Tag Archives | Vaccines

Influenza Season: 4 Reasons To Say ‘Screw You Flu Shots’

Flu vaccinations make their way to U.S. Army in EuropeThis article originally appeared on HoneyColony.

The flu shot is a prediction as well as a billion dollar business.

Big Business of Flu

Am I the only one who literally winces whenever I spot a CVS or Walgreen’s pharmacy doling out free flu shots to ward off influenza?

According to the stats, I seem to be in the minority.   This year, according to CNBC, more vaccines will be distributed in the U.S. than ever before: a projected 179 million doses, amounting in $1.61 billion in revenue for Big Pharma. Globally, manufacturer CSL estimates the market for influenza vaccine equates to about $4 billion.


We’re not.

Reason Number #1: Why give my money to Sanofi Pasteur, CSL and GlaxoSmithKline? Despite their attempts, cases of the flu are going up in many states while strains are getting meaner.

“Getting the flu vaccine is always your best bet for avoiding the flu,” is what you will hear over and over again.… Read the rest

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Anti-Vaccine Activists Smear Couple Whose Child Died

Baby Riley: A victim of whooping cough.

Baby Riley: A victim of whooping cough.

Via Green Jihad:

Anti-vaccine activists have stooped to an all time low. An Australian couple whose child died from a vaccine-preventable disease decided to take their experience by writing about it on social media in order to warn people but were met with insults and outright vitriol for their daring to speak out.

An opinion piece in The West Australian describes the experience of Catherine and Greg Hughes. Six months ago, the couple tragically lost their four week old baby, Riley, to whooping cough die to not vaccinating him and upon posting messages on social media warming people of what happened when their baby died of pertussis, they were trolled and had insults directed at them by online anti-vaccine activists.

One campaigner compared the couple to Adolph Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbles, claiming they were conducting a sales pitch for vaccine companies. Another went so far as to question Riley’s existence stating that his death might have been staged in order to promote immunization efforts.

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Trump Makes Vaccines-Autism Link Part Of National Presidential Debate

One thing you can say about Donald Trump regardless of whether you like him or not, he’s not afraid to discuss highly controversial issues. In last night’s Republican presidential candidates’ debate he stirred the vaccines and autism link, so much so that he’s now being heaped with praise or dumped on, depending on the critic’s view on the issue. The Daily Beast is firmly casting him as a (choose your pejorative) vaccine truther or anti-vaxxer:

Heads up: Donald Trump is still a vaccine truther.

At the CNN debate Wednesday night, the GOP frontrunner broadcasted anti-science vaccine conspiracy nonsense—unchallenged by moderators or fellow contenders—to an audience of millions.

“We’ve had so many instances…a child went to have the vaccine, got very, very sick, and now is autistic,” he blathered. “Autism has become an epidemic. It has gotten totally out of control.”

Trump has long peddled goofy, debunked theories about a causal link between vaccination and autism.

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DARPA Developing Human Bio-Factories to Brew Vaccines

Depending on whether or not you trust the US Government, DARPA’s plan to create vaccines in what Discovery News terms “human bio-factories” will either be encouraging or highly disturbing news:

The next factory for lifesaving drugs could be the human body itself.


Scientists are developing a new vaccine-making method that co-opts the human body’s ability to quickly create antibodies, its main weaponry for fighting disease, say researchers with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The new method of vaccine production would involve giving the body instructions for making certain antibodies. Because the body would be its own bioreactor, the vaccine could be produced much faster than traditional methods and the result would be a higher level of protection, said Col. Daniel Wattendorf, a clinical geneticist with DARPA, the branch of the U.S. Department of Defense charged with developing new technologies for the military.

Every year people who swear by them line up for their annual flu shot.

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California, Camelot and Vaccines

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni takes on Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Jim Carrey in the great California vaccine debate:

If you had told me a while back that I’d someday dread, dodge and elect not to return phone calls from a prominent member of the Kennedy dynasty, I would have said you were nuts.

Then Robert Kennedy Jr. started reaching out.

Robert Kennedy Jr. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC)

Robert Kennedy Jr. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC)

Not just reaching out, mind you, but volunteering to educate me. To illuminate me. That was his tone of voice, somewhat pitying and vaguely patronizing, the one time we talked at length, after he’d left messages and before he left more.

It was important, he said, that we meet.

If we did, he said, he could correct me.

My error?

I had disparaged the alarmists who claim a connection between vaccines and autism and fill parents with needless fears about immunizing their children.

