Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Opinion piece about vaccines is misleading

    The opinion piece by Leslie Manookian and Kendall Nelson regarding vaccines is one of the most irresponsible distortions of scientific fact that I have ever seen. They use careful word choice and phrasing to imply causal relationships that do not exist and they create the impression of scientific support for theories that have been completely debunked. It is manipulative and unconscionable.
    There are risks to vaccines, but the risks are vanishingly small compared to the increase in public health that vaccines have enabled. There are also risks in antibiotics, surgery and cancer treatment. Should we give those up, too? I urge you to do your own research. If you stay with the science and away from anyone with a financial interest or agenda, you will find the truth. Here are some bullet points to start you off:

  • The researcher who originally claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism later admitted to having falsified his data. The study was repudiated and he lost his medical license. Every reputable study that I’ve read since then indicates no connection between MMR and autism.
  • We average about 150 cases of measles a year now, and the vast majority are in unvaccinated individuals. Before the vaccine, we averaged 500,000 cases a year.
  • According to the NIH, the chance of a severe allergic reaction to DTP vaccine is less than one in a million. Cases of the brain damage that Manookian and Nelson allege as fact “are so rare it is hard to tell if they are caused by the vaccine.”

    While I believe in keeping a wary eye on vaccine makers and being informed on the legitimate policy issues concerning vaccines, we need to pursue this within the bounds of good science and without hysteria. Manookian and Nelson fail on both points.
Lee Chubb


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