One of the Herd


Sometimes, sticking out from the crowd is great. Why do you think I have this hair? But other times, being unique isn't so great. You just want to blend in and be like everybody else. One of the herd. Apart from anything else it's good for your health.

 

In South Wales at the moment, being part of the herd is a very good thing. A media panic about the MMR vaccine 15 years ago caused a drop in vaccination rates, and what we call herd immunity. Now the people of Swansea are suffering for it. As of Friday, in the last 6 months there have been 903 new cases of measles in Wales, and 648 of those have been since the beginning of March this year. And even as you're reading this, that figure will have gone up. Most are either in the 10-14 age group, who would have been due their MMR jabs right after the scare, or the 0-4 age group who may be too young to have the vaccine now.

The thing about vaccination is, it doesn't just protect you. It also protects the people around you who can't have the vaccine, such as very young children and people with chronic illnesses that weaken their immune systems (for instance, people having chemotherapy). These people rely on being protected simply because everyone around them is vaccinated, so if a carrier or infected person comes into contact with them, they're in trouble.

Here's a good video that explains herd immunity from Aussie medical group Chain of Protection:

We need vaccination rates to stay high to keep the whole community safe. For instance, you need about 80-85% of the population to be vaccinated against polio to stop it cropping up again. The vaccination rate for MMR is much higher, closer to 95%, as measles is incredibly infectious. But the vaccination rate in some parts of the UK is way below that, for instance 86% in South Wales, and reported as just 70% in Totnes, Devon.

Why are some people so scared of vaccinating their kids? There are lots of misconceptions, even away from the false autism scare that's causing havoc in Swansea now. Some people believe that multiple vaccinations somehow overload their children's immune systems and cause them to "be overworked", but there's absolutely no scientific evidence that the body can't handle it. Studies have shown time and time gain that the multiple vaccines used worldwide cause no more extreme reactions than single vaccines. In fact, single vaccines do more harm, simply because people are less likely to go back for the rest if they "spread out" the time between jabs. Life gets in the way.

Some people believe that there's no need for vaccination because improved hygiene and health standards have all but wiped out the nasty diseases of yesteryear. Wrong. The WHO reports that deaths by measles went down by 75% as a direct result of vaccination programmes. We can see the effect of vaccination on the population by looking at the incidence of chicken pox in the USA. The chicken pox rate was still as high as ever until the mid 90s when vaccination was introduced... surely people were living hygienic lives by then? We're hardly talking about an Age of Squalor and Deprivation.

It's really quite simple. If we stop vaccinating, the diseases come back.

 

Why aren't our own natural defences enough?

As the problem in South Wales shows, sometimes it's best to give them a helping hand. All multi-cellular animals, from fire ants to elephants, have defences against disease-causing viruses and bacteria (called pathogens). Non-specific immunity covers the things your body can do to stop a pathogen getting into you in the first place. There's a whole bunch of stuff, from that extra big sneeze you did when the pepper lid fell off at dinner, to the time a bug flew into your eye and it watered for hours, right through to the fact you have skin.

Specific immunity is where things start to get fun. Should a pathogen manage to break through the obstacle course of your primary defenses they have to fight your white blood cells, which you might have heard of (if only as the name of a great White Stripes album). The white blood cells (called phagocytes) basically perform what I like to think of as an "omnomnom" function, embracing and gobbling up any pathogen that passes by.

Omnomonom! Lovely anthrax. Delicious.

But phagocytes can't deal with everything. Sometimes we need something special for particular pathogens, and that's where the lymphocytes come in.

Despite sounding like something from beyond the wall in Game of Thrones, the lymphocytes are very much in our side. They're created in our bone marrow and form mainly two types, T cells and B cells, which work as a perfect team.

B cells are excellent at maturing into different kinds of specific pathogen-fighting machines. For instance, if you get chicken pox your B cells will multiply into blood cells that produce chicken pox anti-bodies. But your B cells aren't that good at detecting if something is there in the first place. Most of the time they're dormant, and only multiply and specialise when a specific pathogen like chicken pox enters the body. The job of the T cell is to sound the alert.

