By Erin K. Costello
“None of my 6 children have been vaccinated…and they never will be.” That line right there says it all. She has no idea what science could learn in the future, what future studies could show her, or what she herself could learn in the coming years, yet she is still determined to never vaccinate. She has already made up her mind to ignore, argue, disbelieve, and/or dispute whatever new information comes her way. Why is that? Anyone who is truly pro-science knows that the notion they hold true today could change come tomorrow upon learning new evidence. Yet Kate will never let that happen to her. She won’t allow herself to change or waver her stance today in the presence of new data. She won’t allow herself to learn.
She begins with: “Unfortunately, there’s a lot more pressure and propaganda today, that makes it much harder to decide — or even seek out the truth.”
She then adds: “Frankly, I’m tired of the manipulation and fearmongering. My goal here is to stick to the facts and provide a balanced point of view. All my sources will be cited, so don’t feel like you need to take my word for it — do click through and read them for yourself.” I’ll elaborate on these talking points at the end.
In her defense, this one of the rare posts where she informs the reader she isn’t a doctor or medical professional. This is a new development for MAM, however I already explain here why it is that “concerned parents” and their research shouldn’t be used as sources to make your vaccine choices by. Instead, please contact your pediatrician or your family doctor for this information.
(I feel I should point out that up until now 5 times the variation of “vaccine” is typed it links to an amazon listing for one of her books, along with 2 times “pregnancy” is typed)
"#1: These diseases are super deadly; get vaccinated or die!"
Ugh. PVers (Pro-vaxers) do not say this. This is a typical example of Kate seeing one thing, and blowing it up into something it isn’t. There’s a letter from a dentist’s office going around that states how it’s state law for the office to notify CPS if dental care is routinely ignored. Kate took this to mean if the parents miss a teeth cleaning then CPS is called. Not at all what the letter states.
Every PVer does stress how people, and especially children, are more susceptible to VPD (vaccine preventable diseases), and once infected with certain PVD death can be a possible risk. These risks depend on age and disease though so no PVer would make a blanket or inflammatory statement such as this.
Heres what she says about measles: “Prior to the vaccine, measles killed roughly 1 in every 1000 reported cases, and about 1 in 8000 total cases. (Around 500,000 people actually came in to the doctor with measles annually, but since almost everyone got measles then, about 4 million actually had it each year.)”
She then lists her source. However, as usual she cherry picks her data. Here’s what her source says about measles before the vaccine in totality:
"Although most patients recovered without permanent sequelae, the high number of cases each year made measles a significant cause of serious morbidity and mortality Langmuir showed that >90% of Americans were infected with the measles virus by age 15 years . This equated to roughly 1 birth cohort (4 million people) infected with measles each year. Not all cases were reported to the public health system; from 1956 to 1960, an average of 542,000 cases were reported annually.By the late 1950s, even before the introduction of measles vaccine, measles-related deaths and case fatality rates in the United States had decreased markedly, presumably as a result of improvement in health care and nutrition. From 1956 to 1960, an average of 450 measles-related deaths were reported each year (∼1 death/ 1000 reported cases), compared with an average of 5300 measles-related deaths during 1912–1916 (26 deaths/ 1000 reported cases) . Nevertheless, in the late 1950s, serious complications due to measles remained frequent and costly. As a result of measles virus infections, an average of 150,000 patients had respiratory complications and 4000 patients had encephalitis each year; the latter was associated with a high risk of neurological sequelae and death. These complications and others resulted in an estimated 48,000 persons with measles being hospitalized every year .”
Notice how she leaves all the other health risks and potential suffering out? AVers (anti-vaxers) are terrified of a non terminal affliction such as autism, yet Kate decides to leave out information concerning other non terminal possibilities from measles, and these such possibilities are much greater than death, death being the ONE possibility she does mention.
I am not sure where she gets her “1 in 8,000” statistic from. According to the CDC, about 500,000 measles cases were reported in the US annually before the vaccine. Of those 500,000 there were about 48,000 hospitalizations, 4,000 with encephalitis, and about 400-500 deaths. It is ESTIMATED that 3-4 million cases of measles happened each year but that is just what it says, an estimation. This wasn’t reported. Therefor it’s an important claim to consider, but not one to conduct data from. Notice again her sentence: “(Around 500,000 people actually came in to the doctor with measles annually, but since almost everyone got measles then, about 4 million actually had it each year.)” She doesn’t say that 3-4 million were estimated to have contracted the disease each year. She jumps right to 4 million and says 4 million did actually have measles because that’s what her ONE source implies. A source, mind you, that cites references from 1962 and 1999. Seeing as how she doesn’t have or provide the raw data, nor would she likely know how to interpret such data, the responsible thing for an uneducated person to do would be to include more than one (reputable) source, or interview someone who is educated in this field. But then again if Kate were to do either of these suggestions her “1 in 8,000” claim would be a harder sell to her readers.
