If you've landed on this page, one of three things has happened:
- You've been a loyal reader, got an email notification about this post, and you clicked it.
- You searched the internet for "docbastard vaccines" for some stupid reason, or
- I or (hopefully) someone else referred you here from Twitter because you made some bullshit argument about vaccines.
If it's #3, there is at least a 99.21% chance (I calculated it) that you haven't even read this far. But in case you have, please immediately refer to the number I listed so you can quickly find out why you're
wrong here wrong.
If that last sentence doesn't make sense, just read on. Everyone else knows it will all come together by the end.
If that last sentence doesn't make sense, just read on. Everyone else knows it will all come together by the end.
My Twitter life has devolved into arguing about pseudoscience, and that has devolved even further into mainly arguing about vaccines. I have officially gotten sick and fucking tired of answering the same stupid points repeatedly, so I have decided to make this handy dandy little (not-so-little) compendium of Answers To Stupid Antivax Talking Points. These are the same tired old arguments I have heard over and over and fucking over again, and that I have refuted over and over and fucking over again. So instead of repeating myself, I can just point people here and thus assure myself that no one will ever read this ever in the future history of ever.
I'm going to place a handy little (and now-alphabetised) table right about here with all the arguments I'll be
And with that out of the way, let's get started.
1) If you want to pump your kid full of massive amounts of toxins . . .Stop right there. This is almost universally the first argument I see, almost like it's the antivaxxer fight song. This is what antivaxxers seem to think vaccines look like:
See the terrified crying child? The big syringes full of a large amount of scary yellow stuff that looks like apple juice? Multiple injections at one time? I could call this a lot of things - fear mongering, scare tactics, hyperbole. But a far more accurate term would be BULLSHIT. Here is what an actual vaccine injection looks like:
Calm baby, tiny needle (which you can't even see because it's so small), tiny amount of clear fluid. The actual volume of a vaccine is 0.5 ml. That's 10 drops. TEN FUCKING DROPS. So don't talk about pumping massive amounts of anything. There is no pumping, no massive, and no toxins.
2). . . toxins like mercurySigh . . . "toxins". There is no elemental mercury in any vaccine, nor has there ever been. What you are referring to is thimerosal, which is approximately 50% ethylmercury. And while the word "ethylmercury" has the word "mercury" in it, that does not make it either mercury or poison. Think of it this way: the word "chair" has "hair" in it. That doesn't mean it's made of hair.
Ok, that is admittedly a terrible analogy. How about this: sodium is a metal which explodes when exposed to water, and chloride gas is highly poisonous. But when you (well, not you exactly) combine the two into a compound, it produces ordinary table salt (which can still be toxic, but that's a subject for another time). This is basic chemistry. Basic. Heh. Yes, that was a chemistry joke.
Anyway, ethylmercury is not the mercury found in thermometers. It is also not the dangerous mercury compound found in fish. That would be methylmercury, and though it is only one letter different than ethylmercury, it is an entirely different compound with entirely different metabolism and effect on human physiology (just like ethanol, which is the alcohol found in your wine, and methanol, which will kill you if you drink it). Studies have found that ethylmercury is readily metabolised and excreted so does not increase blood mercury levels, while methymercury lingers for much longer and is much more toxic.
This all ignores the fact that ethylmercury was removed from all childhood vaccines in 2001. I will address this point further later.
3) . . . and aluminum . . .Aluminum salts have been used as adjuvants in vaccines for decades. Adjuvants increase the immune response, increasing the chance that a vaccine will grant immunity. The exact mechanism by which it does this is still not clear, but what is clear is that aluminum salts have been extensively studied and found to be safe. This is an excellent review article which documents the excellent safety profile and the minimal risks (including macrophagic myofasciitis) of using aluminum salt adjuvants. Yes, they have risks. But they are very small.
4) . . . and polysorbate 80 . . .Polysorbate 80 is a surfactant and emulsifier used in innumerable foods, cosmetics, eye drops, mouth wash, etc. It is also used in some vaccines as a stabiliser, but in such tiny amounts as to be negligible to human physiology.
Let's do a comparison, shall we? The HPV vaccine contains 50 microgram of polysorbate 80, while a small scoop of ice cream contains about 170,000 micrograms, or 3400 times as much polysorbate 80. (reference) It has also been studied in infants given vaccines with and without polysorbate 80, and it has been found to be safe.
5) . . . aborted foetal tissue . . .This one usually makes me laugh. Antivaxxers make it sound like aborted babies are ground up and placed in a vaccine vial along with other assorted toxins. But no babies are aborted to manufacture vaccines. A few vaccines are grown on cell lines derived from a foetus that was aborted years ago, because viruses grow better on the type of cells that they normally infect. The vaccine is then washed, eliminating all but a trace of the growth medium. So no, there are no dead babies in any vaccine, and no new babies are aborted to make vaccines.
6) . . . formaldehyde . . .If you have used this stupid argument, then you have displayed your ignorance of human physiology. Formaldehyde sounds scary - "THAT'S WHAT THEY PRESERVE CORPSES WITH!" - but it is actually a very normal part of human metabolism. As you sit there steaming at me, your cells are creating way more formaldehyde than could be found in any vaccine. In fact, in the 30 or so seconds it took you to read this paragraph thus far, your liver has metabolised about 11 mg of formaldehyde, which is over 10 times as much as an infant could ever receive from even multiple vaccines (0.7 mg). In the time it took you to read that last sentence, an infant would have already metabolised all the formaldehyde from their vaccines twice. If your infant read that last sentence, however, then Mensa would probably like to have a word with you. And her.
7) . . . cancer virus.Oh, you made the SV40 argument. Yes, many thousands of people unknowingly received a polio vaccine that was tainted (or contaminated, if you'd prefer) with SV40. And that is truly unfortunate. However, SV40 was not discovered until 1960, whereas the polio vaccine was first produced in 1955. It was simply not known. But once it was discovered, it was removed from the polio vaccine (obviously). Still, by the time it was removed in 1963 about 90% of children had received a polio vaccine contaminated with the virus, which causes tumours in animals. Of course the fear was that it would cause cancer in humans, and it is true that SV40 has been found in various human cancer cells. However, it has been extensively studied, and while the virus has been found in human cancers, a review of the evidence has shown that SV40 does not cause cancer in humans. It has been studied for over 50 years, and no association has been found. It also hasn't been in any vaccine since 1963, so there is no cancer in any vaccine.
8) Vaccines cause autism!I knew you would get here. The short version is "NO THEY FUCKING DON'T", but that won't satisfy you. Actually, nothing will satisfy you but I'm going to continue anyway. Vaccines have been studied extensively for their possible role in causing autism. There are exactly ZERO large studies that show any association between vaccines and autism, and while I'm thinking about it there are exactly ZERO small studies which show it. Wakefield's original 1998 bullshit fraud was only 12 patients, if you didn't know.
On the other hand, there are multiple studies of tens or hundreds of thousands of children from various countries around the planet (so you can shove your "But the CDC is corrupt!" conspiracy theory up your ass), each of which show no association between vaccines and autism. Here are a few of them:
1) Danish study of MMR and 537,000 children - no link
2) Finnish study of MMR and 535,000 children - no link
3) US study of MMR and 95,000 children - no link
4) UK study of thimerosal and DPT/DT and 109,000 children - no link
5) Danish study of thimerosal-containing vaccines and 467,000 children - no link
6) US study of thimerosal-containing vaccines and 124,000 children - no link
7) Danish study of MMR and 657,000 children (including high risk children) - no link
That last one was just published March 4, 2019 and represents probably the largest, most comprehensive study which shows absolutely no link between MMR and autism. They even looked at children who had siblings with autism and other risk factors that would make them high risk for autism, but they still found no link. The conclusion speaks for itself (emphasis mine):
Conclusion: The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination. It adds to previous studies through significant additional statistical power and by addressing hypotheses of susceptible subgroups and clustering of cases.Oh . . . I suppose I accidentally emphasised the entire conclusion completely on purpose. That's because it should be fucking obvious by now. That's 7 huge studies and over 2.5 million children vs your anecdote or Wakefield's bullshit. So stop already.
