Analysis of Anti-Vax Graphs

Originally posted here; this article shows how convincing-looking graphs can be misused. Robert Webb writes:

The anti-vaccine movement sometimes presents graphs to support their cause, supposedly to show that diseases were on the decline before vaccines came along, and that vaccines had no effect. Graphs seem hard to argue with. They look scientific, represent actual data, and are compelling to many people. And indeed a good graph should be compelling. But their graphs are not good. Let’s have a look at how the true data, which supports the fact that vaccines have had a huge positive effect, can be manipulated to manufacture the conclusion the anti-vax movement wants.

Death rates

Firstly, most of the graphs they show are of death rates, not infection rates. Yes, death rates dropped significantly before vaccines were introduced because other improvements in medicine and sanitation meant that we were better at treating the disease, but it does not indicate that less people had the disease to begin with.

They also tend to show graphs going back a long time to when death rates for common diseases like measles were very high. To fit these high figures on the graph it’s necessary to scale down all the figures, meaning that by the time the vaccine is introduced you can no longer see any drop it may have caused in deaths.

They never show graphs of death rates from third world countries where due to poor sanitation etc. death rates for diseases like measles can still be quite high.

Here’s a nice graph though showing both infection and death rates in the US and it’s clear from both that the 1963 vaccine had a huge effect.

Measles, cases per year (click - full size)

The anti-vaxxers claim (e.g. here) that death rates are more reliable than infection rates because they don’t trust the diagnoses made by doctors. The idea is that doctors are biased against diagnosing a disease if the patient has been vaccinated against it. But if the symptoms match, why wouldn’t they test for it? We all know that vaccines are not 100% effective. The above graph shows that infection and death rates are very closely matched, year by year, so it seems that the doctors’ diagnoses match the coronors’ reports, so where’s the evidence for this supposed misdiagnosis?

Infection rates

So the best way to see if a vaccine worked is to look at infection rates. I’ve only seen one infection graph presented by the anti-vax side (in several places, but I found it on the AVN website), so let’s look at that in some detail. Here it is:

Canada Measles (click - full size)

This graph has already been demolished on Science-Based Medicine, so I’ll try not to repeat too much of that, though I need to recap a little. Mostly what I want to show is some new graphs (in the next section) that help explain what Dr. Obomsawin did to create the graph he wanted.

Dr. Obomsawin gives his source for the graph as here:

Canada Measles (click - full size)

But a better graph of the same data, where actual data points are shown, can be seen in here:

Canada Measles (click - full size)

So what’s wrong with the graph?

Here’s some (but not all) of the ways that this graph deceives us. First, note the slight difference between these last two graphs. The latter graph shows a different point in 1959, before there was a ten year break in national reporting of measles. It appears to be a glitch in the former graph, showing a data point in 1959 when no data is available for that year. My guess is that the graph was made as if all data points were equally spaced, then the ten year gap was inserted, giving the impression that the graph dips down before the introduction of the vaccine, when in fact the dip should be spread across the gap in reporting where the vaccine was introduced. Dr. Obomsawin’s graph makes good use of this non-existence point. I have recreated his graph over the top of the best version of the original graph:

Overlay 1 (click - full size)

You’ll also notice immediately that his graph looks nothing like the source graph. This is because he has only used a data point every 12 years. So he has taken a graph with 68 data points, and used only 5 of them! When accused of cherry picking the data, he responds:

the data was not selectively “cherry picked”, but rather consistently spaced giving accurate data for every 12th year running from 1935 to 1983, a period which is roughly equivalent to a half century.

But cherry picking can still involve evenly-spaced data. Why every 12 years? Why starting at 1935? I’ll show you exactly why this is so important. Simply start at 1933 instead. We’ll even keep Dr. Obomsawin’s arbitrary choice of 12-year spacing. Here’s what you get:

click - full size

Yep, it looks completely different, though I’m using exactly the same technique as Dr. Obomsawin to generate this graph from the same original data. Now it seems quite compelling that measles were on the rise before the vaccine, rather than being on the fall, and that the vaccine pretty much wiped it out. This is what you can get when you discard most of the data, in a pattern of your own choosing, to get the result you want. Remember, his graph shows only 3 points before the vaccine, and the last of those was for a year where data was not available! That leaves just 2 valid data points, which he should know perfectly well is not enough.

