A Cleveland Clinic doctor spread anti-vaccine views. He’s not alone among MDs.

By Julia Belluz

Over the weekend, a Cleveland Clinic doctor’s anti-vaccine blog post sparked a social media furor, prompting the prestigious medical center to issue a statement reaffirming its trust in vaccines.

In an op-ed on Cleveland.com, entitled “Make 2017 the year to avoid toxins (good luck) and master your domain,” Dr. Daniel Neides, the medical director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, questioned whether vaccines have contributed to a rise in neurological diseases like autism and ADHD and argued that ingredients in them are harmful to newborns.

“Does the vaccine burden — as has been debated for years — cause autism?” he wrote. “I don’t know and will not debate that here. What I will stand up and scream is that newborns without intact immune systems and detoxification systems are being over-burdened with preservative and adjuvants in the vaccines.”


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46 COMMENTS

  1. From the article above

    “Vaccination isn’t an all-or-nothing decision,” Sears writes, in the number-one bestselling children’s health book. Some vaccine-preventable diseases aren’t all that bad, he argues, and it’s not clear why people still inoculate their kids for scourges like polio, a crippling disease that’s no longer common in the US. So Sears — also known as “Dr. Bob” — suggests spreading out the shots, and even skipping those parents find unpalatable.

    So… some vaccine-preventable diseases aren’t all that bad??!!! Seriously, Dr. Sears, if you have children of your own, I wonder if they’ve been vaccinated. If you’ve neglected to vaccinate your children then what do you think about taking them traveling in let’s say, Africa or Asia or anywhere at all in the developing parts of the world. What do you think would happen to your children? They will immediately be infected with any number of dangerous communicable diseases and they could die from the infection or suffer lasting medical problems if they survive it.

    Has this guy never seen what measles and polio, etc. looks like? Actually, this seems to be common among the anti-vaccine bunch – pure ignorance about what communicable diseases are really like and how vaccines work and how the immune system works as well. This is the type of ignorance that causes great harm. Causing harm – medical harm = unethical practice. This guy needs to lose his license to practice medicine.

  2. LauriB #2: This is the type of ignorance that causes great harm. Causing harm – medical harm = unethical practice. This guy needs to lose his license to practice medicine.

    Agreed. The tougher question is how to require compulsory vaccination by law in the compelling interest of public safety -with allowances for medical exceptions only. Freedom can sometimes be the death of us.

  3. May I ask a loaded question?

    Do you get your dogs and cats their shots? How many are autistic? Better yet, how many TURN autistic after their shots? Almost every fucking shot you get your dog is a vaccine (unless they are vitamin deficient or something).
    Rabies
    Distemper
    Parvo
    Adenovirus
    Parainfluenza
    Bordetella
    Lyme
    Leptospirosis
    canine influenza
    Herpes (cats)
    Calci (cats)
    rabies (cats)
    panleukemia (cats)
    Feline leukemia (cats)
    rabies (cats)
    Rhinotracheitis (cats)
    Chlamydophila (cats)
    Feline Infectious Peritonitis (cats)
    Giardia (cats)
    Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (cats)

    Many of these require multiple doses and boosters. Are you fucking kidding me? Every one of them (and all the human vaccines) are safe. So, again, how many cats and dogs are mentally compromised after their shots? Why can’t people THINK?

  4. Crooked, My dog was an idiot the day he came home with me.
    He has gotten better. I have gotten worse.
    And its extremely hard to determine if a cat has gone nuts……
    Dan, I don’t get a flu shot because I live in a remote village in Washington State and I am not in contact with children. I haven’t had a flu shot in over a decade and haven’t been sick for longer.
    The only thing that makes me sick is Trump.

  5. alf

    The only thing that makes me sick is Trump.

