(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A rant regarding the self-styled "People's Chemist" and his views on vaccines

I saw this "article" posted on Facebook, tried reading it just to give it a chance and got irrationally angry. Now that I've calmed down a bit, I'm going to try to rationally pick it apart point by point. For my sanity's sake, I'm going to ignore appeals to emotion that instantly make this article polarizing and try to focus on factual inaccuracies or misinformation.

Makes reference to research disproving herd immunity without quoting, referencing or linking to said research. Also, if vaccination works and if "herd immunity serves as a human shield – a type of immunity – for “at-risk” individuals" then by advocating non-vaccination you are effectively reducing the size of that human shield around those at-risk individuals. However, that's a lot of "if"s on my part so moving along.

"At best, vaccines boost our defenses only temporarily." That's what booster shots are for because you almost never have permanent immunity to any disease. If you don't come into contact with a pathogen often enough, as a matter of biological efficiency there's no point for your body to continue trying to fight it. It's a waste of your body's resources, so course vaccines only boost our defenses temporarily.

"That’s because your immune system is programmed to recognize and attack invaders that come through the biological “front door.” That would be your nose, mouth and eyes." This only applies to certain kinds of immune responses, namely mucous membranes, tears, cilia along the soft inner lining. Those immune responses are programmed capture and expel "invaders." Other immune responses like the lymphocytes: t-cells, B-cells and natural killer cells (among others) are active in your blood stream and do things like sending out antigens that attach themselves to pathogens so that other immune cells can recognize them as a threat. Ruptures to the surface of the skin (a natural barrier between the outside world and your body), like punctures from a needle, can activate these immune cells and bring them to the site of injury. That is literally the entire idea behind vaccinations. If your body only recognized "attacks" through the "front door" well our bodies would be a very poorly guarded home.

Quoting the World Health Organization “Children under two years of age do not consistently develop immunity following vaccination.” I need to get to the library to double check with medical encyclopedias since I'm having a hard time slogging through the very specific journal articles that came up when I did a search of online journals, but I'm pretty sure part of this inconsistency could be a direct result of the fact that children under two years of age do not have fully developed immune systems. The WHO article in question would seem to support this because it also lists "persons suffering from various states of immunodeficiency, for example HIV infection" as being unable to form immunity after vaccination.

[RELATED: Nature's Immune Booster is Potent Antibiotic. See the facts here.] The fuck are you trying to sell me pills for?

In a 2007 article, entitled “Nigeria Fights Rare Vaccine-Derived Polio Outbreak,” Reutersshowed how the vaccine itself ignited outbreaks of polio in Nigeria, Chad and Angola. The article in question points out that the 69 children infected in the outbreak were not vaccinated and that such outbreaks occur because aid workers are not able to reach enough of the at-risk population. Also, because this article is addressing people in the United States with access to resources and proper sanitation procedures and these outbreaks are occurring in developing countries, the situations of these outbreaks are not comparable at all. The only reason to bring this article up is as a scare tactic.

Reason #2 Vaccines Expose Kids to Toxins
I don't know enough biochemistry to try to debate this except to say most of us expose ourselves to more toxins in the bath daily and foods than we receive via vaccination in our lifetime. I will say check out the CDC's Vaccine Ingredient Fact List for yourself, most of the concerning additives have actually helped save people's lives by reducing chances of contamination from other foreign material. Be cautious, and do you research, sure, but most of these "toxins" are there for a reason because they contribute something to the final product.

On a semi-related note, many vaccine producers have started making multi-disease vaccines so you're getting fewer shots which means you're being exposed to fewer of these toxins overall, so even if this is your concern, it's getting better.

If parents need further proof of toxicity, they can read vaccine package inserts. Okay, if you're going to bring up the warning labels on vaccines, where essentially the companies producing them list every possible side-effect to cover their own asses should something go wrong, let me point you to the same warnings for ibuprofen, viagra, the sleep aid Lunesta. Almost anything produced by/for the pharmacological complex has really scary side effects listed on the packaging. Most of them are really rare otherwise these products wouldn't make it onto shelves.  

Reason #3 Kids Can Build Immunity Naturally
I'm going to stop right here and say that immunity is only achieved through exposure to disease. Therefore. according to the Mayo Clinic to be immune to all of these disease you would have to be infected with the disease (which would risk death).

Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann discovered that we are hard-wired with special receptors that recognize foreign invaders and activate our immune response. Ralph Steinman then found that special cells of the immune system possess the unique capacity to activate the immune response, which clears biological nasties from the body. And all of this occurs without vaccination! 

Um... that's kind of the whole concept behind vaccination, only instead of introducing foreign invaders, ideally we're introducing a straw man corpse of the foreign invaders for our immune response to practice on. It's not perfect, but better than being caught off guard by the real thing that could cause real damage. 

If you're really trying to make an argument promoting the development of children's immune systems, why aren't you quoting any of the plethora of studies that have shown that having pets can lower a child's risk of developing allergies or asthma? Oh right, because that's not really the goal here, the goal is:

[RELATED: Nature's Immune Booster is Potent Antibiotic. See the facts here.] 

STOP FUCKING TRYING TO SELL ME THINGS! I DON'T WANT YOUR BOOK AND I DON'T WANT YOUR DAMN PILLS. I want accurate, science based information that tells me the concrete risks of vaccines if you're going to convince me of anything.

So to be clear, I don't care whether or not you choose to vaccinate your children. That's your decision. Make it an informed one. Just don't believe everything you read from idiots like Shane Ellison, "the People's Chemist."

I actually agree with a friend who said that the corporate vaccination industry is a "scam business meant to produce profit." If they cared about the developing world as much as they claim to by providing all kinds of vaccines to fight disease there, they would put a whole lot more money into building infrastructure and increasing access to clean, running water. 

But that's a completely different discussion about the pharmaceutical industry rather than the science of vaccines. 

The scientists are do this work because they're genuinely trying to help people. You don't have to trust them by getting vaccinations because they are not infallible, but at least make sure your decision is one you can back up.