And just look at the points he managed to hit with his 12-year spacing. The first just happens to be the highest point on the graph (well above average), and the second is a local minimum (below average). This gives the impression that the graph is dropping before the vaccine, contrary to what the data as a whole really tells us.

Let’s see what Meryl Dorey from the AVN said about this:

For some reason, Dr Obomsawin `smoothed’ the curve (normally called a spline or the line of best fit – a commonly-used scientific method of representing data in a graph)

It would be great if he smoothed the curve, but he did not. He did not smooth the data, and he certainly did not use a line of best-fit. Smoothing doesn’t just mean picking one point every 12 years and throwing the rest away. It may mean taking the average of data over 12 years, say. Everyone can agree that taking an average will give a more accurate picture, right? So that’s what I’ve done below. This is presented as a bar graph, with each bar covering a 12 year period (except for the first and last bars for which less years are available).

Overlay 3 (click - full size)

Interestingly, the two 12-year periods before the vaccine was introduced, averaged out almost identically to each other, and higher than the preceding period. Looking at these averages we clearly see the positive effect of the vaccine.

Looking at the original graph, it’s quite obvious the effect the vaccine had. To take this data and manage to manipulate it to give the exact opposite impression is clearly intellectually dishonest. It’s hard to believe Dr. Obomsawin would not be aware of this deception, though it’s conceivable that he sees himself as “finding the truth” within the data. Who knows?

Robert Webb

14 Responses to Analysis of Anti-Vax Graphs

  1. Paul Gallagher says:

    Absolutely compelling.
    Concise and clear – couldn’t finish it quickly enough.

    Discussions over Obomsawin’s “technique” followed recent ambitious [and victorious] promotion of his cleverly constructed approach, by a prominent anti-vaxxer we all know and love.

    Whilst one can “knock up” a mental image of what’s going on here, seeing these graphs laid out is delightful.

    A valuable tool to help identify data that doesn’t exist – despite appearances.

  2. Robert Webb says:

    Thanks Paul. I really want to hear a response from someone on the anti-vax side, but nothing so far. I have linked to it in a couple of replies to the AVN blog, but no reply.

    I know that they don’t trust doctors’ notifications anyway, so they probably don’t care if the graph is wrong (they believe doctors presume vaccines work, and hence misdiagnose diseases once a vaccine appears, hence the drop in notifications). But I was interested in their graphs because at face value they seem to provide one of their most compelling and concrete arguments, but upon further scrutiny it turns out to be quite transparently and demonstrably false. If their most concrete argument falls apart so easily, it doesn’t bode well for the rest.

    • Douglas Scown says:

      Hello all. I don’t consider myself to be pro or anti although we all develop our biases. My father was a pharmacist, I am a chiropractor, I was vaccinated (1960’s 70’s) and my two children are currently not vaccinated for anything. I have read alot of literature on both ‘sides’. IMO it’s quite an error to choose a side. It’s never that easy.

      For example Dr. Obomsawins’ interpretations show a clear bias as does believing “Looking at the original graph, it’s quite obvious the effect the vaccine…” but if you look again the graph does not tell us that a vaccine was responsible for the decline (causality) and neither does it say it wasn’t. That’s an important point when examining any data. Statistical and causal relationships are NOT the same thing. Confusing the two is poor science and commits the same error as the Dr. I thought your examination was very good to a point however be careful not to apply the same bias as the percieved opposition. All that happens is you end up preaching to the converted.

      Another point often overlooked if one is unfamilar with science and statistics is sub groups. Within a population there are going to be groups who respond quite differently to the same stimulus. When this is taken into consideration the above information poses more questions. Sex, age, health status, geographical location, what colour underwear did they have on (joke of course but I hope you see the point,)etc. What would the graph look like then? Trying to make an informed choice regarding such extraordinarily emotive issues has in my experience been almost impossible.

