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September 13, 2011

Bachmann: I'm A-Goin' to Go Ahead and Push This Lunatic Vaccines=Autism Lie

Precious bodily fluids.

That's not just a throwaway movie line. There is strain of "body paranoia," for lack of a better term, that infects the public from time time; first it was fluoridation, a communist plot to sap our spirits and our manliness with fluorine in the public water; and lately this has morphed into the anti-vax movement.

Where did this theory come from? On the "scientific" side, it came from The Lancet, the leftwing British medical journal that also told you they had determined theup to nearly a million Iraqis died "due to" the war. When you hear that "million dead" claim, that's from the Lancet, and the Lancet still stands behind it.

What they don't stand behind is their previous Great Big Scare article which claimed vaccinations led to autism -- they retracted the 1998 paper, stating that Wakefield and his colleagues had been unethical, as well as "dishonest and irresponsible."

That actually understates things. That's the Lancet looking for an easy way out.

It's worse than that.

"Mr. 11" was one of a tiny, tiny number of parents of children with autism whose kids had been examined by Wakefield et al. His kid, "11," was part of the "proof" of a link between autism and the vaccination.

Yeah here's the thing: When "Mr. 11" checked Wakefield's reportage of his own child's medical history, he caught Wakefield lying. Child 11 had actually developed his first signs of autism before he was vaccinated.

So it's difficult to prove that the vaccination caused autism.

Unless, of course, you simply claim he got his vaccinations earlier than he actually did, as Wakefield did in fact claim. Only Mr. 11, checking up on the report, would have known this and could have called bullshit. (Mr. 11 is an American engineer -- wrong guy to fake the data about.)

And why would Wakefield go to such lengths to prove a vaccine-autism connection?

Why else?

He backed his concerns with medical records, including a Royal Free discharge summary.5 Although the family lived 5000 miles from the hospital, in February 1997 the boy (then aged 5) had been flown to London and admitted for Wakefield’s project, the undisclosed goal of which was to help sue the vaccine’s manufacturers.6

Unknown to Mr 11, Wakefield was working on a lawsuit,7 for which he sought a bowel-brain “syndrome” as its centrepiece. Claiming an undisclosed £150 (€180, $230) an hour through a Norfolk solicitor named Richard Barr, he had been confidentially 8 put on the payroll two years before the paper was published, eventually grossing him £435 643, plus expenses.9

Curiously, however, Wakefield had already identified such a syndrome before the project which would reputedly discover it. “Children with enteritis/disintegrative disorder [an expression he used for bowel inflammation and regressive autism10] form part of a new syndrome,” he and Barr explained in a confidential grant application to the UK government’s Legal Aid Board11 before any of the children were investigated.12 “Nonetheless the evidence is undeniably in favour of a specific vaccine induced pathology.”

The two men also aimed to show a sudden-onset “temporal association”—strong evidence in product liability. “Dr Wakefield feels that if we can show a clear time link between the vaccination and onset of symptoms,” Barr told the legal board, “we should be able to dispose of the suggestion that it’s simply a chance encounter.”13

So now an anti-vax lunatic buttonholes Michelle Bachmann (or so she claims, at least) and tells her the story of how Gardasil caused her child's autism. At age 12. Late onset autism, I guess. And despite there being absolutely no connection between Gardasil and late onset autism (whatever that is), she broadcasts her new medical findings out to the public.

Well. She did used to style herself "Doctor Bachmann," I guess.

Michelle Bachmann is desperate. She's an ambitious, egotistical woman who started running for President just two short years after she first ran for Congress. In the past two months her support went from 13% and rising to 4% and falling.

So she needs something, doesn't she, and Rush Limbaugh warned her off her planned Social Security demagoguery.

So, instead, this bullshit.

Bonus: Last night I saw linked at Hot Air this claim that Texas' opt-out wouldn't work, for some reason, for Gardasil. It's just some neutral information from a real medical organization. (?)

Let's look at their claims:

1. Opting out of the vaccination is a "bureaucratic nightmare." By this they mean that the parent must write to the department of health to request an opt-out form, and then sign it, and return it.

Is that a nightmare? The anti-vax wackadoos think it is, because their real agenda is make vaccinations rare; they want no-vaccinations to be the easy, default, commonplace choice.

So you can understand how distraught they get when the no-vax loons are required to sign a form.

Meanwhile, as Sarah Palin discovers an "illustration of that there crony capitalism" in Texas, she'll be saddened to learn that it's easier to opt-out of vaccines in Texas than it is in her libertarian paradise of Alaska.

2. Private schools might not honor the opt-out forms. Um, maybe, because they're private and can do as they wish; but why would a private school, which a parent is paying and can yank his kid out of, disregard a parent's desire to not have his kid vaccinated?

