Steiner Schools, Vaccination and Measles Outbreaks

measlesThe UK is currently experiencing outbreaks of measles. Many children have been hospitalised and there has been one suspected death. This is an entirely preventable situation and would not be happening if there were sufficient levels of MMR uptake.

However, as I discussed in my last article  levels of vaccination can vary enormously in the space of just a few miles. To blame the media and their positive reporting of Wakefield’s fraudulent scares is insufficient to explain the variations in vaccination rates. Other factors must apply, most probably local community beliefs regarding vaccination and alternative medicine.

We saw how some towns like Totnes have very low rates of MMR uptake probably due to the high levels of alternative medicine practitioners and beliefs within the town. One other strong factor might be the presence of a Steiner school or some other anthroposophical community.

The Health Protection Agency views Steiner Schools as “High Risk” and as “unvaccinated communities”. As such, they pose direct risks to the children within them and to the surrounding community. This is astonishing given that Michael Gove is currently considering at least 13 application for Steiner Schools to gain Free School status and to be publicly funded.

And Steiner Schools do suffer measles outbreaks. Michael Hall School, in Forest Row, last year held the inter-Steiner School Olympics. The Health Protection Agency asked them to not allow the expected visitors because of an outbreak of measles.

Steiner Schools deny they are anti-vaccine.

Hereford Steiner Academy, a state funded school, states on their website,

The decision to immunise or not is a matter of parental choice. Opposition to immunisation generally or to any national strategies forms no part of our educational approach.

Hereford link to the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education who have  issued a very strongly worded press release on the subject,

It has come to our attention that uncorroborated statements have appeared purporting opposition to childhood immunisation as the official or tacit policy of Steiner Waldorf School Associations and the institutions they represent.

We wish to state unequivocally that opposition to immunisation per se, or resistance to national strategies for childhood immunisation in general, forms no part of our specific educational objectives. We believe that a matter such as whether or not to inoculate a child against communicable disease should be a matter of parental choice. Consequently, we believe that families provide the proper context for such decisions to be made on the basis of medical, social and ethical considerations, and upon the perceived balance of risks. Insofar as schools have any role to play in these matters, we believe it is in making available a range of balanced information both from the appropriate national agencies and qualified health professionals with expertise in the field. Schools themselves are not, nor should they attempt to become, determiners of decisions regarding these matters.

How do we square such seemingly strong denials with the HPA’s view that Steiner Schools are unvaccinated communities? We have to remember that Steiner Schools are anthroposophical organisations. That is, they subscribe to the esoteric and initiated beliefs of Rudolf Steiner. As with all occult organisations, how they present themselves to the outside world may differ from internal initiated beliefs. The justification is that such beliefs can only be imparted to people who have undergone the right levels of preparation and initiation.

Strikingly, both statements above emphasise the role of parental choice (who is saying that this should not be the case?) and that schools have no role in their decision. The only role of the school is to make “available a range of balanced information”. Crucially then, we need  understand what anthroposophical information might be on vaccination and how much of this is given to parents.

A recent Freedom of Information request shows us the impact of such approaches from Steiner Schools. “MIchelle” made a FoI request to Wye Valley NHS Trust asking for a list of schools that had opted out of the HPV vaccination programme. Specifically, a question was asked if any schools had  “refused to allow either clinicians or school nurses to administer the HPV vaccine?”.

Only one school had refused: Hereford Steiner Academy. It may be worth going back and re-reading their statement.

So, whilst we can see that Hereford Steiner Academy issues statements that appear to refute the idea that there is either explicit or tacit opposition to vaccination, their actions are consistent with an antivaccination stance.

Where does anti-vaccine thinking come from in Steiner Schools? The answer is in the medical beliefs of Rudolf Steiner. Associated with most schools is an anthroposophical doctor who has received a mainstream medical education but then trained in Rudolf Steiner’s occult and spiritual medical visions.

St Paul’s Steiner School in London makes it clear what the school doctor will do,

The school doctor, a medical doctor with further anthroposophical medical training, visits the school twice each term. The child’s teacher makes referrals in consultation with parents. Children may be referred for pedagogical, health or developmental reasons. There is a nominal charge of £10 for a consultation and parents are expected to attend with their child. The doctor may prescribe anthroposophical or homeopathic remedies or therapies such as art therapy, massage or curative eurythmy sessions for which the parents are administratively and financially responsible.

The school does not carry out dental checks, hearing or sight tests, nor does it provide immunisation boosters.

One should understand that in the anthroposophical world, child develop problems are to do with issues of the spirit and soul incarnating properly into the child. Eurythmy is a form of dance that can aid in this spiritual maturation. Homeopathic remedies are just sugar pills. So whilst, the administration of sugar pills and magic dance lessons are high up on the agenda of the school doctor, actual health practices with real benefits, such as hearing tests and vaccinations, are not offered.

The rejection of vaccination is guided by a number of esoteric beliefs. Firstly, that childhood illnesses have a role in shaping the body and spirit and that these are a natural, if not vital part of growing up. Secondly, that the manifestation of illnesses is a consequence of karma or destiny. Interfering with either of these aspects can have calamitous results.

Steiner wrote that vaccination was an interference in ‘karmic activity”, That is, by interfering with karmic processes, delays in spiritual progression may occur. He said, “If we destroy the susceptibility to smallpox [by vaccination], we are concentrating only on the external side of karmic activity”. Corresponding spiritual lessons may not be leaned.

Steiner also believed childhood illnesses had a role in shaping a child both physically and spiritually. Here we see beliefs that coincide with those of homeopaths: that vaccinations are part of ‘allopathy’ and work by suppressing the natural healing processes. Steiner was an advocate of a form of homeopathic medicine and so it is no surprise we see convergence in these attitudes.

Dr Michael Evans is an NHS GP in Stroud, Gloucestershire, where there is currently a large excess in the number of measles cases and a large number of Steinerist organisations. He is an anthroposophical doctor and a member of the MHRA Advisory Board on the safety and efficacy of Homoeopathic Products. He wrote in a book on Steiner’s medicines that,

Against this background, the role of illness during childhood, particularly in the first seven years, can be seen in a quite different light from the conventional view. The opportunity for remoulding the physical body is provided by the constant dissolving and reforming of its structures. During feverish illnesses, all the metabolic processes speed up and the high temperatures can offer a special opportunity for a more intensive reshaping.

He sees diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough as part of the maturation of the child’s immune system and as a chance for the ‘ego’ to make a ‘stamp’ on the individual.

He says,

It follows from this that a suppression of the natural course of an infection will have detrimental consequences as well as short-term benefits.

Modern medicine, in the anthroposophist’s eyes is as much as the cause of illness as anything else,

The appearance of new illnesses [such as] Aids — might also be taken to suggest that the increasing number of people suffering from such disorders may be connected with the widespread and indiscriminate use of antibiotics and paracetamol, which weaken the immune system.

But what do parents in Steiner Schools think? Much of my criticism of Steiner Schools has been about how these schools do not reveal much of their internal beliefs and motives to prospective parents. With vaccination issues though, it would appear that these ideas rub off.

One research paper, wrtten in 2001, showed how Steiner parents viewed measles and their child’s experience of the disease. After a measles outbreak in Evan’s stomping ground of Gloucestershire, parents were asked about their attitudes to vaccinations and measles.

