Primate Study Links Vaccines to Brain Injury - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 12-04-2009, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry if this has been posted already.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166102.php

"Groundbreaking Primate Study Links Mercury Vaccine Preservative To Brain Injury

A new study in the leading scientific journal NeuroToxicology lends further credence to parents and scientists concerned about an increasingly aggressive childhood vaccine schedule and toxic vaccine components..."



Would anyone care to discuss this who has more of a science brain than I do?

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#2 of 25 Old 12-04-2009, 09:36 PM
 
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That is a really interesting study!

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#3 of 25 Old 12-04-2009, 09:58 PM
 
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It certainly is. I read it a while ago (it was available online before it was published in the journal). For me it was just one more reason not to give the Hep B vaccine at birth.

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#4 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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I have to say that whenever I read something like this study I am so glad that my children did not vaccinate the grandchildren at all.
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#5 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just called the CDC's immunization hotline regarding this study. They have no comment about this specific study, but they can assure me that vaccines are very safe and no study that they have reviewed (and they've reviewed ALL of the studies -except this one- according to the brilliant woman who couldn't pronounce half of the words she was reading to me) has linked vaccines to autism.

I expressed to her that while I realize that she is not the CDC, she is only reading the textbook answer to me from her computer, as a parent I feel very angry and concerned at the one-sided presentation of the facts provided by the CDC. I also told her that this study has been published for a few months and the CDC should make a statement about it.

She then proceeded to re-read the textbook answer to me, and then asked, "Do you have any other questions?"

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#6 of 25 Old 12-05-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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Well, I managed to find the actual study, which isn't actually mentioned in that article. It's looking at Thimerosal in hepatitis B vaccination, which in itself is strange, given no such vaccine is used in children. Anyhoo, I'll preface my answer by saying I'm not a huge fan of Wakefield OR Hewistone, so it will certainly colour my interpretation (though I'm open to anyone who wants to argue with the statements I'm about to make from a scientific point of view, since this is what the OP is asking for.)

Their study design has some questionable flaws in it. They say they assigned the monkeys to groups in a "semi-random" fashion. That terminology doesn't exist in research. It's random, or it's not, so I'm guessing it's not, which weakens the study a fair amount, as it can't be considered an experimental design anymore. It would be quasi-experimental at best, which precludes any suggestion of causality in the results. They also pooled their control groups - one not getting a vaccine, and one getting a saline solution. I'm not sure what they gain from doing this, and it's counter to a good study design. To be honest, by pooling the controls you could theoretically wash out any observed differences that might come from just being stuck with a needle so early in life, but we'll never know, cause they pooled them for some unknown reason. It would have done their study a great service to show that it wasn't the trauma from the injection itself that caused the delay.

As for what those results were, they basically showed that some developmental reflexes were delayed (in some cases by a day, in others by two days.) There was a confound in the design that some of the monkeys had a younger gestational age, which is a big deal when we're talking about developmental reflexes, you know? They said the age difference did not come out significant, but again, they pooled their controls, which makes it harder to interpret. Finally, they never mention if the delayed monkeys ended up catching up or not. This is kind of important...especially since we don't generally vaccinate newborn babies, which is what they did here.

Anyway, the study is new, but they've been releasing data from this sample for awhile now, and the same questions always come up. Their study has some pretty significant design flaws, and the fact that those design flaws seem rather basic in nature does really hurt their results. I'm not sure if that makes sense to you or not. As I said, I don't love these authors and have questioned their research ethic on many occasions, but the points I'm making here are pretty straightforward for anyone who conducts research for a living. Take it as you will, and I hope it's useful to you.
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#7 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by stiss View Post
Well, I managed to find the actual study, which isn't actually mentioned in that article. It's looking at Thimerosal in hepatitis B vaccination, which in itself is strange, given no such vaccine is used in children. Anyhoo, I'll preface my answer by saying I'm not a huge fan of Wakefield OR Hewistone, so it will certainly colour my interpretation (though I'm open to anyone who wants to argue with the statements I'm about to make from a scientific point of view, since this is what the OP is asking for.)