      The analysis of Dr. Obomsawins’ graphs can only tell us that his graphs are unreliable.

      Thankyou.

      • Robert Webb says:

        Hi Douglas, thanks for your reply.

        I have read alot of literature on both ‘sides’. IMO it’s quite an error to choose a side. It’s never that easy.

        Medical science is complicated, so no one’s saying it’s easy to understand. For the lay-person it is certainly hard to weigh up all the evidence, and given the anti-vax minority have such a strong presence on the internet and in “balanced” news reporting, it must seem that there is quite some controversy about it. But this just isn’t the case in the scientific community where the consensus is very strong that vaccines are both effective and relatively safe (relative to not being vaccinated). In other words, the experts in this field agree about which side is right.

        “Looking at the original graph, it’s quite obvious the effect the vaccine…” but if you look again the graph does not tell us that a vaccine was responsible for the decline (causality) and neither does it say it wasn’t. That’s an important point when examining any data. Statistical and causal relationships are NOT the same thing.

        Firstly, we are not looking at a one-off event here, but an aggregate of all notification data, ie this is not anecdotal data, so the drop is significant and needs an explanation. Secondly, you’re right that just looking at one graph would not be proof, but if you look at notification graphs for all other diseases where a vaccine has been introduced, you will see the same dramatic drop. Different vaccines have been introduced many years apart, or the same vaccine years apart in different countries, and this drop in notifications always coincides. There’s no question left about causality.

        The way the anti-vax side gets around this is not to dismiss a causal link, but to say that notification data can’t be trusted. Their hypothesis is that if a doctor knows a patient has been vaccinated, then they are less likely to diagnose them with that disease. There may be some slight truth to this, a slight bias coming from some doctors, but to explain the data they would need the vast majority of doctors to change their diagnoses in most cases when presented with the same symptoms. A doctor who saw a few cases of measles a week would have to, over a very short time, lose his ability to recognise these symptoms as measles, and not notice that he’s doing it. He’d have to somehow not notice that these symptoms continue to occur with the same frequency. Yes, these people also believe that polio and smallpox are still around, just as common as ever, but all now being misdiagnosed as something else, and somehow no one’s noticed that we have an epidemic of whatever other disease they’re being diagnosed as.

        It should also be pointed out that notification graphs only come about after the vaccine has already been developed and tested for safety and efficacy, so notification is only icing on the cake.

        Another point often overlooked if one is unfamilar with science and statistics is sub groups. Within a population there are going to be groups who respond quite differently to the same stimulus. When this is taken into consideration the above information poses more questions. Sex, age, health status, geographical location, what colour underwear did they have on (joke of course but I hope you see the point,)etc. What would the graph look like then? Trying to make an informed choice regarding such extraordinarily emotive issues has in my experience been almost impossible.

        Data based on age etc has also been analysed, but I don’t know how that matters here, if we’re discussing notification graphs which show that the number of cases consistently drop to almost nothing within a few years of a vaccine being rolled out. Isn’t that all the data you need in this case?

        The analysis of Dr. Obomsawins’ graphs can only tell us that his graphs are unreliable.

        Yes, and that was the point. You can only address one argument at a time. His graphs appear on various anti-vax websites and he’s writing a book on the subject. It’s pretty important to show how terribly he has mangled the data in order to get the results he wants. I could show things wrong with every anti-vax argument, and you could still say that it doesn’t prove they’re wrong, just that those specific arguments are wrong.

        Thanks,
        Rob.

  3. visitor says:

    This is a fantastic graphic (literally) analysis of the anti-vaccine claim that these diseases were going away anyway. Thank you!

  4. Darks says:

    Hi. Had someone post a link to this post on the Amazon health forums. I have a few things I’d like to ask:

    1) where did you source your data from the measles incidence and death rates from the US?

    2) Are you aware that Australia’s death rates for measles in under 5 year old do not follow the same stark, downwards trend that is observed in your graph?

    Thanks.

