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Is #VaccineGate a Distraction from the Root Cause of America’s Measles Outbreak?

Is #VaccineGate a Distraction from the Root Cause of America’s Measles Outbreak?

This debate is far bigger than it appears.

Back in 2000, the Americas were cited as an example of how to effectively eradicate measles infections by prestigious medical journals; who would have thought that 15 years later, the vaccination for this disease is poised to become a topic in our upcoming presidential race?

A rare moment of clarification occurred Monday morning, in different settings and an ocean apart: President Barack Obama instructed parents to vaccinate their children just as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed to cast doubt upon their requirement. “The science is indisputable,” Obama said*. Parents should have a “measure of choice,” Christie said.

…Christie’s remarks were followed by a report that Iowa Freedom Summit speaker Carly Fiorina had made a similar statement last week, an indication that the GOP 2016 field, even its establishment flank, was beginning to see an incentive in expressing vaccination doubts.

Christie later “clarified” his initial statement; and Senator Rand Paul has also weighed in, expressing concerns about mental disorders as a side effect.

As “antivaxxers” becomes a new derogatory term, politicians are evolving faster than bacteria in order to appeal to millennial voters, because 1-in-5 of that golden demographic believes vaccines cause autism.

I am an environmental health and occupational safety specialist, so I regularly address risks associated with biohazardous materials. I am a strong believer in the need for vaccinations, especially for measles, which can be fatal. But like most reasonable Americans, I also want to make my medical choices based on the most complete set of information available.

So, as President Obama calls for vaccinations in the midst of the current outbreak, I think it is important to consider two historical factors: 1) The Great Swine Flu Vaccine Drive; and, 2) Annual infection rates.

The last time the Obama Administration clamored for vaccinations was in 2009. The “smart set” pushed the panic button on H1N1 /’Swine Flu” projections, and the government bought 229 million doses of the vaccine, of which only 91 million doses were used. Most of the remainder was destroyed.

CBS News revealed the details on how the Swine Flu cases were overestimated:

50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico.

So, the administration’s current demands for enhanced vaccination might be justifiably met with a healthy degree of skepticism.

Now, let’s take a look at the current measles outbreak in comparison to what has recently been observed. There is an image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is in itself quite compelling:

While plenty of the reported cases can be traced to visitors from the Philippines, where a huge outbreak infected 20,000 people and caused 69 deaths, not all of them are attributable to that one country.

So, how did the other infections occur?

Texas border patrol officials were sounding the alarm about disease concerns they had in 2014:

Since October, authorities in the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector have detained an unprecedented 160,000 undocumented immigrants, including more than 33,500 unaccompanied minors. These immigrants were transferred to federal detention centers, where they have been held temporarily.

During a tour of detention centers in Brownsville and McAllen last week, state public health officials identified several health-related issues, including a lack of medicine for child immigrants, no comprehensive medical screenings and no testing for vaccinations or tuberculosis.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Customs and Border Protection agents conduct medical screenings for several symptoms — rash, fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea — shortly after detainees come into federal custody at border patrol stations. Once the immigrants are transported to detention facilities, they are screened “for signs of illness consistent with communicable diseases of public health concern,” agency officials say.

But state officials said the medical screenings are not sufficient because they’re only being conducted on a verbal and visual basis.

Yet, reports indicate that Central American countries, the original home of many of the 2014 summer surgers, have vaccination rates that exceed our own:

World Bank statistics indicate that some of the countries that the kids are traveling from actually have higher vaccination rates than the United States. The U.S. has a 92 percent vaccination rate for measles. Mexico vaccinates 99 percent of its children; Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras all have a 93 percent vaccination rate.

But those rates are not 100%, and logic would suggest that the poorest children likeliest to gamble on entering the country during the surge are probably more likely not to be vaccinated.

However, any outbreak from the summer influx would not be associated with today’s cases — the incubation period for any of the 21 strains of measles is 10-12 days. But I think it is safe to assume “undocumented travelers” are still entering the country regularly — and perhaps even making their way to Disneyland, too.

So while a smart politician would encourage — not mandate — vaccination, an even smarter one would ask if there are better ways to vaccinate, and a genius one would investigate the origins of today’s spike in measles and outbreaks of other severe illnesses we have been reporting here. A super-genius candidate would have a thoughtful plan for disease “control and prevention” so such outbreaks would end.

