Article written by

tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

25 Responses

Page 1 of 1
  1. su
    su at |

    Very. Angry. Now. Parents are besieged by snake oil merchants – the Noni juice floggers, the Ambrotose pushers, the chelators, the mega vitamin people and it seems, cynical medical researchers whose baseless and fraudulent speculations can be published in the Lancet. Grrr.

  2. Beppie
    Beppie at |

    That is indeed a wonderful curse, and perfectly applied here.

    I wonder what motivated him? Is he anti-vaccination in general, or is he just one of those people who likes to point the finger and lay blame in lieu of actually doing something to help?

  3. Deborah
    Deborah at |

    I’m pretty angry about this too. We rely on scientists and researchers being honest. Not necessarily getting it right – they’re not omniscient after all, and that’s why we have peer review systems. But deliberating distorting the data makes a mockery of the hard work that scientists do.

    My kids are vaccinated to the hilt – MMR, HIB, whatever is in the schedule. Not chicken pox, and not the cervical cancer vaccine. But in the case of the latter, that’s not vaccinated “yet.” Vaccination is an extraordinary wonder of modern medicine, and I feel so discouraged when it is undermined by malicious behaviour like this.

    “may Karma gift him with a disfiguring allergy to Viagra.”

    LOLed. Very, very loudly. So much so that I scared the cat.

    Deborah’s last blog post..Kudos

  4. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    My eldest hasn’t had the chickenpox vax but he has had everything else, including a couple of extras courtesy of living in Alice Springs. The youngest has had chickenpox vax because it was added to the schedule in time for her to get it. As far as I can tell, autism causes autism.

  5. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    For those that know, are vaccinations less effective after 2 years of age? I know that autism often starts to become visible around this age, so if you are worried about vax causing it, can you wait until two then have your child fully vaccinated? Of course hoping that they haven’t contracted something horrible in the meantime.

  6. Ian
    Ian at |

    Beppie asks: “I wonder what motivated him? Is he anti-vaccination in general, or is he just one of those people who likes to point the finger and lay blame in lieu of actually doing something to help?”

    No, much simpler than that: Money. For one thing, the year before he published his fraudulant criticism of the triple vaccine, he patented his own single vaccine. For another, he was paid thousands of dollars to collect data by law firms trying to sue vaccine companies.

    There’s been lots of criticism of The Lancet for publishing this study (they’ve since caused it to be retracted) — but I don’t agree with most of that criticism. Scientific journals should try to catch fraud, but this kind of fraud, wholesale fakery, is ironically hard to catch than the simpler forms where, say, a single part of one figure is changed. It’s not possible for a journal to go back and re-scrutinize all the primary data in all the papers it publishes, for example. It’s necessary to rely on the scientific process as a self-correcting mechanism. Of course, that’s pretty much what happened in this case — Wakefield’s work was rapidly and thoroughly refuted in the scientific literature — but the mainstream press has lagged far behind the scientific consensus. If it wasn’t for ambulance chasers, scandal-seeking newspapers, ignorant and naive reporters, and greedy lawyers, this would have diappeared within a year of Wakefield’s first article, as happens with almost all the mistaken, careless, and misinterpreted scientific papers that are published by the dozen every day.

  7. Bene
    Bene at |

    I’ve been in more than one argument about the necessity of vaccination in my time, and I sincerely fear the loss of herd immunity; he can fucking choke on his forged study data, the bastard. I’m sure people have died because of him.

  8. Pen
    Pen at |

    I’m quite sure people have died because of him. And the herd immunity is an important thing to remember. There are some people who really can’t have immunisations for medical reasons. Having enough of everyone else immunised effectively protects them as well – they are unlikely to catch a disease that just is not kicking around in the community. Reduced immunisation takes that protection away, and they haven’t been able to make the choice. I guess that’s kind of an answer to Mindy’s question, too. If everyone is immunised, then waiting a bit longer might not matter so much. But if the diseases are around (because of low levels of immunisation in the community) then your under-two would be at great risk of catching a serious illness with risk of death or long-term health consequences.

    There are enough bloody risks to children that can’t be prevented whatever a person does. I can’t understand why you’d want to run the gauntlet of a whole bunch that can be prevented.

  9. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel at | *

    I do believe that parents need to have the right to choose immunisation or not, or to alter the standard schedule. I also believe they have the right to an informed choice on immunisation. And that second part seems to get lost, as it does with so many other parenting decisions. As is very clear from the way the media has handled the MMR/autism ‘debate’.

    I also find it kinda interesting that some parts of the patriarchogovernmentomedicoindustrial complex that so heavily promotes immunisation and doesn’t hesitate to call its absence “child abuse”, don’t do the same for true global and local breastfeeding support (Not lip-service and haranguing, but support). Which calls into question, for me, exactly how much of their particular pronouncements are actually about an evidence-based, effective, and comprehensive approach to preventing deaths from infectious disease.

  10. Rebekka
    Rebekka at |

    I’m of two minds about the schedule. Mumps – for example – is harmful if you’re a boy and have it as an adult or a teenager, but for kids it’s not a problem.

    And if you have mumps as a kid, you have life-long immunity. Whereas the vaccine doesn’t give complete immunity (see for ex this study).

    The schedule is based on public health, obviously, rather than individual health. But the main reason why kids are immunised so early against these sorts of diseases (i.e. ones that aren’t generally problematic for kids) is because you get better compliance with immunisation at a younger age.

    If you could get similar compliance at, say, age 10, it would make sense to immunise against mumps then. From an individual perspective, if the vaccine was available separately (which it’s not, at least in Australia) it would make sense to do measles early and mumps/rubella later.

    Although I also see the sense in Pen’s thoughts about herd immunity.