    • malvickers says:

      Hi Darks,
      Robert (the author of the post) has written to me and is having some difficulty posting a comment. Below is Robert’s comment to you, which I’m posting on his behalf:

      – – – – – – – – – – –

      Hi Darks, to answer your questions:

      1) My original article included a reference to the source. Looks like it got lost when republished. My original article was here: http://www.software3d.com/Home/Vax/Graphs.php

      The graph came from here: http://www.iayork.com/MysteryRays/2009/09/02/measles-deaths-pre-vaccine/

      2) As I said in the article, death rates are not a suitable way of measuring incidence of a disease, which is the thing that vaccine affects most directly. Developed countries have reduced their death rates in many other ways, better treating the symptoms of people once they get a disease, so we would expect to see the death rates drop over time even if incidence had stayed constant. Having said that, I think a drop is visible in this graph. Yes, it’s dropping over time anyway, but try covering the right side of the graph. It looks like death rates have been oscillating between 0.5 and 2.0 from about 1957 till the vaccine in 1968. Now cover the left hand side. The last big peak at 2.0 drops off and we never have a high peak again. It then oscillates from about 0.0 up to 0.5 up till 1982. It’s not obviously rising or dropping in either of those time periods, but clearly drops between them, at the time the vaccine was introduced. In 1982 the combined measles/mumps vaccine replaced the measles vaccine. I don’t know off hand whether that caused the next change in that graph, which is the more or less flat-lining from 1982 onwards.

      Whether there’s a sudden stark drop at the time a vaccine is introduced depends on a lot of things. For example, what was the uptake here versus in the US? I don’t know the answer to that, but obviously If the uptake is lower, or takes place over a longer time, then the drop will be smaller or more gradual.

      On a final note, I have never heard anyone opposed to vaccines ever reply regarding the main content of this article, i.e. Dr. Obomsawin’s graphs of infection rates. It stopped discussion dead on a few threads on the AVN’s own blog, which was a pity because I really wanted to hear what they thought. But nothing, nada, no comment whatsoever. I think Dr. Obomsawin’s graph is such a clear case of intellectual dishonesty, it’s impossible to dispute, so no one has tried. Usually the anti-vax graphs and discussion is more tricky, the cherry picking less obvious and the argument more subtle. It’s a large issue with lots of data to sift through, and whenever that happens, pseudo-science finds a niche by finding data that seems to support their case when viewed in a certain way. I hope some anti-vaxxers at least acknowledge to themselves that Dr. Obomsawin’s graph is erroneous, despite being much-touted in the anti-vax community, and start to question the “experts” they are choosing to trust.

      Thanks,
      Rob.

      • Muzz says:

        Even if Dr. Obomsawin’s graph is erroneous, tell me why I should believe that a concoction of mutated viruses, mercury, aluminum salts, formaldehyde, squalene, aborted fetus cells, ammonium sulfate, monosodium L-glutamate, chick embryonic fluid, guinea pig embryo cells, and DNA from monkeys and pigs, will protect me, instead of giving me a disease.

      • Matt says:

        Hi Muzz,
        Good question. I think we need two things to provide you an answer:

        1. Precisely how much of each of these things are *actually* in vaccines? For example, mercury in the form of thimerasol has not been used in vaccines since 2001. I suspect this might apply to a few of the other ingredients as well.

        2. Of the ingredients that *are* in vaccines, precisely how much is a safe dose? Is the amount in vaccines more or less than the safe dose?

        If you go and do this research, Muzz, you’ll have your answer.
        I look forward to hearing what you find.

  5. @advodiaboli says:

    Hi Muzz,

    You raise a lot there but most importantly is the impact that description is designed to have.

    I know it’s slightly impolite to answer a question with a question, but allow me to pose a similar question:

    How can a concoction of of petroleum products, detergent and animal fats gathered from the gunk left over from boiling cattle flesh and fur be good? Why would we use it to clean ourselves – particularly hair – in the shower, allowing it to run into our mouths, eyes and ears? Why do we boil greasy wool allowing the ear wax type grease to collect on the top of big smelly vats, scoop off this mess and then rub it into our skin?