I would advise those contemplating vaccination, re-vaccination, or having their children vaccinated to talk to a healthcare professional and perhaps arrange to get the measles portion of the standard vaccination, should there be concerns about too much vaccine all at one time. And given the fact that we have seen an increasing number of mumps cases in this country, and that rubella can cause birth defects when it infects pregnant women, assessing the need and perhaps developing a schedule to receive those shots would be prudent as well.

I suspect that there will be even more infectious disease outbreaks for the next several years, so this will be a key issue for any presidential hopeful. I look forward to hearing what the candidates propose…beyond condemning and deriding “antivaxxers.”

[Featured Image: CBS Evening News]


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“I also want to make my medical choices based on the most complete set of information available.”

“Most complete” includes the fraudulent antivaxxer studies, fearmongering and other nonsense. It is what paranoid tinhatters talk about.

Rational people talk about “most accurate” or “most reliable”.

Here’s everything you need to know about vaccines:

Oh, and people who don’t get vaccinated should be held legally liable for people they infect.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to JWB. | February 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    but if illegals brought it, how much can we sue them for? Oh … suing Obama for bringing in disease, yes, do it.

    Won’t someone with measles only spread it to the un-vaccinated? So how can they sue the person that took the same risk they did? I guess some can’t get the vaccine because of allergy to another component, but that is rare.

      ecreegan in reply to Midwest Rhino. | February 3, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      The measles vaccine is currently estimated to be 97% effective. That is, if 200 vaccinated and 200 unvaccinated people were exposed to measles at a rate which caused 100 unvaccinated people to catch measles, 3 vaccinated people would come down with measles as well.

        Midwest Rhino in reply to ecreegan. | February 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm

        Right, so most infections occur to people not vaccinated. Most of those made a (bad) CHOICE and took the risk themselves. I’m guessing most of those currently sick made the same bad choice, and would not have grounds for litigation. ianal They got the virus because they were not vaccinated, and can’t blame the person they got it from for not getting vaccinated.

        Those that have allergies to the vaccine, or were vaccinated but were in the 3% and still caught the measles, MIGHT have grounds, I don’t know.

        Measles was pretty much non existent, but the fear of those vaccines was widely spread. So how negligent were the “health (nut) conscious” that did not get the vaccine for their kid, and still had little reason to fear measles? Both risks were extremely low (non-existent for the vaccine, but perceived as higher unless research was done). Even Rand Paul just came and acknowledged those fears, seeming to have trouble with discerning the risks himself.

        “Lawfare” seems like a poor remedy to the problem.

          rabidfox in reply to Midwest Rhino. | February 3, 2015 at 9:10 pm

          Midwest, you need to add infants who are too young to be vaccinated and people with impaired immune systems (like those on chemo) who can’t get vaccinated to that list.

    Fen in reply to JWB. | February 3, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    “people who don’t get vaccinated should be held legally liable for people they infect.”

    Better, people who refuse to get flu shots should be jailed. The government experts know what’s best for us.

      Fen in reply to Fen. | February 3, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      “lets all make people get medical treatments against their will”

      Hey you! Fatty! Get over here and get your stomach stapled. Its for the public good.

        Paul in reply to Fen. | February 3, 2015 at 11:42 pm

        fatty’s triple cheese-dog lunch habit doesn’t kill my ten month old baby. his lack of vaccines might.

Thank you, Leslie. You have written the story that the MSM and our “leaders” do not have the honesty to tell.

All American Citizens could be at 100% vaccination rates – and we would still have outbreaks because of non-citizens!

Look at the maps people!

Don’t use any modern medicine at all. In the longer run it’s a self correcting problem for the rest of us.

Wow, I thought that there were no other conservative EOHS Specialists out there. My workplace has considerably less biohazard work – only some BSL2 stuff – but I am familiar with the role of vaccination as a preventative measure. However, I trust that you are also aware that preventative measures that don’t happen to be tested often are neglected. Seriously, if your ventilation system has never had to deal with a scenario that exceeded its limits, it would look just fine to most people, regardless of the likelihood of the worst case scenario happening.

It’s interesting that the anti-vaxxers are more centered on the yuppie liberal types – one public health official I saw quoted (on Instapundit) said that you could find the anti-vaxxers wherever there is a whole foods.

The core problem is ignorance, specifically of basic science, and especially when it is a willful ignorance due to political/cultural position.