The T cells sound the alarm when a particular kind of white blood cell called the Antigen Presenting Cell shows up with a bit of the problem attached to it. They spring the B cells into action, and also make some Killer T cells of their own which recognise infected body cells and zap them.  It's also the T-cell's job to calm things down, stop things multiplying and end the attack when they sense the job is done.

But even when the infection is over and the B and T cells subside, "memory cells" remain in case that pathogen ever crops up again. And this is why vaccination works. It introduces a weakened or inactive version of the pathogen so that if the Real Thing pops up, your body can swing into action with those memory cells that have just the antibody you need.

Make no mistake. vaccination works, and it's vital to the health of both us as individuals, and the populations we live in. We've eradicated smallpox, and we're working hard to eradicate polio. But as the people of South Wales are learning, if we want to eradicate these nasty diseases it's a relentless job. The slightest chink in the armour of vaccination and they return. There's no treatment for measles once you have it, you simply have to let it run its course. And while for most people that will be a nasty rash and a temperature, it can be a lot more complicated than that for some.

Measles is NOT marvellous. It kills about 400 000 people across the world each year, and about one in five will have one or more complications - from diarrhoea to blindness and heart disease. Between 1 in 2500 and 1 in 5000 will die from it, the highest proportion being among the under 5's.

I'm going to leave you with a link. Go and read this passage from Roald Dahl, whose daughter Olivia died of measles at 7.

http://www.blacktriangle.org/blog/?p=715

Because nothing can be more powerful than the words of someone who has lived it. There was no reliable vaccine for measles in Olivia's day. But there is now.

No more deaths from something we can treat so easily. Please.

Be one of the herd.


38 Responses to “One of the Herd”

  1. David Reply | Permalink

    Awesome! know someone who could do with reading this article!
    Hopefully, I will then be able to convince them to get the flu jab this year.

    The only thing I feel that was left out, is that vaccination can help prevent new strains developing.

  2. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    Uh what is this measles crap. The guy that died in recently had other serious health issues and it turns out he had had measles vaccine!

    France has an epidemic every two years and has compulsory vaccination. I can't believe you guys are buying into this vaccine protects crap.

    • Tania Browne Reply | Permalink

      Hi, while it's true that France has had 20 000 cases of measles between 2008 and 2011, 80% of those cases were in unvaccinated people and the vaccination range stands at about 85%, which as I state in the post is way below what's needed to prevent outbreaks. It's not that many vaccinated people are getting measles, it's the same old story of not enough people getting it despite France's "compulsory" stance

      • Yousles Reply | Permalink

        For the entire period 1 January to March 31, 2013 for the whole of Wales there were just 26 laboratory confirmed cases out of 446 notifications: 10 in January, 8 in February. And in March just eight cases out of 302 notifications for the whole of Wales.
        It's all very well saying outbreaks are caused by unvaccinated kids, but in the name of science, the vaccination status of sufferers needs to be checked. There is such a thing as vaccine failure. It isn't even confirmed that everyone concerned has measles, let alone who's to blame. If it isn't okay to use measured information to alert a population to a possible problem and a useful precautionary strategy (Wakefield), then how on earth is it ethical to spread fear and panic about measles as the press are now doing?

        • Tania Browne Reply | Permalink

          Hmm, OK well I'm going with the notified figures, which are here http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/66389#a As it says on the page, new cases are arising so quickly that it's simply not practical to await lab confirmation, so the clinical diagnosis of a doctor is being taken as confirmation.

          You're absolutely correct, in a small proportion of vaccinated people the vaccine will not be completely effective and they will still get it, but the proportion of vaccinated people who get measles compared to the proportion of unvaccinated is tiny. The best explanation I could find is here http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/misconceptions-about-vaccines which helped my understanding.

          I don't feel personally that the press are "spreading panic." We know that vaccination works on the population at large and I think it's important to get the message of herd immunity across. There is widespread scientific evidence on which the advice is based, the problem with the Wakefield study was that the press over reacted to one very very small study under the illusion that they needed a "balanced view"

          • Yousles | Permalink

            TB, if this is a matter of science not superstitions, then assumptions are dangerous. Measles goes in cycles regardless, hence the current epidemics may have nothing whatsoever to do with vaccination or lack thereof. Unless the actual vaccination status of actual sufferers is recorded and some data obtained, we do not know how well the current vaccination programme really works with the current problems. You can rest on your faith but I am a scientist and I do not think it wise to take these matters on trust. We are missing the best opportunity to find out how well MMR really works.

