Antivaccine cardiologist Jack Wolfson and the resurrection of false balance about vaccines...again!


I swear, I had wanted to write about something else today. I really had. The reason is that we're in one of those stretches of time where things seem to be happening fast and furious that have led most of my posts over the last couple of weeks to be about the Disneyland measles outbreak, how it was facilitated by the antivaccine movement, and the fallout, both in terms of the measles outbreak continuing to spread and the pushback by antivaccinationists anxious to distance themselves from blame for the outbreak. Yes, I've written about "Dr. Bob" Sears, "Dr. Jay" Gordon, and, most recently, the most despicable antivaccine doctor of all, a cardiologist named Jack Wolfson.

Indeed, Dr. Wolfson has to be one of the most vile antivaccinationists I've ever encountered, and I slammed the local Phoenix NBC affiliate, USA TODAY, and CNN for featuring this pathetic excuse for a physician, particularly CNN, which featured him in the classic "debate" of pseudoscience that provides false balance, the impression that there is a scientific disagreement about vaccines when there is none.

Ooops, CNN did it again. Yesterday. In a story by Elizabeth Cohen and Debra Goldschmidt entitled Arizona measles exposure worries parents of at-risk kids CNN couldn't resist giving the vile Dr. Wolfson more national exposure. Yes, it's a story similar to one I mentioned last week in which the parents of a child with leukemia are, quite understandably, terrified that their child will be at risk for the measles. The reason is this. MMR is a live attenuated virus vaccine, and live virus vaccines are contraindicated in cancer patients who are immunosuppressed due to chemotherapy. Such children have a legitimate medical contraindication to vaccination and therefore rely on herd immunity provided by having a high level of vaccination in the population of children with whom they come into contact. It's an understandable fear, which is described in the story:

Anna Jacks checks her baby's forehead over and over again. Is he hot? Does he have a rash? Is his nose still runny?

Her son has been sick before, but this time it's different: Last week Eli was at a Phoenix Children's Hospital clinic with a woman who had the measles, which spreads easily from person to person. Now he's showing signs of the virus, such as runny nose and cough and fatigue.

At 10 months old, Eli is too young to get vaccinated and would be especially vulnerable to serious complications of measles, such as deafness and brain damage or even death. But his parents have an even bigger worry. If Eli does have the measles, he could give it to his 3-year-old sister, Maggie, who has leukemia.

So far Maggie is feeling fine, but her parents know that with her immune system wiped out by chemotherapy she's even more vulnerable than her brother to complications.

It turns out that Eli was exposed to the measles by a a woman who was infected by a members of a non-vaccinating family and got her measles at—you guessed it—Disneyland. Eli's father happens to be a physician and vented his frustration at antivaccinationists in a blog post that is a must-read. Indeed, Maggie's family is so worried that they wouldn't let the CNN crew into their home to see Eli or Maggie. In the story, Eli and Maggie's mother is quoted as saying, "If you don't want to vaccinate your children, fine, but don't take them to Disneyland." This is, of course, an entirely reasonable sentiment. If you don't want to vaccinate your children, you shouldn't be taking them to places where they can so easily be disease vectors.

Of course, if there's one thing I've noticed when I describe selfishness as being one of the core motivators of the antivaccine movement, basically a lack of concern about other people's children built on the false notion that others shouldn't need to worry about their unvaccinated children if their children are vaccinated, it's that people unfamiliar with the antivaccine movement have a hard time believing it. They don't think that people can be so callous or that such callousness is baked into their antivaccine philosophy. For those people, I present to you: Dr. Jack Wolfson. Behold his staggeringly assholish response to the concerns of parents of children who can't be vaccinated against the measles regarding the latest measles outbreak:

But Dr. Jack Wolfson said it's the Jacks family who should keep themselves at home, not him.

Wolfson, an Arizona cardiologist, refuses to vaccinate his two young sons. He said the family that didn't vaccinate and endangered the Jacks children did nothing wrong.

"It's not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [a child like Maggie] to be supposedly healthy," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's very likely that her leukemia is from vaccinations in the first place."