Just fucking stop.
9) But only MMR has been studied!I will refer you back to response 8 above. You can clearly see three studies (4, 5, and 6) which looked at children who received thimerosal-containing vaccines. Antivaxxers seem to think that every vaccine ever produced has several tonnes of thimerosal in it, but in reality MMR never contained thimerosal. Not "but trace amounts", not "but it was removed" - never. NONE. So yes, other vaccines have most definitely been studied, and they all show the same thing - that those other vaccines also do not cause autism.
10) But MTHFR!I've asked every antivaxxer who has mentioned this to tell me in their own words what MTHFR is and how it relates to vaccination without looking it up, but not a single person has other than to call it a mutation. Strange. MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It is a gene on chromosome 1 which encodes an enzyme that catalyses 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (which has to do with homocystine metabolism and is some pretty goddamned fancy science). There are many polymorphisms (ie variations) of the genes, and some are incredibly common (for example, 10% of the North American population has 2 copies of a specific polymorphism). Preliminary research shows it may increase the risk of schizophrenia or dementia, but no research shows the gene has anything to do with any vaccine side effect. MTHFR is a polymorphism, not a mutation. Those two words are not synonymous.
I know you think citing MTHFR makes you look smart, but it has the exact opposite effect. If you didn't understand the above paragraph but still think MTHFR is a mutation which causes autism, it isn't and it doesn't.
11) But Hannah Poling!Hannah Poling had a very rare mitochondrial disorder, so rare that its exact incidence is unknown. She received her normal series of vaccines at 19 months old (DTaP, MMR, HiB, varicella, polio), and two days later was lethargic with a rash. She was diagnosed with vaccine-derived varicella, and several months later continued to have delays in her neurological development. Ultimately she was diagnosed with encephalopathy, followed by language, behaviour, and communication problems. Though mitochondrial disorders can appear quite similar to autism, her parents (including her father, who is a neurologist) took her case to the Vaccine Court and won.
HA! SLAM DUNK! VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM! RIGHT?
Well, no. Dr. Paul Offit has reviewed this case in very specific detail here, but I'll give a short summary nevertheless since I can't expect anyone to click on a link and read something: Infections are known to exacerbate encephalopathy but vaccines are not. And children with mitochondrial disorders are at a higher risk of infections, which can exacerbate encephalopathy (didn't I just say that)?
So did vaccines cause Hannah's autism? No.
12) But Dr. Andrew Zimmerman said vaccines cause autism!This is a rather recent antivax talking point. Andrew Zimmerman is a paediatric neurologist who co-authored a case report in 2006 which documented a child with a mitochondrial disorder who developed autism after being vaccinated (sound familiar?). While this is being translated by antivaxxers as "SEE? VACCINES CAN CAUSE AUTISM!", these people are merely cherry picking and completely missed Dr. Zimmerman's full statement: "There may be a subset of children who are at risk of regression if they have underlying mitochondrial dysfunction and are simultaneously exposed to factors that stress their mitochrondrial reserve (which is critical for developing the brain). Such factors might include infections, as well as metabolic and immune factors, and vaccines".
In other words, children with these extremely rare disorders may be predisposed to developing autism or autism-like symptoms if they are exposed to some environmental trigger. Vaccines may be one of them, but there are many others as well. Keep in mind that children are exposed to thousands of antigens every single day of their lives. Unless they are kept in a sterile bubble, the risk with these children is way higher with infectious diseases compared to vaccines.
13) Dr. Wakefield was exonerated!First of all, it's Mister Wakefield. He lost his licence to practice medicine and thus should not be called "Doctor". Second, no he wasn't. Charges against one of his co-authors, who has stated both his continued support of MMR and that their paper did not establish any link between MMR and autism, were dropped on appeal. Mr. Wakefield, on the other hand, lost his license due to his elaborately fraudulent paper which involved paying children at his kid's birthday party £5 for blood samples, without permission from an ethics committee. Oh what's the matter, you didn't know that little detail? Shame. I suspect you also didn't know that Wakefield was trying to patent his own single measles vaccine by tarnishing MMR. What, you didn't know that either? Well now you do. Your hero is an unethical asshole.
Wakefield was not exonerated. He never won any appeal and he did not get his licence back. He now spends his time in the US making bullshit antivax movies and talking antivax bullshit to impressionable immigrants and causing outbreaks of measles. In short, Andrew Wakefield is an asshole and a menace to society.
14) CDC whistleblower!Speaking of elaborate, this one is merely an elaborate conspiracy. It involves a team of CDC researchers, including William Thompson, supposedly throwing data in the garbage can (literally) which purportedly showed that black children were more than three times more likely to develop autism as a result of vaccines. This was supposedly found after a non-scientist named Brian Hooker re-evaluated the data.
Well there are a few problems with this: first, who keeps paper data anymore? Data is all digital and backed up repeatedly in multiple locations. If they didn't then they are shoddy researchers who should not be trusted with anything. Anyway, I literally laughed out loud when I read the part about throwing data in the bin. Second, William Thompson is still employed by CDC. Anyone ever heard of a whistleblower still being employed by the company (or agency) against whom they blew a whistle? Third, the re-evaluation by Hooker was completely incorrectly done, using the wrong statistical analysis to evaluate the data. And fourth, even if the re-evaluation were true (it isn't - read here), it only shows an increase in risk in one demographic (black males). It did not show any increased risk in white boys or girls. This would mean that vaccines STILL do not cause autism in every other demographic.
15) Why is my unvaccinated kid such a threat to your vaccinated kid if vaccines work?This argument is so stupid that I'm surprised anyone still uses it. First, no vaccine is 100% effective. The closest is measles, which is 97% effective after two doses. Second, not all children can be vaccinated. Third, some children are too young to be vaccinated. Are you telling me that you don't give a fuck about an infant suffering from a disease she's too young to be vaccinated against? What kind of monster are you? Actually I'll just let this handy graphic explain the rest:
16) These are all just harmless childhood diseases.What kind of "harmless disease" continues to kill over 100,000 children every year? There has only been one year on record that measles has killed fewer than 100,000 children (2016). Does this still sound harmless? Between 2000 and 2017, global measles vaccination increased from 72 to 85%, while during the same period measles rates decreased 83% and measles deaths fell 80%. Let me repeat - measles deaths fell 80%. And before you even say "But not in my country!", well fuck you. Fuck you for not caring about children dying in other countries just because they don't live near you and look like you. Fuck you.
Regardless, that's just for measles (which seems to have become the poster child for "harmless" vaccine preventable diseases), because this stupid argument also completely ignores all the other various deadly and/or debilitating diseases for which vaccines exist (hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza, meningitis, polio, etc). Even chicken pox. Yes, chicken pox, which used to kill about hundred kids in the United States alone each year before the vaccine. Is 100 dead children enough for you? And after the vaccine was introduced, this happened:
Is that clear to you yet? And I swear to fucking god, if you try to say "But the Brady Bunch . . ." I will somehow find you and slap the shit out of you. The Brady Bunch was a fucking sitcom, produced to make people laugh. It was not a documentary on the supposed (but nonexistent) benign nature of infectious diseases. Did you expect them to show the graveyards of children killed by disease? I don't think the ratings would have been very high if they showed this:
which shows two young cousins age 4 and 7 who died within 2 days of each other from diphtheria. Which is preventable with a vaccine.
which shows two brothers and a sister, ages 7, 10, and 11, who all died within about two weeks of each other of diphtheria. Which is preventable with a fucking vaccine.
There are graveyards filled with the corpses of children who died of vaccine-preventable diseases. So fuck you for not caring about them.