An objective review of the available evidence clearly proves the efficacy of vaccination, however, political/cultural feelings bring subjectivity, while many people simply never learned enough about science to acquire and understand the evidence.

Some things are so obviously good for us that no persuasion is necessary nor laws to command us to accept them – like eating and breathing, for instance. Vaccination is so high on that list of obvious goods that laws enforcing it ought not be unnecessary.

What is needed is education, not laws. Science education in general and on vaccination in particular.

    When NASA (!!!) sends out the news that 2014 was the HOTTEST YEAR EVAH!!! and the data shows 0.02 degrees Centigrade over the previous year, we are in trouble as a nation.

    The article does not even report the difference in temperature, except to reach back to 1880, to get 0.8 degrees Centigrade. The difference with 2013 was .02 degrees Centigrade.

    The news should have been that the temperature of the earth has not significantly changed since 1880, and did not change at all from 2013.

    People who throw out raw data

    do not change their habits, unless they are fired.

    Even with the fraudulent treatment that turned a 90-year cooling trend into a warming trend, the differential is not great enough to produce a significant result.

    Increasing the number of measurements does not affect the margin of error in an experiment.

    Increasing the sensitivity of the measuring device does not affect the martin of error, where the margin of error was already greater than the sensitivity of the previous device.

    Today, February 3, 2015, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports 4 ranges for the temperature,
    where the total range is 45 degrees Farenheit.

    I used to live in Columbia, Maryland. The temperature at my home was regularly 5 degrees Farenheit less than the temperature on the closest main road, about half a mile away. In addition, the difference between the front of my house and the back of my house was half a USDA zone. Seriously, I planted later in the back yard.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Valerie. | February 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Huh? Wrong thread, Valerie?

        “Huh? Wrong thread, Valerie?”

        I think she’s reminding us that just because a guy wears a lab coat to work doesn’t make him the arbiter of truth.

        Just look at how much Climatology has corrupted Science. I can’t really fault people for not trusting pro-vax studies.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to Fen. | February 3, 2015 at 8:18 pm

          Climatology has not corrupted science. Climatology has corrupted climatology. Besides, once corrupted, it isn’t science anymore.

      Midwest Rhino in reply to Valerie. | February 3, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Maybe warming is off topic sorta (the more accurate satellite data showed it was not close to hottest), but the point about our government lying to us, even on science, is on topic.

      The science minded know government lies, but can figure out on their own, or with doctor’s help, to get the vaccine. But other well meaning Whole Food Market types may be very sure about vaccines being evil, and has grounds to not listen to their lying government that considers risking a few kids worth it for the “greater good”.

      We should hold most responsible, all those pushing the bad science, whether on vaccines or global warming. Joe SixPack is just trying to survive.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 3, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Part of the ignorance is a lack of life’s experience with infectious disease by today’s parents and many first time grandparents. Thus the almost negligible risks of vaccination are easily magnified by a media that loves to scaremonger.

    I an 61. I had a cousin die of complications from measles. I vividly remember the long lines when the polio vaccine became available. At each step in my education from Kindergarten to college there were classmates wearing body casts and leg braces because the vaccine was too late to help them. A huge segment of our nation no longer has such memories.

    This isn’t a left right issue. It is an issue of experience and risk perception as well as the vanity of those who think they can Google a few words and know more than public health experts.

    “An objective review of the available evidence clearly proves the efficacy of vaccination…”

    Not exactly. There are problems with the studies – bad or no control groups, no look at how the vacs interact with each other, etc.

    I think you are claiming authority about something you really don’t fully understand. And none of those words are going to change the mind of a mother who watched her child go vegetative the day after getting vaccinated.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | February 3, 2015 at 11:34 am

PowerLine asserts that Christie’s statement at least was pretty moderate: vaccines are good, he vaccinated his own children and that there should be limits to gov’t-forced vaccinations based on the danger of the disease and the potential hazard from the particular vaccine.

They also note that Hillary and Obama have made similar statements in past election campaigns with no media blowback.

That’s the political side. From the science/health side, doubtless the anti-vaccine activists are endangering kids.

A super-genius candidate would have a thoughtful plan for disease “control and prevention” so such outbreaks would end.

And soberly tie it to concerns over the open border mentality, and its disease contribution. We need Ellis Islands, not open borders. Hopefully Walker is taking good notes, and comes out with the super genius approach.

