The CDC and Cargo Cult Science

The CDC’s webpages http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/index.html tout a large number of studies of the short term effects of vaccination, events say within 72 hours of receipt.

However, they don’t cite any studies on the long term effects of vaccines. Can vaccines damage development in infants? Do they stunt your growth or make you fat? Do they make you stupid? Do they damage the immune system? How long does vaccine protection last? Does its nature change qualitatively over time in ways that might create danger? For example, after a period of years, may your immunity wane to the point where you can become a carrier of diseases for which you were vaccinated? They don’t report data on these subjects.

The CDC says http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/multiplevaccines.html
No evidence suggests that the recommended childhood vaccines can “overload” the immune system.”
(Emphasis added.) This is a blatant lie (eg: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008382 and much much more below and elsewhere), but also it begs the question:
why don’t they report empirical studies on the subject rather than asserting ignorance? Aren’t they in charge of studying such issues?

There is a scientific literature on these matters. Virtually every study of which I’m aware, that studies the long term effects of vaccination on the development of children’s or infant animals’ immune systems or brains, finds that vaccines are highly damaging to development.

This includes studies injecting infant animals with the aluminum in the vaccine series or with antigens, which unanimously report the animals develop abnormally, including brain damage and auto-immune disease. Examples are http://www.jneurosci.org/content/28/27/6904.full and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21643765 and http://lup.sagepub.com/content/21/2/195.abstract and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013413001773.

The literature also includes randomized placebo test of a flu vaccine in children, followed by following their health for a sustained period. The vaccinees got 4 times as many respiratory illnesses as the recipients of placebo.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22423139
Other studies, both human and animal, report that flu vaccines can damage the immune system
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21880755
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20335492
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19440239

The literature also includes epidemiological studies, that compare kids who got more and earlier vaccines to those getting fewer and less. For example, nations with fewer vaccines in the series have much less infant mortality http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170075/.
States with lower vaccine compliance have much less autism. etc. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21623535 There are many more.

The study the CDC touts http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/Autism/antigens.html as evaluating parents’ concerns of “too many vaccines too soon” and autism is
(a) written by a lead author who also was lead author on another study which his own collaborator says was improperly manipulated to hide a vaccine-autism connection http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/. Do they really need to rely on him as their sole source for arguing vaccines don’t cause autism?
(b) compares patients by the number of “antigens” they receive, rather than the number or earliness of vaccines. Table 1 in De Stefano et al 2013 http://jpeds.com/webfiles/images/journals/ympd/JPEDSDeStefano.pdf defines what is meant by this. DTP has 3002 antigens while no other common vaccine in their data set had more than a handful. That means that patients who got DTP and other vaccines had more than 3000 antigens and were the high antigen group, compared to patients who may well have gotten equally many or earlier or more vaccines, but didn’t get DTP. (Many of them got DTaP instead.) This study compared two groups of patients that seem likely to have gotten roughly the same number of vaccines, and the same earliness, and the same aluminum. It doesn’t seem they would have found a different result, for example, if the aluminum in vaccines were the sole cause of autism.

The CDC also don’t tout any papers on how long vaccine protection lasts. In fact peer reviewed articles (see previous blog post) indicate that a few years after last booster, immunity may be waning for most people to the point where they can become carriers of the disease. So the vaunted “Herd Immunity” seems more, according to the published science, like “Herd Weakening and Contagion”. As far as you might gather from the CDC’s site, vaccine immunity is eternal and unpiercable.

If the CDC were seriously interested in regulating the manufacturers, (and they should be since Congress has indemnified the manufacturers, so if the CDC doesn’t regulate them, who will), after seeing a placebo controlled study showing that a flu vaccine destroyed the immune systems of the kids who received it http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22423139 they would surely at a minimum demand such a study for every vaccine. For flu shots the results would of course come too late every year, but at least they might get some confidence over time. And they might compensate the recipients of vaccines that placebo controlled studies showed had gotten damaged immune systems. Heck, the manufacturers could offer a guarantee: we’re doing a double blind randomized test on the side. If you get our vaccine, and the placebo test shows it destroys your immune system after all like the last placebo test did, we’ll refund your money, and buy you an ice cream for the inconvenience.

