Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oppose Anti-Vax Woo in the name of SCIENCE!

There's a little storm brewing in my inbox.

I was forwarded a letter from one of the google groups I'm a member of, a mailing list for a defunct warehouse that I went to a couple of workshops at. It's about California Assembly Bill AB499, (summary and text here), and, well, you should probably read the letter for yourself.

California AB499 ALERT
Biodynamic Wellness

California Parental Alert

It is important that we as parents retain the right to decide on medical treatment for our children. Please see linked stories and forwarded email below. If Governor Jerry Brown signs this bill into law, the government/schools can vaccinate our children at school without our consent. Please call Governor Brown, 916.445.2841, and ask him to veto AB499. AB499 involves vaccines in addition to Gardasil. Forward this to everyone you know.
There have been deaths (36 to 49) and 10,000 adverse reactions including permanent disability after Gardasil vaccination.

The CDC confirms adverse reactions and death from Gardasil: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/hpv/gardasil.html

World Net Daily story: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=68454

ABC report: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/CancerPreventionAndTreatment/gardasil-hpv-vaccine-faces-safety-questions/story?id=8356717

Toyota 52 Deaths, Gardasil 49. Toyota Recalled:

ATTENTION California Parents! Tell Governor Jerry Brown what you think about a law that will allow someone to give your 12 year old child Gardasil and other vaccines without your knowledge or consent. Read NVIC's Urgent California Action Alert here.

Vaccine Wake Up Call for Parents: Your Children Are Being Taken
by Barbara Loe Fisher

Every mother has had the nightmare. We dream our child, who we love more than we thought we could love anyone, has been taken away by strangers and cannot be found. The cold fear rises up from our stomach into our throats as we search, endlessly, to find the child we would give up our own life to protect from harm.

The biological imperative for parents to protect their young is stronger than the law of any nation. It is stronger than any value or belief. It is primitive and hardwired into a mother's DNA because it is the fierce protective instinct that enables intelligent life on earth to survive.

Historic Power Struggle: Doctors vs. Parents
The debate about vaccination in the 21st century is not just about the science and whether vaccines and vaccine policies are a safe and effective way to keep individuals and populations truly healthy.

It is also part of an historic power struggle between parents and doctors about whether doctors or anyone else in society should have the legal right to give children a pharmaceutical product or medical treatment that carries a risk of injury or death without the parent's voluntary, informed consent.

CA Bill Strips Informed Consent Rights from Parents
Today, there is a bill on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown (Assembly Bill 499) that has been quietly and quickly rammed through the state legislature by the medical-pharma lobby.

If Governor Brown signs that bill into law, then children as young as 12 years old will be vaccinated with Gardasil, hepatitis B and future vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases without the knowledge or consent of their parents.

Merck & Pharma Profit
This proposed law would cost the cash-strapped state of California multi-millions of dollars to implement. Most of that money will go to Merck and other vaccine corporations to pay for multiple doses of each vaccine that will be aggressively promoted to young children, who are not yet physically, mentally or emotionally mature enough to make fully informed decisions about risk-taking, including whether or not to take a medical risk.

This proposed law gutting parental informed consent rights is great news for drug companies like Merck, which sells Gardasil to the government for $108 per dose, but it is very bad news for parents.

Parents Legally Responsible for Secretly Vaccinated Children
What if a 12 year old child is biologically at high risk for having a life threatening vaccine reaction but the parent is not told the child has been vaccinated and does not watch for symptoms and the child's reaction ends in permanent disability?

Will the person, who has secretly given the vaccine to the child without the parent's knowledge, be legally responsible for what happens if the child has a serious reaction?

Will the drug company that sold the vaccine to the state be legally responsible for the physical harm done to a secretly vaccinated child?

No. The parent will be legally and financially responsible for caring for the child, who was taken by strangers and vaccinated without the parent's consent, and is now brain damaged for life.

No Liability for Drug Corps or Doctors
In America, there is no legal liability or responsibility for drug companies selling or doctors giving government recommended vaccines when those vaccines injure or kill children or adults

How can the state of California - or any state - give anyone in society the power to secretly take a child away from a parent and subject that child to a medical risk without the parent's consent?

There is no doctor, no government employee and no politician, who has the moral right to do that to a parent or their child.

To read the rest of this referenced commentary or to watch a 6 minute video,
click here
Take action in your state to protect you vaccine informed consent rights. Sign up for NVIC's vaccine choice Advocacy Portal.

Have you been threatened by doctors or anyone else about vaccinating yourself or your child? You can share your story on NVIC's Vaccine Freedom Wall.

