccinated.”

        In 2010 from Greg’s graph there were 3,400 cases, 0-4 years, with whooping cough. Hardly a large percentage of the 40,000, but likely recently vaccinated.

        ’75% of those 0-4 years were fully vaccinated’, no problem if you forget that vaccinated children in that age group represent around 90-95% of that population. You have to apply the denominator.

        If you take that ‘count’ and use the denominator you find on average unvaccinated or partially vaccinated are 3.2 times more likely to get pertussis than vaccinated children.
        To leave out the denominator is misleading and bad science.

        So no, Bec’s fears are not misdirected at all. Unvaccinated people are absolutely more likely to catch whooping cough.
        They are definitely more at risk – but there are less of them around.

        I have explained the epidemiological calculations in this post:

        Are my calculations incorrect? Please point out where, happy to discuss.

      • Candice says:

        “Candice, would you like to have a look at the article I linked to below which stated that those who were vaccinated were much more likely to be vectors for b. parapertussis which causes a disease that is indistinguishable from pertussis. Where does this sit in your calculations of the relative risks?”

        The calculation of relative risk is easy. It doesn’t ‘sit’ anywhere with me.

        The basic fact is, unvaccinated people are much more likely to catch pertussis, but because they are the minority, the burden of disease does not lie with them.

        The above statement is like saying non-ATSI people are much more likely to self harm, just look at the numbers!
        There are just simply more in the population pool, so, of course vaccinated people are much more likely to be vectors – there are simply more of us.

        They are however at higher risk.
        Now, while you may not fear pertussis at all. Someone who is going through chemo and has no immune system to speak of *IS* at risk because they are technically unvaccinated and therefore approx 3.2 times more likely to catch pertussis, no matter where is comes from.

      • Candice says:

        “One more thing Candice – sorry, I forgot to say this previously. Unvaccinated children may be more likely to be DIAGNOSED with whooping cough since doctors regularly take a child’s vaccination status into account when diagnosing any of these diseases, but there is no evidence that they are actually more likely to GET whooping cough. If you have references to show that they are using laboratory proof, please do provide it.”

        There is no evidence doctors take this into account when diagnosing pertussis. If you have actual evidence please do provide it.
        Its pretty obvious by the amount of cases that doctors don’t take into account vaccination status, they send a sample anyway.

        I worked in disease surveillance so I can tell you without doubt that you need laboratory evidence to have a complete notification for pertussis.
        We follow case definitions for completedness of data. Found here: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-surveil-nndss-casedefs-cd_pertus.htm

        You *can* notifiy if you have for example one laboratory confirmed case and then the sibling ends up with the same symptoms but this is actually pretty uncommon and requires a lot of leg word to get a complete notification. Most doctors just send for path anyway.

        So, no, again, they are not more likely to be diagnosed with pertussis because they are unvaccinated.
        They *are* pathology confirmed.

        And for you own reference path labs automatically send all positive results of notifiable diseases straight to the Communicable Disease Control Branch, of their state, in several batches across the day.
        The doctors notify the clinical symptoms AFTER, it’s not a confirmed case until we have BOTH.

        I hope this clears the process of notifications up for you.

      • Candice, are all cases of reported whooping cough verified by laboratory diagnosis?

      • Candice says:

        “Candice, are all cases of reported whooping cough verified by laboratory diagnosis?”

        hmmm, bit perplexed as to how you think they get ‘notified’ and to whom if not entered by the Disease Surveillance unit of each state.
        Do you think they get slipped in some other disease surveillance system somewhere?
        hint: there isn’t another one.

        I just explained the notification process and the role of path labs and doctors.
        If the doctor sends a test that’s positive – Disease surveillance knows about it, generally before the doctor does.
        If they don’t notify within a few days, we chase them.
        That’s how the data gets ‘completed’
        Doctors DO NOT bother calling if they ‘suspect’ pertussis, they just send path and wait for the results.
        Except for things like measles which is all hands on deck immediately.

        So unless it fits the case definition for “clinical evidence AND epidemiological evidence” which is:

        Clinical evidence
        1. A coughing illness lasting two or more weeks

        OR

        2. Paroxysms of coughing OR inspiratory whoop OR post-tussive vomiting.

        Epidemiological evidence
        An epidemiological link is established when there is:

        1. Contact between two people involving a plausible mode of transmission at a time when:

        a) one of them is likely to be infectious (from the catarrhal stage, approximately one week before, to three weeks after onset of cough)

        AND

        b) the other has an illness which starts within 6 to 20 days after this contact

        AND

        2. At least one case in the chain of epidemiologically linked cases (which may involve many cases) is a confirmed case with at least laboratory suggestive evidence.