          • Tania Browne | Permalink

            Nope, understand what you're saying there and agree that this is a good opportunity to study. I realise that in saying the ages most affected are those who were due their vaccinations at the time of the Wakefield scare implies I believe those contracting measles now as a direct result - without further study we can't assume this is true, fair comment. But you'd agree, of course, that we cannot say the two are NOT connected, either. Herd immunity has clearly gone down, whichever way.

            Saying "I'm a scientist" as an appeal to authority doesn't wash though, you could be a plastics chemist for all I know ;) but yes, I take your point entirely that it's a good opportunity to study and compare measles cases between those previously vaccinated and those not.

          • Yousles | Permalink

            [Hi TB, this is putting replies in funny places but this is to your 4:57 of yesterday].
            In saying I am a scientist I am not pulling rank. I am saying that I cannot take certain 'facts' on trust. To wit: that it is unvaccinated people suffering from the Wales measles outbreak; that the outbreak is caused by vaccine avoidance some years back. The evidence for these beliefs is entirely circumstantial at this time.
            You are completely wrong in saying I am appealing to authority.

          • Yousles | Permalink

            [Hi TB, I'm trying to put this post in the proper place, it got stuck out on the end of the thread earlier. Please delete the earlier copy (below), thanks]
            TB you've gone straight to yet another assumption that herd immunity through vaccination ever existed in the first place. In fact you're assuming that vaccination protects at all. You can't seem to help resting on the theology here with every 'fact'.
            The 1989 Quebec measles outbreak was among a 99% vaccinated population, 85% of the 1300 or so sufferers had been vaccinated.
            The 1985 Montana outbreak was small, but of the school-children affected, again, nearly 100% take-up rate within school.
            Same in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1985.
            98% coverage in Hobbs, New Mexico, 1984, 76 cases.
            1984, Illinois, 21 cases of school children, 16 of which had been vaccinated. That's a 76% failure rate of 'protection'. Gosh, was there something about the 1980's?
            Same picture in Greensville Ontario, 1975 (55% had been vaccinated once). The conclusion from that was that one dose isn't enough. Or perhaps another reasonable conclusion is that this is snake oil and offers no protection whatsoever... Either way, I just don't think assumed effectiveness of vaccination is a reasonable 'solid starting point'.
            And the above is just for measles, okay , it's a few cherry-picked examples. But I can see why the authorities who's highest goal is to protect the vaccination programme more than our health (Tomljenovic 2011) might not want to collect such data each time there is an outbreak. Either way, it is totally irresponsible to villify concerned parents and waverers without obtaining and releasing the facts, as has been happening.

  3. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "The only thing I feel that was left out, is that vaccination can help prevent new strains developing."

    What kind of mythology is this?

    • David Reply | Permalink

      Agreed, it should read "slow down the development of new strains of virus."
      However the prevention side is a very limited situation to those working with a virus such as smallpox.

      " I can't believe you guys are buying into this vaccine protects crap."
      You do understand how vaccinations work, right? (should do, as Tania did a good job at explaining how it works.) If your immune system is weakened (chemotherapy and AIDS, for example) then of course any vaccination may not as effective as it would a healthly individual.

    • Yousles Reply | Permalink

      Generally speaking the opposite happens - specific therapy against specific viruses actually accelerates the rate at which new strains appear by leaving a niche open for resistant strains. Vaccine failure is a well-understood phenomenon - they get less effective with time, not more effective as would be expected if they prevented mutation.

  4. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "We've eradicated smallpox, and we're working hard to eradicate polio"

    NO, what Bill Gates has done is re named polio as non 'polio flaccid paralysis' and guess what you are only lucky to have this condition which is twice as deadly as wild polio, if you have had the vaccine that Bill is handing out!

    So you vaccinate the whole population and then anyone who gets polio who has had the vaccine is not allowed to have that diagnosis!

