Refuted Blogs

Refuting: John Hopkins Researcher Releases Shocking Report on Vaccines

This article comes from Earth. We are one, a hotbed of pseudoscience and other general nonsense, including that the pyramids were built by the lost civilization of Atlantis, aliens are disabling nuclear missiles, and that our brains are photosynthetic (they get energy from light). So lots of good stuff being posted by these folks.

Refuting this article is made slightly more challenging by the fact that EWAO does not allow you to copy and paste the article, which doesn’t allow me to post the original text, as in my standard format.

1Yes, there are new vaccines every year. To develop the vaccine, over 100 research centers around the globe keep track of which strains of the flu are prominent in any particular region. Then in February (for the US/northern hemisphere, and September for the southern hemisphere), the most common strains are used to create a vaccine. This is done in a systematic way with systematic safety testing.

It is also true that most doctors do recommend flu shots, given that the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recognize them as safe and effective.

But is it true that flu vaccines are more dangerous than they are worth? Short answer? No. Long answer? Millions of people get the flu every year and thousands of them die from it each year. These aren’t just elderly people, children, and those with compromised immune systems. In fact, many of them a young, healthy, strong adults.

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2We have talked about vaccine adjuncts before: they boost the effectiveness of vaccines, allowing the immune system to mount a stronger reaction with less virus. Squalene is a particularly interesting additive. Its exact mode of action is unknown, but it is effective in boosting immunity in vaccinations.

Has it been linked to auto-immune disease? No. A study of over 27,000 people found that there was no difference in auto-immune diseases or symptoms between people who received a squalene-containing vaccine and those receiving a vaccine that did not contain squalene. The patients who had the squalene-containing vaccine had a better immune response to the vaccine. Squalene is not considered a risk factor for auto-immune diseases, chronic fatigue, muscle aches, or neurological damages.

Was squalene used for chemical attacks in the Gulf War? No. While some people tried to connect Gulf War Syndrome to anthrax vaccines containing squalene. However, there was no squalene in anthrax vaccines. Originally, scientists used unverified methods to test veterans for antibodies. However, follow-up tests found no such thing. Further, it was found that squalene doesn’t promote antibodies to squalene specifically.

3

Articles like this are really good at pretending they are looking at both sides when they really aren’t at all. They spread a bunch of lies (like everything above) and then say things like “it may be contested” to try and act like they aren’t just lying.

Who is Peter Doshi, this scientist researching at John Hopkins? Peter is an anthropologist who did a fellowship at John Hopkins looking at regulatory practices in asthma medication. He is not a scientist. He is not a researcher. He has no education in biology, pharmacology, toxicology, or influenza. He was not a faculty member of John Hopkins. After he finished his fellowship, he moved on to a position evaluating the economics of pharmaceuticals. John Hopkins even released a statement disavowing this paper.

Peter is not an expert on the flu or vaccinations. But we can still hear what he has to say.

4No source is given for preventing influenza being the biggest health campaign. If you google “biggest CDC campaign”, you will get a bunch of pages about smoking.

Has flu vaccination gone up between 1993 and 2013 (the 20 years that this article must refer to)? In 2015, only 39% of eligible people got the vaccine. In fact, most flu vaccine campaigns by the CDC have been largely ignored (probably in part because of the nagging rumors on the internet).

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There is a lot to unpack here:

“The vaccine may be less beneficial”: Here are 14 studies establishing the benefits of flu vaccines.  In 2016, the vaccine cut flu incidents by about half. The CDC “report estimates that flu vaccination still prevented 1.9 million flu illnesses, 966,000 flu-associated medical visits, and almost 67,000 flu-associated hospitalizations.”

“and less safe”: Here are 144 studies on millions of patients demonstrating the safety of flu vaccines. Vaccines are some of the most tested medical technology in history. Flu vaccines are no exception.

“the threat of influenza seems to be overstated”:  5-20% of Americans will get the flu every year. 200,000 will be hospitalized with the flu. 23,000 people will die every year of the flu. Most people die from the flu than from murder every year. If this extreme suffering and loss of life doesn’t convey the threat of influenza, remember that the flu costs $10 billion every year. (source)

“Mandatory vaccination practices have been enacted, often in healthcare facilities”: Only 3 states mandate flu vaccines for healthcare workers. An additional 10 mandate that healthcare agencies offer flu vaccines to employees free of charge. Many more institutions have privately mandated vaccines for their employees. In 2014-2015, 64% of healthcare workers got vaccinated.