Their study design has some questionable flaws in it. They say they assigned the monkeys to groups in a "semi-random" fashion. That terminology doesn't exist in research. It's random, or it's not, so I'm guessing it's not, which weakens the study a fair amount, as it can't be considered an experimental design anymore. It would be quasi-experimental at best, which precludes any suggestion of causality in the results. They also pooled their control groups - one not getting a vaccine, and one getting a saline solution. I'm not sure what they gain from doing this, and it's counter to a good study design. To be honest, by pooling the controls you could theoretically wash out any observed differences that might come from just being stuck with a needle so early in life, but we'll never know, cause they pooled them for some unknown reason. It would have done their study a great service to show that it wasn't the trauma from the injection itself that caused the delay.

As for what those results were, they basically showed that some developmental reflexes were delayed (in some cases by a day, in others by two days.) There was a confound in the design that some of the monkeys had a younger gestational age, which is a big deal when we're talking about developmental reflexes, you know? They said the age difference did not come out significant, but again, they pooled their controls, which makes it harder to interpret. Finally, they never mention if the delayed monkeys ended up catching up or not. This is kind of important...especially since we don't generally vaccinate newborn babies, which is what they did here.

Anyway, the study is new, but they've been releasing data from this sample for awhile now, and the same questions always come up. Their study has some pretty significant design flaws, and the fact that those design flaws seem rather basic in nature does really hurt their results. I'm not sure if that makes sense to you or not. As I said, I don't love these authors and have questioned their research ethic on many occasions, but the points I'm making here are pretty straightforward for anyone who conducts research for a living. Take it as you will, and I hope it's useful to you.
Thanks!

Which version of hep b is used in children?

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#8 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 02:11 AM
 
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Well, I managed to find the actual study, which isn't actually mentioned in that article. It's looking at Thimerosal in hepatitis B vaccination, which in itself is strange, given no such vaccine is used in children. Anyhoo, I'll preface my answer by saying I'm not a huge fan of Wakefield OR Hewistone, so it will certainly colour my interpretation (though I'm open to anyone who wants to argue with the statements I'm about to make from a scientific point of view, since this is what the OP is asking for.)

Their study design has some questionable flaws in it. They say they assigned the monkeys to groups in a "semi-random" fashion. That terminology doesn't exist in research. It's random, or it's not, so I'm guessing it's not, which weakens the study a fair amount, as it can't be considered an experimental design anymore. It would be quasi-experimental at best, which precludes any suggestion of causality in the results. They also pooled their control groups - one not getting a vaccine, and one getting a saline solution. I'm not sure what they gain from doing this, and it's counter to a good study design. To be honest, by pooling the controls you could theoretically wash out any observed differences that might come from just being stuck with a needle so early in life, but we'll never know, cause they pooled them for some unknown reason. It would have done their study a great service to show that it wasn't the trauma from the injection itself that caused the delay.

As for what those results were, they basically showed that some developmental reflexes were delayed (in some cases by a day, in others by two days.) There was a confound in the design that some of the monkeys had a younger gestational age, which is a big deal when we're talking about developmental reflexes, you know? They said the age difference did not come out significant, but again, they pooled their controls, which makes it harder to interpret. Finally, they never mention if the delayed monkeys ended up catching up or not. This is kind of important...especially since we don't generally vaccinate newborn babies, which is what they did here.