        Then YES every reported case of pertussis has laboratory evidence

      • Hi Candice,

        There is no doubt that in an ideal system, this is how notifications SHOULD work, but in the real world, they don’t. We have had many parents report to us that they brought their kids to the doctor only to have them diagnosed with whooping cough based on clinical symptoms alone combined with their lack of vaccination. There was no testing done and the only ‘evidence’ that they had whooping cough was a cough and being unvaccinated. So though I respect the fact that you work within the system and know the way it is supposed to work, I have to tell you that there are many times when it falls far short of that ideal.

      • Candice says:

        I fail to see the issue Meryl?
        Just because the doctor ‘said’ they have whooping cough to the parent….I can say without doubt that case did not get notified and definitely not in the statistics.
        So actually that is ‘many’ parents of unvaccinated children who’s cases of pertussis didn’t get notified.
        Unless you can explain to me how that diagnosis made it into the statistics?

        If you can’t, will you at least accept that you are incorrect in your assumptions on the notification process?

        Notified = to the government- with lab evidence – with clinical evidence
        NOT Notified = ‘Doctor says i’ve got whooping cough’, without a test

        Only one ends up in NNDSS

      • Candice – the doctor reported this family’s case of ‘whooping cough’ to the public health unit and I can personally cite other instances where this has occurred. So the reporting is not accurate and vaccination status is used as a determinant in saying when a person has whooping cough and when they do not (and measles and rubella, etc…)

      • punter says:

        Yes Candice leaving out the denominator does make no sense. And getting the denominator wrong is just as problematic. The denominator is actually around 75 per cent for fully vaxed for age. Roughly the same as the percentage of vaxed cases of pertussis. You don’t understand epidemiology you see and neither do any of your friends. In order to know the rate of vaccinated you need to take a random survey (done by the ABS), not a stocktake at snapshots because many people delay their vaccines (for example the number of people fully vaxed at 2 is vastly higher than the number at 6 months and 1 day).

        Of course the notification data is massively biased in favour of the vaccine anyway but even at face value it shows that the vaccine is completely useless.

        Now I realise you won’t understand this – not a single skeptic Greg or I have explained it to has – but it is nonetheless true.

      • Candice says:

        Here is the calculations using the table Greg has:

        http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/3235.0~2006~Main+Features~Main+Features?OpenDocument

        0-4 year old population = 1.3million in June 2006
        Same population based is used across all examples for standardisation.
        The pertussis booster is given at 4 years of age.
        Notifications of ‘unknown’ vaccinated status are left out of the calculations.

        http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/cda-cdi3403c.htm

        Percentage of children in 2008 immunised at 5 years of age

        DTP fully immunised = 80.7% population pool, 80.7% of 1.3 million = 1,049,100
        Fully immunised notifications = 802 or 0.076% of the vaccinated population got pertussis

        Partially or unimmunised = 19.4% population pool, 19.4% of 1.3 million = 252,200
        Partially nor unimmunised notifications = 459 or 0.182% of the partial or unimmunised population got pertussis

        RR (relative risk) partially or unimmunised children aged 0-4 years were2.4 times as likely as immunised children to catch pertussis in 2008.

        http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/cda-cdi3502-pdf-cnt.htm/$FILE/cdi3502b.pdf

        Percentage of children immunised at 5 years of age in 2009

        DTP fully immunised = 83.4% population pool, 83.4% of 1.3 million = 1,084,200
        Fully immunised notifications = 2,550 or 0.235% of the vaccinated population got pertussis

        Partially or unimmunised = 16.6% population pool, 16.6% of 1.3 million = 215,800
        Partially nor unimmunised notifications = 995 or 0.461% of the partial or unimmunised population got pertussis

        RR (relative risk) partially or unimmunised children aged 0-4 years were2.0 times as likely as immunised children to catch pertussis in 2009.

        http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/cda-cdi3403-pdf-cnt.htm/$FILE/cdi3403t.pdf

        Percentage of children immunised at 5 years of age 2010

        DTP fully immunised = 90.2% population pool, 90.2% of 1.3 million = 1,172,600
        Fully immunised notifications = 1,944 or 0.166% of the vaccinated population got pertussis

        Partially or unimmunised = 9.8% population pool, 9.8% of 1.3 million = 127,400
        Partially nor unimmunised notifications = 1,086 or 0.852% of the partial or unimmunised population got pertussis

        RR (relative risk) partially or unimmunised children aged 0-4 years were 5.1 times as likely as immunised children to catch pertussis in 2010.

