For Some Diseases, It Was Vaccination, Not Sanitation

This is the logo of Project Tycho.  It depicts Tycho Brahe with his unique view of the universe. (click for credit)
This is the logo of Project Tycho. It depicts Tycho Brahe with his unique view of the universe.
(click for credit)

Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis and his colleagues have started an exciting initiative called Project TychoTM. In it, they are taking public health data that have been collected over the years and putting them into an easy-to-access digital system that is open to everyone. They describe the goal of their project in this way:

We aim to advance the use of public health data for the improvement of public health. Oftentimes, restricted access to public health data limits opportunities for scientific discovery and technological innovation in disease control programs. A free flow of data and information maximizes opportunities for more efficient and effective public health programs leading to higher impact and better health. Our activities are focused on accelerating the availability and use of public health data…

They named the project after Tycho Brahe, one of the more colorful 16th-century astronomers. Not only did he live an interesting life, he had a very interesting view of the universe. He made an enormous number of astronomical observations that he meticulously documented, and those observations convinced him that the planets must orbit the sun, not the earth. However, he couldn’t give up the idea of the earth being at the center of everything, so he produced what is probably the most interesting view of the universe ever. As shown in the logo above, he put the earth at the center of the universe, and he had the sun and moon orbiting the earth. The rest of the planets were then assumed to orbit the sun, as it moved in its orbit around the earth. While this view of the universe is clearly unworkable, it was incredibly original!

Why would a project involving public health data be named after this colorful character? Because his main contribution to science was the data he collected. While he couldn’t make heads or tails of his data, another astronomer, Johannes Kepler (who was once employed by Brahe) did. Kepler was able to use Brahe’s data to develop three laws of planetary motion that demonstrated all the planets, including the earth, orbit the sun. Sir Isaac Newton was then able to use Kepler’s Laws to develop his Law of Universal Gravitation, which describes how gravity works both here on earth and throughout the universe. Brahe’s data, then, were the foundation of some of the greatest advancements in the field of astronomy in the 16th and 17th centuries.

In Dr. van Panhuis’s view, the data he is collecting could end up being like Brahe’s data. It might be used by other scientists to better understand diseases and how to deal with them as they spread through populations. While I can’t say whether or not that will ever happen, I can say that these data make it easy for me to address a popular myth about vaccination.

Anti-vaccination groups often suggest that vaccines had little to do with the reduction of diseases like smallpox, polio, and measles. Instead, they insist that better sanitation was the reason these diseases mostly disappeared from the U.S. population. However, a quick use of Project Tycho’s data shows how this is simply not true. I used the system to access data on smallpox, polio, and measles in the U.S. and then graphed the results:




The big thing to notice about these three graphs is that they all include the same years, 1928-2003. By looking at all three of them, you can see that each disease decreased at a different time. Smallpox cases were pretty much nonexistent by 1948. However, that’s when polio cases started to rise! They didn’t start decreasing until 1954, and they didn’t become virtually nonexistent until the early 1960s. Measles cases, on the other hand, stayed fairly steady until the late 1960s and didn’t become pretty much nonexistent until the 1990s. Unfortunately, because people are choosing not to vaccinate, measles is making a comeback in the United States.

The main point here is that if sanitation were responsible for getting rid of these diseases, you would expect them to all decline at roughly the same time. However, they clearly did not. This tells us that while good sanitation is responsible for the reduction of many diseases (such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid), it is clearly not the reason for the reduction of diseases like smallpox, polio, and measles.

So what caused their reduction? Vaccination. Look at the polio graph. History’s largest clinical trial, which involved over a million children, was conducted on the polio vaccine in the U.S. in 1954.1 Notice how quickly the number of polio cases declined after that. This doesn’t conclusively demonstrate that the vaccine stopped the disease, because correlation doesn’t always mean causation. In other words, the vaccine might not have caused the reduction. Some other event might have happened at roughly the same time as the vaccine trial, and that might be the real cause. However, the results of the vaccine trial showed that the children given the vaccine were significantly less likely to get polio than those who were given an inert injection (called a placebo). This fact, combined with the graph, demonstrates fairly conclusively that the vaccine is what reduced polio in the United States.

The same can be said for measles. The first measles vaccine was licensed for use in 1963.2 Note how quickly the number of measles cases dropped after that year. Once again, this doesn’t conclusively demonstrate that the vaccine caused the decline, but other studies add strong evidence to support that conclusion. For example, when measles outbreaks occur in a school, vaccinated children are more than 20 times (that’s more than 2,000%) less likely to get the disease than the unvaccinated children.3

In the end, then, data such as those collected at Project Tycho demonstrate that vaccines are very effective at preventing certain diseases. This, of course, does not indicate whether or not vaccines are safe. However, I do think there is plenty of evidence to support that fact as well.


1. Francis Jr T, et al. “An evaluation of the 1954 poliomyelitis vaccine trials: summary report,” American Journal of Public Health 45(suppl):1-50, 1955
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2. Jeffrey P. Baker, “The First Measles Vaccine,” Pediatrics 128(3):435-437, 2011
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3. Feikin DR, et al. “Individual and Community Risks of Measles and Pertussis Associated with Person Exemptions to Immunization.” Journal of the American Medical Association 284:3145-3150, 2000
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60 thoughts on “For Some Diseases, It Was Vaccination, Not Sanitation”

  1. The reference to Tycho Brahe is interesting. To debate whether the earth orbits the sun or vice versa is actually kind of silly because it’s only a matter of simplifying the calculation for the movements of massive bodies. We actually do calculate points on the surface of the earth as the center when analyzing and predicting observational data. Brahe’s model was actually helpful in that regard since that was the basis of his observations.

    So the analysis of data in the project is a matter of changing perspective when analyzing the public health data so as to make valuable observations that weren’t very clear before. It’s a simple matter to do, but the hard part seems to be breaking out of the established criteria for analysis.

    1. I guess I would have to disagree with you on the movement issue, Jim. Sure, you can use a frame of reference with the earth sitting still at the center of the solar system and convert all other motions to that reference frame. However, you have to know the physical aspects of the solar system to be able to do that, and you can’t know those physical aspects without knowing the actual structure of the system. To understand how our solar system works, you have to put the sun at the center and have the planets orbit it in a specific order. Without that frame of reference, you cannot understand the mechanics of the solar system.

  2. As someone leery of vaccinations, I agree with you completely. It’s rather frustrating to me when I see people use this argument. It seems very apparent (at least to me) that vaccinations work.

    Thank you for posting it!

  3. A few questions: Why didn’t you include the data from the whole time period covered, 1888 to 2013? Why only cases and not deaths as well. I would love to see these as I am looking into the vaccination issue and have wondered about this data and would love to see the long term trends and how they compared. I don’t belong to an institution so could not access the raw data myself.

    1. Thanks for your questions, Kel. When you query a specific disease in the database, there are only certain date ranges allowed. I chose all the date ranges available for those three diseases. Deaths are not available, at least not yet. However, even if they were available, they are probably not the best indicators of disease. Medical science can treat symptoms long before it understands the disease, so death rates are generally a reflection of how well the symptoms are understood, not the disease itself. As a result, death rates always fall long before the case rates fall. Also, death rates leave out the ones who are permanently injured but survive. For some diseases, that can be significant.

      While there is a box for “institution” in the registration form, I just put in my publisher. If you put in your employer, a business with which you are associated in some way, or even the name of a business you are thinking of starting, that will probably be good enough.

  4. That’s a very convincing case against this common anti-vax argument. Sorry to say, I’ve found fallacious anti-vax alarmism more prevalent since moving to the USA. Here is quite a good piece from my old country, Australia: 9 anti-vaccination myths busted with science by Dr Rachael Dunlop. This includes two Aussie examples of how vaccinations have sharply reduced disease rates in the last decade or so, although hygiene standards have hardly changed.

    Other arguments are: vaccines are all made using aborted babies, which I refuted here, and in the comments under the article I posted your study Vaccines DO NOT Cause Autism.

    1. Thank you, Dr. Sarfati. I had seen Dr. Wieland’s post long ago, but I had not seen yours. Thanks for linking it. I have always found it odd that people who call themselves “pro-life” are more concerned with two abortions that happened decades ago than protecting the lives of children who are living right now!

  5. The problem for me with vaccines is the potential for great harm. In another article on the same subject it was said (and I’m paraphrasing) that vaccines were demonstrated as “safe and effective.” Where has this been demonstrated? I would like to see some actual demonstrations in moneys or pigs…how much of the toxic concoctions could they handle?…..would too much symptoms of autism or other neurological conditions? Recently it was found that birds living near streams containing mercury were having their sexual orientations altered. In short, the birds were becoming gay.

    mercury, along with other toxic substances and metals are still put in these jabs. how someone could say, without question, that these vaccinations (along with regular flu shots) are not responsible is beyond me. but again, the resistance of science to even test it on real animals is very concerning. what are they trying to hide?

    1. Thanks for your comment, ss. There are lots of studies that show vaccines are both safe and effective. In fact, all vaccines are first tested on animals, before they are tested on humans. That’s specifically to learn whether or not they are safe enough to be used in clinical trials. There are then three levels of clinical trials. The first level starts off with a very small group of volunteers to see if the results in people are similar to the results in animals. If so, the second level of clinical trials involves more people, and if that level of trials shows good results, the final level involves even more people. Thus, the safety and efficacy are tested in both animals and people.