17) But there are too many vaccines on the schedule. 72 doses!You probably sent this graphic or a similar one:
This is supposed to scare people into thinking "HOLY HELL! LOOK AT ALL THOSE SHOTS!" But look closer - in 1960, there were only three shots which prevented 5 diseases (polio, smallpox, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). By 1983 this had been expanded to include 3 more diseases (measles, mumps, and rubella), and studies had shown that efficacy was much better for several vaccines when boosters were given. By 2016 we were now able to protect children from flu, rotavirus, chicken pox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenza, pneumococcus, and meningitis. And you think this is a bad thing? Preventing debilitating and/or deadly diseases is somehow wrong to you? Yes we give children many more shots now, but only because we don't want them to suffer or die the way so many others did.
I had chicken pox as a child because there was no vaccine for it at the time. I remember it vividly because it was unquestionably the worst week of my life. I wouldn't wish chicken pox on my worst enemy (not even you, antivaxxer), so it's fortunate we now have a vaccine for it.
How much do you have to hate children to want them to suffer from these diseases? I watched my sister almost die from H flu meningitis when she was a toddler (also no vaccine at the time). She survived and recovered fully, but the kid in the adjacent room was not so lucky. He's in the fucking ground now, from a disease we can prevent.
18) Well then there are too many vaccines too soon.Are there? According to whom, you? There is no evidence to support such a statement. You have been led to believe that children's immune systems are not developed enough to be able to handle the antigens in a vaccine, but somehow you believe they can handle all the other thousands or millions of antigens they deal with every day? Have you ever seen a baby? You know infants put everything right in their mouths, right? That teething ring your little angel just put back in her mouth was sitting on the floor that you walk on. Did you sterilise your shoes this morning? Did you even realise you stepped in dog shit? No? Well your child's immune system can handle that, so it can handle a few antigens in a few vaccines, even at the same time.
Oh and before you claim that I don't have any evidence, yes I do. Here it is. Enjoy: On-time vaccine receipt in the first year does not adversely affect neuropsychological outcomes.
19) But the vaccine schedule has never been tested.
Yes it has. The fact that you don't know it has is your failing, not anyone else's. Here is one such piece of evidence. And here is a study of macaques who were given the full infant vaccine schedule and observed for 5 years (keep in mind that autism generally manifests around 2 years old), and there were no neurodevelopmental problems. The best part of this study was that it was funded by antivaxxers who were expecting to find problems, but they didn't. This study proved them, and you, wrong.
20) But the vaccine court has paid out billions. This proves vaccine injury is real and vaccines are dangerous.No, it proves that vaccines are not 100% safe, which is fully acknowledged by anyone who knows anything about vaccines. The only people who say anything about vaccines being 100% safe or 100% effective are antivaxxers, but always in the context of "But pro-vaxxers say vaccines are 100% safe and effective!" which is not remotely true. We do not say that. You say that. (More on that later)
Regardless, let's actually look at the numbers from the vaccine court, shall we? According to the latest statistics (July, 2018) between 2006 and 2016 a total of 3,153,876,236 doses of vaccines were distributed in the US. Over that same time period, there were 3727 compensable claims in the vaccine court amounting to $1.74 billion (the $3.5 billion number being bandied about is the total amount give by the court since the inception of the vaccine court in 1989).
$1.74 billion! HA! You lose!
You didn't let me finish. Let's do some fun math here - 3727 claims divided by 3,153,876,236 doses of vaccines amounts to 0.000118%, which is just over 1 compensable claim per million doses. Hm, one per million sounds vaguely familiar. Anyway, the amount the vaccine court has awarded seems huge, but it is far less important than the actual number of cases, and the number of cases is far less important than the proportion of compensable cases compared to doses given.
I'll repeat - one per million.
As for the claim that vaccine manufacturers are immune from being sued, no they aren't. While it is true in the US that you go through the vaccine court first, it is still possible for the manufacturers to be sued. And this is of course ignoring the fact that the vaccine court (and NCVIP) only applies in one country on the planet.
21) But only 10% of vaccine reactions are even reported! The real number is much higher!I'm not sure where that estimate came from, but you sure do like to repeat it. Regardless, of course most adverse events aren't reported, because most vaccine reactions are mild and self-limiting (injection site pain, swelling, and redness). My arm was a bit sore after my last flu shot. Technically that is a "vaccine reaction", but did I report it? No. The serious ones get reported.
22) It's my child, so it's my choice.Well that's a rather stupid thing to say. Of course it's your choice, and no one is saying it isn't (except the truly hardcore vaccine proponents, who may overstate things about child protective services and all that bullshit). But what if you choose to beat your child with a plank of wood? Is that your choice?
Yes, how you raise your child is your choice. No one is trying to take your choices away from you. If you want to feed your kid nothing but organic, free range, sugar-free, gluten-free, GMO-free kale, that's your prerogative. You'll probably end up with a malnourished (and picky) (and very angry) kid, but that's completely up to you. And sure, not vaccinating your child is also your choice. No one is going to force you to take your kid to the doctor for her shots no matter what antivax (or pro-vax) fear mongers want you to believe, and no one is going to snatch them away and do it without your knowledge or consent. But if you are making that choice based on misinformation and fear, then you are making the wrong choice.
23) Compulsory vaccines are wrong.I suppose that depends on your definition of "wrong". If you mean it violates your civil rights or civil liberties or personal medical liberty or whichever other buzz phrase you choose to use, well no it doesn't.
Yes it does!
No it doesn't. If you still think it does, then you happen to disagree with the United States Supreme Court which ruled against you in Jacobson v Massachusetts.
But that was only one ruling!
Then you must not know about Zucht v. King, in which the Supreme Court ruled that schools may refuse admission to children who are not vaccinated.
There are currently mandatory vaccination laws in Argentina, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Latvia, Pakistan. Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine (no, the US and Canada have no federal law mandating vaccines, though all 50 states and 3 provinces require children to be vaccinated prior to starting school).
It is legal and it is constitutional. You just don't like it. That makes it neither wrong nor illegal.
24) Unvaccinated children are healthier.HAHAHAHAHAHA no seriously you actually said this? Really? Extra points off if you cited the retracted-then-published-in-a-predatory-journal Mawson questionnaire (not study) from Journal of Translational Science or the German homeopath Bachmair questionnaire (not study). Fortunately there are actual studies that look at the health of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children, such as these:
Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents
Early-life determinants of asthma from birth to age 20 years: A German birth cohort study
The effect of vaccination on children's physical and cognitive development in the Philippines
Vaccinated versus unvaccinated children: how they fare in first five years of life.
High Intensive Care Unit Admission Rate for 2013–2014 Influenza Is Associated with a Low Rate of Vaccination
Guess what they show? I'll give you two guesses.
Did you guess "Unvaccinated children are NOT healthier but contract vaccine-preventable diseases at a MUCH higher rate than vaccinated children?"
No? Then you're fucking wrong. Because that's what they all say.
25) But there is no true study of unvaccinated vs vaccinated children!True, because that would be unethical.
Because the study you're looking for would purposefully withhold vaccines from 50% of the study participants (you know, those vulnerable children you think you're trying to protect). A "true" vaccinated-unvaccinated study would observe tens or hundreds of thousands of children from birth through adulthood, with only half of them getting vaccinated, leaving the other half vulnerable, though no one would know which half was which. While I'm sure some of you True Believers would recklessly volunteer your child to be in the unvaccinated arm of such a study, that's not the way these double-blind studies work. First, there would be a 50% chance that anyone else's child would be in the unvaccinated arm, leaving them vulnerable to various diseases, and no reasonable parent would consent to such a study. Plus, there would be a 50% chance your precious snowflake would be in the vaccinated arm. You ok with that?
Regardless, no researcher with any sense of ethics would allow such a study to be done, knowing that so many children are being left unprotected from so many preventable diseases, and no institutional review board would allow such a study to be proposed, let alone done.