"I'm not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure," he added. "It's not my responsibility to be protecting their child."

In other words, screw you. I got mine, and I don't care about anyone else and am perfectly satisfied to sponge off of herd immunity. Even worse, he's blaming cancer on vaccinations without a shred of evidence to support his viewpoint. That this man is an actual cardiologist is a profound embarrassment to the specialty of cardiology. No, it's a profound embarrassment to all physicians. I am profoundly embarrassed that such an pathetic excuse for a human being is a fully board-certified member of my profession.

Look, I can understand (sort of) the sentiment of some antivaccine parents that their child should be their first concern and that they are not responsible for other people's children. I can (sort of) understand it, but I still find it to be an abhorrent attitude. However, as much as I can somewhat at least understand the roots of such an attitude, even as I disapprove of it, what I can't understand is how someone like Dr. Wolfson takes that attitude and cranks it up to 11 and beyond:

CNN asked Wolfson if he could live with himself if his unvaccinated child got another child gravely ill.

"I could live with myself easily," he said. "It's an unfortunate thing that people die, but people die. I'm not going to put my child at risk to save another child."

He blamed the Jacks family for taking Maggie to the clinic for care.

"If a child is so vulnerable like that, they shouldn't be going out into society," he said.

As I said: What a pathetic excuse for a physician and vile human being. And, again, I'd tell him that to his face if I were ever to encounter him. Worse, it's not an isolated incident. It's a pattern, as several of you have pointed out to me. Indeed, a commenter noted that this is not the first time Dr. Wolfson has blamed parents of a child with cancer for their predicament. Interestingly, the original post referenced has been removed from Dr. Wolfson's website. Fortunately, the Wayback Machine remembers all, and the post is archived. In case Dr. Wolfson figures out how to change his robots.txt file to stop further archiving of this post, I will reprint the whole thing in all its evil glory, in order to make sure that its text never disappears:

Recently, a child died from complications of the chicken pox and now her mother wants to make sure everyone gets injected.

While the death of any child is a travesty, this one could have been prevented, not with injecting more chemicals into this young girl, but with good nutrition and chemical avoidance. She was likely fed GMO, sugar, gluten, soy, corn, and other items that led to her demise. Her mother sadly blames the doctor (who advised her against the vaccine) and the rest of us who demand the freedom to choose whether or not to inject chemicals into our children.

Here is the response of my wife, Dr. Heather Wolfson, to a column on Yahoo.

Where do I begin?!! I can go on forever about it. First of all, the little girl was born without a spleen therefore she was immunocompromised since birth. The lack of this vital organ was probably caused by some drug the mother took while pregnant! Immunocompromised individuals are not supposed to receive vaccines. Kudos to the pediatrician who steered the mom and child away from the chicken pox shot. I’d like to shake his hand. He probably saved the girls life given she may have died due to complications of vaccines based on her poor immune status. i Maybe the mother got an extra five years of life from her daughter by not participating in vaccine schedule folly. She should be thankful to the doctor.

Secondly, the mother probably gave fever reducers such as Tylenol. This depletes glutathione and is a sure fire way to allow your child to succumb to such a benign childhood illness. In this country, one in 30,000 of those with chicken pox died every year, for a grand total of 100 per annum. Those were usually adults. Please don’t pass a law forcing us to vaccinate and inject chemicals into our children because 100 people died per year. What was the health status of those 100 prior to chicken pox? Probably not good. Your healthy, breast fed, organic child will not suffer the same fate.

If this mother would have sought out chiropractic care, gave just two simple vitamins A and C, she would have never developed pneumonia. Also, mom fed her garbage food and exposed her to thousands of chemicals. This little girl is dead, not from chicken pox, but from chemicals and poor nutrition. Additionally, she probably had at least one vaccine, hepatitis B, when she was first born in the hospital which would have destroyed her immune and nervous system from the start.

The mother is ignorant, uneducated, and a danger to all other parents and children. She should spend her time learning how the human body works instead of spreading her deadly advice to the rest of the world.

