Why Do Scientists and Physicians Lose Objectivity When It Comes to Vaccines?
A RECENT NY TIMES opinion piece shed bright light on an issue that has bother me since I decided to write a chapter on vaccines in “Cures vs. Profits”. The piece, written by Melinda Wenner Moyer, has a strange, but safe title – “Anti-Vaccine Activists Have Taken Vaccine Science Hostage“. Given the title, one would expect the same old tired tropisms about the vaccine risk aware community.
However, in reading the opinion piece, the forces at work are clearly scientists and physicians themselves, who, as Moyer correctly points out, censor themselves against speaking about vaccine risk out of fear of criticism from other professionals:
Scientists are so terrified of the public’s vaccine hesitancy that they are censoring themselves, playing down undesirable findings and perhaps even avoiding undertaking studies that could show unwanted effects. Those who break these unwritten rules are criticized.
So why the title? Why blame the public? If the public develops vaccine risk awareness because scientists make them aware of vaccine risk, that’s a success for science and research, not a failure. Why does Moyer, and the vaccinologists who, at every turn, introduce bias into studies, and inject bias into so-called systematic reviews, all to hide vaccine risk, then try to blame those for whom the risk was nevertheless manifest (the vaccine injured and their families)?
These are the families who carry the burden of the cost – despite their efforts to minimize the perception of vaccine risk, when in reality those scientists and physicians are responsible to not taking the necessary steps to minimize vaccine risk itself?
Reading the opinion piece, it is clear than the thin veil of denialism is gone. Cochrane Nordic published a scathing review of an allegedly independent and unbiased systematic review published by Cochrane on HPV vaccine safety – which means there are a growing number of scientists and phyisicians who ill no longer play by what Moyer calls “unwritten rules”.
To my fellow scientists and to physicians who know they should speak up, now is the time. The opinion piece cites Paul Offit, an MD who is infamous for making ludicrously unsupported claims (aluminum might be a nutrient because stillborn infants have more aluminum than healthy newborns is one). Moyer cites Offit as saying that “researchers should handle findings differently when there’s a chance they might frighten the public”.
No. Researchers should stand atop building and mountains and declare their knowledge of vaccine risk – and demand that the Congressional mandates in 1986 to identify those most at risk and make vaccines safer be enforced before the public gives up on artificial immunization entirely.
Because the alternative is to stand by for another 15 years as ACIP gleefully and irresponsibly adds more vaccines to the pediatric schedule using weak vaccine science – underpowered correlation studies that fail to detect adverse event and that are overcooked to make serious adverse events disappear so as to not scare the public – all the while chronic illnesses such as asthma, autoimmune diseases, ADHD, autism, autoimmune diabetes all rip across the trusting public – all conditions with links to vaccines which “unwritten rules” state we should not make the public aware of – all so they can continue to trust those who are misleading them.
In the Times piece, Offit is also represented as holding what to some is a correct view: that low-powered studies perhaps should not be published. Of course, those low-powered studies cited by IOM that failed to detect an association between vaccines and autism – the five that were actually four studies, one with 97 and 196 patients… perhaps those should not have been published? (I’ve done power calculations for impression odds ratio – 3/4 studies cited by IOM failed to have power enough to detect an association if one did, in fact, exist. That research is now under peer review).
To those of my colleagues who will no longer bow to the unwritten rules that have caused you to hide in fear, I salute you. We must work together to create a future in which vaccines are treating like any other topic, before new unwritten rules are put into place about side effects of other pharmaceutical products, like psychotropic medicines, and before clinical trials are routinely conducted without acquiring informed consent from patients, as is now permitted under the 21st Century Cures Act if those conducting the trial determine – prior to the study – that the medical procedure or treatment comes with low risk for those unwittingly enrolled without their consent.
I made a simple commitment to myself when I embarked on my journey of writing “Cures vs. Profits” – it was intended to be a celebration of the very best advances in biomedical research. That commitment was simply this: If I found anything negative, I would remain objective, and report the bad with the good, as any true scientist would.
Since writing the book, I found more than I cared to know about the ills of vaccine safety research – and the design of vaccines. For example, although we know that pathogens carry unsafe epitopes with high similarity to human proteins, they are not excluded from vaccines. And although we know that that pediatric dosing of aluminum in vaccines is far higher per body weight in the first six months of life than the amount received from breastmilk and formula, and we know that aluminum accumulates in the brain, the vaccination of newborns on day one with 250 mcg of aluminum hydroxide continues – even in the NICU – in spite our #NICUChallenge for anyone to produce a study that shows the safety of injection of 250 mcg of aluminum in the NICU population.
Those professionals who are interested in joining who would the safety of numbers, you can also join Physicians for Informed Consent – an organization of members who are wise enough to realize that many parents stop vaccinating after an early bad experience, learning the hard way that their child may have higher risk than others. This increased risk is either due to de novo mutations or to inherited risk – and that the right for parents to choose (aka exemptions) therefore provide a safeguard against widespread vaccine injury.
You will also find informative material at World Mercury Project’s Kennedy News and Views – although sometimes characterized as “Anti-vax” (what else?) when in reality they provide a counterpoint to the now clearly admitted misinformation campaign designed to warp the public’s view of vaccine risk.
A great number of articles at Age of Autism will inform those willing to read decades of critical thought from people who are extremely well-informed and intelligent – and who are motivated to protect people from harm.
If you would like a purely academic resource, visit this searchable database companion to my book “The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism“.
Other useful resources are
If you know of a resource and would like to see it listed, post a comment!