26) According to VAERS . . .I'm not going to let you finish that argument, because if you are using the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System in your antivax argument, I have calculated a 99.9923% chance that you have no fucking idea what VAERS is or how it works. Anyone can report any adverse reaction in VAERS. I'll repeat - anyone can report any adverse reaction in VAERS. There are several children who have died in car accidents in VAERS:
27) But vaccines are not 100% effective.Well no, no they aren't. Has anyone ever claimed they are? If so, he was lying. Seat belts aren't 100% effective either, but you should still fucking wear one. And before you say, "Well vaccines don't work that well anyway!", let's just see how well they do work:
Incidence of tetanus: decreased by 96%
Incidence of pertussis: decreased by 86%
Incidence of measles: decreased by over 99%Incidence of hepatitis B: decreased by 87%
Incidence of diphtheria: decreased by 100%
Not effective? Really? How much more effective can you possibly get?
28) But vaccines are not 100% safe.
Nothing is 100% safe. When discussing severe side effects, vaccines are approximately 99.9999% safe (1 severe adverse event per 1 million doses). If I told you that the severe complication rate from a "routine" surgery was 1/1000, would you run away screaming? Probably not, but that is the true number for "routine" gall bladder surgery, and it is literally one thousand times higher than the risk from any vaccine. And while many severe surgical complications result in death or permanent disability, the overwhelming majority of patients with severe adverse reactions from vaccines recover completely.
29) The flu vaccine is worthless.
I will agree that the flu vaccine is the least effective vaccine available, and the efficacy varies from year to year depending on how close the vaccines approximate the prevalent infecting strains. As opposed to the ones above, the average efficacy is around 45%, which at first admittedly sounds pretty terrible. But look at it this way - 45% is literally infinity times higher than 0%, which is exactly how effective not getting a flu shot is.
30) But the flu shot causes Guillain–Barré syndrome.
GBS is a known complication of the flu shot - an extremely rare one. The relative risk of GBS after any flu shot is 1.41 (1.84 after pandemic flu shot, 1.22 after seasonal flu shot). However, the risk of GBS is significantly higher (about 1-8 cases per 100,000 population) after actually getting infected with the flu (or other infections).
The risk of GBS after flu vaccination is less than 1 per million (there's that damned statistic again), and the vast majority of cases of GBS recover fully.
31) But the flu shot causes the flu.
No it doesn't, and it never has. Not occasionally, not sometimes, NEVER. The flu shot is a dead virus vaccine, meaning it is 100% biologically impossible to get the flu from a flu shot. Feeling a little crummy for a day or two after a flu shot is not the flu - that's your body's immune system reacting to the shot, meaning it is doing what it is supposed to do. If you got the actual flu immediately after getting a flu shot, you had either 1) probably already acquired the virus but hadn't shown symptoms yet, or 2) picked it up wherever you got the shot.
Note this refers to the flu shot, not the flu mist, which is an attenuated vaccine.
32) Oh yeah, the flu mist sheds!
Yes it does, but it is only for about a week and at very low levels. And there are exactly 0 reported cases of actual illness from this virus. None. Zero. It has never happened.
33) Genetic drift means the attenuated flu virus can change back to wild-type and cause infections.
This is absolutely true. In fact, this most probably will happen. And the odds are about 1 in 100 quintillion replication cycles. For those of you unfamiliar with that number, it's 100,000,000,000,000,000,000. When you do the math, it will take approximately 1000 years for this to happen, and hopefully by then all infectious diseases (and antivaxxers along with them) will have been eradicated.
34) I've never gotten the flu shot, and I've never gotten the flu.
Well isn't that nice. I have no idea what you think that proves, but let me pose this scenario: I put a banana in my fireplace every night before I go to sleep, and I have never had a bear break into my house. So does that mean the banana prevents bear attacks?
Ok ok, I'll give you a slightly less silly analogy - I've never gotten into a serious car accident and I don't wear my seat belt, so I don't need to wear a seat belt. Or consider this - I do not have a smoke detector in my house or a fire extinguisher, and I have never had a fire in my house, so I need neither a smoke detector nor a fire extinguisher. Or how about this - my kid has never crashed his bicycle and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and he never wears a helmet, so he doesn't need to wear a helmet.
Now do you see how stupid that sounds?
The fact that you've never gotten the flu despite not getting the flu shot doesn't mean you don't need the flu shot, it just means you happened not to need it before. It doesn't mean your immune system is better than anyone else's or that you are better than anyone else. It only indicates that you have been lucky so far.
35) How could you possibly give a 1-day old baby a hepatitis B shot?
Hepatitis B is not just an infection of IV drug abusers and prostitutes. It is an extremely serious infection worldwide, with nearly 300 million people suffering from it. An estimated 2 million children worldwide are infected with hep B. The big problem is that when contracted as a child, hepatitis B is much more likely to develop into a chronic disease, resulting in cirrhosis or liver cancer. It can be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth, or from child-to-child from bites or other bodily fluids. No one is saying your precious flower is going to be shooting up heroin at age 3, but can you guarantee the little shit next door who is unknowingly and asymptomatically infected isn't going to bite your kid and give him an instant death sentence?
The great part about the hep B vaccine is that it is extremely effective, with a 72% worldwide drop in prevalence due to widespread vaccination. That should also put your "A one day old baby's immune system isn't ready for a vaccine" bullshit to rest. But wait, there's more! The best part is that the vaccine has been shown to last for at least 30 years, with no boosters needed after the initial 3-shot series. In other words, a vaccine given to a newborn child will last well into and through their doing-stupid-shit years.
Tell me again about vaccine immunity waning.
36) Yeah, vaccine immunity wanes!
Sigh. Sometimes, yes it does. However, if it waned significantly, we'd be seeing epidemics of diphtheria, polio, and measles in previously vaccinated adults. Have you heard of any of those?
If you're still arguing, see #37 below.
37) The pertussis vaccine doesn't work.
You're wrong here, but I'll grant that you're very slightly less wrong than before. Let me fix it for you - the pertussis vaccine doesn't work as well as the previous one. The original pertussis vaccine was a whole cell vaccine, meaning the entire B. pertussis bacterium (inactivated) was used, and it was extremely effective. However, due to a relatively high rate of local adverse reactions (pain, redness, and swelling), it was swapped for an acellular vaccine, which contains only pertussis toxin or other various components of the bacterium and not the whole organism. However, not only is the acellular vaccine more expensive, but the local side effect rate is about the same as the whole cell version. To make things worse, it is not as effective as the whole cell vaccine, and immunity tends to wane within 5-7 years. But immunity to the tetanus portion of the DPT combination vaccine also wanes in about 5 years, so boosters are recommended. Huzzah! Science!
Yeah, that's the end of that story. It works, but not as well as the previous version, and not as well as it should. A better vaccine is necessary. Don't worry, I'm not entirely satisfied with that answer either.
38) Natural immunity is better than artificial immunity.
That depends on your definition of "better":
-Longer lasting? Sure.
-Doesn't require a scary shot with scary-sounding ingredients which are not actually scary once you understand them? Most definitely.
-Requires you to suffer through the disease AND SURVIVE in order to gain immunity? Fucking yes.
I'm not sure why you think suffering through a disease is better than, you know, not suffering through a disease.
Plus, I am also baffled why you think "natural" is somehow better. Belladonna is natural, but it will kill you. Tornadoes are completely natural, but they will kill you. It doesn't get much more natural than the Sydney funnel-web spider, but it will fucking kill you. Natural does not necessarily mean better. At all.
39) I've never met anyone who has had any of these diseases.
Well isn't that nice. You don't even see the irony of this statement, since it implies that the vaccines you eschew actually work extremely well.
All condescension aside, vaccines are a victim of their own success. Because they work so well and have nearly eradicated so many previously common diseases, doctors in practice now have probably never seen most (if not all) of them. The memory of children dead or disabled from polio, the vision of rows upon rows of children in hospitals in iron lungs has faded to the point where you actually believe it is relatively harmless. The fact that smallpox hospitals, entire hospitals dedicated to treating smallpox, no longer even need to exist because of vaccines is lost to the ravages of time. No one remembers the parents waiting in line to get their kids vaccinated against measles. You probably think these lines don't exist.