    We are working on that vaccine. It doesn’t involve a syringe. Innoculation of the mind is what’s wanted here. It’s a little scary at first and I can’t guarantee that it won’t hurt for a moment but it’s all going to be worth it for a lifetime of good health, wealth and happiness. Not to mention that it’s the right thing to do for society. Herd immunity and all that. 😉

  6. Well I don’t want a flu shot.

    My mother is elderly, has the flu right now. (Influenza A, H2N1) No flu shot. She’s is doing fine, although her back hurts and is feeling awful. The shot, she said, has a 33 percent change of targeting this specific strain, but also “weakens the immune system.”

    I got all my shots (measles, polio, mumps, tetnus sp?), but never had a flu shot. And if I get the flu I get the flu. I’ll be fine with some soup and rest. I have GREAT immunity. INCREDIBLE actually.

  7. Dan, your intuition is correct; with your self reported bigly immunity, there is probably no need for you to be vaccinated for the flu. The difference between adults who get the shot and adults who do not is not at all awe inspiring. In unvaccinated adults, 16% get symptoms similar to the flu, while about 10% of vaccinated adults do. Vaccination decreased confirmed cases of influenza from about 2.4% to 1.1%. This is known as a very modest decrease. So the old rule of thumb holds true: the flu vaccine is most useful for the very young, very old, or imunocompromised individuals, where ever a very modest decrease can offer real world meaningful efficacy. The numbers I cite are from a study that can be found here:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24623315

  8. Regarding the very old I must stand corrected. To wit:

    The group most vulnerable to non-pandemic flu, the elderly, benefits least from the vaccine. There are multiple reasons behind this steep decline in vaccine efficacy, the most common of which are the declining immunological function and frailty associated with advanced age. In a non-pandemic year, a person in the United States aged 50–64 is nearly ten times more likely to die an influenza-associated death than a younger person, and a person over age 65 is over ten times more likely to die an influenza-associated death than the 50–64 age group.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17897608

  9. Vicky, every person on Trumps list is exactly the opposite of the person required.
    I keep waking up thinking ………no, this didn’t happen……….

  10. Vicki 17

    Kennedy is not going to head the HHS; he might serve on a commission within the agency. Dr. Price is the nominee, and Price is a bad man, like all the others. They are all against the ACA and Medicare, etc. are NOT in favor of lowering costs, care about nothing other than wealth, power, undermining democracy, and are all twisted, free market fundamentalists. These are fascists and nationalists, nativists, the worst of the worst. Bad people. Horrible people.

    Since vaccines are profitable I doubt whether there will be less of them. But Trump’s love of lies and his ability to embrace unscientific arguments, is sickening.

  11. BTW,
    All these types of OP’s serve to illustrate (to me) is the often undeserved reputation doctors have as “intellectual”. Many many of these folks are extraordinary in their intellect. However, a good many are dopes. I have been around medicine my entire life (my parents owned a medical lab and I was a hematology tech there for years). I had a few doozies when dealing with these people.

    I had a heroin addicted surgeon who sliced his thumb into to pieces inside the chest cavity of a patient during open heart. He was so high that he didn’t know he had cut himself until he felt woozy — I had to witness his mandatory urines every Friday for two years — the only way he could keep his license.

    Then there was the doctor who would leave her exam room and call me and whisper into the phone the patients complaints and ask what tests she should order.

    Then BEN CARSON.
    Then Dr. Oz. Then the asshat who implanted 8 embryos in “octomom”. Then the shit mongers who give women gargantuan breasts. Then the anti vaccine dopes. I had a physician who believed in getting his patients iron levels up to double and triple what they should be — they were old and needed their iron — they dropped dead like fruitflies.

    Then the pill mills, doctors who advocate smoking for weight loss, doctors who smoke outside the cancer ward, the list goes on and on….

    I had a Doctor ask for a stat premarital test. In case you are wondering, in Pa, a premarital blood test is a syphilis test (called an RPR). She was positive. He became furious with me and demanded repeats (we repeat every +, so I ended up testing the sample 4 times). He redrew the sample …. still +… He was livid . He stated that she was a virgin so she couldn’t have the disease. I broke out the best line ever (almost got myself canned from my family business.)

