"The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness." -- Dr. Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of The Lancet, one of the worlds most respected, peer-reviewed medical journals, 2015 (source)
Those who challenge widely held and long standing beliefs often face harsh criticism, personal attacks and ostracization. The adult ego and entrenched belief systems, even among those within the scientific and medical communities, can by themselves stifle relevant discussion and prevent further and necessary research. Far more worrying is the immense influence the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry has upon the scientific community, medical schooling, government policy and public perception. What the general public may perceive as scientifically valid information is often little more than thinly disguised propaganda disseminated by those having a vested interest in obtaining a particular result.
If you surmise that i am one of those "anti-vaccine" people, your assessment is not accurate, nor is it generally true that the plethora of scientists, healthcare professionals and parents who question the safety and efficacy of vaccines, are anti-vaccine; many are simply pro-safe vaccines. The government and the mainstream media use terms like "anti-vaxer" in an attempt to marginalize the rapidly growing number of professionals and parents who challenge the status quo, as though there are only two kinds of people who hold an opinion on vaccines; the right-think type who postulate that all vaccines are safe, and the wrong-think type who postulate that all vaccines are dangerous and must be avoided. The safety and efficacy of vaccines and the vaccination programs in the United States and elsewhere is not a binary one, nor by any stretch of the imagination is the science settled as the public is led to believe. Science is never settled, it is an ongoing process of discovery.
I would like to state up front that although i am highly critical of western medicine, i am less critical of the front-line physicians who i believe are largely well intentioned and genuinely concerned with the welfare of their patients. The problem is not the ethics of the doctor as much as it is the monetary wall that the pharmaceutical industry has erected between the doctor and safer healthcare solutions. One cannot accurately access the issue of vaccine safety, nor the healthcare system in general, without understanding the tremendous influence that the pharmaceutical industry has upon the aforementioned institutions. Having studied a wide array of politically sensitive topics for many years, corruption is not a subject i'm foreign to, however the shear scale of blatant corruption and obscene criminality that exists within the healthcare system in the United States and elsewhere is impressive, even to me. The reader must account for this when considering any study published by the FDA, the CDC, pharmaceutical companies, or other vested interests, as well as the advice offered by their doctor since the education doctors receive is filtered through these heavily corrupt institutions.
Not all science is bad science, but not all science is sound science either and the trend seems to be getting worse as for-profit corporations, lobbyists and politics gain more influence in the field of science. Politics and greed are major forces which underlie virtually all of our primary institutions and to think for a moment that the healthcare industry has remained free of corruption, or even largely free of corruption, is a mistake of epic proportions. Raking in approximately $24 billion annually, and afforded blanket liability protection by the U.S. government, the vaccine industry is an incredibly lucrative one and where there is money there is greed. This is one reason for the dramatic increase in the number of vaccines a child is subjected to today (approximately 70 injections as of this writing). Meanwhile the overall health of the population, at least in the U.S., is experiencing a sharp and steady decline. We must ask why.
Following are some of the popular claims regarding vaccines. Evidence to support the responses will be provided in this series of articles.
CLAIM: The science is settled.
RESPONSE: Any reasonable scientist will tell you that science is never settled. Science is a constantly evolving process of discovery and revision. Furthermore, the field of science is not at all immune from corruption or bias by vested interests with billions of dollars at stake. Evidence of corruption in science can clearly be seen in the cherry-picking of studies for publication where studies that produce a result which is favorable to a vested interest are published in far greater number than those which are not. One example is an anti-depressant for which there were 38 favorable studies and 36 negative. Of these, 37 of the positive studies were published verses only 3 of the negative studies and this is hardly an isolated case.
CLAIM: Vaccines are safe.
RESPONSE: Though there are multiple vectors from which to attack this claim, one of the more obvious is to question why, if it were true, the U.S. government has provided vaccine manufactures with blanket liability protection through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program which, as of this writing, has paid out approximately $40 billion dollars since its inception in 1988. Another problem with this claim is that parents, patients and physicians are typically not well educated regarding vaccines, their ingredients and potential side-effects. This lack of knowledge has led some researchers to estimate that only approximately 1% of vaccine attributable injuries are reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a resources which some doctors are not even aware of. As a result of this disturbing lack of knowledge, parents of children who suffer immediate and sometimes serious problems after receiving one or more vaccines are typically told that the reaction is normal, or a coincidence, or simply that the it cannot possibly be attributed to vaccines. Finally, not a single study has been conducted which compares the health of vaccinated children with that of unvaccinated children which indicates the vaccinated are healthier. Not one.
