Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Correcting My Own Vaccine Error

In the previous post, I wrote about the importance of vaccinating against the flu, in light of the fact that it just killed my perfectly healthy 40-year-old cousin. I wrote as follows:
There's a common misconception that the flu just knocks you out for a week or two and that's all. It's important for such misconceptions to be cleared up. And especially in light of the new coronavirus from China, it's a good idea to always observe basic hygiene precautions (and even if you get vaccinated against the flu, the vaccine itself can weaken your immune system for a few weeks). Venishmartem me'od lenafshotechem.
I had added the sentence in parentheses (which I since removed) after someone had reached out to me to warn me that the flu vaccine is itself dangerous. This person is a Medical Case Manager (i.e. someone hired by patients to advocate for them in hospitals). She told me that "every serious case of flu" that she saw in hospital patients were of people that did receive the flu shot, and that the vaccine had weakened their immune system and caused them to be susceptible to contracting other strains of flu. I was concerned by her claim (though I did not go as far as to listen to her recommendation not to get the flu vaccine), and therefore I added the sentence in parenthesis. I intended that it would encourage people who have vaccinated to still take health precautions, but I realized that it might also dissuade people from getting the vaccine. So I decided to look into it further.

Well, I'm no expert, but it seems clear to me that the experts could not disagree more strongly! I asked an immunologist, a physician, and a biostatistician who does epidemiologic research. They were all emphatic that while the flu shot is no guarantee that one will not contract the flu, the vaccine does not weaken the immune system in any way. On the contrary; it stimulates the body's immune system to produce antibodies. I also looked online, and found the following at WebMD:
Getting a flu shot does not weaken your immune system and make you more likely to get the flu.
Getting a flu vaccine prepares your immune system for the flu.
A flu vaccine teaches your immune system to recognize that virus as a threat. While some people may still get the flu after having a flu shot, they'll probably have a milder form of the illness. That's because antibodies made in response to the vaccine can still provide some protection.
Some people may mistake the occasional, short-lived side effects of the vaccine (slight fever, aches) for flu symptoms. And the time of year people are most likely to get the vaccine is when colds and other respiratory illnesses are common. If you get the vaccine and then get sick with an unrelated bug, you may assume, incorrectly, that the vaccine caused the illness.
(See too this page at Harvard Medical School.)

So, I apologize for disseminating an error. There is no good reason not to get the flu shot, every year (unless, of course, the Kupot Cholim don't have it, which is unfortunately still the case with some Kupot in Israel). And hopefully we can prevent further tragedies. I have never heard a more tragic eulogy than the one I heard on Sunday, delivered by the eleven-year-old eldest son of my cousin. (I took a photo of his speech; click the picture to enlarge it.)

Meanwhile, if you'd like to donate to support my cousin's family, you can do so at this link. Thank you!


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29 comments:

  1. Very sad eulogy.
    Last lines sound like "opening the mouth of the Satan"
    "When I die...."

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  2. WebMD is a good and trusted site. The letter was very moving. I pray they will soon meet again.

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    1. ASk Peter Goetsche. He reports that when the Pharma companies wanted to spread their information they discovered that people look at several different websites to form their opinions, extracting what they see as the common thread they find in the text. So they set up multiple websites which all appear to be independent, with of course different wording, but giving the same message that they want you to hear. Enjoy WebMD!

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  3. "every serious case of flu" that she saw in hospital patients were of people that did receive the flu shot" That is likely correct because the flu shot is not 100% effective and people who are likely to be hospitalized for flu (elderly, etc.) are also very likely to have taken the trouble to be vaccinated, knowing that they are at special risk.

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  4. There is NO Error to correct here. The medical case manager knows exactly what she is talking about, as do many health care providers that are rationally observing the destruction of a generation of children due to an overwhelming amount of vaccinations (72 in the US by the age of 5) that are severely weakening the immune system, and creating chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma, auto-immune diseases, seizures ADHD, and yes autism, that will last a lifetime. Web MD is sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies are convicted felons. They pay billions in damages as part of their marketing budget. It's all hiding in plain sight. Look it all up. You are unfortunately being misinformed. Open your eyes and don't be afraid of the truth!