    So that's how vaccination 'works'. Brilliant

    • Tania Browne Reply | Permalink

      Well first of all, I don't think Bill Gates is responsible for renaming anything. You say it's "renaming polio" then acknowledge NPAFP is a separate, more dangerous, issue. Which is it to be?
      It seems to be true (from the one paper I could find beyond conspiracy sites) that cases of NPAFP (Non polio accute flaccid paralysis) have risen hugely in two particular Indian States, Utar Pradesh and Bihar. Some people claim that the vast numbers (47000) are down to better reporting efficiency, but as cases have risen 32 fold it would seem unlikely. It is also true that the oral polio vaccine administered in these states contains a live polio virus which may cause polio in a small number of cases - this is why most countries have switched to an injected version of the vaccine which uses dead polio virus.
      But there are other factors that can cause NPAFP apart from the oral polio vaccine, and it's reported that in some areas of Utar Ramesh and Bihar children are getting more than 6 doses of oral polio vaccine a year - 6 doses seems to be the point from which correlated cases of NPAFP rise sharply.
      This is no doubt a tragic circumstance and I seriously hope that the link between over-vaccination and NPAFP is investigated. However it most certainly doesn't mean that vaccination is a bad thing and should be stopped. Polio myelitis worldwide has dropped from 300 000 cases a year to just 223 wild polio virus cases in 2012. There are now only 2 countries in the world (Pakistan and Afghanistan) from which wild polio has not been eradicated. And while we must never let up on investigation what has happened in Utar Pradesh and Bihar, I still firmly believe this is something to be celebrated.

    • Yousles Reply | Permalink

      Ah yes, the old joke about smallpox eradication. Smallpox didn't exist in the Phillipines until mass vaccination programmes there, and then they had the biggest outbreak in world history. The smallpox 'eradication' programme is a history of disaster - whole villages wiped out. It would be funny, except it's not.

  5. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "This is no doubt a tragic circumstance and I seriously hope that the link between over-vaccination and NPAFP is investigated. However it most certainly doesn't mean that vaccination is a bad thing and should be stopped" Tania Browne.

    This is remarkable, you admit that it is officially noted that cases of Non polio flaccid paralysis are up by 47,500. You omit the other fact that cases of polio are down by 47,500! The two diseases are clinically indistinguishable so in weasle words that means that polio has been renamed for the convenience of white washing polio out of the picture.

    So considering that we currently have the highest number of whooping cough cases in the USA and UK for decades and the NIH and CDC and HPA all say that we have the highest vaccine uptake for decades so non vaccined cannot be blamed:

    Would you say here what we are looking at is vaccine failure or that it simply doesn't work too.

    If this was homeopathy you would be telling us it's placebo, flu vaccine doesn't work either and it is still funded by world governments even though there is no EBM for efficacy.

    Looks like vaccine is bull unless you are a vaccine believer.

  6. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "You do understand how vaccinations work, right?"

    Well the manufacturers of polio vaccine, whooping cough vaccine, flu vaccine obviously don't, but they make a good job of marketing them even though the evidence for protection according to the Cochraine Collaboration on flu vaccine is 'implausible at best"

  7. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "Awesome! know someone who could do with reading this article!
    Hopefully, I will then be able to convince them to get the flu jab this year." David

    Uh the 96 season study by the Cochraine collaboration showed that the efficacy for flu vaccine is 'implausible' at best. That's one of the most respected medical databases in the world looking at the top 10 claims for flu jab, they found no change in any shape of any graph for flu jab!

    You need to look at the EBM before making random anecdotal comments like this David, it is simply not scientific.

  8. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "Measles is NOT marvellous. It kills about 400 000 people across the world each year, and about one in five will have one or more complications - from diarrhoea to blindness and heart disease. Between 1 in 2500 and 1 in 5000 will die from it, the highest proportion being among the under 5's." site owner

    This is a disproportionate appeal to emotion. Measles only kills malnourished people, it does not kill 40,000 western people it kills people in third world countries who have crap access to good food. The WHO studied this and found one carrot a day was enough Vitamin A to zero mortality, this is low tech and deliverable to poor communities.

    The closer you get to the equator the more 'ineffective' vaccines become. This means that it has nothing to do with the vaccine and it is dishonest to imply that lack of vaccines is what the mortality is about.

    This is like promoting the idea that belief in Christ is the only salvation.