    I got annoyed with him and said “well, unless this is the IMMACULATE INFECTION, the girl is sexually active” — not knowing he was a devout catholic and that the girl was his niece!!! In this case, maybe I was the idiot.

  12. I have gotten kickback on this even on this site for stating that I would never see a doctor who I knew did not understand evolution through natural selection. It is argued by some that it is not necessary to understand the fundamental science behind the field you have chosen to work in. This is why all doctors should understand evolution through natural selection, really understand it not just a brief mention in some lectures it should be tested and assessed. A doctors advice to patients (in this case), and his biases will effect if he prescribes say anti-antibiotics for a flu or many other such situations. I maintain Doctors need to understand the fundamentals of why they are doing what they are doing, not just what to do because at some point they will need to make a judgment call and that is more likely to be correct if founded on the correct information. Likewise I want the pilots of the airlines I fly to understand the physics of flight so that while they are flying they are planning appropriately for contingencies in the rare event of an emergency this will make all the difference.

  13. Likewise I want the pilots of the airlines I fly to understand the
    physics of flight so that while they are flying they are planning
    appropriately for contingencies in the rare event of an emergency this
    will make all the difference.

    My brother is a flight instructor; he maintains 4 years of calculus should be mandatory for a pilot’s license. The types of planes he flies are roughly the German equivalents of 757s. Part of the training is “turning off” the plane in mid-flight, then getting it back “on” again. Yikes!

  14. Reckless and Vicki,
    I agree with both of you. When the field you go into has demonstrable skillsets and correct answers, I want my life (in the case of the doctor and the pilot) in the hands of the most knowledgable and skilled.
    Not the one who barely made it. Having said that, the bar should be set so high that “barely clearing it” sets you scores of levels above “squeaking by”.
    I was touring a pharm company with a troop of students and got the rare (and relished) opportunity to skewer a lead researcher (working on hand sanitizer at the time). i questioned and criticized relentlessly about what his product actually would do down the road when the bacty evolved. Crushed him. He ended up saying “ok ok WHO are you??? You cannot be “just” a biology teacher”.

    Yep, a biology teacher who understands evolution and just showed you that you don’t. Their product has recently been banned in the US.

    At lunch a rep from the company offered me a job.

  15. Hi Vicki,

    The moment my flight instructor sensed I was feeling comfortable he’d do something like cut the engine and begin screaming at me, his strategy was to ensure that he could come as close as possible to making me panic he needed to ensure when he got out and I was on my own I would cope. I used to fly and instruct in gyroplanes so we were out in the open, I was wondering why we kept yawing (twisting) to the right he was sticking his hand out the side and then would pull it in again to stuff me up, he was a real bastard that way (for which I am infinitely in his debt). He also made sure I understood the principles and was constantly throwing out questions about the theory and how it applied in different situations. He made me read the accident reports and would discuss them, he was very open minded about what actually happened but would point out inconsistencies and force me to decide where the first mistake happened. He came from a sailplane background and had been an airframe fitter in the airforce and was rare light rotor craft in this country for actually knowing what he was doing. Having since suffered several in-flight emergencies I can tell you it works.

    Understanding what is going on helps you focus on what is real and what is fear. Part of you just wants to get on the ground, but the discipline makes you stick to flying the aircraft and running through the plan you made (pilots who want to live are constantly looking at their situation and monitoring it so they already have a plan in place should something happen).

    My last engine failure I was surprisingly calm. It went something like this what is that faint rattle? Power is down – I think I’m having an engine failure (about 2 or 3 seconds had passed by this point), oh engines gone now, okay I’m landing in the planned spot (this spot had already been chosen as I was flying based on wind direction judged from ripples in the water, grass and leaves and local smoke, my altitude above the river I was about to cross, the geography on the other side of the river, my current airspeed, the air density that day and a number of other factors that push or pull your known gliding distance. So the choice had already been made so all I had to do was do a slight turn maintaining my airspeed, adjust my harness and do an otherwise perfectly normal landing – followed by a very, very long walk to the nearest farmhouse.

