Bill Gates lays it on the line about vaccines

Bad Astronomy
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Feb. 7 2011 7:00 AM

Bill Gates lays it on the line about vaccines

Geez, a ton of vaccination related news came in the past few days:

1) The big story folks are talking about is Bill Gates' very outspoken comments on the antivaxxers and Andrew Wakefield:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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Dr. Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it's an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn't have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts -- you know, they, they kill children. It's a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.

This is a very delicate situation, with parents making heart-wrenching decisions about their kids -- and as a parent, I know how tough those decisions can be. But a huge number of people against vaccinations out there believe in it for the wrong reasons, thinking there are toxins in the vaccines, or they cause neurological disorders, or a host of other provably wrong ideas. As we've seen with most alt-med related topics, this is not really an intellectual issue, it's an emotional one. And ironically, people like Jenny McCarthy, Barbara Loe Fischer, and Andrew Wakefield can talk about evil conspiracies trying to hurt your kids, but when we on the side of reality point out that low vaccination rates results in children dying, we are the ones castigated as uncaring and unfeeling.

Baloney. Last Friday would have been Dana McCaffery's second birthday. Read that, click the links, and tell me how uncaring we are.

Bill Gates is right. Low vaccination rates result in children dying. If you're the parent of an infant, talk to your doctor and get the facts.




2) One vaccine fear that's been around a while is that they can cause a nervous disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome. A new study has been released which shows no connection between the two, at least for the seasonal flu shot.




3) Wherever I go shopping I see those bottles of vitaminwater for sale. They claim to have all sorts of vitamins and also claim your body needs them, which may or may not be true, but when they claim you can drink this stuff instead of getting a flu shot, they've crossed the line. I know the ads are supposed to be humorous, but with the huge push for alt-med nonsense in the media and health claim benefits from products that are clearly outrageous, this is simply too far.




4) More health organizations are speaking up against the antivaxxers, and I love it when they target specific promulgators of nonsense as a health columnist for Canoe.ca did. Jenny McCarthy's claims are dangerous, pure and simple.

Tip o' the syringe to Joe Abietz, Robert Tapp, and Robert Estes