The Case For/Against Vaccines – Know Your Sources

Over the last couple days I’ve weighed in on some Facebook debates regarding vaccines. The reality, whether you wish to believe it or not, is that vaccination has improved public health drastically in the last century. Paralysis brought about by polio, iron lungs, and routine childhood measles, mumps, and even chicken pox are things of the past. But some people still buy into unsubstantiated theories that vaccines are somehow toxic and harmful. The argument typically made by those distrustful of vaccination, is that it should be a personal choice whether or not to have your child immunized. The problem that it is a personal choice that can have a potentially dangerous impact on other people. Infants, pregnant women, elderly, and immuno-deficient individuals are at real risk when they come into contact with rubella, pertussis, or any number of communicable diseases that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend vaccinating against. When a population is adequately vaccinated, and has achieved something called herd immunity, the chance of a vulnerable person being exposed to one of these illnesses is greatly diminished.

Of course when I mention these facts, article after article about the evils of vaccines are flung about in comments. Links and more links, anecdotal evidence, horror stories, and misinformation. For fun, I compiled a list of the sources I’ve referenced when writing about this topic. And then I collected the sources cited to support the case of non-vaccination. For all of those who have doubts about this issue, and think you are doing your research and due diligence, I would implore you to consider the background and education of your sources.

I present this information below with no further commentary.

ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS CITED BY COMMENTERS ADVOCATING VACCINATION

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
    • President – James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP. Harvard University, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.
      • Professor of Pediatrics – Harvard Medical School.
      • Founding editor of two scientific journals, served on over ten committees of healthcare policy organizations.
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
    • CEO – James L. Madara, MD. Juniata College, Hahnemann Medical College, Philadelphia.
      • Post-doc training in cell biology – Harvard Medical School.
      • Fellow – Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
      • Published over 200 original scientific papers and book chapters.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    • President, Global Health – Trevor Mundel, MD, PhD. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, University of Chicago.
      • Rhodes scholar in mathematics, logic, and philosophy – Balliol College, University of Oxford.
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
    • Director – Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. Columbia University, Yale.
      • Training in internal medicine, infectious disease, public health, epidemiology, expert in tuberculosis control.
      • Published 200 scientific articles.
    • Assistant Surgeon General, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases – Anne Schuchat, MD. Swarthmore College, Dartmouth Medical School.
      • Author of 180 scientific articles and book chapters.
  • The Conversation
    • Editor-in-Chief – Andrew Jaspan. The University of Manchester.
      • Adjunct Professor for Media and Communications – RMIT, Melbourne.
      • Editor of multiple major publications in the UK and Australia.
    • Commissioning Editor (Science & Technology) – Akshat Rathi, BT (Chemical Engineering), PhD. Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    • Commissioner of Food and Drugs – Margaret A. Hamburg, MD. Harvard Medical School, Rockefeller University.
    • Chair of FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee – Robert Daum, MD, CM, MSc (Genetics). McGill University, Montreal.
      • Fellow in Infectious Diseases – Harvard University Children’s Hospital.
      • Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Molecular Medicine – University of Chicago.
  • Forbes
    • Senior Editor Pharma & Healthcare – Matthew Herper. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
  • Losing in the Lucky Country
    • Founder – Paul Gallagher.
      • “A skeptical more or less activist and evidence based health policy advocate’s views, comments, and opinions…”
  • National Catholic Bioethics Center
    • President – John M. Haas, MDiv, PhD, STL. The Catholic University of America, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, University of Munich, University of Chicago.
      • Professor of Moral Theology – St. Charles Borromeo Seminary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
      • Adjunct Professor – Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family, Washington, D.C.
      • Contributing editor of multiple bio-ethics publications, author of articles on bio-ethics, social justice, sexual morality, and the role of laity in the Church.
  • Science-Based Medicine
    • Founder – Rachael Dunlop, PhD. University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine.
      • Fellow – University of Technology, Sydney.
  • Scientific American
    • Editor-in-Chief – Mariette DiChristina, BA (Journalism). Boston University.
      • Adjunct Professor in the graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program – New York University.
      • Editor and contributor to dozens of scientific publications.
    • Contributor – Dwayne Godwin, PhD. University of Alabama at Birmingham.
      • Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy – Wake Forest University.
      • Eight published scientific articles.
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
    • Director-General – Margaret Chan, MD. University of Western Ontario.
      • Former director of Hong Kong Department of Health.