The research suggested that parents had fully absorbed Steiner’s teachings,

This type of medical practice [anthroposophy] is in favour of letting the body experience certain infections and is against the overuse of antibiotics, antipyretics and certain immunisations. Many adherents oppose the measles vaccine because they believe children gain physical and mental robustness from natural measles infection, when supported by appropriate nursing care. Indeed, as Hanratty et al note “the avoidance of immunisation in these communities is more than a refusal to accept conventional medicine

Indeed, parents were asked if they experienced differences in their child after infection,

Some 62% of these respondents reported a change in their child’s personal development subsequent to the measles infection, with many claiming a strengthening and maturing of their child both mentally and physically. Of the cases, 87% were reported to have been previously unimmunised with the measles vaccine.

That community was fortunate at that time. There were 126 responses in that survey. Only one child was hospitalised. The current outbreaks may prove to be much larger and more serious complications will occur with some of the children.

Steiner Schools, despite their reassurances that they are in favour of parent choice and do not tacitly or explicitly adopt anti-vaccine stances, are in fact places of anti-vaccine beliefs which manifest themselves in low vaccine uptake and pseudoscientific approaches to treating dangerous childhood illnesses.

As such, they do not just represent risks to the children unfortunate enough to be in those schools, but to the surrounding communities. Even with successful general vaccination campaigns, such as being conducted at the moment, anthroposophical pockets of unimmunised children are unlikely to be reached due to the cult-like nature of their world. As such, programmes to create community immunity will fail in areas associated with Steiner Schools.

There is, therefore, a case to be made for mandatory inoculation for children attending state-funded schools. Whilst, this will not reach the larger number of private  Steiner Schools, the new influx of children to the Free School programme, whose parents may not be aware of, or share the anti-vax beliefs, will at least be better  protected from the type of beliefs inculcated within such schools. More practically, mandatory school participation in public health vaccination drives should be part of the conditions of receiving public funds. This would at least stop the sort of refusals seen by Hereford Stainer Academy to allow parents to use in-school vaccination programmes.

Mandatory vaccination programmes are perhaps the only way of protecting such children from these beliefs. Under this government, there is virtually no chance such ideas will be entertained.

 

Follow Up

I have been sent the consultation report that was made for the Frome Steiner Academy before it received public funding.

The submission from the local NHS Somerset Health Protection Coordinator echoes my concerns. I reproduce it in full,

Appendix A
Response to the consultation on the proposal for the Steiner Academy
Frome, Somerset.

Following discussion with our partner organisation Somerset County Council, NHS Somerset would add the following comments to the consultation on the proposal for the Steiner Academy Frome from a public health perspective. Whilst our organisation cannot make any comment on the educational approach of the school we would like to raise awareness of the potential health protection issues for children attending this school and also potential
implications for the wider local population. We are aware from our knowledge of other Steiner schools in our area that a significant number of parents elect to opt out of the routine childhood immunisation programmes offered to children across England. Whist we can identify no direct reference for this approach in the Steiner philosophy our experience suggests such attitudes to immunisation might be applicable to the parents choosing this type of education. Whatever the rationale for such a decision, we respect the right of parents to choose how they wish to care for their child including choices in respect of immunisation.

However, we are aware that where groups of unvaccinated children exist in close proximity this potentially poses a number of risks to their health and to
that of other siblings who might attend other schools. Whilst the primary aim of vaccination is to protect the individual who receives the vaccine, there are also wider community benefits. Vaccinated children are unlikely to be a source of infection to others. This reduces the risk of unvaccinated children being exposed to infection and means that children who cannot be vaccinated will still benefit from the routine vaccination programme. This concept is called population or ‘herd immunity’.

For example, babies below the age of two months, who are too young to be immunised, are at greatest risk of serious morbidity or mortality if they catch infections such as whooping cough. These babies are however protected from catching whooping cough when older siblings and other children have been routinely immunised as part of the childhood immunisation programme. This also applies to people who are living with a compromised immune system, such as children undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, who are not able to safely receive vaccination themselves. 

If a high population wide vaccination rate is not maintained, it is possible for diseases which were previously thought rare to re-emerge and threaten the
health of the wider community. For example, the number of cases of Measles has doubled across the South West recently, something which we only saw occasional cases of in the past. If an unvaccinated class of children is exposed to a case of measles it is highly likely that the majority of those pupils will catch measles and then become a source of infection for other vulnerable people in the community.

Evidence of outbreaks of preventable disease has previously been published relating to similar establishments in both the UK and also Europe.
References for these papers are detailed below for information. These papers demonstrate both the potential susceptibility in these unimmunised
populations and the implications for further transmission to the wider population within which the establishment is sited.

It is not possible to quantify the level of these risks for either the school or the community as too many variables exist, however, it is important to recognise that the potential risks do exist and increased surveillance by all parties will be required to mitigate against these should this application be approved, which may therefore potentially increase demands on both local health and education services.

Further Updates

The HPA report difficulties in getting cooperation from a Steiner School.

Confirmed measles cases in England and Wales

In England and Wales, 777 laboratory confirmed measles cases have been reported so far in 2011 to the end of July (table 1 and figure). One-hundred cases had onset in July compared to 133 in June and 176 in May, although the number for June is known to be an under-estimate as around 80 unvaccinated children with clinical measles associated with an outbreak in an anthroposophical school declined to be tested for measles infection.

 

176 Comments on Steiner Schools, Vaccination and Measles Outbreaks

  1. I think you are right to highlight the false nature of this “choice”. It is not a choice between equally poised and valid positions. It’s a choice between good science and public health versus crankery.

    • Yes, there’s choice and there’s informed choice.

      This quote would be funny if it wasn’t scary:

      “The appearance of new illnesses [such as] Aids — might also be taken to suggest that the increasing number of people suffering from such disorders may be connected with the widespread and indiscriminate use of antibiotics and paracetamol, which weaken the immune system.”

      And from a medical doctor, no less.

      • Antibiotics, used indiscriminately, do significantly weaken the immune system through interfering with gut bacteria and disrupting the protective layer of organisms humans have evolved with.

        Frequent Paracetamol usage during pregnancy is now being linked to disorders in the offspring and is used with caution in labour due to its ability to disrupt prostaglandin production.

        I don’t see how paracetamol weakens the immune system but there are so many unknown unknowns in terms of medical research that in 20 years or so, he might just have a valid point!

        People can live with HIV and never develop AIDS, the people who do are usually compromised by something else. Coupled with low transmission rates through “normal” human interaction (consensual vaginal intercourse, childbirth, breastfeeding) it is entirely plausible that a healthy and robust microbiome does provide some degree of protection against the virus. Thus you can argue that repeated, indiscriminate and unrequited use of antibiotics would increase the chance of somebody contracting HIV and subsequently developing AIDS.

        Stick a dirty needle in your vein, have infected semem enter rectal capillaries (blood supply from the rectum does not go through the liver, hence why it’s such a good route for medication) or be violently raped and the odds of transmission are higher due to associated trauma and the bypassing of protective microbial films.

  2. [having real problems getting posts submitted at the moment]

    What I meant to go on to say was that by the mere fact of presenting this matter as a choice, where we are implicitly invited to regard choice as an unalloyed good, they are de facto helping the anti-vax stance.

  3. I remember trying to find out about Steiner schools and vaccination a while back. I found this position statement that seems to suggest that vaccination is not recommended in Steiner schools in Switzerland and Lichtenstein: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ersge.ch%2Fjoomla%2Fimages%2Fpdf%2Fprise%2520de%2520position%2520rougeole.pdf and this report of a measles outbreak in Essen: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=19605In total 71 cases occurred from 15 March to 19 May (four cases hospitalised), with the majority linked to a Waldorf school.