“Influenza comes with a risk of serious complications which can cause death, especially in senior citizens and those suffering from chronic illnesses”: Yeah this is spot on. Again, 23,000 people die of the flu every year. These include young, healthy people. But yes, most are our elderly and sick people.

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All epidemiological studies are going to have some level of healthy user effect- the idea that people who are in your “test group” are likely to make other healthy choices. For example, if I want to see if smoking is correlated to more illness over time, I will use an epidemiological study. It will be confounded by the fact that non-smokers are also more likely to eat healthily, drink in moderation, and exercise routinely. So the argument here is that people who vaccinate are likely to make other healthy choices, confounding the study. However, epidemiology studies are designed in order to avoid this effect.

Additionally, here is a randomized, placebo-controlled study done in health care workers that showed vaccine receivers were less likely to be ill and miss work. Here is a review of several controlled studies that found the flu vaccine in the elderly was beneficial. So Peter just lied about flu vaccines not being effective in our elderly populations.

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This is just not true. While the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine is different from year to year, it generally hovers around 50%, which means you reduce your chance of getting the flu by 50%. My guess is that Peter is playing with statistics here to create some odd numbers.

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Again, I can’t find a single study with these numbers. What I did find is that in a 2010 study of convulsions after flu vaccine, 99 cases were causally related. That means that about .08/1000 children given a flu vaccine will have convulsions.

At this point, EWAO abruptly switches to a different essay written by Russell Baylock, a well-known anti-vaxxer. He is known for rejecting research on the basis of feeling and emotion in order to sell many books and supplements. He even believes in chemtrails (the idea that the government is increasing fertility/sterilizing us/vaccinating us/fluoridating us/mind controlling us through sprays administered from planes).

Nothing Russell stated is new. He says that flu vaccines aren’t effective, but as stated above, they are. He says that vaccines aren’t safe, but as stated above, they are. I’ve provided dozens of studies showing the efficacy, including those in the elderly.

He claims that there is mercury in the vaccines that is toxic to the brain. There isn’t.

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In 2010, 26,000 children under five were hospitalized with the flu.  The flu vaccine is effective in children.

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This is simply nonsense. I’ve posted dozens of studies about how flu vaccinations reduce the risk of getting the flu and severity of the disease if it is contracted. There is no mercury in vaccines. However, multi-dose vials of flu vaccines do contain thimerosal, covered here. Thimerosal is not an immune depressant- in fact, it is the exact opposite. It stimulates the immune system. Along the same lines, vaccines do not depress the immune system. Your immune system is constantly responding to thousands of antigens at once. The addition of a flu vaccine isn’t going to suppress your immune system.

11Again, mercury and thimerosal are not the same thing. Elemental mercury is still incredibly toxic (BUT NOT IN VACCINES). However, it does not overstimulate the brain; on the contrary, it appears to slow brain conduction. So this is just dead wrong.

But does the flu vaccine increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease? No. A 2001 study actually found that regular flu vaccines reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

So after all of this, does EWAO offer a reason for why the flu vaccine is avaliable?

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Influenza costs the US $87 billion annually. The skeptical raptor discusses pharmacuetical company profits:

First, I think pharmaceutical companies have the right to make a profit, because they take on all the risk. We forget that pharmaceutical companies invest in a lot of products that fail to get through clinical trials … For the non-business person, there’s an odd assumption that the risk capital to make those investments somehow comes free of charge. A well-run corporation needs to generate profits to pay for the next best thing… Just because a pharmaceutical company makes profits does not make them unethical or immoral. That’s a logical fallacy of the highest order.

In 2013, worldwide flu vaccines brought $3.1 billion in sales out of the overall $1 trillion in pharmaceutical sales. That is 0.3% of the sales. Vaccines have a net profit of about 32%, compared to 46.3% for most drugs. Flu vaccines just aren’t very profitable.

The fact is that flu vaccines save lives. Arguments against vaccination are weak and easily dismissed.

 

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