What Kate has to say about Pertussis: “As for pertussis (whooping cough), in 2016, there were approximately 18,000 cases. There were 7 deaths, for a rate of about 1 in 3000 cases. 6 of those deaths were in babies under a year. Of the 16,000 cases in people over a year old, there was only one death. The report does not say, but typically, the immunocompromised are more likely to die. Healthy children over a year almost never die of pertussis.” She lists this as her source. Well, why doesn’t she include stats from before the vaccine? According to her own source, the CDC the pre vaccine numbers are as follows: “Vaccines can prevent pertussis, or whooping cough. Before pertussis vaccines became widely available in the 1940s, about 200,000 children got sick with it each year in the United States and about 9,000 died as a result of the infection. Now we see about 10,000 to 40,000 cases reported each year and unfortunately up to 20 deaths.”
It seems to me if she had included these pre-vaccination numbers this would show how vaccines do work. However, if people like Kate continue to convince parents to refuse vaccines then we will end up seeing pre-vaccination numbers again. This isn’t conjecture or fear mongering. This is simply a statistical probability based on recent historical events.
Here’s what she says about mumps: “What about mumps? The CDC calls death from mumps “exceedingly rare.” (source) Up to 10% of adolescent or adult men will get orchitis (swelling of the testes), but sterility is extremely rare. Fewer than 1% of women will experience swelling of breasts or ovaries. Other serious complications also occur at less than 1%. No deaths have occurred from mumps in many years. Mumps is generally so mild that it isn’t even a reportable illness.”
Again, she’s not mentioning stats before the vaccine. She didn’t have to look far either considering the CDC the same source she uses, says that before the mumps vaccine about 186,000 cases were reported each year, and its suspected that many cases went unreported. Mumps would sometimes cause permanent deafness in kids, and occasionally encephalitis, which would sometimes result in death, although rarely. After the vaccine there was a 99% drop in mumps cases. Again, it seems as if the vaccine does work.
Here’s what she says about chicken pox: “How about chicken pox? Well, from this study , “…varicella was considered a benign disease…” and “Although serious clinical consequences from primary VZV infection were relatively uncommon, the societal cost, such as days of lost work, attributable to varicella were estimated to be over $1.5 billion annually, providing much of the rationale for universal varicella vaccination” In other words, complications and deaths from chicken pox were quite rare, but the ‘lost productivity’ led them to create the vaccine anyway. The death rate was about 1 in 40,000 pre-vaccine, and most of those were adults or children who are immunocompromised.”
I looked at her source and missed the part where the vaccine was created to prevent productivity losses. Her source does say “the societal cost, such as days of lost work, attributable to varicella were estimated to be over $1.5 billion annually, providing much of the rationale for universal varicella vaccination”, however the reference her source sites  for this statistic was from 2008, about 13 years after the chicken pox vaccine’s creation. It seems as though Kate is making uneducated assumptions based on her bias and not based on data.
She also doesn’t include these stats from her source: “In two varicella active surveillance sites located in Antelope Valley (AV), CA, and West Philadelphia (WP), PA, varicella disease had declined by about 90% in 2005 compared with rates in 1995, corresponding to vaccination coverage levels among children aged 19 to 35 months of 94% (AV) and 92% (WP). Declines in incidence occurred for all age groups, ranging from 57% to 95%; the highest reductions occurred for children <10 years of age for both sites (about 90%). An 80% decline in incidence was also observed among infants (ineligible for vaccination), and a 74% decline was observed among adults (who had low rates of vaccination), suggesting herd immunity”
Or these stats: “By 1999 to 2001, compared with 1990 to 1994, the national varicella death rate declined from an average of 145 deaths a year to 66 deaths a year. Considering varicella to be the underlying cause of death, the highest decline in the mortality rate was 92% for children 1 to 4 years of age, followed by 89% for individuals 5 to 49 years of age; infants <1 year of age experienced a 74% decline (97). Between 1994 to 1995 and 2002, varicella hospitalizations declined by 88%, and ambulatory visits declined by 59%, with >90% declines for children <10 years and adolescents 10 to 19 years of age”
Here’s what she says about the flu, and this is all she says about the flu: “[referencing CDC’s description of flu deaths here] Note that they include any death where flu may have play any role, and not where flu was the primary cause. This means if someone is already extremely sick, and then they get the flu and die, it would be labeled a “flu death.” Also, note how inaccurate their numbers really are. All of this confounds our understanding of how “deadly” the flu really is."