    What if this was done on a huge scale in say… Rendering plants. Truck loads of animal corpses – including those dead from disease – in various states of decay are delivered, tipped into huge boiling pots designed specifically for the desired ghastly goo. Even bones don’t escape the high pressure extraction of fatty oils.

    All that used grease that restaurants collect in small drums is also tossed in. I hear bovine anal tissue features heavily and specific fatty oils are garnered from umbilical cords and livers. But if one is going to get specific on body parts that equals extra labour, and extra cost. I could go on and on but the point is made.

    It scores high on the Yuk factor, but if asked why use shampoo, soaps and moisturiser, particularly lanolin, the answer is clear. Or why do men admire women absolutely covered in the stuff? Because this gunk is the essential ingredient in cosmetics also. Some are even named after the oil they contain.

    Of course they aren’t used raw. No. Concoctions of chemicals are added. With similarly effective Yuk names to those you mentioned. Some even smell terribly nice.

    Chewing gum, jelly, jelly beans and lots of other delicious things we eat and feed children are “concoctions” of many of the same ingredients. Even petroleum.

    But we needn’t go to all this trouble. With some lateral thinking we can test peoples Yuk factor tolerance. I had great fun with my dear old dad by simply saying “dead cow” as he went to eat steak.

    Of course there’s no debate. Dead animals are vital to our health and shampoos, conditioner and moisturiser have demonstrably positive effects. Lanolin – the ear wax goo – is particularly beneficial in managing skin problems.

    Vaccine ingredients are no different. But how many in your list are in vaccines? How much or these ingredients? Of those that actually are in vaccines, is there evidence of adverse effects? There’s no aborted fetal cells, chick embryonic fluid, guinea pig embryo cells, or DNA from any other animals.

    We need to look at that.

  6. @advodiaboli says:

    Muzz,

    Whilst cosmetics actually *do* contain organic material, it can be demonstrated that vaccines don’t contain your list of organics, or any toxic level of ingredient.

    Basically your list of ingredients comes from these misrepresentations.

    1.) Aspects of the production process rely upon biological stabilisers, tissue culture reagents and (in some cases) fetal tissue culture to produce the viral component. Antivaccination groups intentionally deceive people into believing all these components are actually *in* the vaccine. That’s your chick embryonic fluid, guinea pig embryo cells and fetal cells.

    2.) There have been minimal incidents over the past 70 years leading to contamination of vaccines. In the late 1950’s some batches of polio vaccines were contaminated with Simian Virus 40. That’s your “monkey DNA”. We call these – including those mentioned in (1) – Adventitious Agents. Herculean efforts and quality control go into preventing contamination. Still antivaccination groups also deceive with these stories.

    3.) Listing scary sounding chemicals. In fact EVERYTHING is a “chemical” or contains them. With carcinogenic/dangerous ones it’s the dose that makes the poison. Why eat table salt? It has chlorine in it? And our stomachs contain hydrochloric acid. Mix the 2 and we have chlorine gas. One burp and you could kill off an entire table of diners.

    Let’s look at a couple more closely.

    Egg protein is found in flu and yellow fever vaccines which are produced using chicken eggs. If you can eat eggs, you can tolerate this minuscule protein source.

    Speaking of which, Ammonium sulphate is used to purify proteins in some vaccines. Completely safe.

    MSG is used to protect vaccines from heat, humidity, light or acidity. Without it, vaccination would be dangerous.

    Mutant viruses. Live, attenuated and dead viruses are in vaccines according to what’s needed for an adequate immune response.

    SV40 was completely removed from virus seed strains in the early 1960’s.

    Polio virus is produced in African green monkey cell lines pre-tested for SV40. The virus is killed with formaldehyde (I’ll get to that). In the 1960’s formaldehyde was also used to zap SV40 but 1 in 10,000 particles survived (99.99% effective). That’s how the contamination occurred. Today we can detect far, far more tiny levels of viral contaminants. The virus is collected from these processes – not the DNA, which is specifically tested for to ensure it is absent.