Yes, this is what Dr. Wolfson says about a mother who has lost her child, that she is "ignorant,, uneducated, and a danger to all other parents and children," even though her advice is in agreement with virtually the entire pediatric profession. This is the sort of man CNN has gone to more than once for its stories on the Disneyland measles outbreak.

In fact, Dr. Wolfson reminds me more than a little of J. B. Handley (remember him?), who has recently reappeared at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism. Just as he gloated over the role of the antivaccine movement in driving down parental confidence in the vaccine program, he's gloating now about...well, let me just quote him:

While I think Nyhan is generally correct, I also have a much simpler explanation for why the messaging by the pro-vaccine community is backfiring:

They’re fucking lying.

There, I said it. It really is that simple. You can’t suppress truth forever, no matter how hard you try. Richer, more educated parents vaccinate less because they are smarter and have more resources and their bigger brains and pocketbooks give them the time and money to research the issue and when they do they are scared shitless that vaccines might trigger Autism in their child. They compare that risk to measles and guess what? Bye bye MMR.

Yes, Wolfson is nothing more than J.B. Handley with an MD. He is full of the arrogance of ignorance and practically breaks his arm patting himself on the back for being so smart when his scientific ignorance is beyond epic. Indeed, he even seems to think that you can eliminate stupid things you've posted on the Internet by just deleting the post in which you said them.

And did I say again that this is the sort of idiot that CNN features on its news reports about the ongoing measles outbreak?


More like this

Did J.B. Handley really write that? Says he rhetorically having just looked.

Wow. What a complete and utter arrogant prick, if you don't mind me saying that.

As for Wolfson, I notice that for all his confidence, he doesn't tolerate anyone questioning his beliefs and simply deletes their comments. Says a lot about him really.

Makes a good, if nauseating, pair with Handley.

Handley is in denial. Far from the message backfiring, the last few weeks have demonstrated unequivocally that the anti-vaxxers are wrong and that vaccination is the right thing to do.
As for the level of projection, IMAX has nothing on Handley.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 01 Feb 2015 #permalink

"...some antivaccine parents that their child should be their first concern and that they are not responsible for other people’s children."

If you won't care about other people's children then why should they care about yours?

These are the same greedy self-centered free-riding jerks who consistently vote down bond issues for new schools after their own kids have gotten an education at the taxpayer's expenses. IOW--"I got mine so fuck you!"

The only fitting destiny for these greedy bastards is a quick banishment from all human society forever.

Yes, J.B. Handley really did write that...he's that crude and insensitive.

Since the start of the Disneyland outbreak, the AoA "science journalists" have been posting their ludicrous articles about measles, because mainstream media journalists have been extremely critical of Generation Rescue and Age of Autism.

They wanted publicity for their organizations and now they have it.

My cat is anti-mainstream medicine. He just recently finished a course of antibiotics. While I was cleaning I found a neat little pile of them under the futon.

My cat was cheeking the antibiotics. I know it's anecdotal, but his brain is the size of a walnut if I'm remembering correctly, so I'm not sure if this big brains=reject mainstream medicine thing is that accurate.

It only takes 5-10% of people believing this vile, uncaring "physician" to impact vaccine rates. As always, I remain so disappointed that no medical groups will stand up and simply say that this Wolfson is insane and not one of us anymore.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Let me play devil's advocate. It is good that CNN has people like this on the air. They show how truly horrible and despicable to extremists of the anti-vaccine movement can be. I have read accounts of people who have changed their minds about vaccines, by realizing that many vaccinationists believe in chemtrails and FEMA concentration camps. Perhaps the media would help increase vaccination rates by giving this guy a large platform and further contributing to the increasingly large societal disgust at all anti-vaccinationists.

I think that CNN portrayed Wolfson in the worst possible light which isn't hard given what a massive d-bag he is. Wolfson's belief that his children are "pure", espousing the toxin gambit and being so callous and dismissive of children like Maggie Jacks does the selfish anti-vaxxers high-fiving him no favours.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

I fear for the future of any child who is raised by parents who tell him that he is "pure" and owes nothing to society.