This is one of those "Let me postulate someone behaving oddly and then claim that that means the law is bad."

The other problem with this? Private schools set their own immunization policy in the first place. Private schools can demand fewer vaccinations, or more, or none, or whatever. This anti-vax group suggests that Catholic schools could ignore the opt-out, right before noting that Catholic schools' immunizations policies aren't even set by the State of Texas, but rather by the "Texas Catholic Conference Education Department:"

For example, the Dallas Diocese for Catholic Schools policy number 5024 states, “Schools will comply with immunization requirements established by the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department. Conscientious objections/waivers are not accepted in schools of the Diocese.

So what does that have to do with the state of Texas at all? Catholic schools seem to be setting their own policy, for everything, from what vaccinations are required to what can be waived.

So this doesn't even effect private schools in the first place. Yes, they could, for some reason, ignore the state's opt-out; but then, you can also ignore the state's immunization laws in the first place.

3. Let me quote this one:

Doctors Refuse Medical Care Even though you may be able to get a piece of paper from the state health department affirming your right to refuse state mandated vaccines for your child, just try and find a doctor who will honor it! According to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 39% of pediatricians surveyed said they would throw kids out of practices who are not vaccinated.

Michelle Malkin goes on and on about this, about how doctors were so darn arrogant in telling her about the usefulness of vaccinations, and didn't seem to respect her skepticism, and so on. And I think she said a doctor said he'd drop her kid as a client unless he was vaccinated.

Well, that's the doctors right, isn't it? It's amazing to me how many conservatives believe their own personal liberty includes "freedom from confrontation or people disagreeing with me" and yet other people's freedom barely even includes plain-old freedom.

If a doctor believes that medicine requires a strict vaccination policy, and you disagree, I've got three words: Find another doctor. He does have the liberty to conduct his practice as he sees fit, and no, you shouldn't be able to claim that your imagined "freedom from hostile discussions" can trump his right to practice medicine as he believes is right.

This is the whole point of the anti-vax movement, as I said before: They want vaccinations to be the exception, not the rule, so that they don't have to endure the hectoring of a doctor telling them that diseases are bad. They don't want to feel "weird," so they seek to make their own personal rule (which is in fact fringe) the rule for everyone. That way, they fit in, and no more arguing with doctors!

That's not liberty. That's not freedom. That's trying to use political power to force your beliefs on others.

You are permitted to not vaccinate your kids, if that's what you're into. But you are not permitted to whine your way into making this the majority, default position, simply so you don't have to endure the psychic pain of having a doctor tell you he knows a great deal more about medicine than you do.

4. The last objection is also one pushed by Malkin. See, the only reason Perry made this "mandatory" (with the standard opt-out) is that most insurance policies are written such that they state they will cover the mandatory vaccinations (even if there are opt-outs), but not the elective ones. Essentially the "opt-out" way means your insurance will cover it. If it's opt-in, as furious freedom fighters insist it must be, it's not covered.

And that means a lot of people just don't bother. It was a $360 series of shots a few years ago, so it's not dirt cheap.

Now, this last objection is that we have to protect insurers here. We're not talking about Parental Rights anymore, but Insurer Rights. And see, if their own policies say they'll cover mandatory vaccines, and you add a new mandatory vaccine, that costs insurance companies.

As Malkin says, Insurance Companies, alas, have no opt-out themselves. (Except of course that they are permitted, as always, to re-write their own policies and simply say "Gardasil is not covered.")

And this website notes that if you add one more thing insurance companies cover, obviously that has some (trivial) affect on premium costs, so we all pay for the Gardasil Autism Conspiracy.

Look, this comes down, basically, to fringy anti-vax panic, plus the idea we shouldn't inoculate against STDs. People get weird about this.

But we're not vaccinating against STDs. If this were just HPV, no vaccine would have been developed, let alone put on the list of "mandatory" (with opt-out) list.

HPV is something that half the population has had. Most don't even know they've had it-- you get it, most people don't even know they've gotten it, then it goes away.

It's a fairly trivial "STD," except for one thing: It causes 70% of all cervical cancer.

That's why a vaccine was developed -- not to protect against a minor (and incredibly widespread) STD whose direct symptoms are fairly trivial, but to protect against the deadly cancer it causes late in life.

This is being demagogued as some "Pro-Sex" STD vaccination. But no one would have bothered to make a vaccine for it all -- it's pretty minor, as far as primary effects -- except for that "deadly cervical cancer" part.

It's an anti-cancer vaccine. Period.

And apparently, in some quarters, this is now a riotously controversial initiative.

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posted by Ace at 12:42 PM

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