      I agree that mercury can be toxic, but it must be in high doses. The fact is that the doses you get from vaccines are not high enough to cause problems. Once again, this has been tested thoroughly in both animals and people. So whoever is telling you that vaccines haven’t been tested on animals is just not telling you the truth. All vaccine trials start on animals and only move on to human volunteers if the animal studies have good results.

  6. sorry I should have proofread my prior post a bit better…hopefully you can sort out what I was trying to say through typos and forgotten words.

  7. This site has some of the best materials around to refute the anti-vax mendacity that is harming people’s health and even costing lives. Since they come from you rather than from ‘Big Pharma’, I hope that the anti-vaxers in the homeschooling movement will take note.

  8. to be clear, I’m not necessarily anti vaccine….rather, I’m just concerned/leery of how many toxic chemicals are involved with these vaccinations….it’s more than ever now….and there’s just too many cases of parents telling stories where their kids seem to be developing just fine, only to seemingly hit a wall after getting a vaccine. And I have no doubt that the vaccines are tested on animals — but what I’d really be interested in is, if the dosage is increased 2 times or 3 times, would certain individuals experience negative neurological effects….in fact, how much of these different chemical toxins could an individual handle at the same time?….and what would future generations look like after continuing these vaccinations — that’s really the issue. And I doubt anything like this has been done; a multi-generational test of the effects of toxic vaccines.

    The other thing is this: each individual is different. we all have different chemical makeups. We all have different genomes and react differently to chemical exposure. A baby who developed in the womb of a smoker or a heroine addict may be less able to tolerate several rounds of toxic vaccinations than could a baby who was developing in the womb of a very healthy woman. anyway…just some thoughts…thanks for the cool site…enjoy reading here.

    1. Thanks for your follow-up, ss. Once again, however, studies like that have been done. In the animal phase of testing, overdoses are given specifically to determine the effect. It’s unethical to do that with people, of course, but it is done with animals. In addition, while there haven’t been multigenerational studies on vaccines, there have been long-term studies. There have also been studies specifically showing no adverse health effects when it comes to vaccines. These studies add to the evidence that vaccines are safe.

  9. The anti-vaxers need to learn the first rule of toxicology: the dose makes the poison. Anything can be toxic in large amounts, including water and oxygen, and nothing is toxic if the amount is small enough. See Understanding poisons from a creationist perspective.

    E.g. there doesn’t need to be much mercury to kill contaminating germs, hence the term ‘oligodynamic effect’. In any case, there is no mercury needed for single-dose vaccines, and even the multi-dose vaccines have less mercury than tuna. Many safe fruits have more formaldehyde than any vaccines.

    Also, mercury atoms and formaldehyde molecules can’t reproduce themselves. A pathogen can be deadly precisely because it can make many more pathogens. It should be clear, from this and other reasons, that non-vaccination is far riskier than vaccination.

  10. Dr. Wile….yes, vaccines have been administered for some time now….but now the population is starting have more problems….at the same time, babies are getting more and more immunizations which contain more and more chemicals than ever before. I’m simply asking for a controlled experiment on animals proving that vaccines given over multiple generations cannot cause harm. The vaccine craze in humans is less than 100 years old — that’s only a few generations….but what happens when mice, for example, are given an equivalent dosage over 5-10 generations? On top of that, what happens when they get periodic mercury-laced flu shots? I’d like to see the controlled experiment…..a real and true experiment of this sort would settle the issue of whether multiple lifetimes of constant exposure to chemical toxins would start causing havoc to future offspring. Autism may not be caused just simply by immunizations, but it may be a result of an accumulation of chemical exposures, of which immunizations pushes the body over the edge.

    1. I am not sure what your proposed experiment would show, ss. We already have long-term studies that show no ill effects related to vaccines in people. The study I linked to you in my previous comment followed the MMR vaccine for 32 years and saw no harmful outcomes. What good would repeating such a study with mice do? Yes, children get multiple vaccines, but once again, studies have been done to show that children with lots of vaccines are healthier than children with no vaccines. If autism had anything to do with vaccination, then you would see at least a slight increase in autism among those who are vaccinated compared to those who are not. However, you see no such effect. Indeed, even when you group the children according to their level of mercury exposure due to vaccination, you see no effect. Thus, there is simply no evidence to indicate that vaccines are related to autism in any way.

  11. well again, not to be repetitive….that is not a controlled experiment done over generations. But just to give you an idea what I’m talking about, the following link is to a book written about a researcher, Dr. Pottenger who did a longterm, multi-generational study on cats, whereby he substituted a healthy diet with an unhealthy one. I’ll let book’s overview explain it…..

    “In his classical experiments in cat feeding, more than 900 cats were studied over 10 years. Dr. Pottenger found that only diets containing raw milk and raw meat produced optimal health: good bone structure and density, wide palates with plenty of space for teeth, shiny fur, no parasites or disease, reproductive ease and gentleness.
    Cooking the meat or substituting heat-processed milk for raw resulted in heterogeneous reproduction and physical degeneration, increasing with each generation. Vermin and parasites abounded. Skin diseases and allergies increased from 5% to over 90%. Bones became soft and pliable. Cats suffered from adverse personality changes, hypothyroidism and most of the degenerative diseases encountered in human medicine. They died out completely by the fourth generation.”

    no, it’s not exactly the same as immunizations, but the point is that there can be a negative cumulative effect over generations…..the cats didn’t get extremely ill or die in the first generation of malnutrition — it took a while for the real dysfunction to manifest. What I’m suggesting, then, is there may very well be a cumulative effect of toxic chemical exposure. So It may be true that immunizations are safe for a single generation — or two or three generations — but when you start piling one generation on top of another, along with adding additional immunizations along the way along with other various jabs (flu shot, cancer vaccines in teens, etc) that bad things could start happening.

    I don’t believe this is an irrational concern….so I guess my main intent here is not to change your mind or anything, but merely to show you that those of us who do not trust vaccines aren’t just being idiots, as is often portrayed in the media and in various circles… and ultimately there HAS to be a reason/cause for autism. I don’t believe conditions like that spontaneously arise for no reason…there’s got to be a biological explanation….I’ve yet to hear a logical alternative to the idea that vaccines are causing it.

    1. But ss, Dr. Pottenger’s study proves my point. Sure, the effects piled up as the generations continued, but he saw effects in the very first generation. We see no effects in the first generation. Indeed, the study I linked to you covers 32 years, which includes two generations. Once again, no ill effects are seen. That’s the point. Lots of long-term studies show that vaccinated people are, on average, healthier than unvaccinated people.

      Your concern isn’t irrational. There is just no support for it. Also, there are very good reasons for thinking that the rise in autism is due to completely different factors. We know, for example, that the age of the parent is very important. Studies have shown specific mutations that are linked to autism, and the risk of those mutations rise as the age of the father rises. Since we know that the average age of parents has risen over the past few decades, it is reasonable to assume that this is at least part of the reason autism has been on the rise. Since unvaccinated children and vaccinated children have the same autism rates, we know that it’s not vaccines, so we know it has to be something else.

  12. Thanks for the thought-provoking article, Dr. Jay! I have had an interest in this topic for some time, partly piqued by my own family’s experience of undergoing full-blown whooping cough in the only one of my children to have been fully vaccinated. I think there is also some good evidence (admittedly disputed) pointing to vaccines behind the autism epidemic.

    Although this is a fairly lengthy article, I think it makes a compelling case against widespread vaccination being the primary cause for decreasing disease mortality in the U.S. While whooping cough or measles are certainly not pleasant illnesses, deaths from these conditions were greatly decreasing well before widespread vaccination, and both may be fairly easily treated if caught early enough in the disease course. At least at this point, I prefer to accept the risk of my non-vaccinated children contracting these very low-mortality diseases than what I perceive to be the greater dangers of neurotoxic vaccine ingredients.

    1. Thanks for your comments, David. There is no evidence that vaccines are related to autism. In fact, all the evidence points against it. Detailed studies compare vaccinated children to unvaccinated children, and the autism rates are the same between the two populations. Thus, the evidence strongly opposes any link between vaccines and autism (see here and here, for example).

      The first article you link makes a simple mistake. It tracks the death rates from diseases, not the case rates. Would you say that AIDS has been taken care of? Of course not! AIDS cases are still on the rise, but AIDS deaths have been declining since 2005. This is because medical science figures out how to treat the symptoms of a disease long before it figures out how to prevent the disease. For nearly every disease, then, death rates fall long, long before the disease is under control. Also, death rates are the best thing to use to track the results of disease, because death rates don’t take into account those who survived the disease but had permanent damage as a result. Many of the vaccine-preventable diseases can result in permanent injury for those who survive, and death rates tell you nothing about them. Thus, case rates are the best way to track disease, and case rates (along with controlled studies) show that vaccines are the reason for the reduction in the vaccine-preventable diseases, as shown in the original post.