    The latter also refers to this outbreak in Berlin: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=19527The index patient is attending a private school (Waldorf-Schule; anthroposophic education). The proportion of students vaccinated against measles in this school is estimated to be significantly below 70%. Parents sending their children to Waldorf schools and kindergartens are known for their critical attitudes towards vaccinations in general and especially with regards to measles vaccination. Thus, the outbreak spread mainly among unvaccinated children and adolescents attending Waldorf institutions (schools and kindergartens in two districts) and their siblings.

  4. Of course it’s no different in California and Highland Hall in Northridge tops the anti-vax list:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57509260/private-school-parents-less-apt-to-have-kids-vaccinated-than-public-school-counterparts-ap-analysis-indicates/

    “There were 110 private schools statewide where more than half the kindergartners skipped some or all of their shots, according to AP’s analysis, with Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge — where 84 percent opted out — topping the list.”

  5. You make an interesting argument that pockets of unvaccinated children like those in Steiner schools could be responsible for the current measles outbreak. But that’s true for any pocket of unvaccinated children, not just Steiner schools.

    In fact, the current outbreak is mostly centred around Swansea, and there doesn’t seem to be a Steiner school in Swansea, so that rules that theory out: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/measles-outbreak-swansea-officials-warn-3158550

    Also, shouldn’t measles only affect the unwashed, unvaccinated masses? I know no vaccine is 100% effective and some vaccinated people will contract the disease, but for there to be an epidemic, there would have to be one of two factors:

    1. Most people in the area are unvaccinated, and/or
    2. The vaccine is not offering effective protection.

    It’s the latter that worries me the most because what if people were wondering around thinking they’re protected when in fact, they were inoculated with a bad batch of the vaccine?

    As for the former, there would have to be a heck of a lot of Steiner families to trigger an epidemic. Looking back at Swansea and its lack of a Steiner school, something else is at play here (or are you suggesting that the whole of the Swansea Steiner community is actually commuting to Cardiff on a daily basis, yet aren’t infecting people there nearly as much as in their home town?)

    • I just checked, and – unless I missed something – there isn’t any mention of Swansea in the post. There is a map of cases which if accurate shows that they in fact are not limited to Swansea.

      I also think it seems a pretty large leap to suggest the implication of the post is that Steiner schools are responsible for the Swansea epidemic. My reading of the post is that given the presence of a disease, the presence of a sizable deliberately unvaccinated population puts others as well as itself at risk. Steiner schools could likely be such a population.

      (It also advocates mandatory vaccination in state education, which the libertarian in me balks at, but I take the point)

      In addition, I don’t think your conditions for an epidemic are an exclusive list:

      [quote]1. Most people in the area are unvaccinated, and/or
      2. The vaccine is not offering effective protection.[/quote]

      1. is surely not accurate. You don’t need less than 50% of people to be unvaccinated for there to be ineffective herd immunity. If you replace ‘most’ with ‘some’, it would be a better suggestion, especially with a large population.

      2. is possible, although I’d be interested to know if you have any evidence that it is the case. In any event, if your concern for people who have been vaccinated with a ‘bad batch’ is real, wouldn’t a logical position for you to advocate be that everyone should be vaccinated to reduce the chance of ‘bad batch’ people being exposed to disease?

      I suspect 2. is considerably less likely than even my modified version of 1.

      • You’re right, Andy doesn’t talk about Swansea, which is why I provided a link to a welsh article which stated “Although the outbreak is centred mainly on Swansea…”

        “I also think it seems a pretty large leap to suggest the implication of the post is that Steiner schools are responsible for the Swansea epidemic”… Well, the article is called “Steiner Schools, Vaccination and Measles Outbreaks”, the supposed link between the outbreak and Steiner schools is right there.

        Re vaccines not offering adequate protection, you responded: “I’d be interested to know if you have any evidence that it is the case”. Actually, no, I was just guessing because I found it odd, personally, for an outbreak to happen like this, in a first world country, when so many people are in fact vaccinated. It was a supposition on my part, so I went to google and lo and behold, scientists are talking about “vaccine failure”, whereby a vaccine doesn’t offer any protection from the disease it’s supposed to be protecting against (there’s even a primary and a secondary type of failure).

        So it’s not a bold new idea and maybe, before we start rounding up the hippies and forcing them to get vaccinated, we should check how many of the children currently in hospital with measles were in fact immunised at some point in the past. Does anyone know?

        Oh and btw, if there’s a “bad batch”, I don’t think it’s a good idea to immunise everyone “just in case”, because which is the bad batch and which isn’t? How would we know for sure?

      • Actually, no, I was just guessing because I found it odd, personally, for an outbreak to happen like this, in a first world country,

        I’m afraid you are simply showing why argument from personal ignorance is a rather useless strategy.

        Measles is extremely contagious, so you need a high level of herd-immunity to stop the virus linking up unvaccinated people into an outbreak. Our populations amount to millions so even a minority of such populations represent large absolute numbers of people.

        the article is called “Steiner Schools, Vaccination and Measles Outbreaks”, the supposed link between the outbreak and Steiner schools is right there.

        No. It’s a link you’ve made for yourself. Andy is describing in generic terms the risk that Steiner schools lose because they create pockets of unvaccinated children and suggesting that they can represent a local factor that can explain heterogeneity in vaccine coverage. Whether there is a steinerist population in these currently affected areas does not affect the validity of this argument.

      • “I’m afraid you are simply showing why argument from personal ignorance is a rather useless strategy.”

        Not personal ignorance at all, but puzzlement and as I said, people with much bigger brains than mine have been talking about this and are calling this “vaccine failure”, where immunised people get infected nonetheless. That’s a big concern. It may be that some vaccines don’t work and this could be a reason for the epidemic we’re currently seeing in the uk.

        It could also explain why pockets of unvaccinated people link up.

        “It’s a link you’ve made for yourself”

        Then why not just call the article “vaccination, measles outbreak and unvaccinated people” or words to that effect? Why target a specific group in the title if you don’t want people to make the connection? Sensationalism, much?

      • Vincent. it has been made perfectly clear to you by BSM. Go back. Have a read. And have a good, long, hard think.

      • Sorry, I missed this.

        I’d imagine, among other things, epidemiologists would look into whether people showing signs of measles had been vaccinated.

        Isn’t your last paragraph somewhat of an argument against any vaccination?

      • Hi G-Po

        Not at all, it’s a potential concern that if vaccinated people aren’t actually protected, how can we know which vaccine is a good vaccine and which one isn’t?

        Of course, we need to wait for reports that show how many of those affected by the epidemic had been vaccinated in the past – if any.

      • But – given sufficient quality control and clinical trials – until any vaccine receives sufficient challenge, isn’t it impossible to tell if bad batches even exist?

        Is your argument then if there is an outbreak of X in an area where some vaccination against X has occurred, then all vaccination against X must stop, in case there is a bad batch? That seems counter-intuitive, and as I suggested before less likely than not enough people having been vaccinated to provide herd immunity.

      • G-Po: Until any vaccine receives sufficient challenge, isn’t it impossible to tell if bad batches even exist?

        Then we should all be grateful to the Steiner school , and other less immunised, communities for providing the challenge. 🙂

      • Since when do we not need two shots to get proper immunity? The first shot gives us immunity for a few weeks/months, the second lasts years.