    This was only ONE vaccine – polio – and some adenovirus vaccines also. Although 1/2 a century has passed and no contamination has been seen in final quality control, incorrect retelling by antivaxxers has led to the erroneous belief monkey DNA is in EVERY vaccine. It becomes more ridiculous when we note the change in manufacturing over the past 50 years.

    It’s a good story, because Simian immunodeficiency virus affects African Green monkeys. Select the right elements and we have the scaffolding of the “Polio vaccines caused HIV” conspiracy. Cute, until we realise cell lines are not living or organic as we associate with living entities.

    Enter… Aborted fetal cells. Firstly this conjures up images of a steady supply of aborted fetal tissue. In fact only rubella, rabis, varicella and hepatitis A vaccines rely on what is actually human diploid cell culture. Only one of these vaccines can be manufactured without human diploid cells – the RabAvert brand of rabies vaccine.

    The problem of scaring people arises with the origin of the cells. Two different strains of human diploid cell cultures exist. WI-38 was developed in the USA in 1961. MRC-5 came from the UK in 1966. The first culture originated from the lung cells of an aborted female of 3 months gestation. The other culture originated from lung tissue of a 14-week-old male fetus. Both were aborted for reasons unrelated to cell culture and nor did the scientists induce the abortions.

    These cell cultures reproduce themselves under laboratory conditions. Another error is that as they can continually produce – and are referred to as immortal – they are like cancer cells and thus, cause cancer. In fact they have the same chromosome number of healthy cells, not cancerous cells.

    Cancer cells have jettisoned the programming for apoptosis – cell death. Tissue cultures have not. They reproduce, not go on living.

    These provide the medium, or biological system, in which the viruses are grown. The viruses are collected and modified further for use in vaccines.

    The guinea pig caper comes from production that required some propagation in embryonic guinea pig cell cultures *before* transfer to WI-38 diploid culture.

    Imagine an apple orchard. The trees grow in rich red soil, fertilised with manure, chicken droppings, organic vegetable waste, wild bird droppings and the odd mouse, bird or small mammal carcass. Left alone a healthy tree grows on, producing delicious fruit.

    If you eat an apple are you eating manure, dirt, dead squirrels, bird poop etc? No. If chemical fertilsers are used are you eating poisonous carcinogens? No. The same applies to the “aborted fetal cells”. Little wonder the Catholic Church accept and actively support their use then, is it?

    Formaldehyde is used to kill viruses and sterilise vaccines. Yes, it’s listed as a carcinogen. But it’s the amount that matters. Trace amounts of trace amounts can be detected in vaccines. A few hundred vaccines contain thousands upon thousands times less formaldehyde that vapours given off from particle board we buy from IKEA. Still that isn’t carcinogenic. Many building materials thus are also a potential risk. Builders are urged to take some care when cutting or burning large preform pieces. A lifetime copping the odd whiff of smoke may, just may lead to cancer.

    Large doses come from smoke from burning products treated with formaldehyde. It’d take a large intake to defeat the bodies elimination processes.

    The biggest source? You. Digestion and metabolism produce it as a byproduct. Again, dozens of vaccines don’t equal the amount in your body already.

    Aluminium (aluminum). Yes, a 6 month old baby has copped 4mg of Al from vaccines. Yet the little trooper has also gobbled 10mg in breast milk. 40mg in formula, or a whopping 120mg in soy formula over the same period. Yes I know “injection” is wheeled out here. But 30 times more from soy formula? Al is one of the most common metals in nature and we get most from air, water and food. We eliminate all but 1% of what we take in over a lifetime.

    There’s no mercury in vaccines. There isn’t even methyl-mercury that we find in seafood and which actually bioaccumulates. The preservative thimerosal is ethyl-mercury which is eliminated in a week to 10 days. To be safe, vaccine intake levels are set to match methyl-mercury.

    WHO observation have failed to find ANY symptoms of mercury poisoning following regular thimerosal use in babies. Detectable levels are well within weight adjusted safety ranges.

    Still since about 2001 in Australia only 1 vaccine for under 8’s – a Hepatitis B brand – contains <1 μg per dose. Some influenza vaccines contain it and in the USA there is one brand of DTap which contains < 0.3 µg per dose.