    • Yousles Reply | Permalink

      I agree, it's obviously acceptable to spread fear and panic through the newspapers and TV about measles. But offering a measured precautionary strategy that might still ensure vaccine coverage with single jabs is far too alarmist by comparison and completely irresponsible.
      Not that I will be opting for single jabs either. If vaccinating is a duty to society, then society needs to be prepared to support the occasional victims of this policy (through inevitable adverse reactions) instead of leaving them completely high and dry as it does.

  9. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "However it most certainly doesn't mean that vaccination is a bad thing and should be stopped." Tania

    Well it is for the 47,500 people who got Bill gates variant polio from the 6 doses of his vaccine that he has shares in. Is Bill complaining or apologizing?

    Wait a minute, they had too much vaccine, I thought vaccines were safe, that twit Paul Offit said we could have 20,000 vaccines and not get ill, does that mean that Bill Gate's vaccine is super toxic or is Paul talking vaccine believer bull.

    This is getting fascinating as it unravels.

    So tell us Tania, how exactly do vaccines work then?

  10. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "this is why most countries have switched to an injected version of the vaccine which uses dead polio virus." Tania

    Except Bill Gates who invested in his own toxic vaccine company and hasn't the inclination to stop using it, at least until stocks run out.

    If this was US mainland it would be a serious event

  11. ukeidding Reply | Permalink

    "But there are other factors that can cause NPAFP apart from the oral polio vaccine" Tania

    Like what Tania, is that a diversion, who told you this?

    • Tania Browne Reply | Permalink

      First of all can I say I'm really flattered that you see my blog post as such a threat to your beliefs that you've put days of research into coming up with some counterpoints to my last comments, which you then seemed to fire off at two minute intervals. I hope you don't mind, I took out the one that offered nothing constructive and insulted me personally, that's against community guidelines. Can I suggest in future though that you save up all those scattered thoughts and put them into one single comment rather than spamming the line? It would be helpful, and save my email alerts from going insane. I've chosen to leave the rest here though so that people can read for themselves and decide the "near religious" believer here - the person who made a blog post about MMR in Wales, explained how vaccination works and the importance of herd immunity, or the person hiding behind a veil of anonymity, without declaring interests, who thinks Bill Gates personally wants to harm small children for profit and believes a carrot a day will cure infectious disease in low income countries.

      I'm glad you were seemingly satisfied with the response I gave regarding MMR outbreaks in France, so let me address one or two other points.

      You accuse me of using "weasel words" and again claim that NPAFP is wild polio by a different name. Yet in your first comment here, you say that NPAFP is "twice as deadly." I've asked you this before and I ask again, if they're the same thing how does that work? How do you test something against itself and come up with that result?

      Congratulations on finding Cochrane reviews. I'll assume your mispelling was a typo rather than unfamiliarity with the organisation but yes, you are correct. There is little firm evidence to suggest that flu vaccination is very effective, most likely because new mutations of flu form so rapidly that it's hard to keep up with the new ones all the time. Also, a lot of flu vaccine research is funded by drug companies who are quite notorious for bigging up their positive results so it's hard to tell, and Cochrane acknowledge that. Some more independent research would be welcome but is sadly unlikely to get funding.

      You accuse me of making a disproportionate appeal to emotion by quoting the WHO statistics on measles complications and death. And yet you make similar use of those Indian children in Bihar and Utar Pradesh, and you imply that "vaccine believers" are religious in fervour and lack a scientific approach - you even say believing in vaccine is just like believing Jesus Saves. Sorry, who's being emotive again?

      Now for the most amazing thing of all. You claim that measles "only kills undernourished people", and in the same comment (as if the two are somehow linked) you claim that a carrot a day would wipe out vitamin A deficiency and lead to "zero mortality". Wow. Where to begin? First of all, by saying please link to your source. I'd be very excited to read this WHO paper which says Vitamin A deficiency is the only reason people aren't immortal, Stan Lee at Marvel should get right on that. Secondly, to use your own words this is, patently, bull. Infectious disease would NOT be cured by better nutrition and it's disingenuous to imply that. Immediately after the Second World War, for instance, due to rationing Britain was in the best nutritional shape it had ever been in, yet remarkably measles cases did not decline. As I say in my post, chicken pox was still a major issue in America until vaccination was introduced in the mid 90s - tell me, what major nutrition overhaul did this coincide with? Was there a new law making daily carrots compulsory?