        Overall, as an average of the three years listed, the RR (relative risk) partially or unimmunised children aged 0-4 years were 3.2 times as likely as immunised children to catch pertussis.

        The data for percentage vaccinated comes from ACIR linked to medicare. When a vaccination is given it entered into ACIR. We don’t bother surveying people because they don’t always remember when and what they were given.

        The ‘snapshot’ at 5 years is what I used as it is the most accurate and allows for up to 12 months delay in immunisation. Bringing it to around the 80% mark for some of the years and approx 90% for another.

        Hope this clears up the fact I didn’t use the 2 year olds vaccination percentage. I have clearly showed where the numbers come from, this most certainly isn’t intellectual dishonesty.
        But if you want to do the *same* process with your calculations for risk ratio with the same transparency and show me how you come up with different numbers. Feel free. Since you are such an expert on epidemiology…Lets see the calculations.

      • Candice says:

        Punter, even if I entertain the idea that the vaccination rate is “75%” and blanket apply that to the calculations I’ve done above i.e. population pool is 75% vaccinated and 25% partial or unvaccinated, without change in this percentage the RR is still higher for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

        2008 = RR 1.7 times more likely to get pertussis if partial or unvaccinated.
        2009 = RR 1.2 times more likely to get pertussis if partial or unvaccinated.
        2010 = RR 1.7 times more likely to get pertussis if partial or unvaccinated.

        You can spin it any way you want a RR calculation is pretty simply done and you can’t ‘fiddle’ the numbers.
        Even when I drop the vaccination rate to where you believe it sits the RR is *still* showing unvaccinated or partially vaccinated are at higher risk.

      • Candice says:

        But if I take on what you are saying here:
        “What is the recorded vaccination status of two kids: one who doesn’t receive their 3rd vaccinated until 18 months of age and gets pertussis when they are 9 months old and another child who also doesn’t receive their 3rd vaccination until 18 months but doesn’t get pertussis?

        You see? They both have the exact same vaccination status profile but one will be recorded as having pertussis and not being fully vaxed, the other will be recorded as not having pertussis and being fully vaxed.”

        And make the assumption that every child in the partially immunised group, moves to the ‘fully vaccinated’ group by 5 years ~ re-run the numbers basically counting their notification for pertussis as ‘fully vaccinated’ and only those who are ‘ineligible’ or ‘not’ immunised as being ‘unimmunised’
        (hope you’re still with me)

        The average RR for 2008, 2009, and 2010 still works out to be 1.6.
        Still shows if you are unimmunised, you’re more at risk.

        So, yeah, I took on what you are saying, did the calculations and basically the fully and partially immunised are STILL less likely to get pertussis!

        Did you even bother to do these calculations?

      • punter says:

        “Punter, even if I entertain the idea that the vaccination rate is “75%” and blanket apply that to the calculations I’ve done above i.e. population pool is 75% vaccinated and 25% partial or unvaccinated, without change in this percentage the RR is still higher for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.”

        Actually, according to the ABS in 2001 (the only time this survey was done) it was actually 71.6 per cent http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4813.0.55.001. (Sorry, I should have said earlier that all of this is shamelessly plagiarised from Greg Beattie). I gave the 75 per cent because I figured that you wouldn’t be desperate enough to try and squeeze water from stone – more fool me. Of course it could be higher now, we don’t have the data. Nor have we checked against the distributions of ages for those who experienced pertussis to see whether there is a skew. Consequently only somebody extremely desperate would want to use this as anything other than an approximation. So carry on!

        “You can spin it any way you want a RR calculation is pretty simply done and you can’t ‘fiddle’ the numbers.”

        Can’t fiddle the numbers? The numbers are a joke and this has been explained to you many times but all you can do is tell us to stop whinging and just accept your conclusions based on nonsensical, bias data.

        Now, it just so happens that even the complete joke numbers show that the pertussis vaccine is useless. In the case of measles the complete joke numbers suggest that the vaccine is effective so if you want to push your barrow that we should all believe in absolute rubbish you are on much safer ground there. How on earth is a RR of 1.2 (or even 1.7) significant? Like I said – squeezing water from stone. Is the expense (not to mention side effects) of the pertussis component of the DTaP even worthwhile for such a tiny improvement?

