Bringing Much-Needed Sanity to the Vaccine Debate
Kevin Michael Geary

I do appreciate the importance of bringing a more careful use of language and more critical analysis to the vaccine discussion, but there are a couple of issues I’d like to mention about your article. To begin with I think you are underestimating the risks of being unvaccinated. To begin with, this:

“…blaming the “OUTBREAK!” on unvaccinated people in the U.S. is a bit of a stretch.”

Strictly speaking, it could be true. But the phrasing of it, and by putting outbreak in caps, gives the sense that you’re underestimating the significance of it and even suggesting that concerns about it are hysterical. The chart you provide shows a jump from about 50 cases in 2012 to over 600 in 2014. That’s significant. Do you have data from the CDC regarding how many were unvaccinated? If you’re going to suggest the role of unvaccinated people is limited, you’d best demonstrate that’s the case, especially when you are looking for a more rigorous debate.

And this: “This also doesn't take into account that there is a very legitimate debate about the cause of the decline of measles cases and deaths. It should not (even though it is) be automatically assumed that the vaccine ended the epidemic. There is no “consensus” on that.” Perhaps not, but it’s a safe bet that the vast majority of doctors would agree that the precipitous drop in Polio, German Measles, Whooping Couch, etc., is the result of vaccinations. Otherwise, it would he one hell of a coincidence.

Lastly, your talk about vaccines and Autism makes sense for the most part, but in a way, it doesn’t belong. Andrew Wakefield’s work has not only been shown to be wrong, it has been shown to be fraudulent. Brian Deer, an investigative journalist with the Sunday Times, has made this exceptionally clear. When you write this: “…I can’t say for sure that the use of vaccines has never caused a case of Autism, I also can’t say that it has. I’m not sure anyone can confidently say yes or no on either side, can they?” it suggests you may not be aware of Wakefield’s status. The Lancet withdrew his paper and he lost his license to practice medicine in the U.K.. Essentially, he was paid to produce certain results, had a sample size of only 12 children, and was in the process of trying to develop and market his own vaccine. In short, he was and is a fraud. Others tried to repeat his studies; they had a sample size of over 3,000 children and found no connection between vaccines and autism. Can anyone confidently say that vaccines don’t cause autism? Yes. Vaccines don’t cause Autism. No such link has ever been established by a legitimate scientist. There is no more evidence to claim that vaccines cause Autism than there is to claim that looking at sheep while standing on one leg causes Autism.

Vaccines aren’t perfect; their inoculation rate is less than 100%, but it’s still very high. There are sometimes side effects, but serious ones are exceedingly rare. The CDC reports, according to CBC Radio, that the death rate from reactions to the measles vaccine is 1 per 1,000,000. The death rate from measles is 1 per 500. Take your pick!


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