    I know guys who have had sketchy training and who when an in-flight emergency happens they panic they have about 30 to 45 seconds in which to make about 20 decisions while they are fighting fear, they are trying to work out where to land because they paid no attention to where the power-lines were, where the wind was in flight so now when they need to make a decision they have no time. So while they are trying to head for a patch too close or too far away they loose or gain too much airspeed flare high or otherwise cock it all up. A lot of these guys crashed on landing some were hurt. What’s more after the event they almost universally blamed everything but themsleves and didn’t appreciate some aspey guy like me (I was instructing by this stage-not my students by the way) asking them awkward questions like why did you land there? They’d tell me a gust got them or something to which I would again foolishly ask did you not know the weather conditions before you took off? They were obsessed with ridiculous designs they believed made them safer but wouldn’t drive more than an hour to get access to better instructors, some thought they could teach themselves. People without the right education doing something with life or death implications behave like idiots and get people killed, maybe not right away but eventually.

  16. @Steven007

    16% get symptoms similar to the flu, while about 10% of vaccinated adults do. Vaccination decreased confirmed cases of influenza from about 2.4% to 1.1%.

    from the study abstract.

    Influenza vaccines have a very modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost in the general population, including pregnant women. No evidence of association between influenza vaccination and serious adverse events was found in the comparative studies considered in the review.

    Okay so if I’m reading this right 16% of the population (if the study is representative) will get flu like symptoms while only 10% will if vaccinated. Now confirmed cases of influenza 2.4% would normally get influenza while only 1.1% of vaccinated do.

    So first question – Does this mean only 2.4% of cases the doctors thought it serious enough to do a blood test or is this saying 13.6% are hypochondriacs? So the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of these. The reality is then that in any one year (based on this study) only 16% of the population are likely to get the flu (or flue like symptoms). If every citizen got a flu jab then that number would fall to 10% – how many people is this in a population of 20 million? In my country this would mean in Australia 120 000 less people a year suffering from flu like symptoms. Out of those who’s doctors have bothered to do a blood test 480 000 in Australia based on above figures compared to 220 000 this means that you cut your chances in almost in half of getting flu if exposed to the virus. It drops your risk significantly. However given the abstract gives no information as to how many of the 16% who got flu like symptoms were actually tested for influenza and given that I really don’t care if my flu like symptoms are actually flu or just feel exactly like the flu. I’m still going with the thing that will save 220 000 people from feeling like crap for a week.

    How much does the shot cost? We could probably agree that if the opportunity cost of spending the money on flu vaccination in a population is such that spending on vaccinating for some more damaging disease or a disease that will cover more of the population is money better spent then so be it, but this paper hasn’t made that case (nor should it I have no problem with the paper it’s data).

    Before I sound too argumentative I agree this is a mild improvement (compared to other vaccines which work in 90% of cases or higher), however consider some work places. I’m a high school teacher this means every day I see a form class of approx 25-28 kids followed by 4 70minute sessions with another 25-28 kids and 3 days a week playground duty where I might come into contact with hundreds (so over a 100 kids a day 5 days a week). You cannot measure me in this case as the same as the rest of the population, out of those 16% I’m sure doctors nuses, teachers and others in people based professions are disproportionately represented. For example in a nursing home clearly knowing that flu can easily kill, clearly the 16% is far more significant than you seem to be painting it and without a specific study on the specific impact in that environment a general study is useless – alone.

    I know and have known that the general population gets sick much less often than teachers, nurses, doctors and other professionals who’s work puts them into contact with many, many sick kids. Our society now runs in such a way that often both parents are working and hence many kids when sick go to school anyway in primary schools where kids have poorer hygiene a cold is often announced with green bubbles being inflated and deflated by some child in your class, these kids often don’t practice proper washing hands etc. So while you may see this data as modest as did the authors of the study I do not. I may see it very differently to you, I see the same in hospitals and other people professions like restaurants. Need to be careful when deciding on a strategy that you don’t just look at the big picture and not look at the other specific cases.