Anyway, the study is new, but they've been releasing data from this sample for awhile now, and the same questions always come up. Their study has some pretty significant design flaws, and the fact that those design flaws seem rather basic in nature does really hurt their results. I'm not sure if that makes sense to you or not. As I said, I don't love these authors and have questioned their research ethic on many occasions, but the points I'm making here are pretty straightforward for anyone who conducts research for a living. Take it as you will, and I hope it's useful to you.
Yes to all that. Also, once I saw Andrew Wakefield amongst the list of authors, I could be sure that a major part of the study was left out. This from the paper:

Quote:
Our study design does not enable us to determine whether it is the vaccine per se, the exposure to Th, or a combination of both, that is causing the observed effects.
This study should have been stamped "reject" right out of the gate. He was comparing development in monkeys that received the HepB vax+thimerosal to saline-injected monkeys. One of the ultra-important rules of science is that you do not introduce two variables at once. Either look at thimerosal or look at the HepB vaccine (or, if you have these controls, look at HepB+thimerosal).

For those not aware, the Hepatitis B vaccine does not contain thimerosal as of ten years ago. So the lesson is, you are interested in studying development in the presence of thimerosal or the HepB vax, do it separately. Not together. That is not science.
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#9 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 05:04 AM
 
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In Australia the neonatal Hep B vax is the only one on the schedule which still contains thimersol. And, it is routine to vaccinate newborns with Hep B. It is often done within an hour or two of birth. So, both those factors made it relevant to my circumstances.

I agree the study was not without flaws but, as starting point for future research, I found the results interesting.

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#10 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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In Australia the neonatal Hep B vax is the only one on the schedule which still contains thimersol. And, it is routine to vaccinate newborns with Hep B. It is often done within an hour or two of birth. So, both those factors made it relevant to my circumstances.

I agree the study was not without flaws but, as starting point for future research, I found the results interesting.
If that's the case in Australia, than it does have relevance for you. The authors should have considered that, because they were striving to generalize specifically to the American routine schedule, only it's not accurate.

I would argue even for your own conclusions, however, that the design flaws pointed out above make the results almost uninterpretable. As such, I wouldn't take too much from it until they can address those confounds. Again, this isn't 'new' research, it's a new presentation of old research that also suffer from the same problems. There's not much that they show conclusively in any regard. The *most* that I would take from it at this point is that sticking brand new babies with needles may cause temporary trauma, but it's impossible to draw any conclusions about what (if any) the long-term ramifications from that trauma are, since they never report if the monkeys catch up or not.

I'm pretty honest about my positioning regarding the authors, but again...there's nothing that I'm saying that isn't just basic good science. They really weakened their results, which makes a great deal of researchers question their motivations for presenting their data this way (because these flaws are very, very basic issues that should not be present in studies by experienced scientists.) It's sketchy.
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#11 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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It would have done their study a great service to show that it wasn't the trauma from the injection itself that caused the delay.
But weren't the ones with the saline solution ALSO injected? Just not with a vaccine? So trauma from an injection could have applied to ALL the monkeys? or maybe I misread?

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#12 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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But weren't the ones with the saline solution ALSO injected? Just not with a vaccine? So trauma from an injection could have applied to ALL the monkeys? or maybe I misread?
Yes, you misread. They originally had TWO groups of controls: one injected with saline, and one not injected at all. They pooled them into one control group when they provided the results.

From the abstract:
Quote:
Unexposed animals received saline placebo (n = 4) or no injection (n = 3).
From the methods section:
Quote:
Animals were allocated to either the vaccinated (exposed) or saline/no injection (unexposed) groups on a semi-random basis in order to complete peer groups for later social testing [7] such that each peer group contained animals from either the unexposed or exposed study groups.
Again, I'd like to know the point of saying "semi-random", since no such thing exists. It was a non-random design. Anyway, they later go on to say that they pooled the results when no significant differences were found between non-exposed groups, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't have an effect on the possible outcomes when comparing those groups to the exposed group. Does that make sense?

