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Vaccines: more good than harm?  

post #1 of 144
Thread Starter 

Hey everybody,

Currently there's a survey taking place (of just one question) to determine how parents perceive the vaccination of children. It's a very important topic. Answers will be useful for a forthcoming objective article on the topic. Please participate and invite your family and friends to do so as well.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N68RTFD

post #2 of 144

I'm moving this to Vaccinations Discussions and Debate where it is better hosted. smile.gif bakunin, welcome to Mothering! Welcome.gif
 

post #3 of 144

What use is this survey?

Let's say that vaccines might prevent symptoms of whatever diseases in, oh, say, 60% of those who are vaccinated.  (Number pulled out of my hat for purpose of hypothetical example.)

 

And let's say that, in addition to protecting 60% from dreaded disease symptoms,  60 percent had either no adverse effects, or else very mild, transient effects.

 

But let's also say that between 25-40% had varying severe adverse effects, ranging from arthritis/arthralgia to intestinal problems to diabetes to autoimmune disorders to seizure disorders to brain damage to death, with only 1-2% actually dying.

 

In this hypothetical example, everyone would have to say that vaccines do more good than harm.

 

The real question is, at what point do we say that the benefit is not worth the harm?

 

What is an acceptable number for individuals harmed by an invasive treatment that was meant to protect? 5%?  10%?  25%?  40%?

And how does the answer to that question change when we realize that our health care providers have been trained to disbelieve reports of harm, and are literally trained to NOT recognize the harm when it occurs?

 

And what does it take to GET people to realize that HCPs are trained to not recognize vaccine-induced harm?  (I actually know the answer to that one: it takes their own child being affected.  Sad, but true.)

post #4 of 144

I think it is a very interesting question that could make for a decent discussion - but not survey.  The answer is too complicated and nuanced.

 

Two basic questions:  

-are we talking about more good than harm for society or the individual?   Answers may differ.

- which vaccines?  Is it appropriate to lump them all in together?

post #5 of 144
Thread Starter 

@ HappyHappyMommy Thank you:)

 

@Taximom5 The purpose of the poll (technically is not a survey as I wrongfully wrote) is to measure the perception of parents about vaccinating their children. To be more specific parents who use the internet and social media.

In a few days an article will be released with lots of available evidence on benefits and risks. Although you make a valid point with your hypothetical numbers, what if the statistics are not as nontrivial and instead, there are markedly different statistics for benefits and risks? That's what will be explored in the article.

 

@kathymuggle Yes, the poll question is overly simple. But as replied to Taximom5:
"The purpose of the poll (technically is not a survey as I wrongfully wrote) is to measure the perception of parents about vaccinating their children. To be more specific parents who use the internet and social media."

 

Although I acknowledge that some parents only worry about some vaccines I want to infer about parents that worry about ALL vaccines. The article will summarize benefits and risks of several vaccines and provide adequate references for further information among other things :)


Edited by bakunin - 7/14/13 at 8:26pm
post #6 of 144
Where is the article going to be published? Who is writing it?
post #7 of 144
Thread Starter 

Hi Dalia,

The article will be available on a website called Living Green with Baby by the end of the month or so. It will be written by Dr. Rivera, a statistician who conducts research on environmental statistics and asthma prevalence among other things. The goal of the article is to provide historical and scientific information about vaccines and tips for parents on how to gather their own information. Hopefully, this description of the article helps. This reply has been written in a such a way to minimize causing bias on the results of the poll above :)
 

post #8 of 144

Bakunin - a thumbs up for returning to this thread and answering questions.  A lot of people who want us to do surveys (and it seems to come up once a month at least) post the survey and fly, never to be heard from again.  

post #9 of 144

bakunin - is your wish that this be reposted widely online in other groups we frequent, or are you after the majority viewpoint of those posting on the vaccination boards of MDC? Where else are you advertising this? 

post #10 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakunin View Post

 

 

@Taximom5 The purpose of the poll (technically is not a survey as I wrongfully wrote) is to measure the perception of parents about vaccinating their children. To be more specific parents who use the internet and social media.