        “And make the assumption that every child in the partially immunised group, moves to the ‘fully vaccinated’ group by 5 years – re-run the numbers basically counting their notification for pertussis as ‘fully vaccinated’ and only those who are ‘ineligible’ or ‘not’ immunised as being ‘unimmunised’
        (hope you’re still with me)”

        I’ll do my best. Thanks for going slowly.

        “The average RR for 2008, 2009, and 2010 still works out to be 1.6.
        Still shows if you are unimmunised, you’re more at risk.”

        Listen, whilst I have no concerns with that assumption (although one could argue that people who contract pertussis figure they have natural immunity anyway – but it doesn’t matter for this discussion) you just don’t have the data in sufficient detail to be making grandiose statements over small discrepancies. Hitherto, your friends had all been claiming a five to six fold protective benefit and using that to claim that the pertussis vaccine was effective. Now that is a significant benefit and even if there were small discrepancies in the data we could still be pretty happy with the vaccine with RRs like that. But it was based on a completely erroneous understanding of how to match notifications with the general community regarding vaccination status (ignoring the problems with the data itself). Now, it looks like you have finally realised their and your mistake but you still want to cling to the same conclusion. Your problem is that your RRs are so insignificant that you are reliant on accuracy in the data that just isn’t there.

        “So, yeah, I took on what you are saying, did the calculations and basically the fully and partially immunised are STILL less likely to get pertussis!”

        Yes. If we make a bunch of heroic assumptions about the skew in the pertussis notification age distributions, the accuracy of ABS surveys and completely ignore the fact that we have a mind-numbingly useless set of notification data we may be able to extract a tiny benefit in the vaccine. Hooray!!!

        “Did you even bother to do these calculations?”

        As a matter of fact I did:

        Stone + squeeze so hard I break my wrist = Enough water to fill my pet flea’s water bowl – just.

        By the way, I have very much enjoyed this discussion. So kudos to you for sticking with this.

    • Cass says:

      I love the questions at the end of this blog. Seriously, look up “push polling”. You talk about harrassment and abuse, but what about providing scientific facts? Is that ok or is that harrassment too?

      Yes, I vaccinated my child. Yes, I think you should vaccinate yours – and not just for my boy but for all those who can’t vaccinate for medical reasons or who are immune-compromised – like people with cancer or HIV – and therefore more likely to catch diseases even if they are vaccinated.

      Also, the “logic” that I shouldn’t fear your non-vaccinated child because mine is vaccinated is flawed. Vaccines aren’t a forcefield that provides 100% protection. Say a vaccine provides 95% protection. There’s still a one in twenty chance he could catch something he’s vaccinated against. It may be a milder case. But a milder case can still make him miserable for weeks, or land him in hospital.

      • Hi Cass – can you please share with me what statements have been made on this blog that you believe are not backed by scientific fact?

        And if there is still a chance that a fully vaccinated person can both spread and contract the disease they are vaccinated against (and the effectiveness of the whooping cough vaccine in the medical literature ranges from a low of 60% to a high of 80% meaning that as many as 1 in 3 who are vaccinated will not get any ‘protection’ from the disease – a lot more than 1 in 20), then what is the point of being afraid of the healthy unvaccinated?

        In a recent Canadian study, “They found the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) for parental immunization was at least one million to prevent ONE infant death; approximately 100,000 for ICU admission; and >10,000 for hospitalisation.” Not a glowing recommendation for the effectiveness of vaccination or the danger of disease.

        In addition, another recent study (Acellular pertussis vaccination enhances B. parapertussis colonisation, http://www.cidd.psu.edu/research/synopses/acellular-vaccine-enhancement-b.-parapertussis/?searchterm=parapertussis) found that when the acellular whooping cough vaccine was used (the one we currently use in Australia), there was a 40 TIMES increase in colonisation with b. parapertussis – a related bacteria that causes a disease which is clinically indistinguishable from b. pertussis – the bacteria that causes whooping cough. This could explain why we now have so many cases of whooping cough in Australia and other developed countries that use this vaccine and also why 84% of what we are told is whooping cough is caused by bacteria other than the b. pertussis found in the shot.

        So using logic, we have to wonder why you fear the unvaccinated when the vaccinated appear to be more likely to contract and spread the disease which – according to clinical symptoms – we call whooping cough? A disease which is apparently not only unable to be prevented through vaccination but one which may be more likely to occur BECAUSE of vaccination.