      The other link you give is a compilation of work by Dr. Viera Scheibner. Others have refuted most of what you find in that article, but I want to focus on her claims related to the pertussis vaccine, because they are precisely opposite the facts. The article you link claims, “It is my opinion that the incidence of whooping cough fell worldwide in the mid 1970s due to natural dynamics, similar to those of measles, and not due to increasing levels of vaccination.” However, we know that is false. If you look at the second set of graphs at this link, you will see a graph of pertussis versus time in the UK. Note that the cases decrease from shortly after mass immunization begins until about 1975. At that point, the cases start to rise again. Guess what happened then? The UK stopped mass immunization against pertussis, because some data indicates that the vaccine might be related to SIDS. We now know that the vaccine actually protects against SIDS (highlighting another one of Dr. Scheibner’s mistakes). However, back then, they didn’t know that, so the UK stopped mass immunization. As a result, cases rose again until the 1980s, when mass immunization was restarted and the vaccination rate increased. Thus, you can see a direct link between vaccination and disease – the higher the vaccination rate, the lower the disease.

      We can see the same thing by comparing Sweden and Norway from the mid 1970s to the 1990s. Because of the suspected SIDS link, Sweden stopped mass immunization against pertussis like the UK did. However, Norway didn’t think the data were conclusive, so it continued to to mass immunization. From 1974 to 1982, the rates of pertussis were pretty much the same in both countries. After Sweden stopped mass immunization, the pertussis rates in Sweden rose, while the pertussis rates in Norway continued to fall (see the graph in this article.) As you can see, then, Dr. Scheibner’s idea about the pertussis vaccine not protecting against pertussis is simply 100% false.

  13. thanks for the interesting conversation….don’t mean to be a pest..I just find this subject interesting to sort through mentally….and I really don’t have an agenda one way or the other about this…more of a gut feeling.

    But please consider that your article about older fathers having a tendency to have autistic kids plays right into my hand. Remember when I said that autism (along with other neurological issues) may be a result of cumulative chemical exposure? Older people, because they’ve lived longer, will most certainly have piled up more chemicals in their bodies, in their organs. Smoking. Illegal Drugs. Prescription meds…dirty water.. GMOs….all this stuff and lots more — the air we breath…all this stuff adds up…this is why cancer is happening earlier and earlier in peoples’ lives…cancer, even 50 years ago was primarily an old person disease….but now all ages are getting it…even breast cancer and colon cancer, etc……’s because young people are more toxic now than they used to be.

    and the other thing is, and this is the anti-darwinian in me coming out, mutations don’t happen because genes hang around and get bored, as the darwinists would suggest. Getting older isn’t a cause of mutations…mutations happen because of an interaction with the environment…ie..the chemicals we come in contact with, ingest, etc, need to be neutralized. So the older we get, the more toxic we get…and the more likely we are to pass on our issues (mutations) to our kids. that’s at least one reason why it’s best to have children at a younger age.

    so here’s where we’re at…according to your research it’s not necessarily the vaccines that are causing autism, but rather the age of the father (and possibly mother.) But see this plays in to the logic of cumulative toxic exposure and it confirms what I said earlier that it might not be the vaccines themselves but rather the vaccines are the tipping point, the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Because after all, assuming that both groups of babies get vaccines, it’s only the babies from older, more toxic fathers, that tend to develop problems. I bet if the fathers smoked and/or did drugs that this ratio would be even more pronounced.

    In the end, I cannot believe this notion hasn’t been tested. I cannot believe a long term, multi-generational experiment on animals hasn’t been conducted. What could possibly be the harm in doing that?..why not put all the anti-immunization crowd’s minds at ease? Why not just settle the issue with actual science? Are they afraid to find out if toxicity induces heritable mutations? I don’t know…but it almost seems like they’re trying to hide something…and I think that’s the feeling alot of people get. And trust in the scientific community isn’t exactly at an all-time high.

    1. The data on older fathers goes directly against your claim that vaccinations are somehow involved, ss. Remember, the vast majority of vaccinations take place early in life. If vaccines were involved, you would not expect age of the father to have anything to do with it. Now, you may be right that it has something to do with environmental effects. However, the data show that it has nothing to do with vaccination.

      Once again, we don’t need multigenerational data on animals. As I have shown you already, we already have long-term data on people, and those long-term data show that vaccines are quite safe. Remember, medical research is done to assess credible issues, and this just isn’t a credible issue. Until someone can produce some reasonable evidence that vaccines have a multigenerational effect, there is simply no justification for the time and expense related to do a study. There are real, credible issues in health these days, and the medical science community tries to devote its resources to those issues, not the issues that have no support in the data.

      By the way, if you want something to worry about, consider this. The rise in autism has gone hand-in-hand with the rise of organic food saless. While no one believes there is a link between organic foods and autism, there is more evidence to suggest such a link than any link between vaccines and autism!

  14. Dr. Wile….I see no common sense reason that foods lacking toxic pesticides and herbicides should cause autism moreso than sprayed foods. Spraying foods may help farmers produce a product that doesn’t get eaten by predators or ravaged by disease but I can’t think of a single biological reason why these pesticides and herbicides would possibly be helpful or healthy to the consumer. And I could make a very similar graph with the incidence of autism along with the rise of how many vaccines kids have received over the past 2-3 decades.

    But you said this in your prior post: “Remember, the vast majority of vaccinations take place early in life. If vaccines were involved, you would not expect age of the father to have anything to do with it. ”

    I’m not really following that. would you please explain? did you mean “mutations” instead of the first use of the word “vaccine?”

    and what do you think of this…

    “Arizona State University researchers who conducted the study, published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research, said the findings indicate reducing early exposure to toxic metals may help lessen symptoms of autism.

    We hypothesize that reducing early exposure to toxic metals may help ameliorate symptoms of autism,” the researchers concluded, “and treatment to remove toxic metals may reduce symptoms of autism; these hypotheses need further exploration, as there is a growing body of research to support it.”

    For the study, the Arizona State investigators examined several toxic metals in the blood and urine of 55 children with autism — 5 years of age — and compared them to 44 healthy kids.

    The results showed the autism group had significantly higher levels of lead in their blood (41 percent) and urine (74 percent). They also had higher levels of thallium (77 percent), tin (115 percent), and tungsten (44 percent). All four substances are toxic metals that can impair brain development and function, and interfere with the normal functioning of other body organs and systems.”

    so these researchers even acknowledge that toxic metals exposure in infants can generate what seem to be “symptoms of autism.”

    Dr. Wile, would you be on board with investigating this notion further? Doesn’t this make much more sense than autism being caused by organic vegetables? And Mercury, the most toxic of all metals is still put in many vaccines….it’s also put in flu shots, which many people get every year….many of whom, incredibly, are forced by the government.

    and don’t you find it odd that the companies that make these vaccines have been given immunity from lawsuit by our government, yet our government is turning around and forcing people to inject these toxic substances, such as in New York?

    To me, it seems highly possible that neurological disorders could be, at least in part, caused by an accumulation of mercury and other toxic metals (lead) and other substances that still exist in flu shots and vaccinations. The first rule in medicine is to “do no harm.”….I’m not sure at all that enough measures have been taken to ensure this rule is followed.

    1. Actually, ss, you can’t make a graph like the organic foods versus autism graph. As the top left graph here shows, vaccination rates leveled off and went down during the same years autism rates increased. In addition, the number of vaccines given has not increased much over the the time period covered in the organic foods versus autism graph. Thus, while vaccination hasn’t increased much, autism has increased a lot. This is why I said there is more evidence that organic foods cause autism than vaccines. You say that you “see no common sense reason that foods lacking toxic pesticides and herbicides should cause autism moreso than sprayed foods.” I do. Non-sprayed foods have been infested more with insects, which contain all manner of chemicals, viruses, and bacteria that we should not ingest. Now please understand that I don’t think organic foods cause autism. I am just making the point that I can say nearly anything is related to autism (and even produce a graph that implies it), and it doesn’t make sense for researchers to waste time and resources on every such idea.

      I meant exactly what you quoted. You seemed to think that the age of the father being a risk factor in autism supports your argument. However, it goes further to refute your argument. Vaccinations mostly happen early in life. If vaccines were doing something to children that caused their children to have autism, then the risk of autism should not rise with the age of the father. Since it does, we know that what happens later in a father’s life causes the mutations that produce autism in the children he has later in life.

      The study you link provides evidence that heavy metals are an issue in autism. However, note what metals are there: lead, thallium, tin, and tungsten. Where’s the mercury? Remember, it’s supposed to be the mercury in vaccines causing the autism. I don’t see any mercury in the report. Once again, then, heavy metals may have something to do with it, but they are not coming from vaccines. Also, note that the autism-like symptoms are showing up in the children, not in the next generation. Once again, this is further evidence that a multigenerational study makes no sense.

      I would not be on a board that tries to do some multigenerational study on vaccines in animals. As I have shown you, we already have long-term studies on people that include more than one generation, and they show that vaccines are not related to autism in any way. Why waste money doing studies on animals when the human studies are already conclusive?

      No, I don’t find it odd that the companies that make vaccines have been given immunity from lawsuits. Remember, the law is not based on science. It’s based on court cases, that are heavily influenced by emotion, not science. As a result, companies wouldn’t make vaccines without such protection, because they know that a few crying mothers would put them out of business, regardless of what the science actually says.

      I am not for mandatory vaccines. However, note that in the story you link, the mandatory vaccines are for kids who attend day-care centers and preschool programs. If I am running a preschool program, I have every right to required certain things of the children who are in the program. I can require parents to pick up the children by a certain time, I can require a dress code, and I can require the parents to purchase activity-related supplies. If you don’t want to do those things, don’t send your child to the preschool program. The same applies here. If you don’t want to vaccinate, don’t send your children to a preschool where they put the other children at risk.