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    Replies
    1. "They pay billions in damages as part of their marketing budget"
      Really?

      Delete
    2. "overwhelming amount of vaccinations that are severely weakening the immune system, and creating chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma, auto-immune diseases"
      Assuming for a second your argument were valid (which it is not), how would a weakened immune system cause chronic conditions that are by definition a result of an over-active immune system
      If you would like a course in Immunology 101 let me know

      Delete
    3. Have you ever considered getting an education in logic? You can verify all the science behind vaccination for yourself. You can conduct trials and gather data. Why have no anti-vaxxers done this research to show that the entire medical community is wrong and/or lying about vaccines? Weird, isn't it?

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    4. You may want to research what "adjuvents" are added to vaccines before you attempt to school someone in logic.

      Delete
  5. This person is a Medical Case Manager (i.e. someone hired by patients to advocate for them in hospitals). She told me that "every serious case of flu" that she saw in hospital patients were of people that did receive the flu shot, and that the vaccine had weakened their immune system and caused them to be susceptible to contracting other strains of flu.

    In other words, the person is one who is paid to say whatever will get their client restitution. She is not a medical professional, she's an advocate. The problem in this area is that such people are taken at their word, and we get the anti-vax movement. People who listen to those who agree with their biases, and ignore thousands of professionals who can point to an uncounted number of studies which show both the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

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    1. Without commenting on the "truth" and what is "really" happinning, because it is actually hard to tell for certain, consider:

      First of all, the case manager may be paid to say whatever will get their client restitution, but the other side is no different; the studies are being done by the very bodies who stand to make lots and lots of money.

      Secondly, if you actually check the research that has been done (I mean read the actual reports), much of it is not what is being claimed publicly; they are not the standard scientific methods, i.e., they are not double blind studies with true control groups, rather they are not blind studies at all using "tainted" control groups selected to show little to no difference between the groups.

      Thirdly, the doctors have faith in the "medical establishment" which includes pharma etc. The large majority of the thousands (or however many) of professionals who support vaccines are relying on perverted studies which they never actually researched in depth themselves, so those thousands of opinions are really people just repeating only a few non-objective opinions.

      Get at independent and unaffiliated body to do the research properly and then maybe we will have some real information to work with.

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    2. the studies are being done by the very bodies who stand to make lots and lots of money.

      No, they are not. First off, the vaccine manufacturers make very little, if any, money from them. They are not sold on the free market, rather they are purchased by governments and NGOs who pay what they want to pay. Second, there are researchers with Universities and labs around the world who have been testing vaccines ever since they were discovered. Your fantasy requires a conspiracy numbering in the millions of individuals, over decades.

      they are not double blind studies with true control groups

      Only scientifically-illiterate sadists would insist on double-blind studies. You do realize that would require infecting babies with deadly diseases and not treating them, right? Perhaps you've never really thought (that through).

      You are delusional, illogical, uneducated and likely a psychopath. I sincerely hope no one takes your advice for anything.

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    3. The irrationality is truly mind boggling.

      The manufacturers et. al make very little? Where do you get your info from. You think they are doing it from the goodness of their hearts and not for profit? You say that the product is "purchased by the government"; they're the best customers because they are spending the tax-payers money and not their own, so they don't care how much they pay. And those in the Universities and labs don't want their work rejected either, they want to continue getting their grants and therefore need to be successful in their endeavors - so they too are biased.

      And double blind studies does not require infecting babies with anything. A double-blind study means that neither the subjects nor the researchers know which subjects received the placebo and and which subjects received the actual vaccine until after the data is entered and maybe even processed. And as for the proper control group, you need to measure a vaccinated test group against a control group of completely unvaccinated subjects. What they do is measure a test group who receive vaccine X against another group who did not receive vaccine X but did receive all the other vaccines out there. This type of testing would never pass an unbiased peer review in any scientific field.

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    4. You think they are doing it from the goodness of their hearts and not for profit?

      Making very little is not making nothing. Vaccines are not (much of a) profit center for drug manufacturers.

