Review of the 2013 IOM Study: “The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies”


The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder
Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies

Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to
the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule; Board on
Population Health and Public Health Practice; Institute of Medicine
ISBN 978-0-309-26702-1 230 pages (2013)


The most interesting thing about this work is what it doesn’t contain: citations to any of the numerous works that I have pointed out showing problems with the vaccine series.
For example, all of the animal work. Bishop et al. The Guinea-Bisseau studies. Epidemiological studies such as Miller and Goldman, Delong, or Tomljenovic and Shaw.
Any reference at all to ASIA (Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants). Any mention of vaccine contaminants such as animal retroviruses.

Searching the Institute of Medicine report for “alum” yields discussion of four references, Nilsson et al. (2003) who compared patients receiving vaccines with aluminum phosphate adjuvant to patients receiving vaccines with aluminum phosphate adjuvants, so provide no evidence about the safety of aluminum adjuvants. Verstraeten et al (2008) who compared patients receiving vaccines with AS04 adjuvants to “control” patients also receiving vaccines with aluminum adjuvants, so too can offer no evidence about the safety of aluminum adjuvants.
Pittman, P. R. 2002[8] about which they say “Using a randomized trial, Pittman (2002) showed that the risk of adverse events was reduced if the second dose of subcutaneous anthrax vaccine, adsorbed, is given 4 months rather than 2 weeks after the first dose.”

and Gruber et al(2003)[7], which is an interesting paper. From Gruber et al:

Children were grouped into dose percentiles according to cumulative doses of any vaccine given up to 5 years of age (<10%, 0–11 doses; 10%–50%, 12–14 doses; 51%–90%, 15–20 doses; >90%, 21–27 doses).

Results. The cumulative vaccine dose was inversely related to atopic dermatitis prevalences at 6 months (13.8%, 5.2%, 5.1%, and 4.5%), 2 years (16.9%, 10.9%, 7.4%, and 3.7%), 3 years (27.6%, 16.4%, 13.5%, and 4.5%), and 5 years (28.3%, 16.0%, 9.3%, and 11.9%). Asthma followed a similar pattern at age 3 (22.4%, 8.6%, 6.7%, and 6.3%), age 4 (20.0%, 8.6%, 8.9%, and 8.1%), and age 5 (20.8%, 12.6%, 10.3%, and 5.5%). Allergic sensitization rates were inversely related to the cumulative vaccine dose at age 2 (37.5%, 29.1%, 23.8%, and 12.9%).

Conclusion. Children with a higher vaccination coverage seemed to be transiently better protected against development of atopy in the first years of life.”

This is also the only paper I’ve seen to present a result on aluminum not sharply indicating toxicity:
“Apart from diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccines, relatively few children received other aluminum-containing vaccines (hepatitis B, N = 1; tick-borne encephalitis vaccine, N = 96). No dose-response relationship was found regarding atopic manifestations, total serum IgE, or allergic sensitization at 5 years of age or earlier (data not shown).”

The IOM said of this study: “the committee believes that this was a well-constructed and well-reported study and may serve as one example of a means by which the U.S. immunization schedule could be studied.

Unfortunately, neither the IOM nor Gruber et al seem to have remarked, that there appears to be no reason to believe the correlation means the vaccine is protective against atophy and asthma, rather than the results following from parents delaying or withholding vaccination for kids they perceived damaged by earlier vaccines, at risk from vaccines, or sickly. Indeed, if Gruber et al are really doing what they say, they are binning the kids by the total amount of vaccination they had by 5. So to claim the vaccination was causing the lack of atophy at six months would imply future vaccines prevented earlier atophy. It seems much more likely earlier atophy caused lack of later vaccines. The aluminum results could well result from a combination of aluminum damage to those who got more, and patients who were more evidently damaged fleeing into the low aluminum pool by withholding further vaccinations.

There’s plenty of evidence to confirm the existence of parental concern. The 2004 IOM study on autism says they reviewed 1348 VAERS reports of autism immediately after a vaccination. Even if such events may be purely circumstantial, their perceived nature will bias the experiments by putting damaged kids into low vaccine bins. Its putting the cart before the horse to assume parents can’t ever recognize their kid be damaged, as an assumption in testing whether vaccines damage. And even if they can’t, its clear, they will often assume when their kid gets sick after a vaccine that they shouldn’t give him more, lifting him into the low vaccine, low aluminum, or low thimerisol group in the design of all these experiments.

Gruber et al is the fourth study I’ve found declaring that vaccines are strongly protective in ways never expected. There is a repeated finding that early Thimerosal is significantly preventative of general developmental disorders,unspecified developmental delay, and attention deficit disorder[1] ASD[2], and that MMR is signficantly preventative of ASD in younger siblings of ASD victims[3]. Each study’s authors put this down to chance, but the repeated finding makes this unlikely. These consistent results support the alternative hypothesis that children are having visible reactions (or in the latter case, their sibling has the reaction) and being pulled from the high vaccine or high thimerisol pool by parents choosing to delay or cancel their vaccines.