By quetzalmom (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Excuse me if this has already been pointed out here, but somewhat mitigating the embarrassment of the medical community over the activities of the "Drs. Wolfson" (as they style themselves): Heather Wolfson is a chiropractor.

I am deeply shocked that a chiropractor would be anti-vaccine.

*they also have a rescue Lab mix named Sal (short for Salmonella?).

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Aside from the nastiness his comments demonstrate, I'm still getting over my disbelief that a doctor sincerely believes that he would be risking his child more by vaccinating than by not. I hope his children stay safe, in spite of his choice.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Ack. Just ack.

Whenever someone goes on a rant about "Feeding ourselves/our children chemicals", I want to shove this SMBC comic down their throat to shut them up:

On a more serious note, sometimes I'm grateful that people like Wolfson come out of the woodwork every so often. Something about opposing someone so obviously vile, without even the thinnest veneer of civility, feels cleaner than trying to manage concern trolls. He's the one saying it, but they're all thinking it. It's refreshing to be able to say, "I want to punch you in the face because you're a monstrous human being." and leave it at that.

By Shadowflash (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

I would say that Disneyland ought to implement a policy requiring guests be vaccinated and be able to present proof thereof upon admission.

Sure, it's a hurdle, but surely one that is within the reach of the kind of people who have the means to go to Disneyland. I would like to see similar screws turned at other upscale resorts: as affluence is correlated with anti-vaccine sentiment, it hits anti-vax families right in the vacation gut. Just the sort of social consequence to deter their anti-social behaviour.

No one, after all, is entitled to go to Disneyland (or any similar amusement park for that matter).

If Wolfson thinks that's unfair, well, who cares what that wretched excuse for an MD thinks?

By Composer99 (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

I would say that Disneyland ought to implement a policy requiring guests be vaccinated and be able to present proof thereof upon admission.

Have you seen the lines at the gates at Disneyland? Can you imagine what they would be if everyone had to show their vaccination records? Can you also imagine the booths that would open up for people selling personalized vaccination records for those who, er, mislaid theirs?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Wolfson trained at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) at Midwestern University, the same medical school that gave us Joe Mercola.

I'm guessing their basic science curriculum is a bit soft.

By CTGeneGuy (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Jesus. As I am suddenly wishing to board a spaceship to live somewhere else, would you by any chance have a positive example - someone who, say, used to be an antivaccine activist and changed his/her mind and now spreads the truth? Please. I need to read about something like that to counterbalance all of the above.

Wolfson trained at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) at Midwestern University, the same medical school that gave us Joe Mercola.

The real life counterpart of Dr. Evil's Evil Medical School?

AoA is publishing article after article aiming to show measles isn't dangerous. They're doing this by simply stating that the death rate is pretty low. Should we be pushing the other possible outcomes a bit more? I blogged about this 3.5 years ago, and borrowed these stats from DeeTee:

Risk / Benefit analysis of vaccination vs measles (taken from a recent Guardian CiF thread, compiled by DeeTee from (I understand) HPA stats):
If one million kids are given vaccine (MMR):
1000 will have a febrile convulsion.
30 will get thrombocytopenia.
10 will get a severe allergic reaction.
1 will get encephalitis (ADEM).

If one million kids get measles (in Europe, in the 21st century):
200 will die.
100,000 will be ill enough to need hospitalisation.
90,000 will get otitis media.
80,000 will get gastroenteritis.
50,000 will get primary viral or secondary bacterial pneumonia.
5000 will have a febrile convulsion.
1000 will get encephalitis (ADEM or SSPE), 100 of whom will die and 2-300 will have residual brain damage.
1000 will get various other problems such as hepatitis, myocarditis, thrombocytopenia or miscarriage if caught in pregnancy.

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

I'm with Mephistopheles; it would be wildly impractical and probably also futile for Disneyland to check everybody's vaccination records. It's tough enough just trying to keep weapons out of the park.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

J.B. Handley is a bully who thinks his money and social stature gives him the right to use all means at his disposal (including his lawyers) into silencing people who disagree with him. I had always thought that was J.B.'s deal, but after reading that statement I'm now fully convinced of it.