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Anti-Braker Speaks Out Against NTSB and Big Automotive


Alternative braking techniques might save countless lives, but will Big Government allow the debate?

Robert Moore Jr. describes the push-back he received when he made a personal decision to remove the brakes from his car:

Guys, I wanted to let you know about a personal decision I recently made. I don’t really feel like discussing it, but I want to put my position out there. Please be respectful. This is a really long post, but please read the whole thing.

I’m taking the brakes off my car. This isn’t a rash decision, so please listen up.

A few weeks ago I saw a car accident – two people went through an intersection at the same time. Both slammed on their brakes at the same time and collided. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

But then it occurred to me – if they had just gone through the intersection, they wouldn’t have collided.… Read the rest

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Jim Carrey Slams California School Vaccine Legislation: It’s ‘Poisoning More Children’

Jim Carrey just became one of the highest profile “Anti-Vaxxers” per the Hollywood Reporter:

Carrey tweeted that Gov. Jerry Brown is a “corporate fascist” who “must be stopped.”

carrey tweet

Jim Carrey is speaking out against new legislation requiring all public school children in California to be vaccinated starting in 2016.

Carrey, who has been an outspoken critic of vaccinations, said Gov. Jerry Brown needed to be stopped.

“California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory [sic] vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped,” Carrey tweeted of Brown, who signed the legislation Tuesday.

Read more Hollywood’s Vaccine Wars: L.A.’s “Entitled” Westsiders Behind City’s Epidemic

The new legislation removes personal belief exemptions to vaccinations for religious reasons. Carrey was once in a relationship with Jenny McCarthy, the public face of the anti-vaccination movement. She has said her son developed autism after receiving a vaccination.

Fellow celebrities have also voiced their displeasure with the law, taking to Twitter to retweet those voicing similar positions and writing their own opinions condemning the compulsory vaccination policy.

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Drug Companies Donated Millions To Lawmakers To Influence Vaccine Debate

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the pharmaceutical industry gave more than $2 million to California lawmakers in 2013-14 but reports no involvement in the vaccine legislation in that state, per the Sacramento Bee:

A subplot to the vociferous debate over the student vaccination bill moving through California’s Capitol is opponents’ allegations that the effort reflects the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.

Credit: Sacramento Bee

Credit: Sacramento Bee

Critics of Senate Bill 277, which would eliminate the personal belief and religious exemptions for schoolchildren, accuse the measure’s supporters in the Legislature of doing the bidding of donors who make vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.

The bill’s proponents and drug companies dismiss the charge. The companies’ lobbyist filings for the first quarter of this year as well as legislative committee reports show no connection between the pharmaceutical industry and SB 277.

“We aren’t pushing this bill behind the scenes,” said Priscilla VanderVeer, the senior director for communications for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, the industry’s main trade group.

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Inoculating against science denial

Exposing people to weak forms of anti-science arguments can help them respond when they are hit by the real thing. NIAID/Flickr, CC BY

Exposing people to weak forms of anti-science arguments can help them respond when they are hit by the real thing. NIAID/Flickr, CC BY

John Cook, The University of Queensland

Science denial has real, societal consequences. Denial of the link between HIV and AIDS led to more than 330,000 premature deaths in South Africa. Denial of the link between smoking and cancer has caused millions of premature deaths. Thanks to vaccination denial, preventable diseases are making a comeback.

Denial is not something we can ignore or, well, deny. So what does scientific research say is the most effective response? Common wisdom says that communicating more science should be the solution. But a growing body of evidence indicates that this approach can actually backfire, reinforcing people’s prior beliefs.

When you present evidence that threatens a person’s worldview, it can actually strengthen their beliefs. This is called the “worldview backfire effect”.… Read the rest

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Late 19th-Century Maps Show Measles Mortality Before Vaccines


Via Rebecca Onion at Slate:

These maps of measles mortality appeared in three late-19th-century statistical atlases published by the Census Office. Experiments in data visualization, the atlases are modern in their scope and ambition. Since they were compiled in a time before the availability of vaccines for most childhood diseases (with smallpox being the exception), they are a good record of the former pervasiveness of measles.

In a brief history of the disease, the Centers for Disease Control writes that between 1953 and 1963, when the measles vaccine became available, “nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age.” Yearly, “400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.” (Writer Roald Dahl’s daughter, who died in 1962 and is the subject of this 1988 Dahl letter urging parents to vaccinate, was afflicted by this complication.)

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