Also, I found this in the results as well. They talk about delays in rooting, sucking, a "snout" reflex, and a grasping reflex in their results, the focus of which being that the exposed animals showed "a delay"...yet more global measures reported:
Quote:
All infants remained healthy during the study testing period reaching all criteria for maintaining health including appetite, weight gain, and activity level, and achieved temperature regulation by Day 3.
So, again, I'm unclear as to what their results are supposed to insinuate.
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#13 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, you misread. They originally had TWO groups of controls: one injected with saline, and one not injected at all. They pooled them into one control group when they provided the results.

From the abstract:


From the methods section:


Again, I'd like to know the point of saying "semi-random", since no such thing exists. It was a non-random design. Anyway, they later go on to say that they pooled the results when no significant differences were found between non-exposed groups, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't have an effect on the possible outcomes when comparing those groups to the exposed group. Does that make sense?

Also, I found this in the results as well. They talk about delays in rooting, sucking, a "snout" reflex, and a grasping reflex in their results, the focus of which being that the exposed animals showed "a delay"...yet more global measures reported:


So, again, I'm unclear as to what their results are supposed to insinuate.
Wow, thanks so much for the different angles provided.

It seems to me - and forgive me if I'm missing something important here, and I'm certainly not trying to be insulting here - that regardless of some of these design flaws, the end results are still indicative of something going on here with the vaccine group.

The vaccinated group still developed developmental delays.

I'm going to have to go back and carefully re-read, so again, I'm sorry if obvious things are flying over my head. But unless there were 2 sub-groups within each group (vaccinated, no injection vs. saline, no injection) then the vaccinated group still stands apart from the other 2 subsets and still developed symptoms of autism.

Ok, let me know if something important is escaping me here with this interpretation.

{back to re-read}

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#14 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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It seems to me - and forgive me if I'm missing something important here, and I'm certainly not trying to be insulting here - that regardless of some of these design flaws, the end results are still indicative of something going on here with the vaccine group.

The vaccinated group still developed developmental delays.

I'm going to have to go back and carefully re-read, so again, I'm sorry if obvious things are flying over my head. But unless there were 2 sub-groups within each group (vaccinated, no injection vs. saline, no injection) then the vaccinated group still stands apart from the other 2 subsets and still developed symptoms of autism.

Ok, let me know if something important is escaping me here with this interpretation.

{back to re-read}
No worries, you're not insulting me. You are missing the point, though, which is that due to the design flaws, you can't conclude that 'something' is happening with the vaccine group in any conclusive fashion. The authors are comparing erroneous groups. The difference might have actually just been the injection, which they could have shown if they had reported three sets of results, where the only difference was in the vaccine group. That's not what they said, though. They said there were no differences between the two control groups, and that's not the same thing. The only results they give is when they POOLED the control groups (post-hoc, which in and of itself weakens your study design.) So, what that means is that maybe the vaccine did something, or maybe the injection did something, but there's no way of knowing. What's troubling about this is that the pooling was done ON PURPOSE when the authors knew it would weaken their results, which suggests that they're propping up their results. If anyone can give me a good reason why a researcher would confound their own study knowingly for another reason, I'm all ears.

The developmental delays that the authors report are only provided for the first two days, even though they followed the animals for weeks. So....why? They so much as said the animals were all healthy and caught up on global development by day THREE. So, if they're saying that needles cause a day's worth of delays in newborns, okay? The meaning of these results is what, exactly? I could argue that temporary delays might also be found on that scale if your milk supply wasn't in yet, or if there was lots of noise in your house? I'm speculating, but the point is that a developmental delay of a day isn't exactly what I would call a "brain injury", you know?

I didn't even get into the issues with the stats, because I don't feel like engaging anyone in a boring debate about stats basics, but I can say right off the bat that the fact they reported such unequal sample groups is problematic to say the least. The analyses they use are sensitive to unequal N and I didn't read whether their variances are unequal as well, but I would bet doughnuts to dollars that they are, which gives more reason to question the results. You can't just run stats on any old data without the circumstances affecting interpretation of results. Oh, which brings me to my final point - a total N=13 isn't exactly the most robust study in any case, as the potential for error is much higher, and the (statistical) power is negligible. Again, I'm not saying anything here that anybody who does health research doesn't know. Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, I delayed and selectively vaxed and I'm not being paid by big pharma to argue this. There's good science, and there's bad science, and it happens all around.