      You (rather patronisingly) asked me "who told you that, Tania?" When I mentioned that NPAFP has other causes, may I ask a similar question? Who told you that vaccinations become less effective the closer they get to the equator? Who told you that vitamin A deficiency was the only barrier to "zero mortality"? Who told you that The Gates Foundation is based completely on self interest and has no care for the people harmed in Bihar and Utar Pradesh?

      I should say at this point that I'll allow you to make further comments on this post only as long as they are constructive, cite sources, are less belligerent in tone and do not directly insult me like the one I deleted. I mean what I say, I welcome constructive comments on this site even if they contradict what I've written, but if we're just going to go around in circles then I will have no hesitation to ignore, or even delete, future comments. Especially if you're going to remain anonymous and extrapolate hugely from uncited sources.

      • Pebbles Reply | Permalink

        You are panicking Tania, did you know that half of the Wakefield team has now been re instated medically, ie the case against the Gastroenterologist Walker Smith has been thrown out. Did you also know that the British Government present has forbidden any media to give air time to Wakefield to answer allegations being made against him.

  12. Heinz Reply | Permalink

    This is a nicely written soft soap selling vaccination policy, especially with the picture of the cow with the play on words about herd immunity. The problem is it is full of holes.

    Parents should be allowed to make an informed decision about vaccination, currently this is not allowed. One of the problems is that parents are not fully informed about the safety and efficacy of vaccination and thus the law of informed consent is broken. The pharmaceutical companies have been wise enough to distance themselves from any legal threat caused by vaccine damage, however the US government have paid substantial amounts to the victims of vaccine damage. In Italy recently a court payed a substantial amount to parents of a child who suffered autism after the MMR vaccination.

    The role of the immune system in immunology is only partially explained here, exposure to "pathogenic material" at the cellular level is now only thought to be responsible for approximately 2% of immunity, hence vaccination never works as well as natural immunity and if it does work it tends to be short lived and booster shots are required.

    Nursing of these children plays a vital role with the physiological responses reduced or stopped with medications like paracetomol or ibuprofen, which incidentally goes against NICE guidelines.

    On top of all that having measles as a child (a disease which up until recent times was described as a mild childhood illness) confers some protection against asthma. Which causes a lot more deaths per annum than measles.

  13. Yousles Reply | Permalink

    TB you've gone straight to yet another assumption that herd immunity through vaccination ever existed in the first place. In fact you're assuming that vaccination protects at all. You can't seem to help resting on the theology here with every 'fact'.
    The 1989 Quebec measles outbreak was among a 99% vaccinated population, 85% of the 1300 or so sufferers had been vaccinated.
    The 1985 Montana outbreak was small, but of the school-children affected, again, nearly 100% take-up rate within school.
    Same in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1985.
    98% coverage in Hobbs, New Mexico, 1984, 76 cases.
    1984, Illinois, 21 cases of school children, 16 of which had been vaccinated. That's a 76% failure rate of 'protection'. Gosh, was there something about the 1980's?
    Same picture in Greensville Ontario, 1975 (55% had been vaccinated once). The conclusion from that was that one dose isn't enough. Or perhaps another reasonable conclusion is that this is snake oil and offers no protection whatsoever... Either way, I just don't think assumed effectiveness of vaccination is a reasonable 'solid starting point'.
    And the above is just for measles, okay , it's a few cherry-picked examples. But I can see why the authorities who's highest goal is to protect the vaccination programme more than our health (Tomljenovic 2011) might not want to collect such data each time there is an outbreak. Either way, it is totally irresponsible to villify concerned parents and waverers without obtaining and releasing the facts, as has been happening.

    • Yousles Reply | Permalink

      Woops TB, that was out of sinc. I thought I had clicked the correct button, it was meant to be a reply to your 7th May 4.57pm post above.

  14. Pebbles Reply | Permalink

    I used to believe in vaccination, I know know it is complete bull

    • Yousles Reply | Permalink

      I used to believe in vaccination, then I had a series of travel jabs, and began getting feelings of dissociation, depression, and finally panic attacks. The effects lasted years. Never, ever again. Perhaps I was just unlucky, but personally speaking this isn't a risk I wish to take now. I am not anti vaccination, but I am now an avoider because my experience made me realise this is not a straightforward issue, and there can be problems.