Hey Dr Young: All children are organic, you insensitive monster. People get cancer. People got cancer when the ONLY foods were "organic" and there was no such thing as vaccines and no other option but breast milk.

I like this, from commenters on another blog describing what ails antivaxxers:


A commenter, Concerned momma, on Handley's article, regarding Wolfson:

" I love it that he came out and said it. It seems to me that risking healthy children for all those that have grave health problems and may not live anyhow is not sensible. Survival of the fittest is rough but it is nature's way and it's that way for a reason".

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

”Survival of the fittest is rough but it is nature’s way and it’s that way for a reason”.

Well, I guess they can quit carping about their "damaged" offspring, then. Problem solved.

@ Ism:

I wanted to write up why the alt med/ anti vax faith requires a degree of affluence the other day- here's a brief version
-compliant doctors/ woo-meisters often operate outside of governmentally supplied health care / insurance reimbursement so payment is out of pocket
- supplements, special diets and arcanely nutritious super foods are not covered by national health or insurance. Out of pocket, again.
- preparing special foods/ implementing supplement/ exercise regimes are not for those with limited time- like those having a job.
- none of these products/ services are cheap ( check the prices at web woo-meisters' stores and AoA/ TMR sponsors' websites). In addition, many of these sites also solicit money for their charities ( see AJW, PRN, Natural News, TMR etc) and hold conferences/ films where more woo is sold.

Proselytisers, like those on AoA and TMR as well as facebook polemicists, appear to have a lot of time on their hands which may be an aspect of affluence.. I doubt that any of the ones we write about @ AoA/ TMR have real jobs outside of their pet hobby horse/ boutique cause.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Isn't it odd for a cardiologist to be such a heartless bastard?

I am quite nauseated by the way these Wolfsons are gloating over the death of the child with chickenpox, congratulating the doctor who "steered her away from vaccines", thereby giving her additional life which they should be grateful for.

Hypocritical, pathetic, bags of fetid dingo turds, the pair of them.

I've had it up to here with these woo-ists. I'd appreciate it if the minions could recommend charities that provide vaccinations. I want to put my money where my mouth is. Thanks.

By Queen Khentkawes (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

More of the lovely, humane sentiment which Orac describes above is evident in a new post @ TMR where Julie O explains her fervent wishes for vaccine supporters ( towards the end of the article). Just a beautiful human being.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Not entirely off-topic -- has anyone started calculating the cost of the current outbreak?

Genuine question: what can be done about Jack Wolfson?

Re: Wolfson's callous attitude.

A couple of days back, CBC ran an Associated Press article concerning a LA pediatrician who "will no longer see children whose parents won't get them vaccinated."…

And individual calling themselves "Devils Advocate" made numerous anti-vax nonsense comments, one of which was:

"So... There maybe a few who can't cope with the disease. It is selfish to ask people to inject for the sake of the weak, when healthy people could have reactions to the vaccine; or the vaccines have ingredients which cause health issues that lay dormant for years, only to show up later in life."

The "selfish to ask people to inject for the sake of the weak" thinking seems to align with Wolfson's views.

The "dog eat dog" mentality seems to have firms roots in some anti-vax minds.

A truly "Capitol", in the Hunger Games sense, attitude.

Queen Khentkawes, Two very worthy charities are Every Child by Two and GAVI Alliance.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Narad said "Well, I guess they can quit carping about their “damaged” offspring, then. Problem solved."

So far anyone I've seen preaching survival of the fittest as social engineering assumes that they are the fittest and any evidence of a lack is from a conspiracy against them and not any indication of an innate lack of fitness.

@ MOB & Calli:

I recall line-ups being long enough when I went many years ago (to Disneyworld in Florida); they are surely much worse now.

Let me be honest in saying that I'm not much concerned about the additional inconvenience per se, even as a prospective visitor in a few years.