According to Richard P. Feynman, it is incumbent on a scientist to emphasize everything that could be wrong with his theory, not sweep it under the rug. When this is widely disregarded, cargo cult science results.

I genuinely don’t want to do Cargo Cult Science so if anybody reading this knows of any citations to studies looking at the long term effects of vaccines and finding them benign or beneficial, please, be sure to post them in the comments.

11 thoughts on “The CDC and Cargo Cult Science

  1. I’ll provide a few links at the end of my comment, but If you’d like to find more info yourself, look into the approval process required by the FDA. After looking into it, I actually feel pretty confident about the long-term safety of FDA approved vaccines, they seem to be keeping pretty good track. The total approval process takes 10-15 years, and many different organizations keep track of lifetime adverse events, compared with unvaccinated individuals. The Department of Defense does the same with those currently or previously enlisted in the Military.

    Prelicence: Phase I, II, and III trials. Lab studies, animal and human testing.

    Post licence: Phase IV trials, large-linked databases (LLDBs),

    In 2001, the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA).

    The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986
    mandated that healthcare providers who administer
    vaccines, and vaccine manufacturers report certain
    adverse health events following specific vaccinations.
    The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a
    national reporting system, jointly administered by CDC and
    FDA. VAERS was created in 1990 to unify the collection of
    all reports of adverse events after vaccination.

    This includes other independent studies done looking specifically for developmental disorders, such as a recent one that “searched for any sign that fully vaccinated kids had an elevated risk of cognitive deficits, tics, speech impediments, learning disability or issues with attention or executive function.

    The results were clear: there was no measurable increase in risk for any of these conditions among children who got vaccinated on schedule. The study is in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. [Shahed Iqbal et al, Number of antigens in early childhood vaccines and neuropsychological outcomes at age 7–10 years]”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/…/vaccinated-kids…/

    http://www.historyofvaccines.org/…/vaccine-development…

    http://www.cdc.gov/vac…/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/safety.pdf

    http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/cc-mmr.htm

    1. Your links don’t work. Can you please fix them. They were incorrectly entered.

      However, I can tell you with pretty good confidence that you haven’t cited a single study that looked at the long term outcomes in kids who got lots of vaccines vs kids who got few,
      or was otherwise relevant to disproving the hypotheses:
      kids who got more and earlier vaccines got more illnesses.
      Kids who got more and earlier vaccines lost IQ points
      kids who got more and earlier vaccines got more autoimmune disease
      kids who got more and earlier vaccines got fatter.
      kids who got more and earlier vaccines got stunted growth.

      However, if you do have any citations that are even relevant to proving that kids who got vaccine A were healthier over a multi-year period than kids who didn’t, I would be interested in that as well.

      The animal literature strongly suggests that *all* injected vaccines do damage in neonates, perhaps some more than others. So a test of a vaccine that compares kids who got 20 other vaccines plus this one, to kids who got 20 vaccines but not this one, or almost always in fact 21 vaccines because instead of using a placebo they substitute some other vaccine in the clinical studies (read the package inserts, they make it clear), is going to face so many difficulties you are never going to find anything useful that way. If your goal is to pretend vaccines aren’t doing damage, however, then it makes some sense to only compare people who got 21 other vaccines to people who got 20 plus yours.

    1. Thanks. That research seems to indicate and identify a specific mechanism by which the Hep B vaccine studied may cause auto-immune disease. Note that this test was of a vaccine injected into adults, whose immune systems might be thought much more stable than neonates.

  2. I’m trying to take your comments seriously, and part of that is by asking around in places where I expect they’ve done their research. In one such place I got a response that refused to engage with you because of what they see as a misrepresentation of at least one of the papers you’re citing here.

    You say:

    “If the CDC were seriously interested in regulating the manufacturers,
    (and they should be since Congress has indemnified the manufacturers, so
    if the CDC doesn¢t regulate them, who will), after seeing a placebo
    controlled study showing that a flu vaccine destroyed the immune systems
    of the kids who received it http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22423139
    they would surely at a minimum demand such a study for every vaccine.”

    But the paper doesn’t say that. “Destroyed the immune systems” is inflammatory, excessive language with regards to what that paper says – those kids got more nonflu illnesses, they didn’t suddenly start getting the diseases that, say, someone with AIDS would get.

    They also provided some citations you should read.