      • Yousles Reply | Permalink

        Oh, and a very good friend has a teenage daughter who has been bedridden for four years after Gardasil. When I found out how many others there have been and how little is known about the long-term effects I realised that somebody should go to prison for that one.

  15. Heinz Reply | Permalink

    Yes Yousles there can be problems, people forget that vaccines, just like any other medicine have side effects, often they appear to have none but other times they can range from mild illness, to chronic illness and death!
    People often do not realise that prescribed medicines (which includes vaccines) are the 3rd leading cause of death in the USA every year, and on top of that there are the survivors who suffer severe debilitating injury numbering around 2 million a year!

  16. Pebbles Reply | Permalink

    The big problem with the whole measles issue is how data is collected. The GP guidelines have changed to make it harder to collect proper stats, GP's used to be able to clinically diagnose measles by looking at the patient, this then changed so that a swab for lab confirmation was needed. This meant the stats for measles plummeted, most docs didn't think it worth the expense to do this, saw no real problem and so the figures dropped. They also allowed GP's to remove those who chose not to vaccinate from the stats too, massaging the figures.

    All looks good until - we have a WHO talked up epidemic then the rules go out the window and everyone has the disease, and anyone can diagnose it, this is what is going on in Wales, it happened with swine flu too.

    So when it suits the statisticians the figures go up or down, I used to post on a lot of Skeptic sites and really believed in the whole vaccine thing. Unfortunately it has not made the planet a safer place and a lot of damage has been done. I am very embarrassed that so many posts by me slagging of those opposing vaccines, still are up on some of these sites but that is the problem with mis information. Shit sticks.

    you really need to start reading some proper science Tania, this septic stuff is evil

  17. Pebbles Reply | Permalink

    "Who told you that The Gates Foundation is based completely on self interest and has no care for the people harmed in Bihar and Utar Pradesh?" Tania

    I note this blogger has not posted an answer to this, Bill Gates has carried on despite protestations by the Indian officials who are aware of this disaster. Polio plus continues to ply the snake oil and the numbers of people devastated by this new disease are climbing. Maybe it's called polio plus because it has something extra?

  18. Tania Browne Reply | Permalink

    I wish to make one thing clear, I have not banned anyone from commenting on this thread and I don't intend to. But likewise, I do not intend to respond because I have a limited time to spend on this blog, and I can either spend it replying to comments from a weeks old post or write new material. I know which I prefer :)

  19. pebbles Reply | Permalink

    'moderation' Tania is some kind of banning, you need to start taking some critique instead of pandering to a cosy group of septics. You may not have noticed but a lot of people are starting to realise that vaccination is not whats on the tin

    I find it hard to believe that a grown women could make so many silly anecdotal comments about vaccination and not even engage.

    • Tania Browne Reply | Permalink

      I repeat. I have not banned anyone from anywhere. I removed one comment from another commenter which was personally insulting to me and did not add anything to the ongoing conversation. In case you had not noticed, I am one of 40 bloggers in a community which has commenting guidelines. Two of your comments this evening have added nothing and attacked me personally, and I will be removing one. The other, I only leave here because I am replying to it now. I suggest you think very carefully about your position in relation to SciLogs community guidelines.

      But of course you want to believe that "dissenters" are being banned because it makes me seem a coward and you heroic. Sorry, it's simply not the case. You have no proof, stop your ridiculous suggestions. If I choose to remove certain comments then I remind you this is my blog, and you're taking up my bandwidth and my time. This isn't a free-for-all and I expect discussion to stick to the topic and not descend to personal insult.

      I notice with interest that you've chosen not to respond to my invitation to identify yourself and any places you post or online communities you belong to. It's easy to hurl around silly accusations from behind anonymity, no? Also quite cowardly.

      If you wish to continue posting here I politely request that you read the community guidelines and stick to them. I won't take kindly to you filling my blog's bandwidth with insults and sweeping statements without links to scientific literature to demonstrate your points. You accuse me of anecdote yet your own comments seem to have been lacking those vital back-up links which would separate fact from your own opinion.

      I know you're enjoying me giving you attention, but my patience with your goading tactics is wearing thin and if I feel your future comments have little to contribute to a measured discussion on scientific evidence, I will remove them.

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