However, I fully understand that Disney may well find the inconvenience too much to bear from a business perspective, unless the loss of business from being an epidemic vector proves too great (which is extremely unlikely).

What is more, on further consideration the consequence punishes the children of anti-vaxxers more than the anti-vaccine parents themselves, and is therefore inappropriate.

Nevertheless, it would be nice to find some way to attach tangible social consequences to being anti-vaccine (i.e. consequences that anti-vaccine parents can't ignore by dropping relationships with people critical of their decisions or browbeating them into silence), above and beyond being unable to send children to public school.

Unfortunately, I am at a loss as to what to suggest at the moment.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Chris Hickie wrote:

I remain so disappointed that no medical groups will stand up and simply say that this Wolfson is insane and not one of us anymore.

Count me in as more than disappointed. Why? Why? Why? does our society let people get away with subverting public health like this?

I ask again, with legal experts opining the Disneyland measles cases present strong cases for negligence litigation, where are the AMA and/or the insurance companies or any other organiztion that could be co-ordinating a legal attack on these quacks and the fools who follow them?

And even if political regulation faces weak prospects in the face of guaranteed GOP opposition,is it not a moral imperative to push back against these, well, criminals on every front possible?

As far as insurance, as many if not all of these are not "network blessed", they make no attempt to maintain the minimal standards required by an insurance provider. I can not imagine that a legitimate medical tests, even a test performed for an inappropriate reason, is going to be denied by your insurance provider. In the ongoing war between the medical establishment and insurance companies, for an insurance company assert that much authority would trouble many. To the extent that insurance companies manipulate the situation, the power of the purse only goes so far. Dr. Wolfson has almost completely isolated himself from insurance oversight/interference.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ shay #33
Yeah, I think so. The Aussie story setting up Dr. Jay and the anti-vaxers for lawsuits made a point of the costs as part of the implicit case, though it didn't give numbers.

The head of medical ethics at NYU Art Caplan:

You know, it's not just making other people sick, it costs a ton of money to trace who's been in contact with these measles folks, you got quarantines going on now - much worse than the cost of Ebola was in this country, which, you know, governors were calling for quarantines in these states.

I vaguely recall a couple other references to the costs in this news story or that, though I forget where, and they weren't specific, just basically indicating "a lot!"

Had to quote this from Charles Pierce on Chris "Big Chicken" Christie.

It's like hitting a Republican in the knee with a rubber hammer. Say "parents," and they say "choice."

Well, actually it's "rights" not "choice" (never, ever be for 'choice', because Murder!), but the reflex mallet gag is perfecto.

Nevertheless, it would be nice to find some way to attach tangible social consequences to being anti-vaccine...above and beyond being unable to send children to public school.

While I agree that that would be reasonable, practically speaking I don't even think its necessary to go that far. Being unable to send your children to public school would be more than enough - if it were actually enforced. We already know that states that make it easier to get exemptions have lower vaccination rates. West Virginia and Mississippi don't have non-medical exemptions and they have exemption rates of 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively. If all 50 states had similar laws VPDs would truly become a thing of the past.

Sarah A @43 -- It is amazing, and somewhat wonderful, to see that West Virginia and Mississippi are, in at least one area, beacons of enlightenment.

By palindrom (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Orac @45 -- Mommy knowledge! How can you not be for .... motherhood? (wipes away tear).


By palindrom (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Orac asked:

And did I say again that this is the sort of idiot that CNN features on its news reports about the ongoing measles outbreak?

And Orac answered:

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed when I describe selfishness as being one of the core motivators of the antivaccine movement, basically a lack of concern about other people’s children built on the false notion that others shouldn’t need to worry about their unvaccinated children if their children are vaccinated, it’s that people unfamiliar with the antivaccine movement have a hard time believing it. They don’t think that people can be so callous or that such callousness is baked into their antivaccine philosophy. For those people, I present to you: Dr. Jack Wolfson.