      There may be something to the idea that heavy metals are related to autism. However, we know that the heavy metals in vaccines are not. If they were (even to some small extent), the rates of autism among vaccinated children would be higher (at least to a small extent) than the rates of autism among unvaccinated children. However, they are not. Thus, vaccines are clearly not related to autism.

  15. Dr. Jay, Thanks for your reply. I do understand the difference between death rates and case rates, and even conceding that vaccines may reduce case rates (though not 100% of the time), the demonstrated decrease in mortality and severe sequela do not appear to be statistically attributable to vaccines and therefore just avoiding the illness in itself does not seem a justification for vaccination. Your comment that “Many of the vaccine-preventable diseases can result in permanent injury for those who survive” does not seem to match the data that these deaths and injuries decreased independently of vaccination, and is also of no comfort to the many individuals with vaccine-induced serious injuries.

    Many medical researchers and parents who attribute their children’s autism, diabetes, autoimmune dysfunction, etc., to vaccines would take umbrage to your comment “As a result, companies wouldn’t make vaccines without such protection, because they know that a few crying mothers would put them out of business, regardless of what the science actually says.” For the thousands of parents (and not a small number of medical professionals) with autistic children (or a dead one, such as Michael Belkin, whose infant daughter died after a hepatitis vaccine), autism and other debilitating diseases that many view as preventable and directly related to vaccines are a huge concern.

    For every study that purports to show the massive increase in autism rates is unrelated to the massive and chronologically concurrent increase in vaccines, there are others suggesting correlation:

    I and many other parents choose not to vaccinate our children due to the perception that the risks from vaccines outweigh those of the diseases they purport to prevent. Life is full of risks and dangers for all of us. A child is more likely to be seriously injured or die from an accident than from pertussis or measles, yet much more political pressure (with legal protection for vaccine producers) is applied on behalf of vaccines than preventing accidents. This does not mean we do not take common sense precautions to guard against injury, however, when the measures purporting to reduce the risk of harm themselves appear to pose significant (and avoidable) risks, many of us conclude it is not unreasonable to skip vaccines.

    There is also evidence that vaccines are not as effective as claimed, as I know from personal experience with my fully vaccinated daughter getting whooping cough, along with recent reports of not only pertussis but measles and mumps occurring in vaccinated individuals.

    1. David, you say that vaccines “may reduce case rates (though not 100% of the time).” As the graphs show in this post, they do reduce case rates, and based on a myriad of studies, they do so all the time.

      You say, “Your comment that ‘Many of the vaccine-preventable diseases can result in permanent injury for those who survive’ does not seem to match the data that these deaths and injuries decreased independently of vaccination.” Please show me one piece of evidence demonstrating that injuries decreased independently of vaccination. The fact is that most vaccine-preventable diseases can result in permanent injury. Measles, for example, can result in permanent brain damage, blindness, and deafness. By avoiding the disease, you avoid that risk for permanent injury. And once again, graphs that show death rates don’t include those cases.

      You say that all this is “no comfort to the many individuals with vaccine-induced serious injuries.” There are, in fact, very few serious injuries from vaccination. However, there are very serious injuries (and deaths) that result from people who do not get vaccinated. The medical data are quite clear: unless there are contraindications involved, a child’s risk is much greater when he or she is not vaccinated.

      You claim that thousands of parents have children who have vaccine-related injuries. That simply isn’t true. There are thousands of children who have autism, but the data show quite clearly that autism is not related to vaccination. It’s very easy for a parent to blame a vaccine (or medicine, or food, etc.) for his or her child’s problems. However, studies are what determine whether or not vaccines are actually responsible for those injuries, and the studies are quite clear that many parents are blaming vaccines for problems that those vaccines did not cause.

      You claim, “For every study that purports to show the massive increase in autism rates is unrelated to the massive and chronologically concurrent increase in vaccines, there are others suggesting correlation.” That is 100% false. Most of the “studies” contained in your link don’t even deal with vaccines and autism, and they have been thoroughly debunked by many, many sources. Serious studies that are not inherently flawed demonstrate quite conclusively that vaccines are not related to autism in any way. The fact is that vaccinated children and unvaccinated children have the same rates of autism. Thus, there is simply no way that vaccines can be a factor in autism.

      I agree that children are more likely to die from an accident than from a vaccine-preventable disease. However, the reason there is so much pressure in regards to vaccination is that when you elect to not vaccinate your child, you put other children at risk. I am not for government mandates related to vaccines (unless you are partaking of an organization’s services, at which point the organization has every right to mandate many things), but I am for parents learning the actual facts so they can make an informed decision. The facts clearly demonstrate that as long as there are no contraindications, the best thing you can do is vaccinate your children.

      You say that there is “evidence that vaccines are not as effective as claimed, as I know from personal experience with my fully vaccinated daughter getting whooping cough, along with recent reports of not only pertussis but measles and mumps occurring in vaccinated individuals.” This indicates you haven’t really studied the matter much, because no entity claims vaccines are 100% effective. There is no medicine on the planet that is 100% effective. Thus, the fact that some vaccinated children get the disease has nothing to do with the effectiveness of a vaccine. One has to look at populations of people, and when you do that, the measles vaccine, for example, is 98% effective. In fact, this is why pertussis and measles outbreaks are occurring. Those who elect not to vaccinate are increasing the population that the virus can infect. As a result, everyone is put at greater risk, especially other unvaccinated children and those who are vaccinated but did not respond to the vaccination.

      If vaccines aren’t effective, why does the measles vaccine make a child 22 times (2,200%) less likely to get measles than an unvaccinated child? Why are vaccinated children 5.9 times (590%) less likely to contract pertussis than unvaccinated children? Why do schools in which outbreaks occur have 2.9 times as many unvaccinated children as schools in which outbreaks do not occur? Why are vaccinated children 13.6 times (1,360%) less likely to catch the flu than those who receive a placebo injection? Studies that demonstrate these facts (and many more) can be found here.

      There is simply no way you can argue scientifically that vaccines are not effective or cause autism. Study after study shows that you are simply wrong.

  16. Thanks for your replies, Dr. Wile… is obvious that we will have to agree to disagree on some issues……but here’s an interesting little find…..monkeys that got vaccines tended to show symptoms of autism.

    There is an acknowledgment that the researcher involved may have a conflict of interest, but the question, which they repeated several times, is why haven’t these tests been duplicated to prove/disprove the results? This would be so easy to do…..I realize you keep saying that there’s no reason to do it, but if nothing else an official study might put the public’s mind at ease….and if that ultimately helps more people decide to get their kids vaccinated, then that’s plenty of good reason, for the sake of public safety.

    finally, as I’ve said before the issue for me is the possibility that autism. (like alzheimer’s: is caused by a cumulative exposure to toxins…..specifically simultaneous vaccinations. Do you have any studies from the past 10 years (of which time autism has exploded) that demonstrate that autism symptoms do not arise when children/animals are subjected to multiple, simultaneous vaccinations?

    1. Thanks for the link, ss, but that study has incredibly fatal flaws. First, the sample size was very small (16), and the control group is even smaller (4). However, when you look at the actual data, only 9 monkeys were analyzed, and only 2 control monkeys were used. There is nothing in the study indicating why 7 monkeys in the sample were rejected and 2 in the control were rejected. So the only conclusion I can draw is that they arbitrarily got rid of monkeys with results that they didn’t like. Now please understand that the statistical error in any study goes as the square root of the sample size divided by the sample size. Thus, the statistical error in the control group alone is 70.7%! That’s nonsense. More reasons to reject the study are given here. There is no need to try to replicate such an utterly flawed experiment. Once again, we have data on people that show that autism is not related to vaccines in any way.

      You ask for studies from the past 10 years that show autism symptoms do not arise when children/animals are subjected to multiple, simultaneous vaccinations. Of course. There are many, and they deal with children, which is what makes the most sense. Here is the latest one. As the article says:

      Although scientific evidence suggests that vaccines do not cause autism, approximately one-third of parents continue to express concern that they do; nearly 1 in 10 parents refuse or delay vaccinations because they believe it is safer than following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) schedule ( A primary concern is the number of vaccines administered, both on a single day and cumulatively over the first 2 years of life. In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers concluded that there is no association between receiving “too many vaccines too soon” and autism.

      There are many such studies. You can look through this list and find more.

      As I have said repeatedly, it is possible that exposure to toxins could be a part of autism. However, the data make it clear that this exposure does not come from vaccines.

  17. Although I can agree with you that the science behind what you say makes sense, I think your statement “If you don’t want to vaccinate, don’t send your children to a preschool where they put the other children at risk.”, doesn’t make as much sense. If, for instance “…the measles vaccine, for example, is 98% effective.”, then theoretically they are not putting all the other children at risk, only 2% of those that vaccinated (that’s less than half a child in most rooms)and those whose parents didn’t vaccinate by choice and know the risk to catch it is there. Therefore, how can it be that “As a result, everyone is put at greater risk”, when the majority have the 98% protection? But I can see your point about those who got the vax and for some reason it didn’t take. It just seems a little blown out of proportion to suggest an unvaxed child puts EVERYONE at risk. For the record, we choose to not vax because of religious beliefs not because of fear of autism which seems prolific in my nieces and nephews 6 of 14 with a diagnosis on the “autism spectrum”.