    • Jen says:

      Hi Bec, I have a question or two. Do you wish to keep your child/children and the rest of your family away from all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people? Or just away from other children who are unvaccinated? If the former, that would put your family into permanent isolation, seems to me.
      Also, how does “low-muscle tone” affect the body’s ability to fight off disease? Unless “low-muscle tone” is a symptom of an auto-immune condition? Thank you.

      • Bec says:

        Whooping cough needs you to be able to cough to clear your air way. In my child’s case, her low muscle tone leaves her with a very weak cough. That said, she has a rare syndrome that does compromise her immunity.
        As for the other part of your question, in a perfect world I would keep my family away from under-vaccinated people. More-so kids in schools/childcare etc because they have less understanding of hygiene and personal space. If you must have a community of people who wish to be without vaccination, fine, but make it a separate one. Then you can keep you outbreaks to yourselves. The idea of deliberately sharing chicken pox and measles with each other is not only a bit odd, it is actually quite scary when trying to protect an immuno-compromised child and I can’t be sure of who is and who isn’t playing such games at our school/childcare.

      • Bec, my question is – do you feel that your child is any less likely to come into contact with whooping cough if they are only surrounded by fully vaccinated children and if so, upon what are you basing this belief? All of the information available right now clearly states that fully vaccinated people can both contract and transmit the viruses and bacteria they have been vaccinated against so I’m wondering why you feel that your child will be protected by not coming into contact with healthy unvaccinated kids? Of course, all ill children should be kept home and separated until they are better – that goes for the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated – but I don’t see how a child’s vaccination status means that you will feel more comfortable having your child around them since they are not less likely (as far as I’ve been able to tell from the literature) to be infectious then an unvaccinated child. Also, a large percentage of those who are supposedly spreading whooping cough are fully-vaccinated adults so how do you plan on protecting your child from them?

    • Candice says:

      I’m not sure how to make this any clearer. As a surveillance officer that case is NOT in the statistics. It needs to meet the case definition to be a complete notification. In this case it Wpuld remain unsent from the state and kept as incomplete. I’m sure you can appreciate surveillance units are busy, they probably didn’t get a chance to demand the doctor send labs.
      But I can assure you there is no way, shape or form that case is in the data or a surveillance officer can ‘complete’ the case in the system without the lab results.
      I hope this is clear. It’s as clear as I can be on the process. It’s not as slap dash as you assume. There are checks and balances in place. Perhaps you should arrange a tour of your states disease surveillance unit if they let you (obviously t privacy issues). But with all due respect you are accusing disease surveillance officers of not following case definitions, doctors can call all they want, if it doesn’t meet the case definition, it doesn’t make it to NNDSS

      • Thanks Candice – I really appreciate your taking the time to explain that and I do have a better understanding now. Just one more question: is there a form of some kind that is used by (I’m assuming) the State Public Health Units to report cases of infectious diseases to the NNDSS? If so, do you have a link to where I can view one of these forms – if they are available online? Thanks!

      • Candice says:

        the notifications from the path labs and doctors are entered in to a database (in SA we use a program called NIDS) and once a ‘case’ is ‘complete’ (that is has met the case definition for that particular disease) it is an encrypted data transfer.
        The State disease surveillance keep the original notification from (from the doctor) AND the pathology report, by disease and case number assigned to the ‘case’ (or person).

        The data fields which are reported to NNDSS are:

        Jurisdiction–source of report
        Notification ID–unique identifier
        Disease code–code representing a communicable
        disease
        Organism code–code that identifies a specific
        organism and serogroup/subtype where applicable
        Organism name–a full text scientific name of the
        causative organism for the specified disease
        Serogroup/subtype–a full test name of the causative
        serogroup/subtype for the specified disease
        Confirmation status–whether a case is confirmed or
        probable according to the case definition
        Laboratory diagnosis method–one or more
        diagnostic methods used
        Vaccination status–vaccination status of the
        individual with the disease
        Vaccination validation–how was the vaccination
        information validated?
        Vaccine doses–the number of doses of relevant
        vaccine received by the individual at the time of
        disease onset
        Resident postcode–permanent residential postcode
        of the individual
        True onset date–the earliest estimated date of
        disease onset
        Specimen date–date when the first laboratory
        specimen was taken or when it was logged into their
        computer system
        Notification date–date when the health professional
        signed the notification form or the laboratory issued
        the results
        Notification received date–date when the
        notification was received by the communicable
        diseases section of the state or territory health
        authority
        Date of birth–the date of birth of the individual
        Age at onset–the age of the individual at the date of
        onset
        Sex–the current sex of the individual
        Indigenous status–a single character field indicating
        the Indigenous status of the individual (Aboriginal,
        Torres Strait Islander, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
        Islander or non-Indigenous).
        Died–did the patient die from the notifiable condition?
        Outbreak reference–a reference ID for a known
        disease outbreak that is or has been under
        investigation
        Case found by–how was the case identified?
        Imported from overseas–whether the disease was
        believed to been acquired in another country