In a few days an article will be released with lots of available evidence on benefits and risks. Although you make a valid point with your hypothetical numbers, what if the statistics are not as nontrivial and instead, there are markedly different statistics for benefits and risks? That's what will be explored in the article.

 

 

 

Although I acknowledge that some parents only worry about some vaccines I want to infer about parents that worry about ALL vaccines. The article will summarize benefits and risks of several vaccines and provide adequate references for further information among other things :)

bakunin, thank you for answering the question, and yes, welcome aboard!

 

In reply to the bolded above, unfortunately,  the statistics are based on seriously flawed data.  The source of the flawed data is limited to:
1) data collected by an industry with a well-documented history of skewing, lying about, and hiding safety data

2) data collected by a VOLUNTARY reporting system

3) data reported by health care professionals who have been taught not to recognize vaccine reactions as such

 

Please take a look at reports by parents whose children do have documented serious adverse reactions to vaccines, including those whose injuries were admitted and compensated by the US Department of Health and Human Services.  You'll see many common threads, including this important one:  nearly all of them were initially told by their doctors that their child's reaction couldn't possibly have anything to do with the recent vaccination because "vaccines don't do that."

 

You might also take a look at recent reports from the Department of Health and Human Services;  in the last few months, they have admitted and compensated two more cases of vaccine-induced autism.  (For that matter, the Italian government just admitted and compensated a case as well.) There have been thousands of cases of vaccine-induced brain damage and other, lifelong serious problems, that have been admitted and compensated by HHS.  

 

Perhaps you were not aware of this?

 

I must say, I find your statement: "I want to infer about parents that worry about ALL vaccines," absolutely CHILLING. 

post #11 of 144
Thread Starter 

@kathymuggle: Thanks for the vote of confidence. I believe the topic of vaccines is an extremely important subject that needs attention

 

@prosciencemum: Thanks for the offer. Do you have any recommendations where I should notify parents about the poll? One thing though, I need these places to be UNBIASED. Specifically it should be a website visited by pro-vaccine parents, anti-vaccine parents and parents who are not sure. For example, if I ask for parents opinions at anti-vaccine forums and pro-vaccine forums then these will impact the results in different ways, depending on their traffic. I'd rather ask parents to participate at general forums and websites. So far I've posted here, babycenter, whattoexpect, the amazon parenting forum, and others. Some of these forums accepted my post but it never showed in the forum, perhaps it wasn't approved by the moderator. I've also posted through twitter, and on some facebook pages of some parenting magazines. Again, I'm open to recommendations of websites to consider

 

@Taximum5: Given the request I made of peoples opinion on the topic of vaccines, it would be inappropriate of my part to discuss information about vaccines here since this may affect the results. I will make a remark though on "the statistics are based on seriously flawed data". That is true! But actually that's the reason statistics exists. Different of a design experiment, from observational data one gets errors from all sorts of sources: measurement errors, microscale variability, uncontrolled factors and so forth. Statistical methods allows one to 'filter out the noise' allowing one to make useful inference. Regarding what I wrote: "I want to infer about parents that worry about ALL vaccines", I apologize and wrote that in a way that can lead to confusion. The more appropriate statement would be: "I want to infer about parents general perception about ALL vaccines and the standard vaccination program" 

post #12 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakunin View Post

Hey everybody,

Currently there's a survey taking place (of just one question) to determine how parents perceive the vaccination of children. It's a very important topic. Answers will be useful for a forthcoming objective article on the topic. Please participate and invite your family and friends to do so as well.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N68RTFD

 

 

How objective can the article be, if whoever is writing it already has an opinion on the safety/efficacy/necessity of vaccines?
 
