WARNING: This is Part 2 of a multi-part response to yet another anti-vaccine crackpot, so proceed at your own risk.
When we left off at the end of Part 1, I had decided to skip down a bit on page 1 of Kelly's already-ridiculous 16 page "document" a bit. It had taken me hours to slog through just the first half of the first page that was supposed to educate and awaken me on the dangers of vaccines. By the end of part 1, I had learned a lot, but the vast majority was about the mindset of these antivaccine lunatics.
With that lovely and stimulating preface which is sure to make you want to read on, we're moving on.
The utterly preposterous "Vaccines didn't save us" bit from the ironically titled "Child Health Safety blog" predictably shows up. This has been roundly destroyed by Dr. David Gorski far better than I ever could, so I will leave that steaming pile of bullshit alone and refer you to Dr. Gorski for full details. The TL;DR version: it's total bullshit. There is then a link to a story about why Japan banned the MMR (due to increased reported side effects) and switched to separate vaccines. That sure sounds damning, right? What Kelly and her colleagues don't tell you (cherry picking, anyone?) is that even after Japan completely eliminated MMR in 1993, their rate of autism continued to rise just as fast as it was before. The only thing that tells me is that MMR doesn't cause autism. I wonder what Kelly and her friends think it means. We don't know, because they gloss over this little nugget.
Skipping down a bit more, there is a link to the ridiculously named "National Vaccine Information Center", which is, according to their mission statement, "dedicated to the prevention of vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and to defending the informed consent ethic in medicine". In reality, they are 100% antivaccine, and their president, Barbara Loe Fisher, is #131 in the Encyclopedia of American Loons. There is no other information on the link, just the link. So the reader is left to wonder the significance.
Next are multiple links to Age of Autism, followed by multiple links to Natural News (which incidentally has now become my go-to source for comedy). Natural News is a hive of pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and outright bullshit (but heck, they do have a store!) I can therefore skip these with aplomb and panache without any reservation whatsoever.
One of the next sources is a link to the Sierra Leone Times. Hm . . . curious. Upon clicking it, it refers to a Natural News article (ugh, of course) about the varicella vaccine being ineffective in South Korea. I had to search for the paper, and upon reading it I discovered that Kelly actually had a point - the 2014 study found that the chicken pox vaccine was only found to be 54% effective with a high breakthrough rate and little amelioration of disease. The authors' conclusion, however, was not "THIS VACCINE SUCKS!", but rather "This vaccine sucks and we need a better one". Indeed, looking at the statistics in other countries (for example in the US where a different and much more effective vaccine is used) reveals a startling difference:
this site in her sources, now did she. The fact is that vaccine wasn't great, but there are better ones available that are quite effective and very safe. Kelly doesn't want you to know this, however.
After more sanevax and healthimpactnews links (more head-crushing antivax comedy masquerading as information), I skipped forward to the next page where I was dismayed to find a bunch of Facebook links. Now last time I checked (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), Facebook is not exactly a bastion of peer-reviewed science. In fact, I'm not aware of any peer-reviewed science having been published on Facebook. I have no idea what Kelly thought Facebook posts were supposed to prove, so I skipped them without a second thought. If there is any useful information in any of the links, I have to assume it will be contained in the rest of Kelly's expansive document.
There's also a link to a story about an outbreak of mumps where 8 university students were infected despite being fully vaccinated. However, again what Kelly's friends don't tell you is that the mumps portion of MMR is 88% effective (less than both the rubella and measles portion), and the infection is typically milder among those vaccinated compared to the disease that unvaccinated people get. And let's again remind ourselves of the protection rate of not being vaccinated: That's right, 0%. And since most people are vaccinated, it is likely that a majority of the patients in any outbreak will be vaccinated. That's just simple statistics, folks.