Here's my reply:

Hi all,

This is scare-mongering bullshit, and it's a shame that you've gotten it. I only hope that you've taken the time to do some basic reading, like I have, and understand the difference between paranoid ravings from anti-vax quacks and what actual science says.

Let's start out with the claims in the front paragraph:

Barbara Loe-Fisher and Steve Hamlin, who are the only names I see associated with the writing of this piece, would have you believe that there have been significant adverse reactions to Gardisil. They base this on the VAERS data reported by the CDC, but INSTEAD OF USING THE DATA AS PROVIDED they conflate it with the Toyota deaths.

Let's take a look at THE VERY FIRST PARAGRAPH of the CDC VAERS site:

"VAERS data cannot be used to prove a causal association between the vaccine and the adverse event. The only association between the adverse event and vaccination is temporal, meaning that the adverse event occurred sometime after vaccination. Therefore, the adverse event may be coincidental or it may have been caused by vaccination, however we cannot make any conclusions that the events reported to VAERS were caused by the vaccine." (Here.)

As everyone knows, just doing one thing before doing another doesn't mean that one causes another. There's an old joke about a Tiger Attack Rock, you know, ever since I started carrying this rock, I haven't been attacked by tigers once. It's at the very core of superstition and magical thinking — which is fine when rooting for sports teams, but idiotic and dangerous when dealing with medicine.

Let's look at what the CDC says about those deaths:

"As of June 22, 2011 there have been a total 68 VAERS reports of death among those who have received Gardasil® . There were 54 reports among females, 3 were among males, and 11 were reports of unknown gender. Thirty two of the total death reports have been confirmed and 36 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. A death report is confirmed (verified) after a medical doctor reviews the report and any associated records. In the 32 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine and some reports indicated a cause of death unrelated to vaccination."

So, not only are MOST OF THE DEATHS UNCONFIRMED, there's nothing to suggest that Gardasil was involved in any of the deaths. Which, as we saw above, are only linked by time. If you got a shot of Gardasil and were hit by a bus, that would still be counted as one of the deaths.

This information is available to anyone who follows the link, but from the hyperbolic and inflammatory language, it's clear that the authors didn't intend you to — why would they be so obviously wrong if they thought you'd check?

Let's take a look at the rest of the letter:

First, what does AB499 actually say? From the legislative summary: "Existing law allows minors to consent to specified forms of medical or dental treatment. This bill would, in addition, allow a minor who is 12 years of age or older to consent to medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease."

So what's all that nonsense about taking children away? Scaremongering unconnected to the facts. Now me, I'm mad when people lie to me, and these anti-vax folks are lying. And it doesn't seem like they're just ignorant — though certainly, Pricilla may not have read through the whole thing — because their lies are so over-the-top and inflammatory.

Let's keep going: Does this bill remove consent from parents and give it to the state? Will anyone be forced to get vaccinations? No. That's flatly wrong too. It puts the decision with the person being vaccinated. Now, you can argue that parents deserve to be involved in their children's health decisions, but what about the kids who can't talk to their parents about their sex lives? What about the kids for whom this is a choice between being kicked out of their house and risking cancer? (You'll not that I avoid speaking as if the cancer has already occurred, because it's important to be honest here too). If you feel this is a big deal, you're welcome to talk to your kids about it. But don't lie and say that it's taking away your children or that there's a state-wide plot to secretly vaccinate.

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is about informed consent — it's about another scare-mongering campaign from woo-woo anti-vaccination cranks who are playing on your love of children and skepticism of the government in order to push their quackery. And because the effects are long-term and population sized, it's unlikely that they'll ever be directly linked to the women (because let's be honest, that's who is at risk) who will die if these vaccinations are scuttled. They'll continue living their lives ignorant. Ignorant of science, and ignorant of the costs, ignorant of the women who will end up dying of cancer because they got a common STD and didn't get the cheap, safe preventative.

So instead of forwarding that bullshit letter around further, realize that you're sending on the modern equivalent of an urban legend promulgated by arguably well-meaning idiots who don't even respect you enough to tell you the truth.

Josh Steichmann

So, if you see this, instead of calling Jerry Brown, I encourage you to call Biodynamic Wellness (858.259.6000) and take them to task for spreading fear-monger bullshit that will hurt vulnerable people if effective. I'll be calling them today, because I think it's important. I'll tell you what they say. So far all of the emails I've gotten have either been of the "That's interesting" or "Take me off this list!" variety (far more of the latter), but I'll print them too.

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