I’ve also examined most of the studies the IOM cites against vaccines causing autism.
Aside from not considering the aluminum, and the contaminants, and the early and often timing as suggested by the animal literature, they also don’t consider the possibility that the MMR vaccine itself may be contributing to autism quite aside from the Thimerisol. This is in fact indicated by studies like Singh et al[9], who reported: 60% of autistics had an unusual antibody to vaccine-strain measles and 0% of controls did, And 90% o the autistics with this antibody also had “MBP-autoantibodies suggesting a strong association between MMR and CNS autoimmunity in autism. Stemming from this evidence, we suggest that an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism. antibody implicated in autoimmune disease.” 

This limits the interest in studies such as Fombonne et al, who looked at the epidemiological change when Canada took Thimerisol out of MMR. Unfortunately, at the same time they doubled the number of doses of MMR, so its six of one half a dozen of another, no? Studies like Hviid et al (2003)[4] and Madsen et al (2003)[5] which looked at the Danish taking thimerisol out of vaccines in 1992, manage to further self-confound by using data from in-patient only till 1995, and both in and out-patient after, where more than 10 times as many diagnoses seem to have been made out-patient. So for the high-thimerisol cases, (which are before), they have relative under-diagnosis to the low-thimerisol cases (which are by definition after) by perhaps an order of magnitude. (To its credit, the IOM survey did remark on this problem.)

Bottom line

(a) the IOM survey contains zero basis for believing the aluminum is safe (and doesn’t discuss this problem) and
(b) pretty much every study they have that is not confounded by looking at one vaccine in kids that got dozens, is confounded by the fact that the sick kids are being put into the low vaccine bin because they are sick and often likely because their parents believe vaccines were the cause, and in fact there is considerable evidence to indicate the parents can spot it.

“My partners and I have over 35,000 patients who have never been vaccinated. You know how many cases of autism we have seen? ZERO, ZERO. “. –Dr. Mayer Eisenstein

Given the quality of the IOM’s evidence against a vaccine autism connection, I’d have to say that anecdotal experience such as Eisenstein’s wins hands down. Its far more scientific, as well as less pretentious.

But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science.
That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–
we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the
examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it
out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a
principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a
kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you
should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what
you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your
results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other
experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. — Richard P Feynman CARGO CULT SCIENCE (adapted from Caltech Commencement Address 1974)

So did Gruber et al and the IOM committee both (a) not notice that their results could be explained by vaccines being withheld from the sickly, or (b) not bother to comment on it?
If they didn’t notice, they have a confirmation bias that is quite striking. If they did, they are by Feynman’s definition involved in Cargo Cult Science.


[1]Nick Andrews; Elizabeth Miller; Andrew Grant et al, Thimerosal Exposure in
Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Retrospective Cohort Study in the United
Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association, Pediatrics September 2004,

[2]Cristofer S. Price, William W. Thompson, Barbara Goodson,et al, Prenatal and
Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of
Autism, Pediatrics October 2010, VOLUME 126 / ISSUE 4

[3]Anjali Jain; Jaclyn Marshall; Ami Buikema; et al. Autism Occurrence by MMR
Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism,
JAMA. 2015;313(15):1534-1540. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3077.

[4]Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M. 2003. Association between thimerosal-containing
vaccine and autism. JAMA 290(13):1763-6.

[5]Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M. A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(19):1477-82.

[6]Thomas Verstraeten, Robert L. Davis, Frank DeStefano, et al.
Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized
Health Maintenance Organization Databases
Pediatrics 2003;112;1039-1048

March 2003, VOLUME 111 / ISSUE 3
Transient Suppression of Atopy in Early Childhood Is Associated With High Vaccination Coverage
Christoph Grüber, Sabina Illi, Susanne Lau, Renate Nickel, Johannes Forster, Wolfgang Kamin, Carl-Peter Bauer, Volker Wahn, Ulrich Wahn

[8]Pittman, P. R. 2002. Aluminum-containing vaccine associated adverse events: Role of route of administration and gender. Vaccine 20(Suppl 3):S48-S50.

J Biomed Sci. 2002 Jul-Aug;9(4):359-64.
Abnormal measles-mumps-rubella antibodies and CNS autoimmunity in children with autism.
Singh VK, Lin SX, Newell E, Nelson C.

Autoimmunity to the central nervous system (CNS), especially to myelin basic protein (MBP), may play a causal role in autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder. Because many autistic children harbor elevated levels of measles antibodies, we conducted a serological study of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and MBP autoantibodies. Using serum samples of 125 autistic children and 92 control children, antibodies were assayed by ELISA or immunoblotting methods. ELISA analysis showed a significant increase in the level of MMR antibodies in autistic children. Immunoblotting analysis revealed the presence of an unusual MMR antibody in 75 of 125 (60%) autistic sera but not in control sera. This antibody specifically detected a protein of 73-75 kD of MMR. This protein band, as analyzed with monoclonal antibodies, was immunopositive for measles hemagglutinin (HA) protein but not for measles nucleoprotein and rubella or mumps viral proteins. Thus the MMR antibody in autistic sera detected measles HA protein, which is unique to the measles subunit of the vaccine. Furthermore, over 90% of MMR antibody-positive autistic sera were also positive for MBP autoantibodies, suggesting a strong association between MMR and CNS autoimmunity in autism. Stemming from this evidence, we suggest that an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism.

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