  11. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel at | *

    Rebekka: it’s probably also important to note (and I know you likely know this) that some immunisations are done early because the diseases kill very young children, and immunisation reduces that risk: pertussis and Hib are the obvious examples here. The invasive Hib disease stats alone debunk the “All immunisations are useless; it’s all about sanitation, and it’s all coincidence” hypothesis.

    I’d immunise my kid on schedule even if it was _only_ about herd immunity. That’s my choice. (And I note that some flavours of anti-immunisation folk who go on and on and on about immunity rarely mention booster shots.)

  12. blue milk
    blue milk at |

    I can’t tell you how good it feels to read an intelligent discussion of this issue! We’ve gone with all the standard vaccinations for our child, though finding a doctor who was comfortable with us altering the standard schedule was very important to us.

  13. Helen
    Helen at |

    Pen, I didn’t even know (to my shame) there was a chickenpox vacc. The routine around here is to invite kids over for a playdate once you hear they’ve got it. Both of mine are now immunised that way.

    Yeah, but not joking matter, I know. As Stephen Jay Gould said, you just have to walk through a churchyard which goes back to the Victorian or Edwardian period, and take a look at the infant / youth deaths.

  14. mimbles
    mimbles at |

    I too consider the herd immunity issue to be of some no small importance. My 3 were all immunised according to schedule, we missed the chicken pox vaccine though. I didn’t go out of my way to either avoid or seek out contact with chicken pox and so far we’ve not had it strike. My eldest son is about to turn 12 so I’m planning on a trip to the GP for chicken pox needles all ’round in the near future.

    mimbles’s last blog post..Chess

  15. Oz Ozzie
    Oz Ozzie at |

    Speaking as an ex-medical researcher, Wakefield should be subject to criminal charges.

  16. Brian Deer Discusses Andrew Wakefield in the Sunday Times: Many Updates « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

    […] of Hoyden About Town similarly experiences a visceral reaction and expresses it in strong terms: This is the first of no doubt many occasions that I will utter my husband’s new perfect curse. There is also a measured observation about scepticism and, effectively, whether grabbing onto any […]

  17. Faith
    Faith at |

    I’ve been a lurker here but had to come out of lurkdom to thank you for the new curse — I will make good use of it — and for this article. As a researcher, it saddens and angers me when researchers manipulate data, most especially data that can affect so many people’s health.

    Thanks again.

  18. S
    S at |

    I’ll add my thanks to the chorus. It is near impossible to see a balanced discussion of immunisation. If you choose to immunise you are often labelled a sheep- uniformed- a pawn of the pharmaceutical companies’ greed. But to be an informed parent who chooses to immunise is hugely underrepresented. It is great to see there are others out there.
    So, many thanks.

  19. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick at |

    I’m sure people have died because of him.

    We’ve had a couple of minor measles outbreaks in the last few years in the UK, which are likely due to reduced vaccination rates, but they didn’t turn into major ones. The UK is pretty prone to vaccination scares; we had one for polio a while back, which also saw a spike in cases. The trouble is, a lot of British people seem to see vaccination as a ritual, without any real significance; we’ve forgotten what these diseases are.

  20. Ian
    Ian at |

    SunlessNick : We’ve had a couple of minor measles outbreaks in the last few years in the UK, which are likely due to reduced vaccination rates, but they didn’t turn into major ones.

    Not sure what you call a major outbreak. “2007 saw the highest number of measles cases reported in England and Wales since current surveillance began in 1995, with 971 confirmed cases reported, compared with 740 reported in 2006. … There are increasing signs that the middle classes in the United Kingdom may also now be an at-risk group [7,8], due to parents’ active decisions not to immunise their children with the MMR vaccine. ” –Eurosurveillance, Volume 13, Issue 15, 10 April 2008

    Two children in the UK died of measles.

    Admittedly, that’s “minor” compared to the global death toll of measles (a mere 200,000 deaths per year — vaccination has reduced that from 750,000 deaths per year over the past decade), but in context the UK outbreaks are pretty major.

    Two children died.

  21. Rebekka
    Rebekka at |

    “Rebekka: it’s probably also important to note (and I know you likely know this) that some immunisations are done early because the diseases kill very young children, and immunisation reduces that risk: pertussis and Hib are the obvious examples here. ”

    Yes, absolutely and I didn’t mean at all to suggest that wasn’t the case.

  22. On peer review and fraud | Mystery Rays from Outer Space

    […] Hoyden About Town, I said (in part): There’s been lots of criticism of The Lancet for publishing this study […]

  23. Margaret
    Margaret at |

    The problem with not getting the MMR vaccines or having enough of the population be vaccinated is running the risk of being sick long enough or being a carrier of them long enough for them to mutate into completely horrible illnesses that mimic degenerate diseases.

    It’s not only avoiding the original diseases themselves that is so important; it’s preventing the other and more potentially fatal diseases they may develop into.

  24. derrida derider
    derrida derider at |

    The PatriarchoGovernmentoMedicoIndustrial complex doesn’t promote immunisation enough, for the simple reason that there’s not much money in it. They’d make a lot more money selling medicines to treat the diseases than they ever would from vaccines. The PGMI complex has a bias towards expensive treatments that manage chronic diseases of the affluent, not cheap ways to prevent acute illnesses in children.

    And yes, that researher is scum. But that doesn’t excuse all the alternative medicine believers who bought it all – ignoring the massive weight of counterevidence – because it confirmed their prejudices.

  25. Sometimes one WTF? is not nearly enough — Hoyden About Town

    […] P.S. if you’re about to argue that autism is due to vaccines, please don’t. Go and do some reading instead. […]

Comments are closed.