You'll now have to pardon me as I slogged through (read: skipped) more Facebook links, YouTube videos, Huffington Post posts, Natural News bullshit, Vaxtruth balderdash, Vaccine Impact poppycock, No Vaccine hooey, and Health Impact News codswallop. Bullshit bullshit bullshit, more bullshit, and AAAH, here we go. A Pubmed article. Finally! Now we have some literature. Ok let's see . . . it's uh, wait, an article from 1950 about the similarity of the mousepox virus to the cowpox virus, and variola to vaccinia? I don't, uh, yeah, um . . . hm.
There's also a horrible piece of hypothetical pseudoscience from Theresa Deisher who holds a PhD in Molecular Cellular Physiology and should be capable of some good science, but nay. She purports that foetal DNA fragments in vaccines may combine with our DNA and do bad things. My oh my. I can't even begin to touch on this as well as Dr. Gorski did here. This is nothing but fear mongering. Know what else contains DNA? MEAT AND VEGETABLES. Ever heard of mutant chicken-people laying eggs and pecking people's eyes out? (Listen up, Hollywood - that's a great fucking idea for a movie. Call me.) The likelihood of tiny bits of foreign DNA recombining with ours is thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to 0, and the likelihood of that tiny bit of DNA being useful AND recombining with native DNA in a way that would be functional is approximately the likelihood of James Cameron making my Chicken People movie AND me winning the lottery every week for the next 1.93 million years.
As I scrolled down to page 3 (yes, after all that we're still only on page 3 out of 16), a very prominent name nearly popped off the page: Johns Hopkins. And it's actually a link to a story the Hopkins website! Huzzah! Something credible! But alas, it's a study about brain inflammation in autism, which is one of antivaxxers' latest obsessions, it seems. The hypothesis seems to go a little like this: autistic brains have more inflammation, and vaccines induce the immune system, and yada yada yada AUTISM! But Kelly and her friends missed one little detail: THE VERY FIRST LINE: "While many different combinations of genetic traits can cause autism . . . ". But no, they ignore that little tidbit to make the giant leap to a false conclusion. I have no problem with the hypothesis that microglial cells are activated in brains of autistic people, but there is no evidence that vaccines induce this.
Right after Hopkins was another name I recognised: CHOP (Children's Hospital Philadelphia). The link goes to the aluminum information page. Aluminum is another favourite target of antivaxxers because they don't understand it. At least, that's the only reason I can think of. Anyway, CHOP very clearly details how much aluminum is in each vaccine dose versus how much is ingested in the diet (about 26 times as much in the diet if a baby is fed soy-based formula), though I will acknowledge that proportionally more aluminum is taken up and enters the circulation when it is injected than when it is ingested. No, it is NOT injected directly into the bloodstream. Dr. Paul Offitt explains this very nicely in a video ON THAT PAGE. This seems to be another self-destructive link for Kelly (though her ilk are not very big fans of Dr. Offitt).
Towards the bottom of page 3 (YES, STILL ONLY PAGE 3) there is an article from the journal Vaccine (which also published the excellent Taylor meta-analysis) entitled "Annual influenza vaccination affects the development of heterosubtypic immunity". Hm, good title, good article - this should be good! It states that getting a flu vaccine (ie against the H3N2 subtype) may inhibit immunity against other subtypes of the flu virus (ie H5N1) and which "highlight(s) the importance of the development of vaccines that provide protection against influenza A viruses of all subtypes". The underlying message of the article is that the flu vaccine is probably the least effective vaccine we have, so we need to a better one. Kelly's annotation here says "(of course the answer is MORE and BETTER vaccines)" Well no Kelly, not necessarily more, just better. But isn't that what we should want? Better vaccines? It doesn't say it's unsafe, it doesn't say it has massive severe side effects, just that it isn't that protective. So I don't remotely understand the controversy here.
Moving on to page 4.
The first article discusses how maternal antibodies from mothers vaccinated with MMR protect newborns from measles, mumps, and rubella for 3.3, 2.7, and 3.9 months respectively, and 3.4 months for varicella. Babies of unvaccinated mothers had about 2 months additional protection. However, MMR and varicella vaccines are not recommended until 12 months, meaning that ALL children are unprotected for at least 6 months, relying instead on herd immunity to protect them. Even Kelly must admit that lower vaccination rates would lead to higher infection rates, especially in highly susceptible infants, and even Kelly must admit that's bad, right? RIGHT?