    For example you (society) may not mandate the flu vaccine in the general population but you may choose specific situations where you might, for example doctors and nurses. In these cases a small difference across the general population might be a much higher impact where the efficacy may be a very different consideration. I for one get the flu jab every year, I may not if I was not a teacher, but as a teacher I consider it not only preventative in my case but a responsibility considering how many students I might infect every day of the week (and visa versa). I’ll take even a small improvement every time.

  17. All I know is that while I am in favor of vaccines, I have an aversion to the annual flu shot. I haven’t had the flu since I was a kid and live in Manhattan, in one of the most crowded cities in the US, and I am in my fifties (although I look about forty).

    (Everyone I know who, like a bunch of automatons, gets the flu shot once a year also gets antibiotics more than the average person. Part of a certain mind-set. I had to take antibiotics twice in my adult life, if I remember correctly: once for pink-eye, and once for an infection on my leg from scratching insect bites.)

    My many friends who get the flu shot get the damned flu and get sicker way more often than I do. I get a 24 hour virus and migraines once in a while, and I get a cold once every two years or so. So I have a feeling, based on nothing other than intuition and instinct and my continued, uninterrupted good health (“Knock on wood” ), that the flu shot just isn’t necessary. – I think it may have some adverse effects as well. I don’t want to take any chances and put that crap into my body. (I sound irrational? Maybe so.)

    I could be wrong. And I admit that I have said nothing scientific.

  18. Hi Dan,

    The problem with the flu vaccine is it is almost entirely effective against the flu that just hit the northern hemisphere for example but it has often mutated by the time they are able to make a vaccine for the Southern Hemisphere. It is therefore highly protective against the previous flu but the new flu may be very different, so you are playing the odds as Steven007 pointed out far from completely effective.

    I don’t think unless you are immune compromised that the vaccine will cause you any harm although you can look at the numbers on how many % suffer from side effects usually people with allergies to eggs because they use chicken eggs to breed up the viruses before killing them off purification etc. People who have reactions to vaccines are usually not reacting to the vaccine but to eggs. Your body will mount an immune response because it has been invaded but the response will be less harmful to you than the actual virus as the killed viruses have no way of independently multiplying. I get it every year as I said because I am a school teacher and therefore are much more likely to be effected and much more likely to infect others.

    Along a similar line I make the same judgment with my computer, I run Linux and (because it is a far better designed OS than Windows) I have in my 10 years of running it never been effected by a virus (touch wood). Linux is much better designed and less promiscuous than Windows (which in computing terms is very slutty – it’ll accept code from anywhere). Windows is so bad that the number one software purchased for Windows is anti-virus software. Even if a virus gets on my system it is unlikely (although not impossible) to actually effect my computer (which like Apple is far better protected than Windows- and free – and faster – and just frankly better in almost every way). I have though, installed anti-virus on my PC though, not because I think it is helpful to me (in fact it slows my much more secure system down a little) but because I may have a virus attached to a file or on a memory stick that while not effecting me, may infect those with less secure systems. I would be horrified to be the cause of infecting my school or students although I consider the chances vanishingly small, I pay the small price of having my computer check any device for viruses for others not for myself, particularly as a teacher in a Windows dominated school.

    Anyway I’ve banged on enough on this thread (had a few hours free) so I’ll back off for now.

    Regards.

  19. I try to avoid taking any drugs unless absolutely necessary. I can cope with pain quite well so I don’t take pain killers for example. I don’t need the flu jab because I am reasonably fit and strong (only the elderly and other groups get the jab in Britain) – Mind u I got the flu about fifteen years ago when I was younger and a lot stronger than I am now! and I was using a pee-bottle because I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed and at one stage I thought I may be dying!! Flu kills! so it’s a good thing they can jab to prevent deaths in the groups where it is needed. so that really the end of the argument isn’t it?

  20. First and foremost: YOU are responsible for your own health and health care. There are shitty doctors and yours might be the shittiest. It’s “buyer beware” and if my doctor was peddling any woo, I’d high tail it out of their office like a jack rabbit.