    I am really excited to start your elementary science series next year. I found your HS Chemistry course to be a great program that was not boring to read like the other programs we had done. Wish I had tried Apologia sooner.

    1. Thanks for your perspective, Nancy. There might be a couple of things you are overlooking, however. Using the Measles vaccine as an example, the first dose is given after the child is 1 year old, and the second dose after the child is 4 years old. The 98% protection doesn’t apply until after the second dose. So an unvaccinated child at a preschool puts all children under 1 year at serious risk, and the vaccinated children from 1-4 at less risk, but still at more than a 2% risk. This is what happened in Philadelphia in 1991, for example. A church that was against vaccination was at the center of a Measles outbreak that killed 9 children. Two of those nine children were not part of the church and were too young to have been vaccinated. The other issue is that the children in the preschool end up interacting with other children. Thus, the disease can spread much farther than the preschool, to more children who are not old enough to get full protection or are part of the 2% who don’t respond well to the vaccine. In 2013, there were several measles outbreaks that started with an unvaccinated person.

      I strongly support your right to refuse vaccination, so don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am simply giving the science behind the issue.

      I hope you enjoy the elementary course, and thanks for your kind words regarding my chemistry course! It was the first one I wrote.

  18. A pioneering anti-vax campaigner was none other that Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin’s co-founder of the theory of evolution by natural selection. See Alfred Russel Wallace and the Antivaccination Movement in Victorian England by Thomas P. Weber, Historical Review 16(4), April 2010; compare Wallace’s book Vaccination a Delusion, Its Penal Enforcement a Crime (1898).

    Of course, this by itself doesn’t disprove anti-vax arguments (cf. the genetic fallacy). Yet it should call into question any notion that anti-vax is the view that all creationists should accept.

  19. Thank you for the link. I read through them and then read through some from the other side of the debate from and; still feel like there is enough risk on either decision. Still feel like the numbers are manipulated on both sides. Will continue to lean on the Lord to guide my steps. However, I will be more cognizant of the exposure issue. My only child that went to VPK-4 went to a facility that did not do infant daycare but there were 2yr olds. Fortunately, all we faced were repeated bouts of colds and maybe the flu. Next year all will be out of group school.

  20. Dr. Sarfati…..I’m not following that logic at all. By going along with vaccinations we are all blindly following the scientific (darwinist) establishment, the media and the politicians. I don’t trust any of these groups. I’m not saying they’re never right but generally if they say something I assume the polar opposite is true unless proven otherwise.

    And I’m sorry, there’s almost a creepy element to all this vaccination/flu shot stuff….it’s pushed almost like it’s an agenda, like gay rights or abortion rights or believing in evolution or something……and how anyone who doesn’t support it is an idiot…it’s strikes me as a giant propaganda campaign. Weirdly, the Walgreens by my house often hires people to walk up and down their sidewalk wearing cardboard signs and directing traffic to come in and get their flu shots…..they also promote flu shots on the uniform of all their employees. A local grocery store (Kroger) rented out a billboard near our house to promote flu shots……and I think these shots cost a whole $10 — so they couldn’t be making a huge profit…….to me there seems to be an almost evil undertone to all this….and it’s not like people are dropping like flies from the measles or mumps in this country.

    1. SS, the reason flu shots are so heavily promoted is that people regularly die of complications from the flu, and the science shows very clearly that getting the vaccine helps to prevent that. There is an agenda here – it’s saving lives!

      And you are right, people are not dropping like flies from the measles or mumps…because of vaccination, as the original post here clearly demonstrates. If the flu vaccination rate were higher, people wouldn’t be dying from flu complications, either! However, because there are those who are not vaccinating, measles is making a comeback. If the trend continues, we will see a lot more measles and a lot more permanent harm from them.

  21. the h1n1 strain is not covered by the flu shot that addresses seasonal flu…..and my whole life I’ve never heard of a single person dying from the flu…it’s not a scientific method I’m using, but a common sense one. If tens of thousands of people every year from the flu I think I would’ve seen or heard some actual evidence for it. I think these numbers could very well be exaggerated to sell flu shots. who knows…even the cdc recently revised its flu death numbers down to as low as 3,000/yr. And besides, most of those deaths were either to h1n1 or pneumonia, which has a vaccine too!

    not only that but it’s even admitted that most people who die from the flu are the very old/frail, with compromised immune systems….so why do they still push the flu shot like mad to everyone else?…it just makes no sense.

    And call me crazy but I say the flu is good for most people. It produces a natural fast, (a break from food, which acts like a detox), which is beneficial because it allows the body to rest and cleanse itself — the flu also forces people to take a break for a few days — a mental break –….it also helps clear out congestion, clear out the intestines, kidneys, liver and other organs….it also stimulates your immune system…so not only will you be immune to the flu for the rest of the season, but you’ll possibly be immune to other things as well, as your immune system is enhanced and your body has gone through a cleanse. I always feel much lighter and better after the flu than I felt before the flu. I think the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” was probably proposed by someone who was talking about getting the flu.

    1. Actually, ss, the seasonal flu shot does protect against H1N1. Both the trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines include the A/H1N1 strain.

      You are correct that you are not using a scientific method. However, you aren’t using a common sense method, either. The U.S. has a large population, and that population is not represented by your circle of friends and family. Thus, whether or not you know of someone who died of the flu is simply not relevant. You say you want some evidence. Well, here is some. Here is some more.

      You claim that, “most people who die from the flu are the very old/frail, with compromised immune systems.” This, of course, is 100% false. The first study I linked above is about children who die from flu complications. It concludes, “Influenza can be fatal in children with and without high-risk medical conditions.” In California alone, 147 people under the age of 65 have already died from complications of the flu.

      So no, the flu is not good for anyone. It is a terrible illness that often results in death.

  22. Ok well I stand corrected on the flu shot covering the h1n1…I had read in the past that the regular flu shot did not cover the swine flu, but I guess it depends on the year.

    You said my claim that most people who die from the flu are those who are old and/or frail with compromised immune systems is “100% false.” But in the very article you linked they said that the “great majority” of fatalities so far in California had occurred in people with underlying medical conditions that could put them at higher risk,”……and they also urged “especially members of high-risk groups such as the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions.” So again, if the “great majority” of deaths are happening in people who have compromised immune systems, why should the rest of society risk a regular toxic chemical injection, which over the years could accumulate and possibly cause alzheimer’s or other health or neurological issues?

    Finally, there is one more thing to consider. It’s generally agreed that eating pizza, fried chicken, french fries, hot dogs, etc is not a healthy lifestyle choice…..that such foods can increase one’s chances of getting diabetes, cancer, etc………..but at the same time, there is no obvious sign of harm at the time when we eat these foods. Eating a few fries doesn’t have any worse effect on us than eating an apple does. The point, though, is that harmful foods, though they may not seem harmful to us at the time –and may not actually be harmful if consumed sparingly — may in fact, be harmful if they’re consumed regularly over a lifetime, because their effects are cumulative. Chemicals and toxins build up in the body. That’s what cancer and alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions are all about….that’s why smokers get cancer: constant chemical exposure. One cigarette won’t kill you — but a life time of cigarettes might. Same, very possibly, with a lifetime of flu shots. And again science has never tested this notion on actual animals, under controlled settings.

    So the point is — what is this weird push to get a whole population of otherwise healthy individuals to get yearly flu shots? why not just push for those who are older and/or have compromised immune systems? Im sure sure you’ve probably read “Genetic Entropy” by Dr. John Sanford…there is a genetic meltdown going on in our society — mirrored by all kinds of new genetic and/or degenerative diseases that weren’t around even a couple decades ago. I just don’t see the sense in adding to this unnecessarily.

    1. Once again, ss, the flu shot is not toxic. Study after study shows that. So you are not risking a “toxic chemical injection” when you get the flu shot. The reason everyone should get a flu shot is that everyone is at risk. There are some groups that are more at risk than others, for sure, but as the relatives of the 147 people under 65 who have died in California as a result of the flu will tell you, it’s not just the sick and elderly. As the second study I linked previously says, “Influenza can be fatal in children with and without high-risk medical conditions.” Is it really okay with you that healthy children are dying of the flu?

      You say that eating junk food is bad, “but at the same time, there is no obvious sign of harm at the time when we eat these foods.” I agree. But how do we know such foods are bad for us? It’s because of studies that compare people who eat such foods often to those who don’t eat them as often. Those studies show that people who eat such foods often are less healthy than those who don’t eat those foods as often. As I have already shown you, studies that use this exact same methodology show that people who get vaccinated are healthier than those who are not vaccinated. Thus, the same medical science that tells us junk food is bad for us also tells us that vaccination is good for us. Why is it you accept the former conclusion but not the latter, since they are based on the exact same kinds of studies?

      I would agree that there is no sense in adding to the genetic entropy that has been well-documented by Dr. Sanford. However, we know that vaccines don’t do that. Thus, the point is why do people refuse vaccination despite the fact that science clearly shows that it is more risky to refuse vaccination than it is to be vaccinated?

  23. Hi again Dr. Jay. I would be interested in your thoughts on a report by a CDC physician that seems to clearly document a thimerosol-autism link. The subsequent alteration and suppression of such data does not exactly facilitate a sense of confidence regarding vaccine safety. Yes, I know other reports dismiss this connection, but this seems like a pretty solid study.