Fortunately you don't have to remember them, because here is photographic proof that they existed and still exist:
40) But the number of cases of these diseases were all falling before vaccines!
I was wondering how long it would take to get to this one, which is commonly known as the "VACCINES DIDN'T SAVE US" argument, and it is 100% FALSE.
NO IT ISN'T FALSE! JUST LOOK AT THIS GRAPH!
HA! I WIN! YOU JUST ADMITTED IT!
No, I admitted that mortality was falling. During the first half of the 1900's there were huge advances in medical science, including supportive care, antibiotics, mechanical ventilation, etc. So of course mortality of everything would improve. Life expectancy in the US in 1900 was 47 years for a white man, and by 1950 it had increased to 65.6 (an improvement of over 28% in just 50 years).
But the number of cases of these diseases (ALL OF THEM) did not fall until the vaccines were introduced. Since you like graphs so much, take a look at these:
I'm sure your next argument will be "But clean water and sanitation caused disease rates to fall, not vaccines".
41) But clean water and sanitation caused disease rates to fall, not vaccines.
At least you're predicable. If that is truly what you believe, then you'll have to explain why:
- diphtheria rates waited to decline until the 1930's after the vaccine was introduced, and
- polio rates waited to decline until 1955 when the vaccine was introduced, and
- measles rates waited to decline until 1963 when the vaccine was introduced, and
- rubella rates waited to decline until 1969 when the vaccine was introduced, and
- chicken pox rates waited to decline until 1995 when the vaccine was introduced, and
- rotavirus rates waited to decline until 2006 when the vaccine was introduced.
You'd have to be pretty daft to think clean water and sanitation could be so sneaky as to wait just until the vaccine came out to start decreasing those particular diseases. That damned sneaky sanitation and clean water. Do you think that clean water and sanitation suddenly improved in the US in 1995 or 2006 when the varicella and rotavirus vaccines were introduced?
Furthermore, while the mortality graph sure makes it looks like the mortality rate of these diseases was 0, it was not. Not remotely. Hundreds of children in the US still died every year of measles. Yeah, you know measles - that "harmless childhood disease":
42) Vaccines cause SIDS.
No they don't. In fact, if you have made this argument, it only shows your stunning ignorance of this entire issue. At least with autism there was a bullshit paper published in 1998 which suggested a link (that's Wakefield's bullshit, in case you didn't catch the reference), but with SIDS, you have it entirely backwards: vaccines reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%.
In case you think I just pulled that number out of my ass, this is based not just one one paper, not two, but a meta-analysis of nine case-control studies looking at the relationship between vaccination and SIDS. And it found that vaccination decreases the risk of SIDS by half.
43) But SIDS is listed on the package insert as a potential side effect!
Oh, you mean this?
The vaccine insert is a legal document, and vaccine manufacturers are legally obligated to list every adverse event that has been reported, regardless of whether or not the vaccine has caused it. That's also why you see "autism" on that list. It has been reported in children who have gotten that vaccine. But autism has also been reported in children who have not gotten that vaccine, though there is no legal document for that. The vaccine insert does not state, imply, or in any other way suggest that the vaccine caused it. Any of it.
I also think it is extremely ironic that you don't trust Big Pharma at all, until they publish the words "autism" and "SIDS" on one of their legal papers, and then you treat what they say as gospel.
44) No one has died in the US of measles since 2003.
If your point was to make yet another testament as to the effectiveness of the vaccine, I think you nailed it. Unfortunately, this is also demonstrably false, since a woman in Washington State died of measles-related complications in 2015, two people died of measles in 2010, and two people died of measles in 2009.
45) But over 100 people have died of the MMR since 2003, so more people die of the vaccine than the disease.
This "100" figure is derived from VAERS, which as you learned in #26 above is not designed to track that kind of data. So, there is no way to determine if this figure is even remotely true, though I highly doubt it is even close. There are about 4 million children born in the US each year, and since median vaccine coverage is 94.3%, that's 3,772,000 children getting the measles vaccine each year. As we know the serious adverse event rate is around 1 per million doses, so that would be between 3 and 4 serious adverse events annually, and most children recover completely. Even if they all died (they don't), that would be 16 years x 3.7 children = approximately 59 deaths, not 100. And that's if they all died, which they most assuredly do not.
46) Doctors even admit that vaccines are dangerous.
Do they? Which ones? How many of them? This is just another form of "Some people believe . . ." If I were to say, "I believe the sky is purple", I could then logically go on to say "Some people believe the sky is purple". Is the sky purple? Does that make the sky purple? Of course not, but some people believe it is, so that means it might be true! Except that it doesn't.
What you're saying is that some doctors believe it, or at least they say they do. These are fringe doctors who are members of fringe groups who believe fringe things. So the important question is, what other beliefs do these doctors espouse? If you look hard enough you can find paleontologists who believe earth is less than 10,000 years old (like this guy who has a Ph.D in paleontology from Harvard. Seriously). I will grant that there are a few doctors who are antivaxxers, the most prominent and/or vocal being:
- Joe Mercola, DO, who also believes that sunscreen causes skin cancer, homeopathy can treat autism, and HIV does not cause AIDS; and who has an online store;
- Sherri Tenpenny, DO, who also believes an earthquake could cause California to fall off North America and sink into the Pacific Ocean, and who missed her entire third grade because she was too sick; and who has an online store;
- Toni Bark, MD, who also practices homeopathy, and who has an online store;
- Russell Blaylock, MD, who also believes in chemtrails, that aspartame causes multiple sclerosis, and that MSG is toxic to the brain; and who has an online store;
- Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD who is not a physician but does have a Ph.D in immunology, who believes that immunology has no evidence-based explanation for immunity due to vaccines, that vaccines compromise our "natural immunity", and that homeopathy works;
- Jack Wolfson, DO, who touts himself as a "holistic cardiologist", charges a $2800 fee for an initial consultation, and who believes children should get measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox because it is "their right"; and who has an online store;
- Kelly Brogan, MD, who is also an HIV-AIDS denialist, advises diabetics not to take insulin, and who has an online store;
- Suzanne Humphries, MD, who believes homeopathy works, who believes pertussis can be treated with vitamin C, and who believes the bible is a reason not to vaccinate; but who does not have an online store
- Andrew Wakefield, who HAHAHAHAHA just kidding, he's not even a doctor anymore. Fuck that guy.
Keep in mind that every single major medical association in the entire world supports vaccines. Every. Single. One. And before you mention the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, despite their official-sounding name they're one of those fringe groups I mentioned who have advocated such beliefs as AIDS denialism and abortions causing breast cancer. Quacks, all.
47) Vaccines cause autoimmune diseases.
There are a few known associations of vaccines increasing the risk of certain autoimmune diseases, such as the flu vaccine and Guillain-Barré and MMR with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). And it makes sense that vaccines could potentially cause autoimmune diseases, since they are designed to stimulate the immune system, and autoimmune diseases are disorders of that immune system. However, studies have shown that these are very rare. Using MMR and ITP as an example, there is an increased risk. However, that risk is lower than it is with measles infection, the clinical course of ITP after vaccination is less severe compared to ITP after measles infection, and 90% of children resolve completely within 6 months.
And before you tell me how risky that is, the actual risk in that study was 23 cases in 700,000 children. Do the math, and . . . you know what, don't. I've done it for you - it's 0.0033%.
As for other autoimmune diseases (like ASIA), these occurrences are so rare that studying them is difficult because of their rarity, and some researchers do not believe ASIA even exists. An excellent review article can be found here which details pretty much everything I just said.
48) Vaccines cause seizures.
Hooray! You finally said something true!
See? I told you vaccines were dangerous!