    2013, The test-negative design: validity, accuracy and precision of
    vaccine efficacy estimates compared to the gold standard of randomised
    placebo-controlled clinical trials
    http://www.eurosurveillance.eu/images/dynamic/EE/V18N37/V18N37.pdf

    2013, Influenza Vaccination Is Not Associated With Detection of
    Noninfluenza Respiratory Viruses in Seasonal Studies of Influenza Vaccine
    Effectiveness
    http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/06/23/cid.cit379.short

    I am reading through the citations on this looking to understand the literature better: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6002a1.htm

    1. Jeff, I have spent a certain amount of time reading your first two links and if you understand them, please explain them to me. They seem like more double-talk designed to avoid looking at the obvious questions.

      As I understand it, the problem they are addressing is that authors on a regular basis have taken to estimating the efficacy of flu vaccines by methods like the following:
      they study people who got sick.
      they look at the fraction of people who present with flu who had the flu shot.
      They compare this to the fraction of those people who present with non-flu respiratory illness who had the flu shot and people in both camps who haven’t had the flu shot. They assume the flu shot only effects propensity to get flu, not propensity to get non-flu respiratory illnesses, if the flu victims are 10 times less likely to have been vaccinated than the non-flu respiratory victims are then they assume the vaccine gave them a factor of 10 protection factor.
      Of course, this data could equally well be explained if the flu shot made recipients 10 times as likely to get non-respiratory illnesses and did nothing to prevent flu, or if it made recipients 20 times as likely to get non-respiratory illnesses and twice as likely to get flu, or if it made them 5 times as likely to get non-respiratory illnesses and half as likely to get flu.

      These papers are looking at studies that studied vaccine effectiveness using a placebo, and trying to argue that the above measure gets the right number for vaccine effectiveness, but they aren’t arguing coherently in any way I yet understand.

      For example the second of these only looked at people reporting respiratory symptoms. I don’t see how it would even be informed if unvaccinated people were 100 times less likely to get respiratory infections or flu than vaccinated people. They would compare numbers cheerfully based on the small subsample who had reported they were sick.

      And if the first one reports anything about the fraction of unvaccinated people who got respiratory illnesses vs the fraction of vaccinated people, I have yet to find it. Perhaps you can direct me. Isn’t that the most interesting measure? But they are wholly concerned in measuring vaccine efficacy, which is defined wholly with respect to whether you got the vaccinated disease (flu in this case). If the vaccine makes you get 5 times less flu, and 50 times more respiratory illnesses, that would be fine with them so far as I can see.

      But this would be a really incredibly lousy tradeoff as far as I’m concerned, because your flu protection will likely last only a year or two but for all I know your immune system damage may be eternal, and some new disease might come along you’d really like to be able to fight.

      Incidentally, these references deal only with nasal vaccines.

      I also think its worth commenting: in my opinion if you develop vaccines with a testing methodology that lets the vaccine pass by causing damage, you are sure to develop vaccines that exploit this loophole. The second law of thermodynamics says its a lot easier to cause damage then to get things right. It seems to me, by their current testing methodology, not only are vaccines allowed to cause long term damage and be accepted, but flu shots will generally be rated as more effective the more they damage their recipients immune systems response to non-flu infections.

      As to your link to Hanson, I think he gets it all wrong. For my answer, see my comment in response to his piece and especially post 4 on this blog, about Le Bon.

  3. In addition, I would point you to Overcoming Bias on the subject of contrarians. Robin Hanson has written extensively about how the contrarian mindset attracts a certain kind of person to believing that most or many mainstream ideas/positions are wrong, but that it’s extremely unlikely to be right about a number of contrarian points of view and much more likely for contrarians to simply be contrarian. Here’s an example of his argumentation: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2014/03/prefer-contrarian-questions-vs-answers.html

    As an example, your most convincing arguments seem to be about injected aluminum adjuvant testing – I haven’t yet found an adequate study of the practice, though I do not claim that this is evidence as I have only looked a little and am not an expert. Instead, I propose a thought experiment: imagine that you are right on that. In that case, why would you use studies of influenza vaccine, which is non-adjuvanted, as evidence? That’s a bad sign, a sign of someone looking for evidence to support his position, not evaluating the evidence fairly to find out what his position should be.