      And those in the Universities and labs don't want their work rejected either, they want to continue getting their grants and therefore need to be successful in their endeavors - so they too are biased.

      So everyone except you, who knows "the truth", is biased. You think 100s of thousands of researchers across the world are so corrupt that they would hide the truth so their employers can continue getting grants. There are no polite words to describe that kind of "thinking".

      And double blind studies does not require infecting babies with anything.

      Really? Then how do you test the efficacy of a vaccine versus a placebo?

      And as for the proper control group, you need to measure a vaccinated test group against a control group of completely unvaccinated subjects.

      You left out a critical part: ... completely unvaccinated subjects who have been purposefully infected with the disease the vaccine protects against.

      Doesn't sound so ethical when you include the important bit, does it?

      The bottom line is that anti-science morons are not doing their own research and studies to prove their claims. Denying the work of others is no substitute for hard data.

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    5. Three words or one acronym...LOL!!

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    6. "Making very little is not making nothing."

      Again you would like to say that they make very little. But you don't say where your info is coming from. Perhaps the guy at the bottom in the lab gets little. Maybe that's what you mean. But it is a huge industry and I don't even think that has been disputed. Just the medical advisers of the vaccine companies make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, as has been recorded in legal depositions by those advisers themselves.


      "So everyone except you, who knows "the truth", is biased."

      I didn't say I have no bias, just that when there is money or prestige to be had, bias is rampant. As I said at the beginning of this thread of comments, it's hard to know what the truth is. But you think a healthy skepticism must be a brainless fanatic because you place your faith in the culture of science (including medicine).


      "You think 100s of thousands of researchers across the world are so corrupt..."

      There are not hundreds of thousands of researchers doing this research. Your exaggeration points to ignorance. Few of the people involved in the research are aware of all the details of the research. It's mainly those who set up how it's going to be done and those who process that data that know - and then anyone who cares to carefully read the entire report. I have read some of the reports and I can't understand how it passes for science.


      "how do you test the efficacy of a vaccine versus a placebo?"

      I was never talking about testing the efficacy of the vaccine, which may very well have been tested properly - I haven't looked into that to deeply. I was talking about testing the safety of the vaccines. Only a moron would could understand what I wrote as requiring the infection of babies with deadly diseases - I was clearly talking about their safety not efficacy.

      "anti-science morons are not doing their own research and studies to prove their claims. Denying the work of others is no substitute for hard data."

      This is ridiculous. Anti-vaxxers don't need to prove that vaccines are unsafe. Rather, the vaccine companies need to prove that vaccines *are* safe. And so far, their research has not shown that they are safe. You are taking their word for it, but if you check the research they have done it is faulty and irrelevant on many counts and does not even indicate their safety. But the fact that their research is so shoddily designed specifically for vaccines in a way that it isn't for other drugs indicates that something is being hidden.

      Every comment you have made shows that it is you who have not read the safety research of vaccines - and if you have, then you did not understand it.

      Delete
    7. Again you would like to say that they make very little. But you don't say where your info is coming from.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/a-cost-benefit-analysis-of-vaccines/251565/

      Information is not hard to find for people who aren't afraid to question their biases.

      I was never talking about testing the efficacy of the vaccine

      Funny how you don't make that clear until now. Up until that statement, you never used either word.

      Anti-vaxxers don't need to prove that vaccines are unsafe. Rather, the vaccine companies need to prove that vaccines *are* safe.

      They have. Multiple times. And independent research is done.

      And so far, their research has not shown that they are safe.

      There has been research into safety, and none have found vaccines currently in use to be unsafe. If they did, the vaccines would not be approved for common usage. There are (new) vaccines that do not have a proven safety record, and they are only administered to people at particular risk for infection. I think there's an Ebola vaccine in this category, but my memory may be faulty on that point.

      But the fact that their research is so shoddily designed specifically for vaccines in a way that it isn't for other drugs indicates that something is being hidden.

      That's a claim from someone who ignorant of science. Forgive me for not taking you at your word.