Oh don't worry, you aren't nearly as correct as you thought you were. Febrile seizures are a well-known and relatively common side effect of vaccines, but they are also a well-known and relatively common side effect of many other febrile illnesses. That's why they are called "febrile seizures" - it's the fever that causes them. The other reason you're wrong is that they aren't nearly as common as you think - this study found a risk of 1 febrile seizure per 3,300 vaccinations even when multiple vaccines were given at the same time. Keep in mind that 3-5% of children experience a febrile seizure each year that are unrelated to vaccines, so a busy paediatrician seeing 500 infants each year would see one vaccine-related febrile seizure every 5-10 years.
And here is the main point - just like any other febrile seizure, the seizures associated with vaccination do not cause or increase the risk of life-long seizure disorders. And this long-term follow up study of children who had febrile seizures showed no difference in academic performance compared to their peers.
49) Vaccines cause allergies, asthma, and eczema.
I'm assuming you're referring to the supposed epidemic of food allergies, peanut allergies, atopic dermatitis, etc that you believe are all caused by vaccines, because in your mind vaccines cause everything bad in the world and nothing bad every happened before vaccines were invented. Unfortunately, your belief is not supported by, you know actual data. This study of thousands of children across 97 centers in 10 countries showed no evidence that any vaccine is associated with food allergies, airborne allergies, or eczema. This study of over 1000 children found - gasp - the exact same thing. And this British study of over 29,000 children found - are you sitting down? - the exact same thing. And this study of nearly 15,000 children across 5 countries found - let me know when you tire of this - the exact same thing.
So who are we to believe - your unsubstantiated story of your kid developing a peanut allergy after getting vaccinated or multiple studies of tens of thousands of children across dozens of countries around the globe which all refute you?
50) What about the Cutter Incident?
This is one of those terribly unfortunate tragedies in medicine that should never happen but still did. A batch of live polio vaccines made by Cutter Laboratories in 1955 were not properly inactivated, and at least 120,000 people received them before they were recalled, now known as the Cutter Incident. This caused about 40,000 cases of mild polio, 56 cases of paralysis, and 5 deaths.
There are other medical tragedies, including the production and distribution of blood products tainted with HIV prior to the virus having been discovered, Dr. Mengele's horrific human experimentation during the Holocaust, and similar ghastly experiments on humans in Japan's Unit 731. But perhaps the most notorious is the 1932 Tuskegee Study, in which black men who were already infected with syphilis were knowingly not treated for the infection, even after penicillin was proved to treat it successfully in 1947. The investigators withheld both treatment and information about that treatment until a whistleblower finally blew the lid off in 1972. The fact that this continued for 40 years only compounds its utterly unethical nature, and it has fueled a deep distrust in the medical industry which continues to this day.
These occurrences are rare but terrible. There is absolutely no doubt that they should never happen. But they have, they did, and they still do. However, this is hardly a reason to argue against vaccination in general. Incidents like these should be taken as very difficult lessons from which we can learn and then prevent anything like them from ever happening again.
51) And the Simpsonwood meeting . . .
And here is where we start diving into Conspiracy Theory Land. This CDC conference ("Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information" actually happened in 2000. They reviewed the data regarding the possible link between thimerosal and autism and ultimately refuted any link, obviously. Enter your hero Robert F. Kennedy, Jr who wrote an article in 2005 (that was retracted by Salon) alleging the conference was intended to hide the evidence and that the lead author, Thomas Verstraeten, altered it.
Well there are a few problems with the bit of bullshit - first, the entire transcript of the meeting is freely available (for example here) (warning, it's really long), and there is no evidence of any conspiracy to cover up or change any evidence. Second, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions reviewed the entire affair and found no evidence of any impropriety by either Dr. Verstraeten or the CDC. In fact, they concluded "Instead of hiding the data or restricting access to it, CDC distributed it, often to individuals who had never seen it before, and solicited outside opinion regarding how to interpret it".
That doesn't sound like anyone trying to hide something.
52) Well we just need safer vaccines.
I wish I could just say "Obviously" and leave it at that. We need safer everything - safer cars, safer bicycle helmets, safer sports gear, safer lawn mowers, safer lithium batteries, safer home wiring, safer food, safer schools. Everything around us should be safe, and everything around us (for the most part) has been designed specifically to be as safe as possible with the available technology. As safer technology evolves (think seat belts followed by air bags), products get ever safer. The same goes with vaccines. As vaccine science has evolved, the number of antigens in vaccines has decreased dramatically even as the number of vaccines given has increased:
53) Measles protects against cancer.
This ridiculous claim is based on this one article (I can't even call it a study) from 1998 (does that year ring any other antivax bells?) in which anthroposophic practitioners (I can't even call them doctors) in Switzerland conducted a questionnaire and supposedly found that the number of febrile illnesses (ie measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, pertussis, etc) was inversely proportional to the risk of non-breast cancer. Why is this such a bullshit claim? To start, anthroposophic medicine is an alternative practice based on occult bullshit, risible bullshit, homeopathic bullshit, and other assorted bullshit. As an example, Rudolf Steiner, one of the founders of anthroposophic medicine, believed 1) that the sex of a baby was determined at conception by the alignment of the stars, and 2) that the heart was not actually a pump, but that instead blood circulates via its own "biological momentum". If the founder of such a cult (I can't even call it a form of alternative medicine) can't even understand concepts as (relatively) simple as genetics and the circulatory system, I can hardly expect his devout followers to understand something as complex as running a scientific study.
And this was in fact not a scientific study. It was merely a survey of anthroposophic practitioners with all the inherent confirmation bias and observation bias one would expect. This is similar to the Bachmair questionnaire where only home-school mothers were surveyed by a homeopath. It begins with a biased premise and just goes off the rails from there.
The main reason this article is completely worthless is that it has not been replicated despite 20 years of opportunity to do so. This sort of information should have elicited an "AHA!" reaction from the medical world. Instead, there has been nothing. No replication, no confirmation, nothing.
54) People who get vaccines shouldn't be around sick people because they shed.
You probably flashed this graphic from Johns Hopkins:
The recommendation now is "Close contacts of patients with compromised immunity should not receive live oral poliovirus vaccine because they might shed the virus and infect a patient with compromised immunity. Close contacts can receive other standard vaccines because viral shedding is unlikely and these pose little risk of infection to a subject with compromised immunity."
There are rare reports of various live virus vaccines shedding:
A child vaccinated with rotavirus vaccine (which sheds in stool) infected his unvaccinated older sibling, who did not require admission to hospital and recovered.
A child vaccinated with MMR came down with a mild case of vaccine-strain measles over a month after vaccination. All symptoms resolved within 5 days.
In short, yes some live virus vaccines shed as these case reports prove. However, the cases are milder than wild-type infections, and they are extremely rare. Millions of doses of these vaccines are given every year, so this argument only strengthens the argument that vaccines are extremely safe.
55) The flu shot has never been tested for its ability to cause cancer.
You obviously posted this graphic:
56) Bill Gates said vaccines are being used for depopulation.
This is the misinterpretation that just won't die. This is NOT what he said. Here is the quote taken WAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of context:
First, we’ve got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percentSee! He wants to reduce population by 10-15%!
No he doesn't. As I said, this quote is taken out of context. He is talking about ways to reduce the creation of carbon dioxide, and one of those is to reduce the rate of population growth, not to reduce population. THAT is what he meant by "lower that by 10-15%". He has said repeatedly that as vaccination rates go up in developing nations, infant mortality goes down, and as more children survive, parents don't feel the need to have 8 or 10 children anymore (emphasis added):
"A surprising but critical fact we learned was that reducing the number of deaths actually reduces population growth. […] Contrary to the Malthusian view that population will grow to the limit of however many kids can be fed, in fact parents choose to have enough kids to give them a high chance that several will survive to support them as they grow old. As the number of kids who survive to adulthood goes up, parents can achieve this goal without having as many children."and
"When a mother can choose how many children to have, her children are healthier, they’re better nourished, their mental capacities are higher—and parents have more time and money to spend on each child’s health and schooling. That’s how families and countries get out of poverty. This link between saving lives, a lower birthrate, and ending poverty was the most important early lesson Melinda and I learned about global health."There is no eugenics conspiracy, no depopulation, no agenda 21, and no conspiracy to decrease the world population to 500 million.