    Second, M27Holts…. very interesting. I do not perceive vaccines as drugs. But, certainly am gonna do some thinking on the issue.

    Last:
    The last few posts have demonstrated something that the anti-vaxxer movement has to stand and justify. I had my son at the pediatrician last night (he is 17, the size of a moose, but still goes to the “kiddie doctor”). Anyway, they had a letter clearly supporting vaccinating children on the wall and addressed the issue in no minced words.

    However, they fell short of what I “wanted” the posted letter to say. I wanted it to say, “if you do not get your children vaccinated, you’d better look for another doctor”. Their posted letter fell short of that. So I had a chat with the doctor about it.

    Here’s where the two story lines come together. Evolution is greatly accelerated in viruses compared to the evolution in the living world. (Viruses are not alive). Their generational time is explosively fast and the copy number that they generate is staggering. Couple that with the idea that they are using the host’s cellular machinery to do the copying and what you have is extreme amplification of numbers at the expense of fidelity.

    Also at play is the making of un-infective viral particles really does not constitute a “death” of an organism (they are not alive). So, the toll is different in say a bacteria that undergoes binary fission, only to have one of the daughter cells un-viable. This bacteria’s “genetic score” is diminished by a large factor. If a lysing cell liberates 100,000 virus particles and 10,000 are un-infective (“viable” does not fit here), the virus’ “genetic score” is still + 90,000. And, if an additional 10,000 are “broken” but still infective or, better yet serendipitously “broken” into a “better” or simply “different” particle, then the virus is way way ahead in the genetic score. Hell, if 1 in the 100,000 is broken to be better, we would see a crazy explosion of new viruses. AIDS? SARS? ZIKA?

    So, the flu virus mutates at an alarming rate and is not predictable in it’s “direction” of evolution. But, so do all the other viruses (some faster than others, of course). So, the vaccine that my son received in 2001 for chicken pox (a herpes virus) may not hold immunity against the “version” of the virus that wanders into the office in the unvaccinated kid today.

    The doctor listened and I made some good points and saw raised eyebrows a couple times. Her response was that they would “take it under advisement”. I read between the lines that they want as much money coming into the practice as possible and would not be turning insured paying customers away.

    maybe it’s time I found another doctor for my kids.

    I’d love to hear from an anti vaxxer and I’d love to hear them rebut what I’ve said. Nd, I’d love to hear why they think that their “protection of their kids from vaccines” should trump my protection of my kids from their kids.

  21. Hi Reckless. First off, if I were a teacher I would likely get the vaccination because, why not? Even if it confers the (likely) modest benefit, the numbers in this case are in your favor, in terms of being exposed. This is also true of military personnel and other environments where you are around a lot of other people a lot of the time. I believe I read the results similar to you. But as you note we aren’t privy to the extenuating circumstances in terms of the testing done, etc.

    For you it seems wise to get the vaccine. For me it’s a non issue. Like Dan I haven’t gotten the flu in…I don’t even know. I am not opposed to getting the vaccine for any anti vax reason certainly. Like crooked I have worked in the lab and thus have had probably twice the amount of vaccines and boosters (Hep B (series of 3 shots/boosters; varicella zoster [chicken pox], etc) than most people, in addition to all of the usual ones. But, and I realize this is completely anecdotal, the folks I know who get the shots always seem to feel ill for a few days afterwards and often get sick anyway. Likely due to the constant mutation of the virus. By design the vaccine can only cover a spectrum of known strains. And as you note unless you luck out and get the vaccine that happens to cover the early unadulterated strains, you’re SOL. So obviously it’s a personal decision.

  22. I was a child before most early childhood vaccinations were available. I was normally well-cared-for and healthy, but between the ages of 5 and 8 I had pertussis, chicken pox, and measles. Each time I was very ill and missed school. In addition, the chicken pox is with me forever; I had a nasty bout of shingles a few years ago. In my teens I also had a tetanus infection, but this was more easily treated. The benefit of vaccines is normal health, which is not noticed by those who fret about imaginary risks. When I remember how it felt to have measles, I have no second thoughts in having my annual flu shot. (As well as keeping up vaccinations against tetanus and pneumonia.) A second point—we tend to call every bad cold or stomach upset “the flu”, but this is not Influenza, which is very dangerous. To understand the risks, do a quick online research of the 1919 influenza pandemic.