I hope that explains the issue a bit. It doesn't bother me in the least if people still want to take the results as more than what they look like to me, and others who have publicly criticized the results. At the end of the day, unless you have a background in research and stats, sometimes it's hard to know when "statistically significant" means practically significant. They're not at all the same thing. So, believe or don't. I, for the record, am not convinced by this study of anything other than the authors exaggerating and stretching their data (which, as I said, happens sooner or later in science of all perspectives.)

Peace.
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#15 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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At the end of the day, unless you have a background in research and stats, sometimes it's hard to know when "statistically significant" means practically significant. They're not at all the same thing. So, believe or don't. I, for the record, am not convinced by this study of anything other than the authors exaggerating and stretching their data (which, as I said, happens sooner or later in science of all perspectives.)

Peace.
Yes to the bolded! lol thanks for taking the time to explain it further.

My reluctance to vaccinate, thus far, is based on a lack of proof that vaccines are safe and effective. I have yet to see the scientific evidence proving to me that vaccinating will not harm my child and will be beneficial in any way. (This is combined with the fact that my daughter had a neurological reaction to a set of vaccines.)

Studies which seem to imply that vaccines are not safe, are not really relevant to me anyway. I'd like to see more studies on vaccines, yes, but everyone seems to have their own motives, KWIM? This study, for example, seems to be one in which its authors set out to make vaccines look bad. I can't be sure about that but after further explanation by yourself and others it appears to be so. Other studies, many which are funded by the vaccine manufacturers themselves, seem to be designed to praise the goodness of vaccines. Most vaccine studies seem weak and flawed to me.

Nothing has convinced me that vaccinating is the thing to do. And something terrific would have to happen...such as a large scale long-term independent perfectly designed and executed study confirming the safety and efficacy of vaccines...to convince me to go against the biological norm and inject foreign substances into my child.

Got a little off topic there but I guess I can do that once since it's my thread. lol

Thanks to everyone who is actively discussing this. It really helps in the learning process!

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#16 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 10:38 AM
 
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Yes to the bolded! lol thanks for taking the time to explain it further.

My reluctance to vaccinate, thus far, is based on a lack of proof that vaccines are safe and effective. I have yet to see the scientific evidence proving to me that vaccinating will not harm my child and will be beneficial in any way. (This is combined with the fact that my daughter had a neurological reaction to a set of vaccines.)
I'm glad it made sense for you. FTR, I strongly disagree that there's no good evidence speaking to the safety and efficacy of vaccines, but this is a long, drawn-out debate that I find usually goes in circles, so I'm not interested in having one here. What I will say is that most researchers would be happy to discuss their research, so if you have any questions, you can always try contacting them.

All research is funded by someone, and yes, much of the time the funding can come from vested interests (a pharmaceutical company vs. Thoughtful House, for instance.) It's up to peer-review to try and equalize the field (including reforms on reporting conflicts of interest, for example.) It's not a perfect system, and it could use some improvements in transparency and independence, for sure. However, I think the claim that vaccine research is widely and largely corrupt is a bold statement that insults the integrity of thousands of scientists who do honest work (speaking generally about statements sometimes made in debates about vaccination.) Shortcomings in research are more often related to study weaknesses and less so to maniacal motivations, but that often becomes part of the debate around here, and I think it's a shame.

Anyway, I think you have valid reasons to question the risks for you daughter. It's great that you continue to read and learn. It changed my views quite a bit, actually (went from being a total non-vaccinator to selective and delayed), and at the end of the day, we're all just doing what we think is best for our children. Good luck!
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#17 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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My criticism of the study is that it only involved 13 primates. How can anyone make a conclusion based on only just 13 primates?...mmm...at least that is the answer I was given when I argued in favor of the study.

