Monday, August 29, 2016

Are you "vaccine hesitant"?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) routinely surveys its membership regarding their perceptions of parents acceptance of vaccines (or lack thereof) with anything other than full acceptance of the "recommended" vaccine schedule being described as "vaccine hesitancy". Here is a link to the abstract of the survey results (the full article is behind a paywall and/or available only to AAP members). 

As a survey of its members this is a convenience sample - and those pediatricians who are members of the AAP are (in this writer's opinion) more likely to be biased in favor of vaccination. After all, their headquarters were built (in part) with donations from vaccine makers and they continue to receive large sums of money from industries on a yearly basis. What some might refer to as **conflict of interest** the AAP seems to think of as "just another day that ends in 'Y'". 

Here's a facinating nugget from the AAP press release regarding this article:  

“The perceived rise in refusals and delays does not seem to be solely attributable to any one vaccine, because pediatricians reported increased rates of parents who refused just one vaccine and those who refused more than one immunization,” said study author Catherine Hough-Telford, MD, FAAP. This supports prior research findings that suggest the public’s collective memory of vaccine-preventable diseases may be fading, she said. “Clearly, though, additional research is needed to evaluate vaccine hesitancy and how it relates to different vaccines,” she said.
I find this quote very telling in how it frames their conclusions for two reasons: 
       1) The perception that the problem is a collective loss of memory of "vaccine-                            preventable" diseases and that
      2) more research is needed about why people are "vaccine hesitant". 

In some ways I think they are indulging in "blaming the victim" - this convenient projection keeps the group in power from doing any sort of introspection and self examination so they have no reason to consider how they may be contributing to "vaccine hesitancy" - by perhaps, refusing to acknowledge that vaccines can, and do, harm (indeed kill) people (both children and adults). 

Yes, because of widespread use of vaccines - people may not have many memories of children spontaneously contracting (and generally recovering without ill effects) a variety of temporary, generally benign infections. But this void in their memory banks is being filled with memories of their own children's reactions and responses to vaccines - not all of which are temporary, or benign. Or of watching what happened to the children of family members and friends. Or of recognizing that there are so many children who are now chronically ill (ie: not healthy in spite of being "up to date" on their vaccinations) ... or seeing how many people have life-threatening allergies to ordinary substances and food stuffs (like peanuts). 

It is interesting that the study author thinks it is necessary to study "vaccine hesitancy" yet she does not call for studies of vaccines themselves. If she wants to know why I am far more vaccine hesitant than ever before - it is because of the lack of real, true, genuine, double-blind, randomized controlled trials involving vaccines that also track not just short-term outcomes, but long-term outcomes between populations that are vaccinated and unvaccinated (the definition of unvaccinated meaning "not having received any vaccines" as opposed to "not receiving the vaccine being study but receiving all other vaccines instead"). 

This is what used to be refered to as "science" - positing a null hypothesis and designing a study that would reveal the answer to the THAT question rather than rigging a study to give the desired results (better called post-normal science where the desired outcome is first determined and then the study is jerry-rigged to provide results that support these results - a fine example of this is what the CDC Whistleblower, Dr. Thompson described as occuring for the 2004 study that was intended to refute any association between autism and vaccines, yet when the results showed an association the results were dumped - quite literally in a gargage can and the authors started over and changed study protocol until they got the results they wanted). 

The authors of this article are very interested in gaining greater understanding of those who are "vaccine-hesitant" when perhaps it is themselves they need to study - and why they hold so tightly to a rigid paradigm of vaccination at all costs for infections that were (and still are) generally self-limiting, temporary (but I repeat myself) and nearly always benign - seldom causing death or long-term serious sequelae. They **think** this is true of vaccines, but because of the lack (as in zero) of studies that might actually provide evidence for this belief their paradigm is really rather shaky. Those who are "vaccine-hesitant" are rattling their cage. They are trapped in this paradigm - and want to close the door on any others who dare to leave the reservation - hence the increase in pediatricans who refuse to provide care to families who do not vaccinate their children on schedule - who do not comply with their paradigm. 

I am hesitant to trust a paradigm that has a faulty foundation - one in which "evidence" is cooked up and "no-cebos" are used instead of placebos (a no-cebo being a false placebo, a fake placebo ... that means a placebo that is not inert but actually contains substances that are biologically active which would of course affect results making study conclusions less robust and trustworthy). 

The purpose of science should be building a foundation of factual information from which we can draw conclusions - so conducting the kind of investigation that would provide this type of information should not be threatening. It is bizarre that those who advocate vaccines do not support this as if their paradigm is true the results of the type of study I have called for would strengthen their case against the "vaccine-hesitant". It is all the more telling that they dance around the subject saying it would be "unethical" (to not forcibly and coercively) vaccinate people. 

Interestingly enough, this is what was once said of studying vaginal birth after cesarean ("once a cesarean section, always a cesarean section") or of determining the necessity of routine episiotomy ... yet when the studies were finally done - the results were somewhat surprising (and might I add, paradigm breaking) as they did not support the widely accepted notions that vaginal birth after a cesarean was unsafe or that routine episiotomy benefited women. 

Since the ranks of the "vaccine-hesitant" seem to be growing there is an ever larger cohort of people who could be studied to provide some comparisons between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The excuses need to stop. The studies (real ones) need to be done.