57) Vaccines are contaminated with harmful particles.
Really? Which is it, aluminum, mercury, animal DNA, antigens, or nanoparticles which are so harmful?
Anyway, you're talking about Antonietta Gatti's rather silly evaluation of so-called contamination of vaccines with nanoparticles which backfired. First, you'll notice the paper is on Medcrave, not Pubmed. That should be a huge red flag, and if you don't know why, then you have no business trying to evaluate a scientific paper. Regardless, Gatti and her partners found varying numbers of inorganic particles when they evaporated 44 samples of 30 different vaccines and looked at them under an electron microscope. And they found tiny particles of various substances including tungsten, gold, aluminum, etc, ranging from two to 1821 particles per 20 microlitres of fluid. While that seems scary, that is an incredibly small amount of these substances compared to the amount of the vaccine, which is itself very small.
They didn't use any controls, so there is no telling how many of these particles would be found in tap water or sterile saline or distilled water or anything else. The bottom line is that nothing is completely pure, but this study actually shows that vaccines are very, very pure.
58) But Gardasil . . .
I'm going to stop you right there, because you said either "premature ovarian failure" or "kills" or "maims" or some other bullshit. I'm sure you probably mentioned some scary-sounding anecdote about a young girl getting her Gardasil shot and then becoming lethargic or wheelchair-bound or dead. Right?
Ooooh wait I know, you said that there are no Gardasil safety studies. Right?
Oh, you said there are no placebo-controlled safety studies, right?
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. In fact, here is a review of 109 safety studies across six countries including over 2.5 million subjects which showed only an increased risk of local injection site reactions (pain, redness, swelling), but no increased risk of any of the various things supposedly attributed to HPV vaccines, including demyelinating diseases and neurological syndromes.
And here is a study of nearly 1 million girls in Denmark and Sweden which shows no increased risk of autoimmune, neurological, or thromboembolic events.
59) Gardasil causes premature ovarian failure.
Sorry, I left that out the last one. There are case reports of teenage girls developing primary ovarian insufficiency after HPV vaccination. But these are mere anecdotes, and even before HPV vaccination there was a 22/100,000 rate of primary ovarian insufficiency, so it has always existed. But this study of nearly 200,000 girls showed no increased risk of primary ovarian insufficiency after HPV vaccination.
60) Herd immunity doesn't exist.
Sure it does. It's been demonstrated numerous times, but I think one of the best examples was this study from Burkina Faso, in which nearly 90% of the population at risk was vaccinated for meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis serotype A, or NmA), and 13 months later when the subjects (both the vaccinated and unvaccinated) were resampled, exactly ZERO still carried NmA. As the authors conclude, "The disappearance of NmA carriage among both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations is consistent with a vaccine-induced herd immunity effect".
That's just one example. There are many others.
61) X didn't exist before vaccines.
It doesn't really matter what you said didn't exist before vaccines, unless you said "herd immunity". I've seen various claims here, but the most common ones are autism (of course) and SIDS. Leo Kanner first described autism in 1943 before all but two vaccines (smallpox and diphtheria) were invented (diphtheria antitoxin was invented in 1901, and Hans Asperger was lecturing about a group of children with autism in 1938, but the vaccine didn't come out until the 1920's). And Eugen Bleuler first used the term "autism" in 1908. That is a very long-winded way of saying yes, autism actually existed before vaccines. Except smallpox, but I haven't seen a single person arguing that the smallpox vaccine causes autism. Probably because it doesn't.
As for SIDS, "crib death", or "cot death", the term was first coined in 1969. However, there are many descriptions of sudden infant death all throughout history. For example, this researcher found evidence of SIDS in the 1800's. And several examples of SIDS as far back as the Middle Ages and even from the bible (if you choose to believe it) can be seen here. Besides, the rate of SIDS has been dropping since it was discovered that putting infants on their backs decreases the risk.
Do you know what else decreases the risk of SIDS? Anyone? Beuller?
62) Polio never went away, it was just renamed transverse myelitis or GBS or acute flaccid myelitis.
Take a look at this:
Any idea what it is? If you said "That's a polio virus", then chances are you are not an antivaxxer, because that is, in fact, the polio virus. I only say that because if you're an antivaxxer you probably couldn't tell a polio virus from a volleyball. You see, polio is a viral disease, and all those other things are not (as far as we know). Polio virus can be isolated from a patient with a paralytic disease. It cannot be isolated from Guillain–Barré syndrome, because it does not cause Guillain–Barré syndrome. It cannot be isolated from transverse myelitis patients, because it does not cause transverse myelitis. It cannot be isolated from acute flaccid myelitis patients, because it does not cause acute flaccid myelitis. See where I'm going with this? While we don't know what does cause acute flaccid myelitis, we do know it is not polio.
There are several different, distinct paralytic diseases, and they all present differently. That's why they are different, distinct diseases. Polio is polio, and not polio is not polio.
63) There have been measles (or pertussis or mumps) outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations.
Yes there have, because no vaccine is 100% effective. All this does is underscore the need for both 1) better vaccines (especially pertussis), and 2) herd immunity.
What you are ignoring are the far-more-common outbreaks (and subsequent deaths) in unvaccinated (or undervaccinated) populations. And no, I'm not going to use the Disneyland outbreak in 2015, even though 45% of the patients from California were unvaccinated while only 7% were fully vaccinated (the rest were either undervaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status).
Oops, I guess I am going to use that as an example. An even better example is the 2019 Philippines outbreak, with nearly 15,000 cases and over 230 deaths (so far as of this writing), 65% of whom were unvaccinated.
Another example is the current outbreak of measles in Ukraine, with 24,000 cases and 9 deaths
And an even better example is the ongoing outbreak of measles in Madagascar, where they have had over 82,000 cases and about 1000 deaths, two-thirds of whom were unvaccinated. If you aren't seeing a pattern here, then you're even more intellectually dishonest than I could have predicted.
64) Squalene something something Gulf War Syndrome . . .
I would have put this up in the "toxins" section, but I don't see it terribly often, so I decided to put it waaaaaaaaaaay down here. Squalene is not an adjuvant by itself, but it is when emulsified with surfactants. It is only added to certain flu vaccines in Europe and one for seniors in the US, so it is not present in any childhood vaccine. The reason for the fear is the supposed presence of anti-squalene antibodies found in American soldiers with the so-called Gulf War Syndrome.
A few problems with this:
- Squalene is a naturally occurring substance, and your liver is making it right now as you read this;
- Anti-squalene antibodies have been found in people who have never receive any squalene-containing vaccine;
- Squalene was studied and found not to cause anti-squalene antibodies to be created.
65) Peanut oil is used as a vaccine adjuvant and is causing the peanut allergy epidemic.
A peanut oil adjuvant was tested in the 1960's, but it was never approved for use and is currently found in exactly 0 vaccines anywhere on the planet. While it is (probably) true that peanut (and other food) allergies are increasing in many countries, it isn't vaccines causing it, because much like the mythical truly well-informed antivaxxer, peanut oil adjuvants do not exist.
What is causing it is (probably) the attempted environmental sterilisation that too many parents undertake to keep their kids "safe" from germs. Unfortunately this practice appears to be preventing the normal development of the immune system and is increasing the risk of food allergies. In case you think I'm just pulling this out of my ass (which I admittedly was when I started talking about it over a decade ago), recent evidence fully supports this notion.
What is causing it is (probably) the attempted environmental sterilisation that too many parents undertake to keep their kids "safe" from germs. Unfortunately this practice appears to be preventing the normal development of the immune system and is increasing the risk of food allergies. In case you think I'm just pulling this out of my ass (which I admittedly was when I started talking about it over a decade ago), recent evidence fully supports this notion.