        I’m sure you should appreciate by now this is not some slap dash process where a doctor or member of the public gets to submit anything to NNDSS past a qualified disease surveillance officer.
        Access to the data is very limited as you can imagine, there are significant privacy issues.

        Not something a state disease surveillance unit is going to send by form to NNDSS and yet another reason why I can assure you the cases you mentioned are definitely NOT counted in any notification data available to the public. Without a lab, they are ‘incomplete’ or ‘probable’.

    • punter says:

      Can I just ask Bec (with about as much chance of you replying sensibly as of you and Candice understanding why the pertussis vax rate isn’t 95 per cent) do you believe that other groups of people can contribute to the spread of disease (just like you believe non-vaxers do)? For example, do sick people who visit doctors’ offices contribute to the spread of disease? What about those who are promiscuous or IV drug users? Now if you think that such people do contribute to spreading disease – do you attack all these groups of people too? Do you go around thinking that those who visit doctors when they are sick are irresponsible and reckless?

      Or would I be right in assuming that the reason that you and every other one of the vaccine defenders take the stand that you do has got nothing whatsoever to do with the risk of spreading disease and everything to do with the fact that you can’t stand anybody questioning the hegemony.

      • Bloobeard says:

        Sick people who go to Doctor’s offices tend to spread themselves out as much as possible, at least in my experience. I’d always rather sit next to someone in a leg cast rather than someone blowing their nose. Where I am, people with respiratory illnesses wear face masks to the doctors’.
        I’d imagine that Bec, like myself, would probably try to keep her daughter away from IV drug users.
        As for the promiscuous, well, show me the evidence that they are more likely to have pertussis.

        What we have here is a straw man argument.

      • punter says:

        Yes that’s right bloobeard, I see patients in doctor’s offices all the time with face masks. And by all the time I mean not once in all my life. Not saying it doesn’t happen – but I doubt it is anything more than a few per cent. (Good luck to any parent that tries to get their child to wear a face mask all day!).

        As for spreading themselves out I guess you must not live in an area with crowded waiting rooms in hospitals or GPs and obviously in your area all 2 year olds just sit still for hours at a time when told to do so. I would ask where this magical utopia was but I dare say I couldn’t afford to live there.

        Can I give you a hint? If you are only going to provide an answer as ridiculous as this it is better not to provide one at all. Better yet, you can go with the time-honoured skeptic tactic of saying something offensive so Meryl won’t accept it and then go back to your comrades and declare that your brilliant counter-argument was censored because Meryl doesn’t like the facts.

        > As for the promiscuous, well, show me the evidence that they are more likely to have pertussis.<

        Well there are a lot more vaccines and diseases than just pertussis and I’m pretty sure the skeptics oppose the views of people like me on every single one. And there is no sensible evidence that unvaxed kids are more likely to have pertussis either but that doesn’t stop you guys getting in a blind panic does it? Nor is there any evidence that it is possible to spread pertussis full stop. Nor is there any coherence to the argument that a toxoid vaccine could possibly reduce the chance of the vaccinated spreading it to the rest of the population. Again, none of these examples of the complete lack of evidence or coherence in your argument matter to you with pertussis so why should it matter with the promiscuous?

        For the record I don’t think anybody spreads any disease to anybody – but the fact is that you guys all do and you get in a blind panic over it when it comes to the unvaxed but are completely blasé when it comes to other groups of people who also spread disease (according to your beliefs) but don’t question the medical paradigm. The simple fact is you hate those who don’t vaccinate because we are questioning a system that you hold to be sacred. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with a concern that disease will spread as a consequence. If it was you would share your vitriol around to many more groups than just us.

        You know that you can bully us with relative impunity and you like to bully people – so that is what you do. If you could bully other groups of people who questioned your cherished beliefs with the same impunity you would happily bully them too. You justify your actions with a bare-faced lie – but that is all it is.

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