        Why is the government saying you only need one dose and the second one is only to make sure the few that weren’t immune the first time get immunised then? (I’m blaming the government because you’ve linked to a .gov website)

        This goes against what I’ve been taught is how the immune system works.

      • This goes against what I’ve been taught is how the immune system works.

        Um…it’s a live virus vaccine.

        I expect you were taught about the difference between live and dead vaccines.

      • Not at all, it’s just a classic immune response: if you get infected once, you body will respond to it and then forget about it over time. Multiple exposure means this disease is rife in the local area, so your body will produce a more aggressive response which will protect you for years, or even your entire lifetime.

        To acquire a long immunity, you must be infected more than once.

      • Vincent, the rapidity of your reply suggests you did not follow the lead that I gave you and its content reinforces that impression. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pursue this any further with you.

      • Just to add the ranges to immunity after MMR: measles 90-98% after 2 doses (2-5% of toddlers do not respond with seroconversion after the first dose), mumps and rubella 90-97% after the first dose.

        For Vincents reasoning to be valid the “attack rate” of the contagion needs to be disregarded. Even with an efficacy of 98% the numbers for measles might be higher for vaccinated patients than for unvaccinated ones, simply due to differences in population size…

  6. What would be your take on this report, Andy?
    Bear in mind that the Incas had a rough time thanks to little natural defence against measles in particular. Such a situation could repeat itself in the West should the system break down eventually here. The good times may not last forever and the price of energy, food and commodities are already affecting people’s lives around the world. What if immunisation programs suddenly stopped altogether? Whole countries could be wiped out because of no natural immunity.
    This is the side to the problem that you prefer to ignore.

    http://www.guerillahealthreport.com/post.php?id=341

    • This reminds me: am I right in remembering that vaccinations protect you only for about 10 years? Unlike catching the actual disease which actually protects you for life (assuming you survive it of course).

      So people who were vaccinated as children, may not be immune to measles once they become teenagers – and it looks like teenagers are the ones being affected now.

      Going to look for links to confirm or deny my memory – unless someone here can help me out?

    • Stewart

      It is interesting that you point to a blog post and not the paper. The paper makes a case for early vaccination.

      The thing that quacks never speak about when discussing ‘natural’ immunity is what the cost that immunity is: that is, the exposure of the population to a dangerous disease with all the death, blinding and harm that this carries.

      Or is this is the side to the problem that you prefer to ignore?

      • Hi Andy
        I thought you would ignore my central point and was correct (!) Immunisation programmes take place all over the world and many in remote places. It is highly feasible / inevitable that some populations will without warning have supplies of vaccine suddenly stopping in the future. The cost of a litre of petrol in a remote part of Africa can be horrendous.
        Western governments may well reduce funding to such projects – There is plenty of such talk in Westminster these days
        People will as a result be in danger of being virtually wiped out by conditions such as measles. They will be left dangling on a string at the mercy of NGOs and richer countries.

        Regarding your last point regarding the paper suggesting even earlier immunisation as a solution to poor artificial immunity, that does have the flavour of Alice in Wonderland. But the research was hardly financed by an impartial observer (!) so there should be no surprise there.

      • So let me get this straight.

        You would rather millions of children around the world were killed, blinded and handicapped by diseases like measles rather than fear a safe, cheap and effective means of protection might fail somewhere for unknown reasons.

  7. Measels has a simple cure in homeopathy.

    Morbillinum, Pulstilla, Belladona and Arsnic are used referring to symptoms present.

    • Well there is no doubt that administered in sufficient quantity arsenic will mean measles will no longer be a problem for the patient,

    • Measels has a simple cure in homeopathy.

      No it does not. Spreading this lie in the face of a serious public health matter is just another example of the despicable behaviour of homeopaths (of the type our friend Grumpycat claims not to exist).

      • Badly Shaved Monkey

        Measles is listed under compulsory vaccination in India. Most children are vaccinated. Many are not.
        Majority of children end up with measles. A lot of deaths occur because there is no cure available of the resulting complications.

        Homeopathy has perfect record of treatment of such cases. Cure starts after measles is seen on the patient.

      • Provide the title, journal and date of the PubMed indexed study written by qualified researchers that homeopathy cured measles compared to no treatment.

  8. @badly shaved monkey,
    I’ll indulge you. Here’s a definition of a killed vaccine:
    “The immune system reacts to the presence of the pathogen in the same manner, whether the organism is alive or dead.”

    It does state that “immunity produced by a live, attenuated vaccine is usually more effective.”

    So I checked a definition of attenuated vaccines. Part of it states: “boosters are required less frequently”

    Not “not required”, but “required less frequently”

    I had to check just in case humans had evolved since I studied immunology at university, and I’m glad to see my knowledge is still relevant.

    @Andy Lewis
    Sorry, but BSM didn’t make anything clear at all. I know how the immune system works, having studied it for years.

    • One last post then I really am done with this.

      I know how the immune system works, having studied it for years.

      But those years of study seem not to have told you why primary vaccination regimes differ between killed and live vaccines.

      I’m sorry again, Vincent, but there is a gulf of misunderstanding here that you need to bridge for yourself.

      • You don’t need years of study to understand that a live vaccine will breed, so the little they give you will spawn within you as you fight it off, whereas a dead vaccine will not replicate, meaning that what they give you in the injection is all your immune system has to work with.

        At a very basic level, that’s why live vaccines are better when they can make it (and when it’s not dangerous for you to have it)

        But whether it’s live or not, you need a booster to get a long immunity to the disease. It’s actually more mathematics than biology, really.

      • “You don’t need years of study to understand that a live vaccine will breed, so the little they give you will spawn within you as you fight it off, whereas a dead vaccine will not replicate, meaning that what they give you in the injection is all your immune system has to work with”

        And you claim to have studied immunology at University. May I ask which one if you make statements such as the above!

  9. One county in central North Carolina, US reported 4 cases of measles in children, 3 of whom attend a local Waldorf school. The school was not thought to be the source of the infection. No information was provided about current vaccination status.

  10. Vincent,

    We are used to thinking of the second vaccine as the Booster shot to boost the immune response. The MMR however is a bit of a different story.

    The first dose is effective in about 95% of cases. Immunity is believed to be lifelong. The second dose is not inteded to provide a boost (If immunutity is strong, the live virus may not “take”, in which case no boost provided). It is intended to give the other 5% a chance to have a successful vaccine response.

    I havent read up on this in a while so I would happy to be corrected with references.

    C

    • “The first dose is effective in about 95% of cases. Immunity is believed to be lifelong.”

      Immunity to what, exactly? The NHS has now stopped testing pregnant women for rubella status as so many have lost immunity despite being vaccinated. Even vaccinating again after first birth there was a high rate of immunity being lost by the second pregnancy. Due to very low rates of infection despite high rates of lost immunity it is no longer cost effective to give rubella vaccination post childbirth.

      So the childhood MM works but the R is useless.

      • My point exactly: why is Andy singling out Steiner schools? As I said earlier, the epidemic in Wales is mostly centred around Swansea, a town that doesn’t even have a Steiner school.

    • No, … He singled out Waldorf:

      “Interestingly, this is not the first time that a student at a Waldorf School has developed measles in the last few years. An unvaccinated student at the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New York developed measles in 2012 and another case was linked to the Charlottesville Waldorf School in 2011.”

      Anyone can read the article… why pretend it said something different John?