    1. You’re not getting the entire story from your source, David. It is quite true that using the Vaccine Safety Data link (VSD), Dr. Thomas Verstraeten found what appeared to be an increase in autism with increasing thimerosal exposure (in 1999). However, as his abstract clearly says:

      This analysis suggests that high exposure to ethyl mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines in the first month of life increases the risk of subsequent development of neurologic development impairment, but not of neurologic degenerative or renal impairment. Further confirmatory studies are needed. (emphasis mine)

      The reason he said that further confirmatory studies are needed is because of the difficulties of using the VSD. Thus, he did a further study (in 2003), which was conducted in two phases. It ended up not being able to find a link:

      Safety of thimerosal-containing vaccines: a two-phased study of computerized health maintenance organization databases

      So far from being a “solid study,” it was a study that could not be confirmed with further studies performed by the very same author.

      Of course, since then, many other studies have been done, and they have shown that there is no link:

      Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism

      Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years

      Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links With Immunizations

      Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System

  24. New study out……..”Growing number of chemicals linked with brain disorders in children”

    Of course, Dr. Wile, I’m guessing that your defense will be that flu shots and vaccinations aren’t toxic…but if they are in fact toxic, then they might actually be contributing to the accumulation of toxic chemicals that, according to this article, are probably to blame for conditions such as autism, attention-deficit disorder, etc, right???….and the thing is, you have to remember that the developing brains of babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to toxic overload….that’s why it’s so dangerous for pregnant mothers to smoke, do drugs, and other activities that involve toxicity. Dr. Wile, do you believe this study that toxic chemical exposure may be the root of such neurological diseases?….or do you simply deny this premise altogether…..

    seems to me that if you are going to accept this premise then your only possible way out is to say that vaccinations are not toxic. And just out of curiosity, do you also claim that pesticides and herbicides (think Roundup) are not toxic as well??

    1. I am not sure why that study makes you worry about vaccination, ss. Notice what the story says:

      Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes…

      The chemicals listed in the article aren’t even in vaccines. However, they are in several industrial chemicals as well as pesticides. Even if they were in vaccines, a vaccination happens once, while exposure to industrial chemicals and pesticides is constant. Thus, those exposures are what one has to worry about.

      As I have constantly told you, it is very possible that buildup of toxins is causing neurological problems. However, we know that vaccines aren’t a source of those chemicals, because when we compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children, we find that the vaccinated children are healthier than the unvaccinated children and have no more neurological problems than the unvaccinated children. We also find no trend when comparing the number of vaccines a child gets. Thus, vaccines can’t be what is causing any toxic buildup of chemicals.

      As the very article you linked tells us, the most likely sources of this toxic buildup are industrial and agricultural chemicals.

  25. Dr. Wile, yes I was aware that the chemicals referred to in the article are probably not found in vaccines, but even as the article admits:

    “Very few chemicals have been regulated as a result of developmental neurotoxicity,”

    And as it stands, vaccines and flu shots are loaded with known toxins, including formaldehyde, Thimerosal, Aluminum phosphate, MSG (also known as a neurotoxin when injected) and many others.

    Finally, I went back and re-read your “evidence” that too many vaccines administered too soon is not linked to autism…here’s the link:

    Ok this is not what I asked for. See, in that study, all the subjects had received vaccines, and then antigen numbers were compared. This is a flawed way of doing research on the topic. First of all, just as the fact that not everyone who smokes will get lung cancer, not every child who gets vaccinations will get autism. Every person is different. Our genomes are different…our chemistries are different — we come from different parents who lived in different environments. Thus, a round of vaccinations may have no effect on one person, yet have a huge effect on another because of our different genetic makeups. This is repeated here: (Keep Dr. Sanford’s premise of genomic degeneration in mind as you read this.) “The question about toxic exposure and autism is open, with the weight of evidence favoring a connection that is not well understood. Although it is not possible to say with certainty, it seems likely that the connection would be mediated by genetic susceptibility and ability to detoxify. That is, some people have genotypes that confer higher susceptibility to toxic exposures. If so, then 50 years ago few people would have had enough toxic expo- sure to have the neurological changes that result in autism. Today, because many rather than few children are exposed to all sorts of neurotoxins with lesser resources to detoxify the body (environment, diet, lifestyle) those that are vulnerable, may develop autism”

    In short, a child from the 70s or 80s might very well have tolerated these vaccines just fine…..but our genomes are deteriorating at a high rate and we’re becoming less and less able to withstand Big Science’s toxic assaults, whether that be pesticides/herbicides, GMOs, vaccines, smoking, pollution, fluoride in the water, antibiotics — all of it is contributing to the deterioration of the genome. I think the population is in big trouble thanks to science.

    1. I am glad that you admit the chemicals in the study you linked are not in vaccines, ss. That’s important. Right now, all the evidence indicates that toxins can play a role in neurological diseases, but none of the toxins linked so far are found in vaccines. This is important. You keep trying to blame vaccines for toxic exposure, but you can’t find any evidence to support your case. So…you want people to avoid vaccines because of possible problems for which no evidence exists. If we do that, then disease rates will rise, as this original post clearly shows. That’s not a very reasonable way to look at things. These diseases are known problems. You want us to expose our children to known problems because of unknown risks. This makes no sense.

      Once again, as I have told you before, the toxicity of a chemical depends on its concentration. There is mercury in fish. Does that mean we should eat no fish? Here’s a list of foods with their naturally-occurring formaldehyde levels. Are you saying we should avoid eating all those foods? The fact is that there are scary-sounding chemicals in all sorts of things. The issue is their concentration. If you eat fish in moderation, you are not taking in a toxic amount of mercury. The formaldehyde found in the foods listed above is not toxic at those concentrations. In the same way, the scary-sounding chemicals in vaccines are not toxic at the levels found in vaccines.

      I am glad that you finally read the article that describes the study I linked to you, but it seems you didn’t understand it. The authors used antigen level as a measure of how many vaccines the child had. They THEN compared antigen levels to ASD rates and found no connection:

      The authors found that the total antigens from vaccines received by age 2 years, or the maximum number received on a single day, was the same between children with and without ASD. Furthermore, when comparing antigen numbers, no relationship was found when they evaluated the sub-categories of autistic disorder and ASD with regression.

      This study was done on more than 1,000 children, so it is not making its conclusion based on individuals. It shows that as a group, the ASD is not linked to the number of vaccines given.

      In short, then, there is absolutely no evidence that ASD is linked to vaccines. Despite this, you seem to be advocating that children be put at risk for known diseases in order to avoid some unknown risk of neurological disorders for which there is no evidence. Needless to say, I can’t support such a reckless idea.

  26. Admittedly, I didn’t real all of your comments here. I do have some questions though. (Not for the purpose of debating but for my own education)

    As I stated above, I am leery of vaccinations however, I’m certainly not “anti-vax”. I would LOVE to remove all of my worries about them, so I could vaccinate my children without fear. I have no doubts that they work to help prevent the diseases they were intended for (though I don’t think they protect as well as the gov tries to say they do).

    1. One of the things I read above was that the chemicals used in the vaccinations are not toxic to humans because they are used in minute amounts. How do we know if the amounts used in the vaccinations effect all children the same? I know this isn’t the same, but I keep thinking about allergies – one person is fine but the other person’s body overreacts. I know, I know, I know, it’s not the same thing as an allergy. But my point is that each person’s body reacts differently.

    2. What do you think of the parents who say they walked in to the doctor’s office with a normal child and walked out with an autistic or vaccine injured child. I’ve seen numerous videos that the parents had made that showed their child the day of the vaccination and a few days the vaccination, who claim the vaccination caused their child’s medical issues. The difference is remarkable. Have you seen any of these videos? I have a hard time telling a mother she doesn’t know her kid well enough and the scientist who has never met her kids knows better.

    3. How are children vaccine injured if they are completely safe?

    4. Is it possible for toxins to build up in child from vaccinations? Why or why not.

    5. I’ve read that no studies have been done specifically on infants and vaccinations. Is this true?

    6. A question related to number 4, would a person’s size affect the reaction to toxins? (okay, badly worded but what I’m wondering is if a 5 pound baby is at a higher risk for health problems due to the toxins in vaccinations than say a 150 pound adult)

    7. What do you think of the people who have been compensated due to their vaccine induced autism?

    I think I have a million more questions but these are the ones off the top of my head that worries me.

    Again, truely seeking information here. Not trying to argue or even debate!

    1. Thanks for your questions, Michelle. Here are my answers:

      1. Some children are allergic to the contents of vaccines, just as some children are allergic to the contents of peanuts. As a result, like any other medicine, you should consult with a board-certified physician who is knowledgeable about your family medical history. However, we know that vaccines are safe for the vast majority of children because we do studies comparing unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, and fully vaccinated children, and the fully vaccinated children are the healthiest.

      2. The problem with such stories is that correlation does not mean causation. Most conditions take time to develop, and what caused that condition might be completely unrelated to a recent activity. My brother-in-law, for example, works for a real estate firm. His firm had a large banquet one night, and the next day, nearly everyone was sick with a stomach ailment. Of course, they all thought it was food poisoning from the banquet. The caterer said it could not be him, because his staff ate the same food and were fine. The owner was willing to spend some money to prove it was the caterer, so he had several of his employees’ blood tested. It turns out it was a virus that the staff caught when they hosted an out-of-town guest six weeks prior to the illness. There was a banquet for him as well, and pretty much the same people were there. They all caught the virus, which took six weeks to incubate. Now…without the blood study, everyone was convinced it was food poisoning. This is why studies have to be done. Just because an illness happens a certain time after the event, that doesn’t tell you the event caused the illness. When studies are done, vaccinated and unvaccinated children have the same autism rates. Thus, vaccines cannot cause autism.