  4. I don’t know if it’s just a browser issue with me personally… or if the links were fixed, but they all work for me, except for the .pdf from the CDC. I’ll link it again

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/safety.pdf

    I don’t want to be too “jokey” or mocking, but when you say:
    “you haven’t cited a single study that looked at the long term outcomes in kids who got lots of vaccines vs kids who got few,or was otherwise relevant to disproving the hypotheses:

    kids who got more and earlier vaccines got more illnesses.
    Kids who got more and earlier vaccines lost IQ points
    kids who got more and earlier vaccines got more autoimmune disease
    kids who got more and earlier vaccines got fatter.
    kids who got more and earlier vaccines got stunted growth.”

    -you’re completely right. If one person somewhere got some weird side effect that can’t be replicated, then these studies wouldn’t pick it up. I would add to the list, that I also haven’t disproved that:

    kids who got more and earlier vaccines got “leaky gut syndrome”
    kids who got more and earlier vaccines developed existential angst
    kids who got more and earlier vaccines didn’t maybe definitely not kill anyone last summer at George Clooney’s lavish pool party….. (no connection, I swear I wasn’t there)

    1. Yes, but the ones I suggested weren’t fabrications, there is at least one research study I could point to for every single one of them that I would read as evidence for that precise effect being plausible, and the aluminum by itself provides a plausible model for how each of them could happen, so the fact that there are no studies that I’m aware of ruling any of them out is in my opinion highly disturbing.

      This is a cut and paste of what your top two links looked like to me:
      http://www.scientificamerican.com/…/vaccinated-kids…/
      http://www.historyofvaccines.org/…/vaccine-development…

  5. Here’s a link to a relevant discussion that may make some interesting points:
    http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/l61/vaccination_researchreading/

    In a brief reply to CellBioGuy:
    on the animal injection experiments, a critique is the experiments may not be directly comparable to vaccination, overstimulations. So maybe these kind of effects won’t occur in kids. But maybe they will. What’s the evidence on the other side? Also, isn’t simulating infection what vaccines do? And they often do it in a context where they are adding aluminum into the mix to take the immune system out of its normal operating range so an infant too young to form antibodies well to a live virus will form them to a dead one. And they often force the immune system to respond to multiple different agents at the same time. Is this better or worse than what the animals were subjected to?

    Here’s a paper that injected actual vaccines into animals. (Hewitson, opens PDF).
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CEMQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ane.pl%2Fpdf%2F7020.pdf&ei=c55PVLOzNtGwogSRy4LgBA&usg=AFQjCNEczoGTZkSs8QSrI33Pn6q4nIrbwg&sig2=DyM7FGEJHoMowvcABg6GLw&bvm=bv.77880786,d.cGU
    There’s a lot of hatred for this paper, but maybe that’s an indication of bias in the reviewers rather than incorrectness to the result. Where are the citations to animal studies showing vaccines are long term safe? All the ones I know of suggest problems.

    On the cold placebo study: its the only randomized placebo study of a vaccine in children that I’ve found that followed the health of the children (not just the effectiveness of the vaccine for one specific condition) for more than 4 months. Can you cite others? (Jeff above cited some studies that maybe cite some short term studies of nasal spray flu vaccine, but I haven’t finished digesting that/them yet, will comment when I do. ) And it found the vaccinated kids got 4 times as many infections. If you can’t cite other studies to rebut this, doesn’t this suggest to you the possibility of massive confirmation bias in the medical literature?
    Maybe there’s a lot more Original Antigenic Sin type problems than people realize. The gorilla pertussis experiment (mentioned last blog post) and others like it, for example, suggest that vaccinations may damage immune response making it difficult to clear viruses. The findings of vaccine strain measles in the guts of some autistic kids and people with Crohn’s disease suggests that their immunity is too weak to clear the virus. Maybe it was damaged by the vaccine(s)? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10759242

    Where is there any evidence that long term damage of these types isn’t occurring? There’s lots to suggest it is. You can find more epidemiology links and discussion of the epidemiology literature in post 1 of this blog.

    In response to William_Quixote:
    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”.– Richard P. Feynman.
    See post 4 on this blog for why all the experts are usually wrong together. Basically, they all subscribe to your philosophy so nobody checks the logic. That’s my role.

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