Ok, by her logic HIV deaths should not be labeled as AIDS deaths but instead deaths by infection of some sort since that’s what actually kills AIDS patients. Although, those infections would’ve been likely killed by medicine had the patient not had AIDS. Many flu deaths are caused by respiratory failure, which was brought on from the flu, but according to Kate the flu shouldn’t get this credit. As for the rest of her flu data analysis, I strongly urge you to read her source page concerning flu stats, lack of flu stats, why that is, and why the CDC estimates them the way they do. It’s a lot to add here and I’m still on her reason number one at the moment, there’s 8 more left. I should add that she’s not wrong about the numbers possibly being inaccurate, even likely inaccurate, but it’s fully explained why, and the CDC is transparent about this.
What she says about Polio “when polio is symptomatic, it kills 1 in 1000…on the high side. On the low side, it’s 1 in 50,000. However, it’s assumed that many are asymptomatic”.
She cites the CDC, and this as her sources. She fails to mention how the CDC also has this to say: “Poliomyelitis became an epidemic disease in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Epidemics of ever-increasing magnitude occurred, with more than 20,000 cases of poliomyelitis with permanent paralysis reported in 1952”.
But hey! What’s a little paralysis compared to death?
She concludes her disease assessment with the following: “It’s important to note that these numbers are from the pre-vaccine era, so it’s not that we’re seeing vaccines as a “victim of their own success.” These are the real death rates we’d see if we stopped vaccinating — although possibly less since medical science has advanced since the early to mid 1900s.
In other words…none of these diseases are really all that deadly.”
Here’s where I’m confused. Most of her stats are not from before vaccines. So is she referring to only Polio here? Or all her disease stats? If she means Polio then she’s wrong because Polio is not globally eradicated. Sure, in only exists in a handful of countries, but that’s because of vaccines. If we stopped vaccinating then the number of countries with polio outbreaks would rise. If she’s referring to all her disease stats then she’s out right lying since not all, or even most, stats are pre-vaccine. An lastly, death is not the only complication of VPD. So even IF the disease does not have a high death rate, it still isn’t safe to contract.
(Again, two more embedded links to her Amazon book in the word “vaccine”)
#2: Unvaccinated kids are always contageous
Not one PV person says or believes this. No one, vaccinated or not, is ALWAYS contagious. What MAM has to say about this is as follows: “Most people are concerned because some diseases are contagious even if you are not symptomatic (or not yet), and they are worried that an unvaccinated child could be sick or getting sick.
Unfortunately, sharing illnesses in this manner is a fact of life, and can happen to anyone, vaccinated or not. See point #4 that explains that “antivaxxers aren’t bringing the diseases back,” and point #1 for why these disease aren’t that serious anyway.”
She’s correct that people spread disease before showing symptoms, and that sharing illnesses is a way of life unfortunately. However, the chances of it happening with VPD to vaccinated kids is much lower than those of unvaccinated kids. This is shown above in pre and post vaccination stats. Need a reminder? Here’s one.
She also adds this: ‘““Measles virus is shed from the nasopharynx beginning with the prodrome until 3–4 days after rash onset.” ‘Prodrome’ means when symptoms like fever, cough, and weakness begin, but before the rash starts. If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home, and you will not spread anything!”
Prodrome means “an early symptom indicating the onset of a disease or illness.” How is one supposed to know what symptom means measles and why it doesn’t mean cold or strep throat? Plus, you can already be out or at school when the early onset symptom begins. By then it’s too late.
#3: Herd immunity! We must protect the young, the old, and the weak.
She begins with this: “But this idea of herd immunity — that vaccine don’t work unless everyone’s getting them. It’s just not true. Look at the point below, which explains that vaccination rates haven’t changed substantially in the last 25 years, yet diseases have increased. Herd immunity had nothing to do with why people were “protected.”
The key word is substantially. 5% isn’t a substantial amount overall, but in the case of herd immunity it’s the difference between no outbreak and an outbreak. Also, overall as a national average the vaccination rates may not have changed much, but that’s an average of a large area. There are many areas in the US where rates have dangerously dropped below 80%, and some areas where rates are well over 95%. This is what she fails to mention.
The source she gives for how herd immunity doesn’t exist is the CDC, except this page says that the prevalence of VPD is higher in adults <19,and lower in children >12 due to adults not keeping up with their vaccinations, thus proving that herd immunity is a thing and it works.