I think, as always, this needs more study, as most people agree, but time is running out. We need to know why one in 65 children are now autistic in the Western world. We need to know YESTERDAY.
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#18 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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My criticism of the study is that it only involved 13 primates. How can anyone make a conclusion based on only just 13 primates?...mmm...at least that is the answer I was given when I argued in favor of the study.

I think, as always, this needs more study, as most people agree, but time is running out. We need to know why one in 65 children are now autistic in the Western world. We need to know YESTERDAY.
You know I agree...yet there are some clinical trials that base their saftey studies on similar numbers.....these are the numbers that are used to claim a product "safe" so it can be licensed for mass use? What sense does that make?

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#19 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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Here's a link to the study. It's on Age of Autism. You have to click the link to it-it opens in pdf.
http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/10/b...ine-study.html
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#20 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 05:03 PM
 
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I am jumping in here as the discussion around acceptance or rejection of studies interests me.

I find it interesting who accepts and rejects which studies, and the reasons why.

I cannot question any parents decision when it comes to the health of their family. Each family obviously has to do what they have decided is best.

However, I am interested to understand how parents have made their choice. Again, this is not to judge or critisise parents choices', but to understand how they made their choices, and if it is a process I can relate to or not.

stiss, you mentioned that you were against vaccination and have become a delayed/selective vaccinator. Can you share the information that made you question your original reservations? I do not want to debate your choice. I would like to understand the information that swayed you.

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#21 of 25 Old 12-07-2009, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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FTR, I strongly disagree that there's no good evidence speaking to the safety and efficacy of vaccines
I guess, to clarify, None of the evidence has spoken to me as a parent. My main beef is the lack of long-term safety evidence. Really, until this is solid, my assumption is that vaccines may cause long-term chronic illness.

Vaccine studies are of interest to me but aren't going to sway my decision unless they provide indisputable evidence of long-term safety and efficacy.

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#22 of 25 Old 12-08-2009, 10:50 AM
 
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stiss, you mentioned that you were against vaccination and have become a delayed/selective vaccinator. Can you share the information that made you question your original reservations? I do not want to debate your choice. I would like to understand the information that swayed you.
I'm sending you a PM. I typed out a long response but realized it's a bit off-topic, and I also don't feel like playing good-cop bad-cop on the issue of science and vaccinations today. I'm all about sharing views, but have become quickly weary of online vaccination debates, given they're so ideological and polarizing.
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#23 of 25 Old 12-08-2009, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sending you a PM. I typed out a long response but realized it's a bit off-topic, and I also don't feel like playing good-cop bad-cop on the issue of science and vaccinations today. I'm all about sharing views, but have become quickly weary of online vaccination debates, given they're so ideological and polarizing.
Do you mind c/p'ing that pm and shooting it to me? I'd appreciate it!

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#24 of 25 Old 12-08-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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.... My main beef is the lack of long-term safety evidence. ..
There are long term studies done on vaccines; these are known as post-marketing surveillance, in which you, plural, the public, are the guinea pigs.

This is being done with the HPV as we post.

Let me add that when adverse events do occur as a result of a vaccine, the drug companies regroup and take no responsibility for the event. Furthermore, I have read that the drug companies have gone as far as to say that there is NO evidence that the swine flu vaccine of 1976 caused 50 deaths and over 500 cases of Guillan Barre. I beg to differ.

This was the reason the drug companies went to Congress to exempt and immunize them from litigation and liability. So the American taxpayer is on the hook for these adverse events now.
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#25 of 25 Old 12-08-2009, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There are long term studies done on vaccines; these are known as post-marketing surveillance, in which you, plural, the public, are the guinea pigs.

This is being done with the HPV as we post.
Right. It's so unethical. I don't understand how anyone could give the vaccine makers a dime after learning how VAERS and the vaccine court really works.

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