  23. Steven007

    How are you, my literary and erudite friend? Your comment #34 was not without your usual subtle wit: “I am not opposed to getting the vaccine for any anti vax reason certainly.”

    What about the mercury? Isn’t that bad for you?

    (I’d be interested to hear you comment on Trump. I haven’t seen any comments on those threads yet. Up to you, of course.)

    Thanks crookedshoes for all that info.

  24. BTW, Dan and others, I didn’t get the annual flu shot until I was in my sixties (for reason Dan noted). In 2014 I got a bad case of the flu in Seville, laid me low with fatigue and coughing all night for over a week and lingerings for two further weeks (absolutely ruined the vacation and, of note, the Spanish medical services were very affordable, punctual!, and excellent). So for the past two winters I’ve got the shot and haven’t yet got the flu. Also, an 80 year old friend claims he’s been getting the shot for decades and as not had the flu.

  25. In 2014 I got a bad case of the flu in Seville…

    Same here. I disregarded the recommendations until it happened to me and it morphed into walking pneumonia. Now I get the flu vaccine every year, but to be honest, I work in a hospital so it’s mandatory.

  26. Hi Dan. I’m fine and I hope you’re well. As you know by now I am an erratic contributor but an avid lurker. I’m on the site nearly every day save for some weekends. I comment when I feel compelled to. With so many good contributors many of the things I’d say are said (albeit perhaps differently than I’d say them) before I even log on for the day. If I don’t have anything unique to add I’ll generally lurk from afar and monitor the conversation. The irony is I like to be provocative but I save that for my small billing paying satire writing gig. I save my energy!

    What about the mercury? Isn’t that bad for you?

    There has never proven to be a link between thimerosol (what I think you mean when you say “mercury”) and autism. While exposure to mercury may result in damage to brain, kidneys, and developing fetus, the current scientific consensus has found no convincing scientific evidence supporting claims that thiomersal (an organomercury compound) has such effects:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17168158

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/yet-more-evidence-against-a-link-be tween-thimerosal-and-autism/

    Regarding Trump (dear Mods, I am mentioning Trump only as an answer to Dan’s question, not as an attempt to derail this thread), I haven’t had the stomach to participate. Needless to say I agree with you, Alf, Arkrid, crooked, Laurie and most others when it comes to the orange one. Interesting times, but I’m not a fatalist.

  27. Steven007 #34
    Jan 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Topical. New article on SBM. Fairly comprehensive:

    >

    (first comment on the thread says it all: “Dumb and Dumber meet to discuss issues they don’t understand.

    @ your link – In any case, the alliance of Trump and RFK Jr. should put a chill down the spine of anyone who cares about the integrity and effectiveness of the vaccine program, the mission for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and healthcare in the US.

    If it was not so serious due to their influential positions, it would be comical!

    Science illiterates, with no integrity, debate setting up a reputable scientific investigation supposedly to reinforce their ignoramus-class cognitive biases.

    Both men embrace crank anti-vaccine claims and conspiracy theories. Both also deny that they are “anti-vaccine,” but that claim is just spin, and doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    Obsessive know-it-all science illiterates denying they are in denial, is pretty much par for the course! – Too ignorant to be aware of their ignorance – and too incompetent to recognise those specialists who are expert authorities!

  28. On an individual level, the flu shot seems to fall into the “hardly worth the effort” basket. I’ve had it and something flu-like twice in the same winter. I’ve missed it and had something flu-like once. I’ve had flu-free winters without the vaccine. Too small a sample to be meaningful.

    On a population basis, it’s probably an economic win to reduce sick-days even by a small margin, especially for people who mix with lots of others – in education, healthcare, hospitality, anywhere that there are frequent interactions with others.