    Aussies also have Japanese encephalitis and Q Fever vaccines that contain thimerosal. In all cases but these 2 there is an alternative without thimerosal.

    As for squalene I may guess that's Dr. Mercola and the H1N1 vaccine scare article. The "dirty little secret" caper. He failed to mention when "outing" the companies using squalene that it was for Europe. The USA and Australia H1N1 vaccines have no squalene.

    Still, it would be remiss of me to note squalene has been used as an adjuvant for years with no negative effects.

    Similar justification applies to other components mentioned.

    One child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine preventable disease. It's incredible that vaccines have been so successful in halting disease in wealthy nations that we now have the luxury of choosing what to worry about. Worse – we make up stories to defend a misguided ideology.

    Vaccines have been proven safe over and over again. Diseases are far more dangerous. Your description sounds ghastly but scoring high on the Yuk Factor is no less silly than asking why would anyone wash hair in the gunk scooped from boiled cow anus. Or why sprinkle poisons like chlorine onto food.

    Sometimes we are very easily misled.

  7. malvickers says:

    Hi Muzz,
    The author of the post (Robert), is still having trouble posting comments, however he would like to reply to you:

    – – – – – – From Robert via email – – – – – – – –

    Muzz, one reason is that the people you hear those scare-mongering lists from are the same people who hold Dr Obomsawin up as a great hero for their cause, when clearly he is either deliberately manipulating the data to obtain the false result he wants to spread, or oblivious of how to use data in an unbiased way. If these people are so wrong about him, why do you trust them about other things?

    Another reason is that all those scary sounding ingredients have been debunked as a problem many times. Most skeptics have probably heard most of the items on your list before, and heard them explained. You might want to listen to this short podcast on the topic of vaccine ingredients:

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4180

    It doesn’t cover everything on your list, and doesn’t go into much detail about each one, but it’s a good start. For any other ingredient, I suggest googling the words “skeptic”, “vaccine”, and your favourite scary ingredient, to find out why it’s in there (if it is at all) and what safety record it has.

    Makers of vaccines are not in the business of poisoning their customers. If this happened, they’d be in big trouble. Medicines are sometimes called back, at huge expense to the company, because of previously unknown risk factors that might only affect 1 in 10000 people. It would be well-established by now if any particular vaccine, or vaccines in general, had safety issues that outweighed their benefit.

    Thanks,
    Rob.

  8. Greg Stern says:

    I am responding to the issue of decreased reporting of diseases after vaccine is introduced. In the case of measles, the infection is very unlikely to go unnoticed. Given the contagiousness of measles, an undiagnosed case is likely to result in more cases among unvaccinated contacts and eventually one of them will be diagnosed, in which case a contact investigation will be done by public health department communicable disease staff, and the cases are likely to be linked. I work in public health, and I know that one case in the US is considered an outbreak, triggering a very extensive investigation and communication with the public and clinicans. Although clinicians don’t see many cases, a febrile rash illness often leads to serologic testing (including measles IgM), which will confirm a diagnosis whether or not the clinician was sure of it from history and exam.

  9. S says:

    I agree that Dr Obomsawin has falsified his data. Well spotted.

    However, if you look at the peak infection rates, they occurred between the 1930’s and 1950’s. This of course was the period of The Great Depression and World War II. This was a period of time when nutrition levels were very low, and people were starving to death. Also, it “drove the birthrate below the replacement level for the first time in American history”. If the birthrate had have been normal, the spike in infections would have been much, much higher. If people had have had even fewer children during this period, the infection rates could have been the same as those prior, or even lower, so without taking this into account, the data is actually quite meaningless. In New York City in 1931, there were 20 known cases of starvation; in 1934, there were 110 deaths caused by hunger. There were so many accounts of people starving in New York that the West African nation of Cameroon sent $3.77 in relief. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/children_depression/depression_children_menu.cfm
    The top tax rate in the US was at least 88 percent until 1963, when it is lowered to 70 percent. We can assume that after this time, the majority of Americans could now afford good nutrition for their families. This, combined with much better sanitation at this period in time, conincides with much lower levels of infection. http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/connections_n2/great_depression.html

    “Cholera, typhoid fever — spread by excrement-contaminated drinking water — and plague, which was transmitted by fleas living on rats who thrived in the filthy conditions. Dysentery alone wiped out ten thousand crusading knights and foot soldiers. During the Crusades, Europeans learned basic aspects of science and hygiene from the Muslims whose culture they sought to destroy.” (Religion taught the West about what was clean, and what was dirty, and some science along the way.)