CLAIM: Vaccines save lives.
RESPONSE: This claim is far less concrete than the public is led to believe. There are many factors to be considered, including side-effects, virus propagation through live virus vaccines, so-called "herd immunity" verses natural immunity, the latter of which is compromised as a direct result of vaccines, and many others which will be explored in this series of articles.
CLAIM: Unvaccinated people spread disease.
RESPONSE: Many outbreaks in cases where live virus vaccines were administered can be attributed to people who were fully vaccinated against the disease being spread. This can be seen in the cases of the polio, smallpox and measles vaccines for example. In the case of the polio, it is estimated that 70% of people with polio today contracted the disease from those who were vaccinated. It is also alarming that some of those who are ardently pro-vaccine use this as an argument to support compulsory vaccination, as though the right of a parent to make decisions regarding their children's welfare should be excised.
CLAIM: Mercury has been removed from vaccines.
RESPONSE: As of the 2018-2019 season, thimerosal, an organomercurial compound, is present in all of the multi-dose influenza vaccines, as well as in several others, though primarily in trace amounts. Mercury is extremely neurotoxic and no studies have ever been sanctioned by the CDC regarding the safety of thimerosal when injected into the bloodstream.
CLAIM: There is no link between vaccines and autism.
RESPONSE: Even if you consider only studies published by the CDC, there is indeed strong evidence that vaccines can and have caused neurological damage, including problems which appear on the autism spectrum. When you consider a larger body of evidence, the link becomes more concrete. This is not to say that vaccines necessarily cause autism, but rather that there appears to be a statistically significant link between the two.
CLAIM: Dr. William Thompson, the CDC whistle-blower, is a fraud.
RESPONSE: While Dr. Thompson has certainly been professionally, personally and persistently attacked, no one has creditably refuted the results of his work regarding an association between the MMR vaccine and an increased rate of autism in African-American boys when the vaccine is administered at a very young age. By the way, Dr. Thompson is not anti-vaccine as he is painted by the media, nor did he ever state that vaccines cause autism. Dr. Thompson simply exposed the fact that the CDC manipulated and destroyed data in order to downplay a statistically significant link between the MMR vaccine and autism in African-American boys. As a result of his findings, Dr. Thompson simply recommended that the MMR vaccine be administered at a later age when the risk of developing autism was less significant.
CLAIM: Dr. Andrew Wakefield is a fraud.
RESPONSE: The Wakefield peer-reviewed Lancet paper was published along with 12 of his highly creditable colleagues. Are they all frauds too? Furthermore, the UK General Medical Council overturned the findings of misconduct against Dr. Wakefield in 2012 and this was later acknowledged by the Lancet. It appears that the National Institutes of Health, who has published well over 100 articles and papers referring to Dr. Wakefield, several of which are highly critical, has failed to acknowledge the findings of the UK High Court and as of February, 2018, 6 years after Wakefield was exonerated, there is no mention of the councils findings on his Wikipedia page.
CLAIM: All of the anti-vaccine rhetoric started with Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
RESPONSE: The controversy regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines dates back to the mid 1800s and the live virus smallpox vaccine which caused a large number of deaths and spread the disease further. Though the contributions of Dr. Wakefield are non-trivial, his work is a blip on an immensely larger radar.
CLAIM: The rise in the rate of autism is due to changes in the diagnostic criteria and increased public awareness.
RESPONSE: If the first part of that statement were true, we should have seen a sudden spike in the rate of autism cases shortly after the diagnostic criteria was altered, after which the curve should have normalized, however we are instead seeing an exponential rise with no ceiling in sight. Furthermore, it appears there were no changes to the diagnostic criteria between 1994 and 2013, yet the rate of autism continued to skyrocket during that time. According to the CDC, the number of autistic children in 2002 was 1 in 150 and just 10 years later it was 1 in 68. A study by the National Center for Health Statistics put the number at 1 in 35 for 2016 and the rate is expected by some to climb to 1 in 2 or 3 by 2025. As for the second part of the claim, the public doesn't define diagnostic criteria.