(Three more amazon book links in variations of the word “vaccine”)
#4: Antivaxxers are the reason these diseases are coming back.
Ok, this has been said by PVers. Whereas there is some truth to this statement, it’s important to point out that the lack of vaccinations is what’s contributing to the rise, along with other contributions.
First, she offers this graph as proof that “If you take a look at this graph, pertussis cases have been on the rise since 1990, when they switched to using an acellular vaccine instead of whole-cell pertussis.” Look at the graph. It isn’t a rise. It’s a fluctuation. There were others before 1990 and others after 1990. Then she adds this source as proof the rise is due to using an acellular vaccine. She doesn’t mention why this may have contributed to the rise though, which is because the acellular vaccine showed to wane more quickly over time, thus showing that when people are not protected, the VPD rates can and will rise. Next she adds “In 2000, 94% of 2-year-olds had 3 DTaP shots. (source), in 2005, it’s 95%. (Source), In 2010, it’s 94%. (source), In 2014, the most recent year available, it’s 94%. (source). So…there’s no appreciable difference in vaccination rates, which means there’s no association between lower vaccination rates (not happening) and increasing cases of pertussis.”
Look at those charts she references here. Her percentages are of a national average yet the charts break down the states and show many areas with dangerously low vaccination rates. Why doesn’t she comment on those areas and compare the spread of VPD there? For example, when MN had their measles outbreak the vaccination rate in that community had dropped from 92% in 2004 to 42% in 2014, yet the national average barely fluctuated that year.
She then does the same thing with the MMR vaccine, and then mentions MMR and DTaP rates from 1995. This gets weird because she then adds: “MMR in 2-year-olds was 87%, and 3 DTaPs was 92%. (source). Both were lower than today’s kids…so no. “Anti-vaxxers” are not bringing diseases back.” She doesn’t add the stats of reported VPD from 1995, only that there was a difference of 1-3% with certain ages of each vaccine. She includes this fluctuation as though it’s a large difference yet above she says the more present day differences are not “appreciable differences,” even though some are higher than 1-3%.
She then adds: “What steady vaccine coverage rates, and increasing disease rates actually points to is vaccine failure. Researchers already know that the MMR coverage isn’t lasting, and have suggested adding a third at college age. If something doesn’t work…why would we want to use it more?For example, recent mumps outbreaks on college campuses have been nearly 100% fully vaccinated students. (In this study 98%). In fact, several students who received a third MMR still got mumps.”
Here she contradicts herself. If vaccine failures are due to waning vaccine coverages, or that the mumps vaccine was showed to be 50% or less effective during certain years, and these failures are to blame for outbreaks, then doesn’t this prove that vaccines, when they last longer and have a higher than 50% coverage rate, actually work at preventing VPD? So how would a 0% vaccination coverage, like what she imposes, somehow be beneficial? By her logic alone this suggestion would make things increasingly worse.
#5: Vaccines work! Get them!
Here she says: “According to the data shared in the previous points, vaccines do seem to temporarily reduce rates of infection in some populations. But, the effect doesn’t last (in an individual or at a population level)....”. This is correct, and correct for the reasons stated above. Vaccines do eventually wear off, again proving that before they wear off they work. She then cites a 1991 study as proof of this and adds it was a small study. It seems cherry picked but even still, if vaccines wear off after 15 years that’s still 15 years of coverage and another vaccination dose can be obtained after 15 years.
She then cites a 2013 study in the Netherlands that shows infant MMR antibodies as lasting longer (about 2 months longer) in infants born to unvaccinated moms than to vaccinated moms. This may be true. Natural immunity passed from mothers may last longer than immunity passed from mothers who were vaccinated. This doesn’t lessen the dangers and risks for people who contract these VPD though. How many unvaccinated people in the area never grew up to have kids, or how many had complications from these diseases? Putting a whole community at risk so that a future baby can be given 2 more months of coverage on average seems risky. Especially since once those antibodies wear off that child will have a higher chance of contracting the disease since less people are vaccinated and therefor spreading the disease.
#6: The vaccine-autism link has been thoroughly debunked and that doctor lost his license/is in jail.