The next citation is a review of the chicken pox vaccination program in the US, published in the Vaccine journal in 2013. While they state the program is effective (with chicken pox reports dropping 72% from 1995 to 2000), it was not found to be cost effective due to increased morbidity. The authors also state that the vaccine doesn't offer long-term protection. This is no surprise to anyone who understands how these vaccines are supposed to work. They certainly weren't a surprise to Marin et al who conducted a meta-analysis of varicella vaccine effectiveness (published in March 2016). They found an overall effectiveness of one dose of the vaccine was 81% and a 98% effectiveness against moderate/severe varicella. In other words, one dose of the vaccine is pretty damned good at preventing chicken pox, but REALLY DAMNED GOOD at preventing severe chicken pox (a booster has now been recommended). Is it cost effective? Perhaps not, but that shouldn't matter nearly as much. It should be expected that preventing disease will not be free.
Next up we have an article from the CDC. Now I'd just like to point out that to many antivaxxers, the CDC is a completely evil, vile, and thoroughly fraudulent organisation that must not be trusted for any reason. Unless the CDC reports something potentially bad about vaccines, because then whatever the CDC says is gospel. Anyway, this article details how the pertussis vaccine may select for Bordetella pertussis bacteria which carry a particularly nasty promoter which makes them more virulent. Note that this article does not say the vaccine doesn't work (though the acellular version is well-known to be less effective than the whole cell version), nor does it say that the vaccine is dangerous. Is this nasty strain of B. pertussis a good thing? Of course not. But using an article like this in an attempt to invalidate vaccination is ridiculous. Articles like these are useful for researchers to learn about how these bugs work so they can stop them.
The next article is a bit of hand-waving and cherry picking about Haemophilus influenzae, a bacteria which can cause numerous infections, notably meningitis. The vaccine protects against H flu type b, not a. During the 1-year period after Hib vaccination started, Hib meningitis dropped by 69% (HUZZAH!) but H flu type a meningitis increased by a whopping 800%. Now before you go all crazy let's look at the actual numbers. The incidence of Hib meningitis was 2.62/100,000 person-years before vaccination and 0.81 after. The incidence of H flu type a meningitis was 0.02/100,000 person years, or 131 times lower than Hib, and it went up to 0.16, which is still 5 times lower than the incidence of Hib after vaccination. Want some proof of cherry picking? Kelly uses these two quotes directly from the article's abstract: "Hib immunization contributed to an increased risk for H. influenzae type a meningitis through selection of circulating H. influenzae type a clones" and "the incidence for H. influenzae type A meningitis increased 8-fold". But the VERY NEXT SENTENCE in the abstract is this: "The risk attributable to serotype replacement is small in comparison to the large reduction in Hib meningitis due to immunization." In other words, the vaccine led to an increase in a very unusual subtype, but that increase was FAR less than the DECREASE in the more common type.
Cherry picked indeed.
And there was yet more cherry picking ahead.
Next up is an article showing that the rotavirus vaccine effectiveness in Nicaragua was only 58% due to vaccine-type virus genes recombining with wild-type viruses. But not only did Kelly fail to mention the very first line of the abstract (where it happens to mention an effectiveness rate of 90% in developed countries), she also conveniently forgot about (or doesn't know about) a study from Finland entitled "No evidence for selection pressure by universal mass vaccination with RotaTeq® vaccine." A similar study from Brazil found the same thing, and a systematic review from South Korea found it to be safe, effective, and cost-effective.
We're still not even 25% through Kelly's list, and I'm fucking exhausted. I can't imagine how the three of you who got this far actually feel.
I think I'll pause there, because this long stupid article is too long, too stupid, and too something-else-I-can't-think-of-right-now. There will be more in part 3, and I'll probably end it all there.
The article, that is. Not me. I'm not committing suicide over this bullshit.