  11. Strange that there have been no figures highlighting how many of the 1000 plus cases have previously been given the MMR?
    If I were a cynic……..

    • Derek

      I would bet a sizeable amount of folding readies that none of them had received the MMR vaccination.

      Not one.

      Thus the long queues to get kids vaccinated.

      As a benchmark how many of the global smallpox cases involved vaccinated people. Oh, hang on, there weren’t any were there because vaccination eradicated it. Like it almost did with measles and would have done were it not for Wackfraud, his acolytes, the meeja morons in the press and the feckin eejit parents who cannot read and do not know the meaning of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

      • Interesting reply, however there have been reports of whole classes being affected by measles in Swansea. strange that, considering uptake of the vaccine was 85%. I’d have a bet with you, however I doubt we will ever be privvy to the facts.
        I wonder if your view would alter in any way if you were a parent of a child who witnessed the ‘lights going out’ within days of their MMR. Coincidence no doubt.

      • I’m not doubting that vaccination works, but surely there must be some recognition of the fact that a small minority of sensitive children have an adverse reaction whilst 3 live virus’s are introduced via the blood stream? Do we doubt that a small minority of people have an adverse reaction to peanuts or shellfish?

      • I wonder if your view would alter in any way if you were a parent of a child who witnessed the ‘lights going out’ within days of their MMR. Coincidence no doubt.

        You’re right. And the evidence supports that contention. Well done, Derek.

      • peanut and shellfish reactions? Coincidence again no doubt. Silly people don’t know the meaning of ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’

      • Yes. Coincidence.

        Post hoc ergo propter hoc is not just the mother of all superstitions, it is the mother of all logical fallacies, or vice versa. It generates more stupidity than you can poke a stick at.

        I assume the lights going out reference meant an autism diagnosis. Nothing more than coincidence. Sad but coincidental. Nothing to do with MMR. Mostly a function of concentrated medical attention at that age.

        LCN (I think) summed it up many blogs ago with “I had eggs for breakfast and it started raining. Ergo, eggs make it rain”. Boring old (lower case) canard but correlation ain’t causation.

      • ‘Eggs and rain’ don’t really have the same feasible link as ‘immune system assault and autoimmune disease’ you see where I’m coming from?

      • So if that’s correct, the swansea epidemic isn’t caused by vaccine failure, nor by Steiner schools.

        But I do have two questions:

        “The data also suggests that one dose of MMR vaccine has shown to protect against measles in more than 95 out of every 100 cases vaccinated – higher than previous experience.”

        Yet, according to the link JimR gave us, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/faqs-dis-vac-risks.htm “More than 95% of the people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to all 3 viruses.”

        How can the Swansea result be “higher than previous experience” when it actually matches the exact percentage from August 2008 (when the gov article was written)?

        It would also be good to know the age of those “fewer than 10 cases”. It is claimed that MMR gives lifelong immunity, but it only started being used in the 80s and human life span is much longer than 3 decades. How can we know for sure that it does give us lifelong immunity?

        Could it be possible that people vaccinated in the 80s and 90s may no longer be immune now?

      • Vincent, the MMR vaccine has been used since 1971. It was being used in many countries prior to its introduction to the UK in 1988.

        It was noted in the mid-1980s that there were outbreaks in populations with only one dose, so in the USA a second dose was added for ten year olds in the late 1980s. Then that second MMR timing was moved to age four/five sometime around the turn of the century.

      • It would be very interesting if you could provide evidence that the whole classes who contracted measles were in fact 85% vaccinated. Sadly, without said evidence, it’s just hear say.

  12. One more question – why does my GP receive an c£8000 bonus if there is sufficient uptake in MMR? Surely incentives should not be required for such a fundemental safeguard unless the ‘salesman’ is not fully sold on the product.

    • Does this vaccination bonus actually exist? There used to be a much smaller ‘bonus’ which I understood was not a sweetener but to cover additional costs to practices for covering all vaccinations and not just MMR (ie including polio, diptheria, etc) which were a public good, but I can’t see any evidence of it in the last ten years.

      • G-Po,

        Your quite right, my info was outdated and now realise that the system changed in 2002 after GP’s suggested that they were losing the confidence of their patients as a result.

        Announced this week – GP’s to receive £16.53 per MMR in a new drive to immunise those that ‘slipped through the net’
        ie £1653 per 100 jabbed.

      • Why the “bonus”. Because of the disproportionate resource required to get the children of those who have been fooled into the surgery for vaccination. Ten years ago when our children were being vaccinated, the surgery nurse would spend 3 mornings a week trawling the community, visiting homes pleading with parent to get their kids vaccinated. Herd immunity is critical for a highly contagious disease. The “bonus” to the surgery is nothing compared to the cost of life long care for an avoidable disability. So is there a conspiracy here working the other way, from those who may “profit” from an increase in such disabilities? No. Why? Because generally those who are pro vaccine base their arguments on evidence.

  13. Dear Derek

    On the issue of Steiner Education in general, and its relation to vaccination and alt-med, you might like to read my piece at http://stumbles.org.uk/John/Steiner/skeptic

    With regards to your comment: “I wonder if your view would alter in any way if you were a parent of a child who witnessed the ‘lights going out’ within days of their MMR. Coincidence no doubt.”

    I agree it would be hard not to associate the two things if you were the unfortunate parent. But even if there is no connection between MMR and Autism there will be some children who show the first symptoms of their Autism within a day (or a few days) of a vaccination. Even if there’s only a 1 in a million chance of the two happening close enough together that you would think they must be connected, when you’ve got hundreds of millions of children world-wide (or even just in the English-speakihg, Internet-connected world) that will give you hundreds of cases you can hear about on the internet.

    So, yes, it could be coincidence. The only way you wouldn’t have such coincidences would be if vaccines actually prevented autism!

    Despite the rather bland reassurances of governments and official health bodies that “studies have shown vaccines are safe”, actually a hell of a lot of studies have shown that to be so. There’s a study from Japan where there was a problem with supplies of MMR so they went back to single vaccines: there was no drop in Autism (in fact it went on rising). There have been studies based on records of hundreds of thousands of children in Denmark, Finland (I think) and parts of California which have compared autism rates between vaccinated and un-vaccinated children (no difference), autism rates amongst children who’ve had different numbers of vaccinations, different total amounts of vaccines, studies looking at whether there’s a link with Diabetes, allergies, whether vaccinated children are prone to more other illnesses (coughs & colds etc) … it really does seem that apart from the known side effects the regular childhood vaccines are not producing other diseases. (And the known side effects are mostly non-life-threatening and in the rare cases where they do cause serious harm or even death the probability is much lower than the risks of similar harms from catching the diseases the vaccines protect against.

    And the issue of “90% of infected children were already immunised”?
    That’s a case of “lies, damned lies and statistics”!
    No vaccine is 100% effective so in an outbreak a small percentage of vaccinated people will get ill as well as a large percentage of unvaccinated ones. If most people are vaccinated then even the small proportion of them that still catch it may still outnumber the unvaccinated ones. And even if the vaccine didn’t protect them entirely it may still lessen the severity of the illness for them.

    best regards

    John Stumbles

  14. I saw a recent article about a possible method of very early diagnosis of autism, shortly after birth. The article stated that this could allow very early intervention that may significantly improve the outcome for those so diagnosed.

    My take on that is the early identification would preclude post hoc ergo propter hoc associations because autism identification would precede many things now associated with its cause.