Here she mentions Wakefield: “Dr. Wakefield concluded that there may be a link, but that further research was needed to understand it. He recommended splitting the vaccine into three separate ones and giving them a year apart, instead of using the combo shot, until the matter could be resolved. He did not recommend against using vaccines.” She’s correct that Wakefield suggested there was a link, and suggested splitting the vaccine up into single vaccines. However, she leaves out how shortly before this claim and suggestion of Wakefield’s he had applied for a patent for a new measles vaccine. For the rest of this claim she then lists studies that show no link, and some that she claims to show a link. I recommend you check these out yourself because it’s only when you see how she presents these studies, and then read the studies, that you see the straws being grasped.
Bottom line though, vaccines don’t cause autism.
#7: Gettin lots of vaccines at once is fine; babies run across more antigens just by playing
She then supports this claim: “This is missing the point; no one is concerned about the number of antigens. In fact, they’re a lot lower today than they used to. Previous versions of vaccines are no longer used because the antigen load was high enough to cause the disease it was supposed to prevent, in some cases.” Yeah, I don’t see her point here either.
#8: Vaccines contain less formaldehyde than a pear and less aluminum than breastmilk
Here she says this about formaldehyde: “We’re not that concerned about formaldehyde in trace amounts, as it isn’t lethal until around 12g.” She then talks about aluminum by adding this study that offers up no info, a study on gulf war syndrome, and a study that shows aluminum might persist in the brain for those with underlying contributing factors, an might add to certain delays. Yet many other studies show it to be safe in vaccines. Also, if aluminum is such a scare, they do they still breastfeed?
Then there’s the human DNA shit again. She claims: “And, a 2014 Study shows that vaccines cultured in human fetal tissue contain “unacceptably high levels of DNA contamination.” Didn’t know that vaccines are cultured in human fetal tissue? Some are. They’re called “human diploid cells.” (source)"
Ok, I’m not covering this claim again so I’m simply going to link a past post covering the DNA in vaccines here. I know it’s titled as a religious argument but the science is also in the post explaining what these cells are and how they’re safe.
(Now her amazon book listing is also embedded twice in the word gelatin)
#9: Vaccines boost the immune system overall; without them, a child can never be fully healthy.
First I find it necessary to point out how no one says vaccines “boost” the immune system. The only people who use the term “boost” are AVers when they talk about feeding their kids vitamin c. PVers understand how vaccines work. They don’t “boost.” They introduce the immune system to a disease in a controlled setting thus preventing the person from falling ill to the disease but still activating the immune system just enough to build up antibodies against the virus for b memory cells to already form a planned attack in case you are exposed to the virus for real in the future. That’s not a boost. That’s trial run, a scrimmage, or a practice so your immune system is prepared in the event the “real thing” comes along.
She then adds this: “They aren’t overall immune boosters, and they can’t prevent diseases other than the one(s) they were designed to prevent.”(It seems that most times the words vaccine, vaccination, as immune are used it links to her amazon book listings). So, then vaccines work, right? She then adds: “The human immune system is meant to develop without vaccines. In fact, vaccines can change the way the immune system develops, and not necessarily in beneficial ways. (source) Vaccines may also increase the risk of autoimmune diseases. (source, source)."
Her first source was with mice and studied Alzheimer’s in mice, her next study says this: “The etiology and the trigger mechanism of autoimmune disease are still unclear , but several studies suggest that a vaccine component (inactive viral/bacterial agent or attenuated living microorganism) or a wild superimposed infectious agent can induce autoimmune disease in people with a genetic predisposition,” and her last source does not show a link.
(Three more embedded links in the word “vaccine” to her book listing)
She concludes her post with: “This is by no means an exhaustive look at all the research available surrounding vaccines. There is so much more to this topic. But, it’s enough to get you started if you’re new to researching it, and certainly enough to show that there isn’t a simple answer to the question. It’s not “vaccines are safe and effective, the end.”” She’s correct that it’s not an exhaustive look at vaccine research. In fact it’s a look a hand picked studies by someone with a preconceived bias to the subject at hand. The fact she omits Information from her studies, or jumps back and forth between pre vaccination numbers and post numbers when it suits her argument is almost like.......what was it she had called it in the beginning? Propaganda, fear mongering, and manipulation! I also didn’t see a balanced point of view that stuck to facts since her entire post was opinionated, supported her bias, and used CDC info when she liked what she found, then ignored CDC data when it didn’t agree with a source she liked better. But mostly, she shows time again how vaccines work yet argue that when they don’t work as well as they should that skipping them altogether is the answer. It’s clear that this isn’t about science for her, but instead comes off as a personal issue motivated by something other than science or children’s health. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this whole piece was a tool to increase book sales on amazon since the 17 embedded links lead to “A Practical Guide For Children’s Health” on Amazon. Oh wait, I do know better, and that’s exactly what this is.