I'm sure prosciencemum would not consider any article I write on parents' views of vaccines to be objective, nor would I trust her to write objectively.  If you are already convinced that vaccines are safe, you are going to approach the whole idea of parents's questioning vaccine safety as though THOSE parents are mistaken.  Conversely, if you believe that vaccines are unsafe, your perception of parents who accept industry insistence of safety is going to be that those parents are kidding themselves.
 
Either way, I don't see how such an article can be truly objective, even if you attempt to show both sides.
 
I've read too many articles where the author claimed to be objectively representing both sides to be taken in again...
post #13 of 144
Thread Starter 

The initial opinion of the writer before writing the article is irrelevant if it's truly written in an objective way. Yes, it might 'choose a side', that would still be objective as long as the logic is there. There's a difference between objectiveness and neutrality. A neutral article would not reach a conclusion and would let it up to the reader. To be objective on must present evidence that leads to a conclusion. When someone is being subjective one has a conclusion and conjectures about arguments why the conclusion is true. Not every set of statements that claims to be objective really are so, sometimes the evidence is weak or even illogical.
 

post #14 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I think it is a very interesting question that could make for a decent discussion - but not survey.  The answer is too complicated and nuanced.

Two basic questions:  
-are we talking about more good than harm for society or the individual?   Answers may differ.
- which vaccines?  Is it appropriate to lump them all in together?

Yes: on an individual or societal level? IMO that question can only be answered on a population level OR on an individual level, for a specific vaccine, AFTER administration & a waiting period.
post #15 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakunin View Post

The initial opinion of the writer before writing the article is irrelevant if it's truly written in an objective way. 
 

I'm sorry, I must disagree.  Even people who genuinely try to be as objective as possible are...human.  How we perceive things colors EVERYTHING.

 

I've read so many articles where the author claimed objectivity, and said, "I let both sides speak!"  But the part they quoted from Side A may have left out a portion of the truth taht might have seemed unimportant at the time--and the part they quoted from Side B might not have been what Side B felt was the most important issue.

 

For example, I often see Dr. Paul Offit cited as saying that babies are dying because they are not vaccinated.  He conveniently leaves out the fact that more babies in the US die from vaccine injuries than from vaccines.  If you are a fan of Dr. Offit, you might not realize that he's leaving out important information.

 

On the other side, vaccine critics have been interviewed--and the MD/PhD who has stacks of CDC studies showing harm from vaccines doesn't get quoted, but the uneducated mother with the hick accent gets quoted stating her concern about the baby having to endure needle sticks.

 

And the author of that one literally said, "I was objective!  I let both sides have their say."  And I'm sure that he believed that he did so.

 

I've seen a lot of cleverly-written propaganda that makes it appear that the author is being unbiased and objective.  That's Law School 101.  And Marketing 101.

post #16 of 144
Thread Starter 

It is is certainly possible to be subjective without perceptions getting in the way. Here is an example of an objective argument.

 

"BRFSS data shows that from 2000-2006 asthma prevalence was consistently higher in Puerto Rico than in any U.S state. (http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/brfss/default.htm#99)"

 

I could go into more details about this argument (it's something I do research on) but I won't. The point is that it's objective because I've provided a reference with the actual data for people to verify. Note that the reference is a reputable trusted agency. Many other references arguing the same thing can be found in the National Institute of Health website and scientific journals. If I provided a reference to kingkong.com then the data would not be trustworthy. Furthermore, if I wrote that same sentence without any reference at all then it would not be an objective argument, even if it mentions the well known BRFSS.

 

Would you be so kind to provide me several references to the following statement?:

"He conveniently leaves out the fact that more babies in the US die from vaccine injuries than from vaccines."

 

I searched the CDC, universities and journals and was not able to find verification of it.

post #17 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakunin View Post

It is is certainly possible to be subjective without perceptions getting in the way. Here is an example of an objective argument.