    • Ah, but the mothers have been vaccinated….

      But, you’re right though, to the reasonably sane this would move vaccination right out of the frame

    • John Stumbles citation argues for complete vaccination of women of child bearing age against German Measles, the R in MMR. Preventing Rubella in the mother during pregnancy prevents Congenital Rubella Syndrome in the baby which prevents Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the child. The conclusion of the article endorses widespread vaccination.

      This is wonderful; direct evidence that MMR vaccination in fact prevents ASD not causes it. Wackfraud had it completely backwards.

      • Dear Pete

        You said “Mr. Stumbles’ comment appears to be the opposite of what the link describes too.”

        I had said “There is evidence for a link between MMR and Autism”

        What i said was actually true, although it was also deliberately misleading. In order to understand why I worded it like that you may like to consult http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony

        best regards

        John S

      • It is rarely possible to have a rational conversation with the jabbophobes. If something is demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt they merely move the goalposts, exactly the same as creationist dimwits. It is the live vaccine – it is not live/it is the mercury – there is no mercury/it is too many too soon – no it isn’t. The whole batch of stupid is fuelled by big breasted/small brained dumbos like Mary Mccarthy and gurning fools like Jim Carey.

        In fact jabbophobia has almost become religious in that same way that creationism is. It has become a matter of belief rather than rational discourse. As an example you can read posts where a mother complains that her first child was fully vaccinated and was then diagnosed as autistic. Naturally she blames the MMR vaccine. Her second and third children did not get the pejorative “Jab” yet are autistic nonetheless. Whereas any sane person would look for a genetic, environmental or developmental explanation she still blames the “Jab” – as if an attenuated vaccine could somehow leap from body to body.

        And they lie shamelessly. A US jabbophobe website (possibly AoA) posted that their were 24 deaths as a direct result of girls getting the HPV vaccination. When some vaguely more rational types looked into this they found that indeed 24 young girls had died. One fell down a well, several were killed in road accidents and the rest died from pre-existing conditions or accidents. However, this became an internet meme and has assumed the status of unarguable truth.

        For what it is worth that large scale Scandinavian study referenced above showed a slightly lower incidence of autism among the vaccinated cohort. Unlike the jabbophobes the epidemiologists did not clutch at straws and suggest it prevented autism.

        The Japanese experience referenced above was not one where there were inadequate supplies of the MMR vaccine. The Japanese government stopped MMR vaccinations because of a well organised campaign by (possibly well-meaning) but incredibly half-witted jabbophobes. It is true that the rate of autism continued to increase after MMR was stopped. Jabbophobes do not understand that this might indicate a lack of any causal relationship becuse their faith is unshakeable

        Orac has made a second career moonlighting as an anti-jabbophobe and has excoriated the half-wits in countless postings on Respectful Insolence (but the rational among you probably knew that).

      • Dear ‘Spotty’

        Do you have references for the HPV debunk, the Scandanavian study showing lower autism amongst the vaccinated and for the Japanese move to single vaccines being a result of an anti-MMR campaign rather than shortage of the combined vaccine? (I’m writing an essay about vaccination and would appreciate all the reliable sources I can get for it.)

        The lower incidence of autism among the vaccinated is particularly important. After posting that link to the study showing that the Rubella vaccine should reduce the incidence of autism I realised that the implication of that is that if autism rates were no different between MMR and non-MMR groups it would suggest that the fall in autism dues to the rubella vaccine must be balanced by a rise due to some other factor.

        Quite agree about Orac: I find him a fount of wisdom not only on vaccines but all sorts of med-v-alt-med issues.

        Lastly I must take you to task for what I regard as a sexist comment regarding Mary (surely Jenny?) Mccarthy. I don’t think the size of her breasts has any bearing on the merits (or otherwise) of her arguments!

        best regards,

        John S

      • John S

        I do not have the time, patience or inclination to dig out the references, at least not immediately.

        I realise that is somewhat reprehensible but this stuff is effectively a PRATT.

        As the scraggy simian has oft pointed out “Google your friend is. Use it wisely”. Books and original articles are sometimes useful.

        I will make an effort tomorrow in an effort to atone for the sins of poor references and sexism

        Apologies for the sexist comment. And yes I did mean Jenny – I stand corrected, which is more than any jabbophobe will ever admit to. I suppose that having your busty substances augmented does not automatically qualify you as a moron – but it is usually a useful indicator. And just to compound my crime, and also to prove I am a tolerant person, I would if she asked me nicely. Although she is a moron she has a certain pulchritudinous quality.

        Try looking at JABS by Becky. A virulently (ho ho) anti-jabbophobe site.

      • Dear Inadvertent

        (though given your penultimate paragraph I think that’s a misnomer)

        No worries if you don’t have references to hand. Yeah I know STFW, but my google-fu doesn’t always have the necessary quantum vibrational energy karmic field.

        Although it did yield to ‘PRATT acronym’ so I’ll go to bed happy tonight.

        atb

        JS

      • JS

        You could start with this item in the New Scientist. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7076-autism-rises-despite-mmr-ban-in-japan.html

        Google “Japanese MMR autism” and you will get loads of stuff, including the Honda study.

        Have a good punt around Pubmed. You should pick up the Scandiwegian study, although it might be firewalled.

        Interesting point as to why the Scandinavian study showed less autism in the vaccinated cohort. I had assumed it was a statistical fluke based on the much larger size of that cohort versus the unvaccinated mob (probably mostly new age nutjobs and religionist dimwits). I think (from memory) the study covered 530,000 children over a long period so it is pretty authoritative.

        I fear Derek is an implacable jabbophobe and as such beyond reason and rational discourse. I said in the 3.33 post above that jabbophobes merely move the goalposts when the going gets tough, a point made by LCN in his 1.31 “whooooosh” post. Natural selection will hopefully remove them from the gene pool within several generations.

        One can only hope.

        It is a great shame that the sins of the nutjob parents are visited on their children.

      • Thanks for that Chris.

        Bloody hell, what a mess! Unless things have changed a lot in the last 10+ years it looks as if we have to add Japan to South Wales, Steiner schools and UK private schools as places to go if you want to catch Measles!

        atb

        JS

      • There were a few outbreaks here in the USA that came from Japan. One included an international youth sports competition.

        There is some literature in the PubMed from Japanese researchers expressing lots of concern over them exporting measles:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18346240 . Which says: “Imported measles cases and outbreaks involving Japanese travelers have been reported from the United States and other countries. For the United States, Japan is the top country of origin.”

        The city I live in on the American west coast is a common destination for Asian travelers. Every year or so there is a notice that someone came on a plane with measles. The worst was when eight out of ten kids from one family got measles at a church conference most likely from someone attending from Japan. That outbreak caused totaled nineteen.

        There was an outbreak imported from Korea a few years earlier in a private school too close to my neighborhood. My two younger kids did not need their second MMR until they turned ten, but I took them in for the booster when they were five and nine. The next year or so the age of the second booster was lowered to four/five years old.

      • John Stumbles

        I made a reference to the JABS website and unfortunately cross referenced it to Becky’s anti-jabbophobe website (or at least it could have been read that way).

        JABS is a website of complete and utter batshit jabbophobia populated by what William Boyd called CAUCs. I wouldn’t bother trying to post anything even remotely rational on it (should you feel so inclined) as the nutjob harpy that runs it will just delete your post, throw you off and block you. Derek is probably a regular contributor.

