Originally Posted by ma2two
That was a very long post. I didn't read it all, but this stood out to me. "You cannot use pre-existing groups who selectively vaccinate or do not vaccinate at all, because research has shown that these parents have certain differences from other parents, and those pre-existing differences would be a confounding variable in the study."
Studies are done on nurses all the time. Nurses are a group that are set apart from a completely random population selection. For example, they all have a certain level of education.
There are different reasons people don't vaccinate their kids. Many are for religious reasons. For the people who do it for health reasons, we all have our different levels of health consciousness. There are some very smart researchers who are able to take all these things into consideration. It's done all the time, actually.
NVIC is tired of waiting for the government to fund a vaccinated/unvaccinated study. I believe they are working on funding one themselves.
It's not about the two groups being different from each other, it's about the two groups being different from each other. The vaxed/unvaxed study wouldn't be like comparing one group of nurses to another, it would be like trying to determine if a certain supplement prevents wait gain by giving it to a group of nurses and giving a placebo to a group of programmers and having them all eat the same diet and seeing how much on average each group has gained/lost at the end. When it turns out that the nurses are doing better for losing weight/avoiding weight gain, is it safe to conclude that the supplement could be working? Or could it have something to do with one group being on their feet all day at work while the other sits in front of a computer?
You can't conclude much about an individual by knowing if they vax or not, there are certainly some non-vaxers who sit their kids in front of a TV all and feed them nothing but junk, and there are plenty of vaxing on schedule families who only have healthy food in the home, eat all organic, limit screen time and get their kids outside playing. However, most people vax, including both those otherwise cruchy families and those families whose kids sit in front of the TV eating candy all day. There is a certain ideology that goes along with anti-vaxing, and in general I think we'd find that anti-vaxing famillies are more likely than the general vaxing population to have a parent at home, limit screen time, limit junk food, keep their kids fairly active, etc.
So, if the unaxing group do end up having, say, less hayfever, is that because they don't get vaccines? Or is that because the kids in this group on average happen to spend more time outside breathing fresh air and have more exposure to animals? If one group shows to be slightly ahead in learning, is that because of the vaccine, or because one group has less screen time and more parental involvement in reading.
When you randomize things, you hope that these variables will be fairly balanced between the two groups. When one of the group is a group because they have a different lifestyle in general than the public, it is difficult to tell what difference one small part of that lifestyle makes and what is caused by other aspects.
Who would be willing to sign their kids up for this study? I doubt it would be easy to find anti-vaxers to agree to have their kids injected with substance they don't know what is, and most people who are already satisfied that the current science shows vaccines to be safer than disease are going to be reluctant agree to let their kid possibly get a placebo rather than a vaccine and end up with a disease that could have been prevented.