 

"BRFSS data shows that from 2000-2006 asthma prevalence was consistently higher in Puerto Rico than in any U.S state. (http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/brfss/default.htm#99)"

 

I could go into more details about this argument (it's something I do research on) but I won't. The point is that it's objective because I've provided a reference with the actual data for people to verify. Note that the reference is a reputable trusted agency. Many other references arguing the same thing can be found in the National Institute of Health website and scientific journals. If I provided a reference to kingkong.com then the data would not be trustworthy. Furthermore, if I wrote that same sentence without any reference at all then it would not be an objective argument, even if it mentions the well known BRFSS.

 

Would you be so kind to provide me several references to the following statement?:

"He conveniently leaves out the fact that more babies in the US die from vaccine injuries than from vaccines."

 

I searched the CDC, universities and journals and was not able to find verification of it.

ahhh but here is where there is a difference of opinion! 

post #18 of 144
Thread Starter 

@ Marnica - difference of opinion is good as long as the debate is constructive.

 

Note that two parties may make different objective arguments and reach opposing conclusions. This happens when the debate is about a topic of which not much is known.

post #19 of 144

@bakunin, I think what Marnica is saying is that many of us no longer consider the CDC a reputable source.

 

Let me head off potential accusations of conspiracy theorism by saying that both the CDC and the FDA are rife with conflict of interest.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/health/policy/18cdc.html?_r=0

 

"A new report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a poor job of screening medical experts for financial conflicts when it hired them to advise the agency on vaccine safety, officials said Thursday.

 

Most of the experts who served on advisory panels in 2007 to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancerhad potential conflicts that were never resolved, the report said. Some were legally barred from considering the issues but did so anyway."

 

http://www.nvic.org/nvic-archives/conflicts-of-interest.aspx

Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Policy Making
Majority Staff Report
Committee on Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
June 15, 2000

 

Also please note that the former director of the CDC, Julie Geberding, is now vice president of Merck's vaccine division.

 

Perhaps you might like to ask MotheringDotCom member Michael Belkin his thoughts?  I strongly suggest you read transcripts of his speeches, as you'll find the answer to one of your previous questions there:

 

Here is his testimony to Congress, after his 5-week-old daughter died from an unnecessary hepatitis B vaccine:

http://www.laleva.org/eng/2012/10/michael_belkins_congressional_testimony_on_hepatitis_b_vaccine.html

 

Here is his presentation to the 2nd International Public Conference on Vaccination 2000, Arlington Virginia (10-15-2000)

http://www.laleva.cc/choice/vaccine_bekin.html

 

As far as I can tell, very little has changed in the last 13 years, except that perhaps the conflicts of interest are better hidden.  I am told by scientist/researcher friends that you can design a study to show whatever results you want--but that the CDC only funds studies that are designed to show that vaccines are safe and effective.


Edited by Taximom5 - 7/17/13 at 10:45am
post #20 of 144
Thread Starter 

@taximom5 Yes, CDC did not follow proper protocol with their advisers. In fact, FDA has messed up before too. Recently a report came out that FDA had approved a generic antidepressant drug that did not work and was in the market for years (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm322161.htm). What happened? FDA extrapolated data from the 150mg version of the drug when testing for its effectiveness. This is not a proper procedure. BUT, remember that we are trying to be objective here. Andrew Wakefield, the researcher that claimed to find a link between autism and MMR was found to have financial conflicts when he published his study in 1998 http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/timelines/measles

Other anti-vaccine leaders are also making a profit, take Jenny McCarthy and her books (and her new 'The View' gig).

 

Regards to Mr Belkin's baby that is very unfortunate. Proving that an extreme event was a side effect of a vaccine is not trivial. I would need to double check the side effects of the hepatitis B vaccine (I don't recall by memory what they are).

 

I think that the point of being objective is not to say that vaccines are perfect or completely useless, neither statement is true. The question one must ask is: whether the benefits outweigh the risks. To do this one must gather stats of benefits and risks and look at them together. That is the purpose of the article.
 

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