Being critical of vaccine injury stories on the internet - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 06-09-2014, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Being critical of vaccine injury stories on the internet

This new piece is from V4V and I thought it made some great points.

Anyone who does more than a few minutes of research on vaccines is bound to come across sites or groups talking about vaccine injuries and I know those stories had me worried when I was just starting to look into the issue.

Even now, pro vaccine members say those stories still nag and worry them a little (how can they not?). Especially the MMR and Gardasil stories.

Anyway, thought I'd share this blog post with you guys.
The last paragraph:

"We cannot be expected to accept vaccine injury stories without a reasonable explanation of the mechanism of harm. If you think we should accept all stories at face value, I’m afraid you’re missing the mark as vaccine safety advocates."
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Last edited by teacozy; 06-09-2014 at 12:25 PM.
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#2 of 4 Old 06-09-2014, 07:46 PM
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I admit, I don't see myself as a "vaccine safety advocate". I am not an arguer or debater. It's not the way I'm wired. I do think that general points can be made about the rareness of vaccine injury without having to seek to discredit specific stories, and I'm not sure what we really gain by trying to discredit specific stories if that person is extremely sure that it was a vaccine injury, versus if they're unsure if it was one or not. I feel strongly that vaccine injuries are pretty darn rare; they may cluster online, but if you take a population that is not self-selected for a higher degree of self-reported vaccine injury, you probably won't have any vaccine injuries in it or you may have just one.

Similar to a phenomenon I encounter at work: a patient calls having X symptom and wants to know if it could be a reaction to a drug. First thing I do is establish how long they have been on their current drug regimen and if they have started or stopped anything recently. If they have been on the same regimen for a long time, and they only recently started having this symptom, the odds are it is not due to the drug. Second thing I do, if there is a symptom that is potentially a drug reaction, and there is more than one candidate for what drug it could be, I look at the most likely one. For example, if started 2 meds recently and one was an ACE inhibitor, and they've developed a dry cough, it's probably the ACE inhibitor rather than the other one since up to 30% of patients on an ACE inhibitor will get a dry cough. But that doesn't stop some people from being ready to swear up and down that they a. developed a drug reaction to something they'd been on for years or that b. their dry cough (or whatever) was really due to their other medication... Could their interpretation be true? I mean, I can't prove conclusively that it is not true, but the available information suggests that their interpretation isn't the correct one.

Then there is also the matter of what it means to "prove" an injury. I don't know exactly what goes on in vaccine court and what the burden of proof is, but I know that "proof" is established differently and means something different to medical practitioners vs. lawyers/judges, so it irks me when the two types of proof are conflated.
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#3 of 4 Old 06-12-2014, 10:54 PM
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Yeah - I'd rather not dismiss people sharing their experiences online.

It's clear though that there are groups looking for/encouraging these stories to get out online. The world is a big place so you can find examples of really rare things in such a big sample.
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#4 of 4 Old 06-18-2014, 05:34 AM
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If you google "vaccines cause X" where X is most any disease, you will find evidence and/or advocacy that vaccines cause X.

If you google "autism X" where X is most anything, you will find evidence and/or advocacy that most anything is either a cause or cure (or both) of autism.

Doing research with google does not work well if you don't have a good filter.
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