 

ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS CITED BY COMMENTERS ADVOCATING AGAINST VACCINATION

  • Activist Post
    • Contributor – Brandon Turbeville, BA. Francis Marion University.
      • Host of Truth on Tracks radio show.
  • Autism Warrior Long Island, NY
    • Blogger – Heather. Daughter was diagnosed with autism.
  • Before It’s News – Alternative News/UFO/Beyond Science/True News/Prophecy News/People Powered News
    • “…a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.”
  • Children of God for Life
    • President – Debi Vinnedge, BA. Cameron University, Lawton, OK.
      • Author and speaker on pro-life bio-ethics issues.
  • Cochrane Summaries
    • Reviews of papers and literature by 31,000 “volunteer scientists.” No original research.
  • Congressional Testimony on the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
    • Mary Holland, BA (Russian and Soviet Studies), MA (International Relations), JD. Harvard University, Radcliffe College, Columbia University.
      • Director – Graduate Legal Skills Program – New York University.
      • Author of two books and seven articles on international law.
  • The Daily Sheeple
    • Founder – Mac Slavo. “…a legend in his own mind. He spreads the legend wherever he can…”
  • Dr. Dale Brown YouTube videos about vaccines and cancer
    • Dale Brown, DC. Wright State University, Palmer College of Chiropractic.
  • 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination, 2009
    • Presenter – Diane Harper, MS (Chemical Engineering), MD, MPH. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of Kansas.
      • Professor of Family and Geriatric Medicine – University of Louisville.
      • Expertise in human papillomavirus (HPV). Made comments at a 2009 talk about the efficacy of the Gardasil vaccine’s ability to prevent cervical cancer. She has since said that her statements were taken out of context by the anti-vaccine movement.
  • Dissolving Illusions
    • Suzanne Humphries, BA (Physics), MD. Temple University, University of Kansas.
      • Nephrology Fellow – Medical College of Pennsylvania.
      • Holistic health educator. Two scientific publications.
  • The Greater Good
    • Producer – Leslie Manookian, MBA. Middlebury College, University of Chicago.
  • International Medical Council on Vaccines
    • Founder – Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH. University of Illinois Medical School, Medical College of Wisconsin School of Public Health.
      • Owner of Homefirst, a group of medical centers dedicated to home births, and purveyor of vitamins and supplements.
      • 19 medical malpractice cases have been filed against Dr. Eisenstein, 15 of which were found in favor of the plaintiff or settled.
      • Dr. Eisenstein’s wife owns a pharmaceutical company working on a vitamin for autism.
    • Roman Bystrianyk – BS (Chemical Engineering), MS (Software). University of New Haven.
  • Mercola
    • Founder – Joseph Mercola, DO. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine.
      • Family practice physician and natural health advocate. Runs website selling natural health products.
      • Author of five published articles on natural health.
  • National Vaccine Information Center
    • Co-Founder & President – Barbara Loe Fisher, BA (English). University of Maryland.
    • Co-Founder & Vice-President – Kathi Williams. Mother of two. Son suffered a reaction to his fourth DPT shot at age 18 months.
  • Natural News & Consumer Wellness Center
    • Founder – Mike Adams. Raw food enthusiast and holistic nutritionist.
      • Believes in 9/11 and Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, and that AIDS was created by the pharmaceutical industry to profit from the sales of antiretroviral drugs.
  • REALFarmacy
    • No information about website owners. “This site and the information referenced herein does not constitute and attempt to practice medicine.”
  • Vaccination News
    • President – Sandy Gottstein, MA. No bio.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2014

3 thoughts on “The Case For/Against Vaccines – Know Your Sources

  1. You make a very valid point many of the people who argue against vaccines do not use reputable sources. At the same time you need to look at who runs studies (many are vaccine manufactures), how many people are in them (some are twenty or less), and how long the studies are in the more reputable sources. There are serious flaws on both sides of the argument. Another point to consider is that many times when an issue about a vaccine reaction goes to court and the courts settled they have a gag order in which the results of the hearing are not released and the victims are not allowed to speak of the trial and its outcome nor are they allowed to say any negative comments about the company or people, that means that the reaction is not reported ever. I do believe though that vaccines have helped and will continue to do so.

    I also believe that some of the vaccines need to go for better testing and the ages at which we vaccinate needs to be raised. Most vaccines specifically warn against giving them to anyone with a compromised immune system and babies immune systems are not fully formed until they are at least six months of age and many are still compromised at that point due to the American Lifestyle. I would not ever tell someone to get their child vaccinated or not, that is not my place. I would however look at both sides of the argument and point out flaws and positives and let them make their own decision. I also advocate for others to look on their own, I mean really look and see where their information is coming from and who is supplying it. I would ask you to look at your own argument in the part where you state that pregnant women, elderly, and immune-deficient individuals are at risk, because these individuals have most likely already been vaccinated and should be immune to these diseases. This particular argument contradicts the efficacy of vaccine because if they have been vaccinated they should not get the disease yet you are saying they can.

    • Most infants have not had a full schedule of vaccinations until age 3-5. In cases of transplant patients, some cancer patients, vaccination is not an option because of regimens of immunosuppressive drugs. Natural immunity and immunity acquired from vaccination wears off over time, therefore making the elderly susceptible if exposed to a communicable disease.

      There are two sides to the vaccine debate. On the one hand there is the scientific consensus backed by extensive research that vaccines are safe and effective, and on the other there is obfuscation, half-truths, misinformation and debunked research.

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