I’m a big fan of mandatory vaccination to achieve herd immunity enforced at the time of kindergarten entry. We vaccinate not merely to protect our own kids but to keep the weakest who are unable to immunize safe. I do agree with your main point that the culprit here is O’s immigration scheme. Attacking anti-vaxxxers is a distraction.

The leftists at Mediaite trying to conflate being for parental choice over vaccination with being against vaccination. The anti-vaxxers are overwhelmingly on the far left and mostly wealthy. It is true that it had wider credibility 10-15 years ago when the anti-Thimerosal scare went semi-mainstream.

Interestingly, the scientists fighting back against the anti-vaxxers were going very much against the leftist-regulatory science that the EPA and other Democrat-dominated federal bureaucracies had institutionalized over several decades.

The scientists arguing for the safety of the Thimerosal preservative were proceeding on the EPA-suppressed science of hormesis: the now thoroughly established discovery that the low-dose response to virtually every toxin is bi-phasic, being positive at a low enough dose before it turns toxic. The stimulative effect is presumably due to an exercising of the body’s systems of defense and self-repair, but the details are not well understood and may well be quite different in different cases.

EPA hates this very fortunate bi-phasic dose-response because, if it is recognized, it would mean that the EPA can’t just try to regulate effluents down to zero. Mercury emissions from power plants for instance, are well down in the hormetic range, meaning they actually do more good than harm for human health.

The EPA, refusing to recognize this well established science, just passed mercury regulations that will shut down every coal plant in the country, a policy that the eco-left favors on other grounds. So it is very important to the left’s anti-economic-growth ideology that the science of hormesis NOT be recognized.

That is what made the autism scare possible. It was already well established experimentally that low doses of mercury around the Thimerosal level had unambiguously POSITIVE health effects, but our regulatory agencies have long been fighting a battle to resist and suppress that understanding.

This goes way back to the 60s with the attempt to demonize nuclear power. See, for instance, Art Robinson’s falling out with the radical leftist Linus Pauling over Pauling’s demagoguery on radiation danger, when Pauling successfully established the “linear extrapolation to zero” assumption in regulatory analyses instead of the known bi-phasic hormetic response.

Modern research on hormesis was led by the toxicology giant Edward Calabrese at the University of Massachusetts.

    nordic_prince in reply to AlecRawls. | February 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Toxicity of the components of vaccines is a concern (not to mention the long-term effects of such components), and is one of the main factors mitigating against government intrusion vis-a-vis parental choice. Thimerosal is of particular concern since mercury is fat-soluble and thus not readily eliminated from the system. When I first started wearing contacts I had reactions to the saline solution because thimerosal was used as a preservative. Evidently enough people were similarly affected, because Bausch and Lomb eventually came out with saline solution that was thimerosal-free. Now in my case it merely caused bloodshot eyes, but who knows how things might have progressed with continued, prolonged exposure?

    The point is that there is simply not enough history to know how the various ingredients of vaccines will affect people in the long run, especially when you consider the vaccination schedule, which pumps kids full of shots over a relatively short period of time. And given the government’s track record of pushing this health guideline or that recommendation based on biased science (e.g. the saturated fat scare) and later having to modify their previous statements, the government has no moral authority to threaten parents with criminal charges should they be skeptical of the claims regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

    David R. Graham in reply to AlecRawls. | February 5, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Very nice, thank you, recalls homeopathy, which also is run over modernly but bears ancient and modern confirmations. Learned a word/concept with which I was unfamiliar, thank you.

Then we should be hearing about the horrendous measles outbreaks in Mexico and the other Third World brown-people invasion sources…oh wait, there aren’t outbreaks there…

And, BTW, Disney charges $200 a ticket. How are those greedy impoverished illegals supposed to get in? The holy Private Company would NECESSARILY have MUCH better security than the stupid Government “Boarders’…

    That is not a logical conclusion. People who are immunized may still be carriers. People who were immunized may still individually be vulnerable to contracting the disease, especially with an increasing interval. The individual exhibiting symptoms may not have been the original source of the antigen.

    LSBeene in reply to Chem_Geek. | February 3, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Your post, sir, is nonsense.

    As stated it is often the lowest economic rung folks who are not getting vaccinated – and those are often the ones who are illegally crossing the border.

    It’s not a “dirty brown people” argument, so don’t make it one.

      wrong. it is ALWAYS a ‘dirty brown people’ argument with a prog because that is all a stupid fucking prog drone has got. oh yeah, that and some hope and change.