66) Measles virus doesn't even exist.
This one may sound completely batshit insane, but that's only because it fucking is. This ridiculous mind-bending claim comes from ultra antivaxxer Stefan Lanka, who bet 100,000 euros that no one could prove the measles virus exists. Of course someone (Dr. David Bardens) proved him wrong beyond any reasonable doubt, and a court ordered Lanka to pay up. But the decision was reversed on appeal, judging that the evidence Bardens provided had to live up to Lanka's expectations. Bardens could probably have invented a machine to embiggen the virus to 2m in diameter and shoved it in Lanka's face, but so deeply entrenched are his rabid antivax beliefs that he would have still denied its existence.
Yeah, measles virus exists. Here it is.
67) We never had all these vaccines when I was a kid, I got all these diseases, and I'm fine.
Congratulations! You just described survivorship bias. Because there are literally millions of other people who contracted these exact same diseases and are now dead because of them. No vaccine-preventable disease is anywhere close to 100% fatal (except rabies), so of course most people who got them survived unscathed. This doesn't make the diseases benign (see #16), it just makes you one of the majority who made it. Not every kid is as lucky.
68) Vaccines make you gay.
No but seriously, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
If you believe a word that comes out of Alex Jones' mouth, then you are quite literally a lost cause. There really isn't a refutation to this, because it is actually that risible.
69) Polio was caused by DDT, not poliovirus.
This is just an example of germ theory denialism. It is true that DDT was used to try to prevent the spread of polio, because at the time (mid 1940s) it was incorrectly thought that polio was transmitted by insects like mosquitoes or flies (it is actually faecal-oral).
The big problem with this hypothesis is the timing. The first polio epidemic in the US, for example was in 1894, and the polio virus was discovered in 1908. DDT, on the other hand, was invented in 1874 but was not discovered to be an insecticide until 1939, well after polio was harming children.
70) There hasn't been a vaccine safety study in 30 years.
I see you are a fan of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr's brand of antivax bullshit. This claim has been wildly twisted from its origins and stems from a 1986 US law (NCVIA ring a bell?) which, among other things, required that HHS report vaccine safety studies to congress. But somehow even though the reports were done, they were not all properly filed. Let me repeat - the studies were done, they just weren't properly reported. In fact, here is one now.
Do not misunderstand me, the law was not followed here, and that's not a good thing. I don't know why the reports were not properly filed, and I don't know why HHS didn't present the information to congress as they were supposed to. Regardless, safety studies have been done, task forces have regularly met and reported on vaccine safety, vaccine safety oversight committees have been formed and reported to HHS, the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment project was started in 2001, etc etc etc.
The evidence shows that vaccines are safe, that evidence just wasn't reported properly to congress. That does not mean it does not exist.
71) MMS can cure autism.
No. It. Can. Not. There is literally no evidence to support such a ludicrous claim, so I can't even cite anything refuting it. And if you really think giving your child chlorine dioxide (an industrial bleach), either orally or rectally, can cure his autism, then you are even more evil than I could have imagined.
72) I'm not anti-vaccine, but . . .
If you start a statement with "No offence, but . . .", you can be assured that the next thing out of your mouth will be offensive. By the same token, any sentence starting with "Not to sound racist, but . . ." is guaranteed to be followed by something racist. Similarly, if you start with "I'm not anti-vaccine, but . . .", there is at least a 99.9974% chance (I calculated it) that yes, you are anti-vaccine.
No, you are not "pro safe-vaccines", because vaccines are already safe. No, you are not "pro medical autonomy", because no one is forcing you to vaccinate yourself or your children. No, you are not "pro informed consent", because informed consent is already done prior to vaccination. What you are is doing using these excuses as excuses.
And what you are is anti-vaccine.
73) Vaccines are against my religion.
Unless you happen to be a Christian Scientist or in the Dutch Reformed church, no they aren't. There are exactly zero major religions on the planet that have any doctrine, law, or rule against vaccines. This review article lists all major religions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. Not even Catholicism forbids vaccines, despite some of them being grown using cell lines from an aborted foetus. According to the National Catholic Bioethics Center, if there is no alternative, "One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine."
Besides, Christian Scientists believe that disease can be cured through prayer and the Dutch Reformed church believes vaccines interfere with "divine providence", whatever that means. So no, your religion does not outlaw vaccines.
74) Vaccines are injected directly into the bloodstream.
This is a rather strange claim that seems to be pure and unadulterated fear mongering, because so fucking what if they are? There are lots of things injected directly into the bloodstream: saline, anaesthestics, pain medicine, antibiotics, anti-convulsants, sedatives. You know those vitamin drips that are so in these days? Yup, directly into the bloodstream. Are any of you demanding to know what's in your regenerative vitamin B infusion at the vitamin bar? Are any antivaxxers demanding that their anaesthesiologist list the ingredients in their magic sleeping potion? I didn't think so. Regardless, do you know what is not injected directly into the bloodstream? Come on, I'll give you one guess.
That's right, vaccines. There are exactly ZERO vaccines that are injected intravenously. None. Zip. All vaccines (other than oral polio and intranasal flu) are administered into the muscle (intramuscular), skin (subcutaneous), or dermis (intradermal). If you are getting a vaccine directly into your bloodstream, then whoever is giving it to you is making a mistake.
75) Vaccines are unavoidably unsafe.
Yes they are.
HA! I WIN!
No you don't, because if you use this argument then you don't know what "unavoidably unsafe" means. All it means is that there is no way for the manufacturer to make them 100% safe and prevent any side effect.
This term comes from the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which was written by the American Law Institute in 1965, 1977, and 1979. In it, an "unavoidably unsafe products" is described as "an apparently useful and desirable product, attended with a known but apparently reasonable risk." You can read a thorough explanation here.
Medicines have side effects. This is a well-known fact that is not disputed. Vaccines are medicines. This is also a well-known fact that is not disputed. Therefore, vaccines will have side effects, including serious side effects such as anaphylaxis. There is no way to predict who will develop such a reaction, so there is no way to make the vaccine safer in that regard. However, as we have learned above the risk of such serious side effects is about 1 per million doses, so the benefits far outweigh these risks.
76) Vaccines are just ways to make money.
Vaccines are made by pharmaceutical companies, and pharmaceutical companies are designed to make money. This is not even debatable, because it is fact. However, according to the World Health Organisation vaccines comprise less than 2% of pharmaceutical companies' revenue. These companies make far more with blockbuster medicines like Lipitor or Viagra. Vaccines, on the other hand, are just not big money makers.
But doctors make a ton giving vaccines!
Most doctors make exactly fuck all from giving vaccines. In the UK, doctors don't get paid any extra for giving vaccines. Exactly 0. In the US, studies have shown that paediatricians make little-to-no money giving vaccines.
But American doctors get a $400 per patient bonus for giving vaccines!
You seriously believe that? How many paediatricians do you know driving Aston Martins home to their enormous mansions? That "bonus" you've heard about does exist, but it is not a bonus per shot, it's a small bonus given to a doctor by an insurance company for their entire cohort of patients if they immunise above a certain percentage. That is one bonus per doctor for all their patients, not for each one. After all, it's far less expensive for the insurance companies to prevent a disease than to pay for treating it, and just like pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies are also in the business of making money, not paying for medical care.
Take for example this case of tetanus in an unvaccinated 6-year-old boy who spent 8 weeks in hospital at a cost of over $811,000. On the other hand, a tetanus shot costs $64 in the US, £52 in the UK, and $0 in Australia. I've done the arithmetic once again, and treating the disease cost the parents' insurance company (assuming they were insured) 12,671 times the cost of the vaccine.
Now tell me more about vaccines being all about the money. Go ahead. Just try it.
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That's all I have at the moment. I'm sure there are myriad other bullshit anti-vaccine claims out there, so if I missed any good ones please comment below.