    By 1910, sewage was being dumped into bodies of water on a grand scale, and cholera abated. Then, cities downstream of dumped waste started experiencing epidemics of typhoid when they piped sewage-laced water to the homes of their citizens. http://greywateraction.org/content/history-sewers

    If there are 100 modern Americans in a room, and 1 has influenza and sneezes, so that everyone is exposed to the virus through inhalation and hand-shaking, approximately 90 of them will become sick and experience symptoms. Interestingly, 10 will not experience symptoms. If you take 100 malnourished people from developing nations and conduct the same experiment, 95-99 will experience symptoms. Their bodies are immunocomprimised through lack of sanitation and nutrition. “In developing countries, influenza imposes a heavy disease burden, especially among populations that are malnourished”. http://www.ariatlas.org/understanding_aris/influenza

    With the right nutrition, our bodies have a much better chance of fighting invaders. For example, you need adequate vitamin B6 to make antibodies, which are markers for invaders so your immune system knows what to attack. Having low vitamin B6 means that you are immunocomprimised.

    Effect of dietary vitamin B6 contents on antibody production “Mice placed on diets extreme deficient in vitamin B6, ovalbumin-dependent antibody productions (IgE, IgG1, IgG2a) were significantly suppressed.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10705972

    Vitamin C has been shown to be effective against tetanus in numerous studies.

    Effect of ascorbic acid in the treatment of tetanus (Bangladesh 1984) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6466264
    “none of the patients died who received (ascorbic acid / vitamin C) AA along with the conventional antitetanus therapy. On the other hand, 74.2 per cent of the tetanus patients who received the conventional antitetanus therapy without AA (control group) were succumbed to the infection.” -this is for ages 1-12, who were given 1000mg of vitamin C per day. -older people died – possibly because they were still only given the same amount of vitamin C as the babies and children.

    A tetanus shot was only 25.8% effective for children 1-12, where vitamin C was 100% effective.

    The same study concluded: “This was supported by the fact that AA (vitamin C) was found to mitigate the toxic effects of strychnine producing tetanus like condition in young chicks in the present study.”

    Accidental find shows Vitamin C kills Tuberculosis http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/world/accidental-find-shows-vitamin-c-kills-tb/story-e6frfkui-1226648003516
    There is only 1 vaccine for tuberculosis available, and “its protective effect appears to vary according to geography”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacille_Calmette-Gu%C3%A9rin
    The likely explanation of its ineffectiveness in some areas is that the tuberculosis bacteria infects more people where nutrition is poor. People that live near the coast and are able to eat traditional seafood diet have lower incidence of tuberculosis. (Weston A. Price)

    I acknowledge that vaccines do work, the rotavirus vaccine for example. However, when given to sick, malnourished children, how many of them are harmed or die? There is no reporting. We do not know. The vaccine may be the lesser of two evils. Adequate nutritious food is obviously a better choice, but much more expensive. We know that vaccines can harm and sometimes kill children, (though rarely in the West). That is why the VAERS database in the US exists. The US government also made it illegal for parents to sue a vaccine maker if it harms their child. They are given compensation payments instead. There are many reports by parents on health forums where Doctors have refused to record adverse events saying that “it couldn’t have been the vaccine.”

    Using 12 year averages, no matter where you start gives a misleading picture. If you draw a spline through the average of the points on the graph, you will get a bell curve that peaks around the 1940’s, which is still around 20 years before the introduction of the vaccine.

    In conclusion, the measles epidemic from the 1930’s to the 1950’s in the US was most likely cause by malnutrition combined with poor sanitation, and started declining after the war as the economy started improving.

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