      Mannie in reply to LSBeene. | February 4, 2015 at 8:47 am

      You’re right in that the criminal invaders are often unvaccinated, but it appears that the native pool of unvaxed are in the Prius and organic vegetable crowd, often the high end of that. They figured they could ride on herd immunity. That works as long as “nobody is doing it.” Now that it has become popular, that herd immunity is compromised. It is simply a form of ripping off society.

      Oh, and Chem_Geek: look at the worldwide stats. There is a lot of measles out there in the Turd World. They don’t have “outbreaks” so much as they just have measles.

    Measles, unlike Ebola, doesn’t make news. It simply exists in much of the third world and nobody notices until we bring it here where it’s supposed to be extinct.

NC Mountain Girl | February 3, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Over at Ace a couple of days ago this Tweet was made the quote of the day.

If my kid can’t bring peanut butter to school, yours shouldn’t be able to bring preventable diseases.

I have to wonder if the inflexibly stupid libertartians who are vehemently opposed to mandatory vaccination understand that if an epidemic does gets a foothold the way to then fight it becomes mandatory quarantines. As they are wont to say, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

I can’t find the phrase “politicians are evolving faster than bacteria” anywhere except at LI. I suggest you copyright it ASAP.

Considering the OTHER diseases that have been coming in across the border that don’t have current vaccines or preventative measures….

swine flu, dengue fever, tuberculosis

A person has the right to determine what medical procedures are performed on their body. By extension, parents have that right and duty over their children. By violating that right, we join the ranks of the anti smoking nazis and sugary drink warriors. “We know what is good for you. Comply or suffer the consequences.”

But society has a duty to protect its members from reasonably preventable harms. This includes vaccinating people against communicable diseases. The Government is perfectly justified in excluding from things like public schools, those with no medical justification for avoiding vaccines. I suppose they could be excluded from public accommodations, but that would be the Devil’s own game to enforce. We can make vax avoiders liable for their actions. Allow insurance companies to refuse payment for sickness prevented by vaccines. Charge parents of unvaccinated children who contract diseases with child abuse.

You are free to make medical decisions. You are not free from the consequences of those actions.

Just a couple of points here.

First there is no measles epidemic. 102 cases of measles in a population of 300 million people is statistically 0%. Even the 400 cases in 2014 is still statistically 0%. This falls well within the 5% vaccine failure rate.

Second, 75 of these cases have been traced back to exposure at Disneyland. It is not reported how many of these cases involve foreigners, who may have different vaccination schedules than America.

Third, there has been no information released as to the number of patents who have been vaccinated versus the number who have not. And, if the carrier has been located, we have not been apprised of whether this person has been vaccinated or exhibited any symptoms of the disease.

Fourth, the only reason that vaccination became an issue was because some enterprising journo suggested a correlation between the locations where the exposures occurred and the high level of residence of illegal immigrants who reside there.

This whole issue is an attempt to discredit point four above.

When one looks at the people opposing vaccination, in this country, they are clearly divided into two main groups. One is a very small fringe group who is opposed to any type of enforced medical procedure. The second is largely composed of people who have seen a seemingly normal, highly intelligent child, suddenly exhibit extreme symptoms of autism or other mental, behavior or developmental disorder immediately after receiving one of the mega vaccines. This latter group initially embraced the hypothesis that mercury based preservatives in the vaccine caused the change. This was proven to be a false hypothesis. Now, the current hypothesis is that administering the vaccines together, some of which are live vaccines, causes some, if not many, of these cases by causing genetic mutation. They advocate spreading out the vaccines over a longer period of time and eliminating the large multiple vaccine dosages.

The current rant against people wishing responsible vaccine administration is nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from the possible correlation between the area in which the measles were contracted and the percentage of illegal aliens living in those areas.

David R. Graham | February 5, 2015 at 12:22 am

Leslie, thanks. Level-headed and informative. As many note, “issues” such as this blow up constantly from disruptors and worse, fanned by hysteria, and with not a few dark purposes behind their forcing on public attention. You and a few commenters have tamped down the hysteria on this one — tomorrow there will be another, to distract us from the really evil anti-humanity emanating from anti-national pro-globalist cabals — with calm facts and thinking. Thanks. I am not epidemiologically well-informed although I recognize the importance of the subject. I was in the polio epidemic of 1949, three months in iron lung, six in rehab. You can believe I support vaccinations.