        Becky’s website is http://jabsloonies.blogspot.co.uk/

        If you are writing something on the sheer lunacy and stupidity of jabbophobes Becky’s somewhat forthright blog is as good a start as any. She has, errrm, a way with words (to say the least) and is not exactly backwards in coming forwards with her vituperative prose. I love her.

        Best wishes,
        A remarkably smoothly complexioned Spotty M
        (Some jabbophobe twats are as devoid of cultural references as they are of scientific ones)

      • With reference to the autism rates still increasing despite MMR being withdrawn at the time in Japan – It has never been suggested that MMR was the only cause of the dramatic increase in children being diagnosed with autistic tendencies ( please do not give me the old chestnut ‘ detection methods have improved’) there are obviously other causes especially if you are adamant that vaccines play no part.
        Cancer rates per se would still increase if the world stopped smoking therefore does that mean that smoking does not cause cancer?
        Autism is a general term that describes a whole range of behavioural issues.

      • Derek

        It seems pretty clear from the many studies looking for evidence of any link between autism and vaccines that there isn’t one (or actually, as the study I posted a link to yesterday suggests, that Rubella vaccination helps reduce autism).

        Old chestnut or not it’s not clear how much of the increase in autism/ASDs is real and how much is due to people being classified as such who wouldn’t have been in earlier times.[1] Critics ask – reasonably enough – if autism has been with us for many decades where are the now middle-aged and elderly profoundly autistic children of earlier generations? The answer, sadly, horrifically and outrageously is, as autistic disability rights activist Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg reports[2] (based on Fred Pelka’s book “What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement”), that the autistic children of former generations were locked away in institutions of such degredation, inhumanity and abuse that few survived into old age.

        It is quite possible that autism is actually really increasing. It seems we still know little about its causes. But just because it’s increasing and the number of vaccinations children receive have also incresed over the years doesn’t mean they’re connected. As someone rather facetiously observed you can find a very convincing correlation between autism and another factor: http://media.boingboing.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/1WZ6h.png

        [1] http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6103a1.htm
        [2] http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/1415-2/

      • to suggest that Rubella vaccination reduces autism, yet deny the possibilty that vaccines can be associated with autism is quite staggering. You can’t have it both ways… having your cake is not enough it seems.

      • to suggest that Rubella vaccination reduces autism, yet deny the possibilty that vaccines can be associated with autism is quite staggering. You can’t have it both ways… having your cake is not enough it seems.

        Derek, I shall assume that you present illogical arguments through sheer laziness.

        It is perfectly logical to hypothesise accines could be linked with both positive and negative effects. Whether they have any specific positive or negative effect is decided on the basis of evidence. The evidence clearly tells is MMR does not increase the risk of autism. If there is evidence that vaccination against a disease known to affect neural tissue actually reduces the risk of autism then this would be a good, if unexpected, thing.

      • Dear Derek,

        I’m not denying that it’s *possible* that vaccines could cause autism.
        But it does seem that the mass of research into the possibility shows fairly conclusively that it doesn’t actually happen.

        best regards
        John S

  15. Illogical? as opposed to your big Pharma funded ‘research’? How many decades of so called research ‘proved’ no link between smoking and lung cancer? Too many sheeple brainwashed by a sytem with a vested interest.
    Explain please the recent multi million dollar awards in the U.S. and Italy to victims of the MMR.
    If the vaccine is 99.9% safe, out of 500,000 vaccines given, 500 children will have their lives snuffed out – how many measles victims (with no underlying health issues) in that period would be devastated to the same degree? Remember the WHO and the swine flu panic? more people died from the common flu virus during that period.
    Scaremongering as per usual, a media driven frenzy where no counter arguement is ever aired.
    Strange, don’t you think, the measles panic in Wales is rapidly disappearing from our screens and papers?

    • Dear Derek

      Regarding court awards like the Italian one:

      In November 1999 Sally Clark was convicted of the murder of her first two children on the basis of what was later acknowledged to be a gross and grotesque miscarriage of justice, due largely to basic misunderstandings of statistical probabilities by prosecution, defence, judges and juries alike. (Put simply it was as if the winner of a lottery jackpot were prosecuted for fraud because the odds of them winning the jackpot legitimately were so slight that it must have been fraud.)
      http://understandinguncertainty.org/node/545

      In March 2003, in a case similar to Sally Clark’s, Dutch paediatric nurse Lucia de Berk was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder largely on the basis of the Dutch courts’ mind-bogglingly incompetent grasp of statistics.
      http://www.badscience.net/2010/04/lucia-de-berk-a-martyr-to-stupidity/

      In October 2012 an Italian court jailed six scientists for failing to correctly predict the magnitude of the 2009 earthquake that devastated the city of L’Aquila, despite the obvious and well-known limitations to seismology’s predictive abilities.
      http://www.senseaboutscience.org/news.php/279/italian-seismologists-found-guilty-of-manslaughter

      And In June 2012 an Italian court ruled that MMR vaccination caused autism in a child.

      It seems fairly clear that courts are capable of grossly misunderstanding science and especially probability. In the case of the Italian MMR – Autism ruling there seems no evidence, apart from the coincidence of the child’s parents first noticing symptoms of his autism a few days after his vaccination, for linking the two.

      • and in America?

        CBS News has found that since 1988, the vaccine court has awarded money judgments, often in the millions of dollars, to thirteen hundred and twenty two families whose children suffered brain damage from vaccines. In many … cases, the government paid out awards following a judicial finding that vaccine injury lead to the child’s autism spectrum disorder. In each of these cases, the plaintiffs’ attorneys made the same tactical decision made by Bailey Bank’s lawyer, electing to opt out of the highly charged Omnibus Autism Proceedings and argue their autism cases in the regular vaccine court. In many other successful cases, attorneys elected to steer clear of the hot button autism issue altogether and seek recovery instead for the underlying brain damage that caused their client’s autism.”: [Vaccine Court: Autism Debate Continues – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and David Kirby Huffington Post 24 Feb 2009]

        1322 awards in 1 year – say no more, please.

      • Mr. Kennedy was known to get things very wrong, multiple times. Here are the statistics for American vaccine injury compensations:
        http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html

        A bit over 3200 claims have been compensated in the last twenty three years. There were not over a thousand given in one year. Most of them are “Table Injury” compensations. Which means there is a list of known vaccine reactions listed on a table, so if a child has seizures within ten days of an MMR vaccine, they are awarded without much fuss. Even though the seizures may have another cause (like the illness my son had two weeks after his MMR).

        The USA is a big country. About four million babies are born there each year, which means at a 90% vaccination rate there are several million vaccines given to children per year. And in over twenty years that is hundreds of millions of vaccines given.

        So what percentage is 3200 of (6000000kids/year *0.9* 25 vaccine * 23 years) (*100 for percent)? Well it is 3200/310500000(*100 for percent) or 1/970312(*100 for percent) or 0.0001% . What else is there to say?

        That lawyers like Robert Kennedy can’t count? Or read? Or do science? Or that you should never trust a former travel writer, David Kirby, who was paid to write a book on vaccines, a subject he knows nothing about?

  16. Spotty, (obviously not from measles, just really bad acne one suspects/hopes)

    some salient points for you from a speech given by a U.S. congressman given in the house of representatives, April 23rd 2013.