      Every comment you have made shows that it is you who have not read the safety research of vaccines - and if you have, then you did not understand it.

      Even without checking the research, I can tell you that they are statistically safe. There are millions, if not billions, of people alive today who have received vaccines. Of those who are no longer with us, how many died because of a vaccine they received? The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming -- approved vaccines are safe.

      Bottom line: anyone who asks us to believe that drug companies are lying because they are paid for their work is asking us to believe a world-wide conspiracy spanning millions of people.

      Delete
    8. The following link is better than the one in my previous comment: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/vaccines-are-profitable-so-what/385214/

      Delete
  6. Does the Medical Case Manager supply any proof of evidence for her words?

    I am not expert in this area, but experience of people around me suggests that, in contrary to the Harward researches, she is right. Moreover, I am familiar with a person who became handicapped due to complications of anti-virus vaccination. (The Kupat Holim and Ministry of Health reject any connection, but, in fact, he was completely healthy before the vaccination and became very sick after it, so decide yourself.)

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    Replies
    1. Humans are great at seeing connections that aren't there. "Correlation is not causation" is probably one of the first thing (future) researchers are taught.

      You should also learn that the plural of anecdote is not "data". A snarky saying which means that your stories do not substitute for data collected in properly-administrated studies.

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  7. Flu vaccine indeed may have a negative effect it to believe official data https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/2018-2019.html . Scroll down to the bottom: the effectiveness for one of the worst type Influenza A (H3N2) is actually negative for age group 50–64, and it is just 3% for most adult.

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  8. I am not expert in this area, but experience of people around me suggests that, in contrary to the Rabbis, davening Shacharit could be deadly.I am familiar with many people who became handicapped due to davening shacharit. (Chareidim and Chasidic Rebbes reject any connection, but, in fact, these people were completely healthy before davening and became very sick that same day, so decide yourself.)

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  9. It was very predictable that as soon as you post a pro vaccine article the anti gassers will jump on this website.
    I recommend anyone undecided to watch this Canadian CBC consumer program which shows not only the tactics of the antivaxxers but in the second half of the program demonstrates the unconcious biases that operate.
    https://youtu.be/E4WMve_nYf0

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  10. I am a scientist and definitely not anti-vax, but nevertheless the evidence for adverse effects from the flu vaccine seem to be significant. Apart from my own bad experience a few years ago that may have been coincidental (illness very shortly after vaccination leading to a serious cough for 3 months, causing a hernia that required an operation), my sister-in-law who is a nurse in Sha'arei Tzedek told me that so many nurses became ill after being vaccinated in previous years that the percentage of nurses willing to be vaccinated is now very low, despite the increased risk for hospital staff and incentives by the hospital management to be vaccinated.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. That confirms my experience with residents in an old age home some years back.

      A friend of mine was doing a project whilst training as a radiologist, he did ultrasound scans of baby girls' uteruses and discovered hypertrophy on a scale that is not recognised in the books. He was able to correlate this with the use of soya based milks. When he asked to do a formal research project to confirm this he was told 'we don't do research like that.' Such is the value of the research. In order to get 9 trials to show a positive result from ssri's they had to do 17 trials. Of course the others were not published.

      Delete
  11. I out myself in risk to be indicted as non-rationalist, but a fact is that vaccinations against bacterias, such as smallpox, and against viruses are two different things. The effectiveness and safety of the former has been proven, without any doubt. The latter is completely different story. Blind equalization between them is hardly rationalist approach.

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    1. Smallpox is a bacteria?

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    2. The effectiveness and safety of the former has been proven, without any doubt. The latter is completely different story.

      Most vaccines for viruses are extremely effective, and there's literally decades of empirical evidence -- the absence of viruses in the wild. Smallpox has been effectively wiped out, for example, and is caused by a virus. Polio was virtually wiped out, until uneducated morons stopped vaccinating.\

      I have no idea if you are non-rationalist, but I have little doubt that you are non-educated.

      Delete
    3. LOLOLOL

      Small pox is caused by Variola virus.

      It was wiped out by the vaccine.

      Another clueless antivaxxer bites the dust.

      Delete

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