      3. Would you say peanuts are completely safe? What about baths? People die from both. “Completely safe” doesn’t mean there is no risk. It simply means that the risk of not doing it is larger than the risk of doing it. Now, of course, most vaccine-related injuries are from allergic reactions, and they can be reduced if you work with a board-certified physician who knows your family medical history.

      4. Anything is possible, but the level of “toxins” in vaccinations is so low that they do not add significantly to any toxic buildup. A child is exposed to hundreds of times more “toxins” from industrial chemicals, pesticides, and eating normal foods. Thus, whatever tiny amount is added from vaccines is inconsequential. Once again, this is why studies of vaccinated and unvaccinated children show that the vaccinated ones are healthier.

      5. That is completely false. Lots of studies are done on vaccines and infants. Here are just a couple:

      Note that the second one is a meta-analysis of many infant studies.

      6. A person’s size does play a role, which is why doses are different for infants and adults. In addition, this is why studies are done on both infants and adults.

      7. Science is not determined by lawyers. Emotion drives a lot of legal decisions, as do pragmatic issues, such as profit and loss. The key is that science can find no link between vaccines and autism, so what happens in some lawsuits is not relevant.

      I hope this helps. Most of what you read on anti-vaccine sites like safeminds is not good science. I would strongly recommend broadening your reading list to learn the science behind vaccines. Here is a good place to start:

  27. I appreciate your response. I still have lots of questions…even about some of your answers. But for the sake of not seeming to argue, I’ll refrain.

    I have done lots of reading, and frankly, most has left me confused. (Which perhaps your answers do too to some extent.)

    1. Michelle, I am happy to answer honest questions. I didn’t get any sense that you were arguing. You seem to have honest questions, and I am happy to try to provide honest answers. Please also understand that while I think that the vast majority of children should be vaccinated, I am not trying to convince anyone to vaccinate. I am just trying to make sure that parents have accurate information at their disposal with which they can make an informed decision about whether or not to vaccinate.

  28. Thank you for being willing to answer more questions! Some of this is just rambling and me sharing my concerns. If you don’t wish to read, I understand.

    1.) In reference to question number 1 – When I go to color my hair, the package advises me to do an allergy test first. Why are allergy tests not done on the children for vaccinations? Is there any way do this?

    2.) Not a true question here but thought I’d share what my concern is. I agree with what you are saying – the it’s possible that it’s just a coincidence. However, my concern is that you just don’t know.

    3.) You bring up an interesting point here. My family’s board-certified pediatrician is very careful with vaccinations and even shares some of my same concerns. She offers blood titers for vaccinations to see if the child needs any more doses. Do you feel this is a reliable way to protect a child? I have one child who reacts to the extreme with vaccinations. The last time I had her vaccinated, she ran a temp of over 105 and was vomiting. The health department said, “Must be a stomach virus”. I have 7 kids. I’ve NEVER had a stomach virus hit only one child and no one else in the house. I’m operating under the assumption that the vaccination caused this. The HD assumed it’s a stomach virus. Which leads me to new concerns: How can I know that the next vaccination won’t cause her temp to go even higher? My other worry, is I feel like health care professionals won’t even do anything until it’s too late. If I call and say, “Her temp is 105 and rising! No medicines are bringing it down!” will they do *anything* or will they wait until she has a seizure and possibly stops breathing? That’s not a chance I’m willing to take when I know her chances of getting the disease is very slim…and if she does, it’s probably treatable. Again, not trying to be argumentative – just sharing some good ole mama concerns.

    To be a little more long winded (because I know this must be interesting to you, hahaha 😉 )- Peanuts are obviously NOT safe for everyone but are absolutely safe for some people. Our school system has banned ALL peanuts from the school. Your kid is not even allowed to bring a PB&J to school, just in case the kid next to him is allergic. Interesting, how we react to some allergies (like peanuts) compared to other allergies (like perhaps a vaccine allergy).

    4.) No questions really. Vaccine naysayers have used the same argument here. We are already exposed to so many toxins, the ones in vaccines contribute to the problem.

    5.) I was thrilled to know that tests have been done on children/infants concerning vaccinations. (And it’s entirely possible that I read that concerning 1 specific vaccination rather than all of them. I can be dipsy like that sometimes.) Thank you for that information.

    6.) Today is the death date of my little boy, born in 1998. My 4lb 10 oz son stopped breathing within 24 hours of receiving his Hep. B vaccination, right in front of me, while I was holding him. We were at home at the time, and we rushed him to the hospital. They were able to get his heart beating again (after 45 minutes of working on him). He died when he was 4 days old, after we removed life support from him. After his birth, he seemed fine until he got that vaccination. *I am not stating the vaccination caused his subsequent death.* He had other things that could have been a factor (like a true knot in his cord prior to birth that we think contributed to the low birth weight…all of my other birth children were 8 and 9 pounders!). But at the hospital, while the doctor’s were still trying to find a cause, I told them about his vaccination. They immediately said, “That didn’t cause it”. The doctor’s tossed around a bunch of different ideas on what could have caused this but they never could figure it out. His autopsy report basically says, “Cause of death: His heart stopped”. Our neonatologist was baffled at this and felt their report helped none. This leaves me a whole bunch of questions now: Why does a newborn need a HEP B vaccination when the primary way of contracting it is sexually (wasn’t aware of this at the time)? Could the dosage have been for a bigger baby (he was 5.8lbs when he was born). Could this have caused my son’s death?

    7.) No question here; Just my general thoughts on your response and my concerns. True enough that lawyers and emotions do not make science. But the fact that lawyers argued this case doesn’t automatically means it wrong either, right? The case I linked to was about a doctor’s son who has autism as a result of his vaccinations, according to the courts and his father. Surely a doctor who closely monitored his son’s condition very closely before and after the vaccine would be able to give reliable medical evidence, one way or another. I understand what you are saying here, but I can’t help but feel like you are ignoring the evidence for what you feel is lack of science! Is it possible that science just hasn’t “asked the right questions” or done the right studies yet to see the link (if there is one – I truly don’t know).

    8.)I’d really, really, really like to know your opinion on this: Do you feel all of the routine vaccinations (on the vaccine schedule for children) are necessary? Some of them, I just don’t see the point. Hep B for a newborn (unless the mother has Hep B) seems ridiculous. It’s spread mostly through sex. By the time they are having sex, the vaccine no longer works anyhow. Chicken pox shot? Another one that seems ridiculous. I’d rather my young children get the disease (yes, it *can* be horrible, fatal, blah, blah, blah – but so can a cold). (I let my older children choose whether they wanted the chicken pox vaccine and they all chose it. None of them wanted to risk it as an older person, knowing it’s usually harder on an adult than a young child).

    9.) Do you think it’s safe to give as many vaccinations as is recommended in one setting? Our pediatrician advises one vaccination at a time. Is she just being overly cautious?

    *All of my children have had some vaccinations. 4 of them have had all the recommended vaccinations. I’m not anti-vax. My youngest 3, who are adopted seem to react very differently….frighteningly different.

    1. Thanks for your reply, Michelle. In answer to your questions:

      1) This is why it is important to work with a board-certified physician who knows your family medical history before getting any medicine, including vaccinations. If a physician knows the medical history, he or she is likely to be able to predict if the child will have an allergy to a vaccine, and as a result will advise against getting the vaccine. You certainly could test for allergies prior to getting a vaccine. For example, people who are allergic to eggs should not get certain vaccines. Thus, you could test a child for an egg allergy to exclude certain vaccines. Of course, this is true for most medicines. There are people who are allergic to Penicillin, for example. That allergy could be tested for, but it is generally not, because family history generally tells you, and the allergy test has its own risks. That’s the real problem here. No medical procedure is without risk. If you decide to do allergy testing, then, you are putting your child at additional risk.

      2) The fact is that you do know. When one child dies of SIDS after a vaccine, for example, that could be a coincidence, or it could have been caused by the vaccine. The way you find out is to do a study on a few thousand children, and see if the children who got the vaccine die of SIDS at a higher rate than those who didn’t get the vaccine. If they do, then the vaccine is related to SIDS. If they don’t, the vaccine is not related to SIDS. By doing a study, then, you can determine whether it is a coincidence or not. That’s how we know both SIDS and autism are not related to vaccines. Unvaccinated children die of SIDS more often than vaccinated children (the pertussis vaccine actually has a small protective effect against SIDS), and unvaccinated children have the same rate of autism as vaccinated children.

      3) I really can’t judge what your physician is doing. I am not trained in that area, and even if I were, I would have to know your family medical history and examine your children. However, I can tell you that for the vast majority of children, not being fully vaccinated is a much higher risk than being fully vaccinated. Your specific children might be exceptions to that, which is why you should work with your doctor. Why don’t you ask her what she would do if your child’s fever gets high? I don’t know of any physician who would not treat a high fever.