    ‘When I was young, autism was virtually unheard of. In the 1980s
    rarely did you meet someone who knew someone with autism. Yet, in the
    1990s there was an explosion of autism. Indeed, in the course of just
    my lifetime, Autism Spectrum Disorder has grown from a very rare
    condition to–according to the Centers for Disease Control–a
    developmental disorder affecting 1-in-50 school aged children. And,
    tragically, the rate for school aged boys is a disturbing 1-in-31’

    ‘I must concur with the experts
    who have been willing to speak out, that the epidemic increase in the
    rates of autism are not a ‘genetic’ epidemic. Indeed, you don’t have
    genetic epidemics. While there is likely a genetic component to many
    who have been diagnosed with Autism, we must seriously consider that
    there are likely several key factors in autism.
    Also, so some who have suggested that the increase in Autism is due
    to better diagnosis, you don’t go from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 80 in three
    decades due to better diagnosis alone. And, if that were the case,
    where are the tens of thousands of autistic adults in their 40s, 50s
    and 60s. While better diagnosis may be a factor, common sense says
    there is a real increase and something is causing it.’

    ‘I was pleased to participate in a November 2012 House Oversight and
    Government Reform hearing on the Federal Response to Autism. That was
    one of the most attended hearings I have participated in since coming
    to Washington in 2009. Indeed at this hearing it was standing room
    only, and overflow rooms had to be used to accommodate the public. This
    was a much anticipated hearing from many parents of children suffering
    from Autism who want clear and unbiased answers to questions
    surrounding the epidemic.’

    – a lot of interest in the welfare of ‘nutjob parents’ and their kids.

    Full link: http://beta.congress.gov/congressional-record/2013/04/26/extensions-of-remarks-section/article/E576-1

    • Measles outbreak, Islamabad April 2013.

      While talking about the causes of the measles outbreak, he said that there was an urgent need to study the epidemiology of the disease, as more than 50 per cent of the children brought to the hospital were those who had already been vaccinated against measles
      – said Dr Tabish Hazir, head of the paediatrics department at the Children Hospital.

      Kinda messes up a few researched posts on here, does it not!

      http://tribune.com.pk/story/541062/measles-outbreak-city-hospitals-continue-to-receive-new-cases/

      • Dear Derek

        You say

        66

        Measles outbreak, Islamabad April 2013.

        While talking about the causes of the measles outbreak, he said that there was an urgent need to study the epidemiology of the disease, as more than 50 per cent of the children brought to the hospital were those who had already been vaccinated against measles
        – said Dr Tabish Hazir, head of the paediatrics department at the Children Hospital.

        Kinda messes up a few researched posts on here, does it not!

        99

        I don’t know if it messes up some posts, but as I pointed out to you a few days ago it’s a case of “lies, damned lies and statistics”: if vaccines are less that 100% effective then there will be some vaccinated people amongst those who get ill during an outbreak, and if a large proportion of the population have been vaccinated then those vaccinated-but-stil-caught-it people can outnumber the unvaccinated victims. This percentage tells us about as much as “50% of the population are below average intelligence”[1] does.
        What we’re really interested in is what percentage of the population gets ill: 10% of a largely-vaccinated population is a much better outcume than 90% of a largely unvaccinated one

        regards

        JS

        [1] I know: median not mean!

      • “lies, damned lies and statistics”

        Of course, head of paediatrics at a children’s hospital would be a prime candidate for the above.

        LMAO!!

      • That article is missing some information.

        What measles vaccine? Where were they manufactured? How were they stored (was the cold chain maintained)? How many vaccine doses?

        Even though the article said: “Dr Hazir said that all components of mass vaccination including correct case identification, recognition of the high-risk population group, quality control checks on vaccines, maintenance of cold chain, evaluation and estimation of seroconversion must be diligently implemented across the country.”

        This article clarifies a bit more:
        http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/measles-vaccination-plans-intensify-in-turkey-after-3000-cases.aspx?pageID=238&nid=45897

        One third are under a year old, and it is only one dose of a measles vaccine.

    • Dear Derek

      You say “some salient points for you from a speech given by a U.S. congressman given in the house of representatives, April 23rd 2013.”

      Well of course US politicians are well known for their grasp of science!

      “‘When I was young, autism was virtually unheard of. In the 1980s
      rarely did you meet someone who knew someone with autism. Yet, in the
      1990s there was an explosion of autism.”

      That’s the sort of “evidence” that is prone to be highly unreliable due to the availability heuristic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic

      As Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg reports the reason the US congressman didn’t come across autistic children in his childhood is that they were locked away in institutions.
      http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/1415-2/

      regards

      John S

      • Some pretty massive institutions must have been around to house tens of thousands of HIDDEN people – we are talking about America in the 50s, 60s & 70s, not Hitlers pre war Germany for goodness sake.

        Regardless,
        my previous post regarding the situation in Islamabad, completely nullifies the vast majority of comments on this board – as I’m constantly being told, you cannot argue with facts.
        50% failure to protect via MMR should be the end of discussion, or do I sense a Whoooooosh coming on !!!

      • What measles vaccine do they use in Islamabad? Is it the MMR used in either the UK or USA? If not, then it has nothing to do with either MMR vaccine.

        By the way, developing countries have their own measles vaccines, and often they are not the MMR, and not manufactured in Europe or the Americas. Plus you need to make sure that the cold chain is maintained, because in places with very little refrigeration it is difficult to keep the dry powder that is mixed with sterile water viable (which is how the measles vaccine comes). It then needs to be used within eight hours after being kept at certain temperatures.

    • Ooops. Thanks.

      Well that was a sleep deprived mistake (why do happy little birdies have to sing at 4am?). It still does not answer the question on the doses, the type of measles vaccine or the cold chain.

      Or how Robert Kennedy could claim the NVICP awarded more than a thousand claims in one year? Or how 3200 compensations is even a drop in the bucket in over three hundred million vaccine doses?

      • and what percentage of cases actually go all the way to compensation? A tiny percentage I suspect are ever reported or where a connection is made, after all, every attempt is made to discredit anyone who would attempt to make such a ludicrous claim.
        Your drop in the bucket would make a fairly big splash I fear.

      • I gave you the link with all of the statistics. You really do not understand what “Table Injury” means do you?

        The level of evidence for the Autism Omnibus was 50% plus a feather. All of the testimony is online, all you have to do is read it. This page is a good place to start:
        http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/189/

        Those are only legal rulings. There has been plenty of science done in several countries on three continents that show no real correlation between autism and the MMR vaccine.

        The MMR vaccine has been used in the USA for over forty years. Vaccine safety surveillance has removed a couple of the early measles vaccines from the 1960s, the OPV vaccine and the first rotavirus vaccine (RotaShield), smallpox were replaced or removed. And in Canada, Japan and UK the MMR vaccines with the Urabe mumps component were removed fairly quickly (Urabe was never used in the USA).

        So you would have to produce scientific evidence more convincing that the hundreds of millions of doses of MMR has caused more harm than measles than some legal cases.

      • 50% failure of a measles vaccine – quod erat demonstratum.

        Official stats from Public Health Wales:
        http://www2.nphs.wales.nhs.uk:8080/CommunitySurveillanceDocs.nsf/3dc04669c9e1eaa880257062003b246b/38c4ee86b5fd701e80257b41003cdc52/$FILE/monthly%20lab%20201303.pdf

        For the entire period 1 January to March 31, 2013 for the whole of Wales there were just 26 laboratory confirmed cases out of 446 notifications: 10 in January, 8 in February. And in March just eight cases out of 302 notifications for the whole of Wales