    For me, it’s done no perceptible harm, and no perceptible good. I’ll probably go with the flow (not the flu) and get the jab if I qualify for a free one. At least, then if I do get sick I can grumble about the useless vaccine. It’s good to have something to grumble about when you’re ill.

  29. Dan #4: I got all my shots (measles, polio, mumps, tetnus sp?), but never had a flu shot. And if I get the flu I get the flu. I’ll be fine with some soup and rest. I have GREAT immunity. INCREDIBLE actually.

    A comic once said, “My ambition is to live forever…So far so good”

    I have GREAT immunity. INCREDIBLE actually….Dan, do you know how much you’re starting to sound like the Donald?

  30. crookedshoes #7: Do you get your dogs and cats their shots? How many are autistic?

    My cat is autistic. He sits in the window and just stares off into space… and stares and stares

  31. Dan #35
    Jan 11, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    What about the mercury? Isn’t that bad for you?

    The preservative mercury compound in vaccine is in a microscopic quantity, and there is no evidence that particular compound is harmful.

    It is illustrative of ignorance in the US, that many of the anti-vaxers who are shouting about mercury, actually get quite large doses from the air, water, and field crops they eat, due to the pollution from their beloved coal power-stations!

    https://www.edf.org/climate/reports/mercury-alert-cleaning-up-coal-plants

    Coal-fired power plants are the primary source of toxic mercury air emissions in the U.S. Mercury pollution contaminates our land and waters, causing serious human health impacts.

    A large amount of toxic mercury pollution is released from a relatively small number of plants.
    .-These 25 plants alone are responsible for nearly a third of all mercury emissions in the power sector, while providing only eight percent of our electricity.
    .-Twenty of them are located within 50-100 miles of some of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis and Austin.
    .-Texas led the nation in mercury air pollution from coal-fired power in 2009.

    As usual the pseudo-science muppets, are nit-picking imaginary specks in their scientific brothers’ eyes, while blinded by the house bricks of ignorance stuck in their own eyes!

    T-Rump and Co. come to mind!

  32. Yes, bleating about mercury in vaccines seems to be completely disingenuous.

    And a good response is to expose the levels of mercury in the environment, and where it comes from, get alongside the anti-vaxxers and (assuming benignly that they want to reduce mercury poisoning) and help them target the most severe offenders first…..

  33. OHooligan #45
    Jan 12, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Yes, bleating about mercury in vaccines seems to be completely disingenuous.

    And a good response is to expose the levels of mercury in the environment, and where it comes from,

    The mercury pollution from coal industry pollution and dumped batteries, looks likely to increase mercury levels in fish in rivers, estuaries, and coastal fisheries as global warming increases rainfall and run-off in temperate latitudes.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38769697

    There have been concerns over the levels of mercury in fish for many years – Rising temperatures could boost mercury levels in fish by up to seven times the current rates, say Swedish researchers.

    They’ve discovered a new way in which warming increases levels of the toxin in sea creatures.

    In experiments, they found that extra rainfall drives up the amount of organic material flowing into the seas.

    This alters the food chain, adding another layer of complex organisms which boosts the concentrations of mercury up the line.

    The study has been published in the journal, Science Advances.

    Mercury is one of the world’s most toxic metals, and according to the World Health Organization, is one of the top ten threats to public health. The substance at high levels has been linked to damage to the nervous system, paralysis and mental impairment in children.

    The most common form of exposure to mercury is by eating fish containing methylmercury, an organic form of the chemical which forms when bacteria react with mercury in water, soil or plants.

    Levels of mercury in the world’s ecosystems have increased by between 200 and 500%, since the industrial revolution say experts, driven up by the use of fossil fuels such as coal.

    In recent years there are have been concentrated efforts to limit the amount of mercury entering the environment, with an international treaty, called the Minamata Convention, signed by 136 countries in place since 2013.

    But this new study suggests that climate change could be driving up levels of methylmercury in a manner not previously recognised.

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