      We are actually more careful about vaccine allergies than peanut allergies. All vaccines are heavily monitored specifically for reactions, which are then written up in medical journals and discussed with doctors so that allergic reactions are minimized. However, I had peanuts on the airplane the last time I flew, and no one even asked about allergies when they handed out the peanuts. Also, what about baths? More than 300 people die every year in baths. Are baths completely safe? Once again, the definition of “completely safe” from a medical perspective is that the risk of not doing it is higher than the risk of doing it. That’s why we say vaccines are completely safe. The risk of not being vaccinated is higher than the risk of being vaccinated.

      4) No, the “toxins” in vaccines do not contribute to any problem. They are far too low in concentration, and they happen only at specific times. The child is constantly exposed to significantly higher levels of all these “toxins” through eating and daily living.

      5) I don’t know of any vaccine that is administered to infant that hasn’t had many, many studies done specifically on infants. Once again, if you read a lot of anti-vaccine material, you are exposed to a lot of false information.

      6) I am terribly sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what you must have gone through. However, I can say that if the Hep B vaccine had anything to do with your child’s death, it would be one of the rarest medical events on the planet. Studies indicate that even allergic reactions occur in only about 1 in 1,000,000 doses, and what you describe doesn’t sound like an allergic reaction. There is no way to say for certain what caused your child’s death, but I would think there are lots more likely explanations than the Hep B vaccine. Why do children get the vaccine? Because sex isn’t the only way to get Hep B. The fact is, mothers with Hepatitis B can give it to their children, and if your child comes into contact with the bodily fluids of that child, your child can get it. In countries where vaccination rates are low, this kind of transmission is the most common way Hep B is contracted.

      7) One of the most important things to remember is that there is virtually nothing that can be determined medically from a single case. The fact is that when vaccinated and unvaccinated children are studied, the rates of autism are the same between the two groups. Thus, there is simply no way vaccines can be even partially causing autism. Some of the studies done in this area are so large that even if a vaccine increased a child’s chance of autism by 0.001%, the study would have found it.

      8) There are lots of vaccines that aren’t on the standard schedule in the U.S. because the risk of the vaccine is greater than the risk of the disease. The ones that make it on the schedule are the vaccines for which not getting the vaccine produces a greater risk than getting the vaccine. Once again, Hep B is not just transmitted by sex. In countries where the vaccination rates are low, sex isn’t even the most common means by which it spreads. The only one I am skeptical of is the HPV vaccine, and that’s because the only way you can get that is through sex. Of course, because of that, it isn’t given to infants. However, if I had a preteen daughter (which is who gets the vaccine), I am not sure I would give that one. I guess it would depend on my thoughts about her possible sexual activity.

      9) I think it is safe to get several vaccines at once, and several studies give evidence to support that. No studies of which I am aware (that are not fatally flawed) suggest otherwise. However, if it makes you feel better, please do it that way.

  29. I wish you lived nearby and we could sit down for a cup of coffee and I could pick your brain. 🙂

    Thank you for being willing to open this topic up to me.

  30. Okay – the bath scenario. Baths don’t cause allergic reactions. They are certainly not idiot proof or negligent-parent proof. 🙁 So I guess my answer would be the bath is safe. Perhaps an argument could be made that it’s not safe for everyone, or they wouldn’t be dead. 😉

    I go the health department for their shots because we State insurance. Our doctor’s office does not accept it for check-ups.

    I keep reading what you are saying about about doing a study and I’m not disregarding the value of studies. But what if *my* child is the one who is one in a million. A study wouldn’t pick that up if it’s based on a thousand.

    My son had many other factors that left everyone confused. For instance, he was having these tremors before we brought him to the hospital, but they were very subtle. We didn’t know why he was doing that. After they had him stabilized at the hospital, I asked them why he was doing that – it was like a little shudder. They told me it was a seizure. I search for answers and for ways to protect my other children. (Which leads to conversations such as this one.) Apparently allergies can cause seizures and also toxic metal’s can.

    I recognize that an infant can also acquire Hep B by way of the mother – so by all means, if the mother has it than the child should get the vaccine. But why did my child need it? I don’t have Hep B! Makes better sense to me, to actually test the mother first and then determine if the child needs it.

    You have been very patient with me. Thank you again. Much of what said DOES make me feel better! Some of what you said contradicts stuff I’ve read (for example, like it’s commonly reported by anti-vaxers that studies show that unvaccinated children are less sick and more healthy).

    Would you be open to looking at some of the studies that some of the anti-vaxers report on that support their beliefs? If that is just too time consuming, or just too boring, I’d understand!

    I can honestly say, you’ve made me feel a bit safer! Maybe I’ll take my youngest 3 back for more vaccinations later. But not for Hep B. Or Chickenpox. 😉

    1. Michelle, let’s suppose your child is one in a million. His chance of dying from a vaccine-preventable disease is significantly higher than that. That’s the point. A one-in-a-million vaccine reaction is still less risky than what can happen if he is not vaccinated.

      The reason your child needs the Hep B shot is because other children have Hep B, and in child-to-child interactions, your child can be exposed to the bodily fluids of a child with Hep B, through biting, open sores, etc. That can transfer the Hep B from the child to your child. Once again, where the vaccination rate is low, this is a very common way Hep B is transmitted.

      I have read all sorts of studies that anti-vaxers claim support their case. Indeed, in this very thread, both SS and David tried to bring up several of those studies. I had already seen each of them, and I gave them links or my own explanations that show how poor the studies are. Most of those “studies” would have received a failing grade in my college chemistry lab courses. Once again, this is the problem with getting info from anti-vaccine sources. Usually, the science is incredibly poor.

      I am glad that you feel a bit better about vaccines. However, please remember that I am not trying to get you to vaccinate. That’s a decision only you and God can make. I am just trying to be sure that you make that decision based on accurate information.

  31. I’m trying to weed through the information and see what is accurate and what is not. Thank you again for taking the time to chat with me!

    If you are ever in the Atlanta area and would like a home cooked meal, we’re in the metro area. We’d love to meet in person!

  32. Here is an interesting account, originally published in 1999, about a horrible polio epidemic in Ireland written by a surivor: Polio: The deadly summer of 1956. Polio is probably the clearest evidence that it was vaccination, not sanitation, which eradicated the disease, because sanitation actually made the disease more prevalent:

    The fear was all the greater because polio did not behave like other diseases. Unlike typhus or cholera, it mainly hit the middle classes rather than the poor. In Cork most of the victims were in the relatively prosperous southern suburbs and not the terrible slums in the north of the city.

    But at the end of the 19th century polio took on a new and more menacing form. For the first time there were polio epidemics and they happened in the richer countries like the US, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. This was because public health was improving with better water supply and sewage systems. Previously people lived in symbiosis with the polio virus. The majority of small children were self-immunised because they got the disease, often without symptoms, when they were still protected by their mother’s antibodies. Only in the last decades of the last century were there enough potential victims without immunity for polio to turn into an epidemic. These victims, as Dr McCarthy noted, were likely to be the children in better-off families living in the most hygienic conditions.

    1. Thanks so much for the link, Dr. Sarfati. That kind of account needs to be spread far and wide. One of the reasons anti-vaccination sentiment can take hold in this country and other developed countries is that because of the success of vaccinations, very few people know the real devastation that vaccine-preventable diseases can produce!

    1. Thanks for the link, David. I have seen this before. There are several things wrong with her presentation. I will concentrate on just four:

      1) Even if what she said about the graph was correct (and it is not – see point 2), it would not show that DDT is responsible for polio. Remember, correlation does not mean causation. Organic food sales are more directly correlated with autism than the correlation shown in Dr. Humphries’s graph. I seriously doubt Dr. Humphries would suggest that organic foods cause autism.

      2) What she says about the graph is not even correct. You can see a clearer version of it here. Note that the graph itself says the dashed line is not just DDT. Instead, it is DDT, BHC, arsenic, lead (persistent pesticides). This is important. By grouping the right mix of insecticides, I can get basically any correlation I want. Also, there is no way to check to see if the dashed line is even correct. BHC was in use in the U.S. since the 1940s, and the EPA didn’t even review its use until 1977. It wasn’t eliminated until 2006. Given that its use wasn’t even reviewed until 1977, I seriously doubt it fell off by 1970.

      3) She says in the talk that if there’s one reference we read, it should be “DDT poisoning and the elusive ‘virus X:’ A new cause for gastro-enteritis.” When I first saw this argument, I read that article. It does discuss the possibility that DDT was making people sick, but the symptoms reported in the paper are hardly anything like the symptoms of polio. They include giddiness, irregular spasms of the smooth muscle in the GI tract, anxiety, apprehension, a feeling of contraction in the throat and chest, hypersensitivity of the skin, erratic twitching of voluntary muscles, vertigo, and syncope. About the only thing that makes this illness look like polio is that it includes joint pain and muscle weakness. However, the other symptoms rule out polio. Also, the muscle weakness discussed in the paper is not persistent. It is acute. That’s not like polio at all.

      4) She is ignoring the largest clinical study ever conducted in the history of medicine, which I discussed in the original post. In that study (which included over a million children) the children given the vaccine were significantly less likely to get polio than those who were given an inert injection. This gives us a direct link between the polio vaccine and the decline in polio.

      Dr. Humphries is a part of the International Medical Council on Vaccination, which is not very interested in communicating the facts. Indeed, they sponsored and heavily-publicized a debate between me and a chemist who thinks vaccines cause autism. Once the debate was over, however, the International Medical Council on Vaccination erased all record of the debate from their website. You can watch the debate from my website to see why they erased it from theirs.

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