As I wrote yesterday, what worries me is that Wolfson is such a callous idiot, CNN viewers might not connect his 'ethos' to the broader Social Darwinist selfishness that characterizes anti-vaxers who couch such philosophies is 'kindler and gentler' rhetoric. So I think we should compile the similar sentiments from other anti-vaxer — e.g. Denice #21 & #26, DGR #35, and more — a seek some public forum beyond RI to hammer than connection home.

Comment threads would be one place, but it would be good to generate something that could get more readership — a DailyKos diary that could get promoted, or some other web site where user generates articles can get selected by editors as linked features.

I'd try this myself, if I was up to it energy-and-time-wise, but I'm not at the moment, and don't know when I will be. :-(
It would be good to strike 'while the iron is hot' and the topic and Wolfson are still in the news cycle.

Anyway, it would be great if folks running into other expressions of 'I’m not going to put my child at risk to save another child.... If a child is so vulnerable like that, they shouldn’t be going out into society,' could post links here. Especially if they come from anti-vax 'leaders' — the more apparently 'credible' the better – so as to tie them to Wolfson, whose credibility is about at the bottom of the Mariana's Trench right now...

Re: #45
Wow, now THAT story from KSDK is freakin' awful. No "false balance" there: it's totally anti-vax. The medical opinion is just brought in as 'balance' so the heroic protective mom can knock it down:

Advice from the doctor Cassy says she just can't take. "Parents are the first line of defense with their kids."

And the headline: "Mom defends anti-vaccine movement". Good grief! It's a 'movement'! Of 'mom's'. Defending 'momhood'.

I have no guess as to what's going on here. KSDK is the NBC affiiliate in St. Louis. It carries Dr. Oz., but is owned by Gannet It was the Gannet station in AZ that exposed Wolfson's crazy, and USA Today has run anti-(anti-vax) material. St. Louis is pretty conservative, but not to my knowledge the kind of conservative that would go big on anti-vax. Their news show is in last place in the market, and there might be some counter-programming, positioning for a certain audience, etc. going on...

Anybody have any idea why/how this fits St. Louis?


@Science Mom #36: Thanks, I'll check them out.

By Queen Khentkawes (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ sadmar:

Compile away, dude!

At any rate, it's more than just 'social Darwinist selfishness' but also a heaping helping of self-aggrandising, know-it-all bragadoccio - for a divine sampling of that see TMR- amongst my own picks- see posts by Mamacita and MamaMac, esp the infamous ode to 'Dr @sshat'. Similarly Kim S @ AoA
They nearly equal Mike Adams for arro of igno.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Re Nicole #5
Ha! Sneaky little things aren't they?

Re: Orac
"That this man is an actual cardiologist is a profound embarrassment to the specialty of cardiology. No, it’s a profound embarrassment to all physicians. I am profoundly embarrassed that such an pathetic excuse for a human being is a fully board-certified member of my profession."

Heck, the shame is so intense that I can feel the burn of it all the way from where I sit as a veterinary technician in the cardiology department of a veterinary medical teaching hospital.

Not entirely sure I agree. Wolfson is just the representative we need the anti-vax community to have right now-an obvious nutcase whose behavior will alienate most sane people.

By DarkScholar82 (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

oh, just re read, he had already removed it. duh

By Alexis Lovel (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

I still wish his whole website would’ve disappeared along with it though…

By Alexis Lovel (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

And Wolfson,himself.

"She was likely fed GMO, sugar, gluten, soy, corn, and other items that led to her demise. "

I love how they can't even get the things they hate right. "She was fed GMO" like it was a brand name or something.

By Daniel Welch (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Daniel - makes me wonder what kind of diet the Wolfsons' kids are being fed (what one of my carnivorous siblings once referred to as 'twigs and grass.')

@ shay:

No no no!
The little wolf cubs- in true paleo- fashion- only eat what their parents hunt and gather - so sure, there is an ample supply of twigs and grass but imagine the youngsters' delight when they receive a fresh, squeaking raw mouse or bird !
Just what a young fox or cat would enjoy and learn to catch.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

One notes that I linked in my post to the Wayback Machine archive of the post.

This is just so sick . If this guy is so into "natural" lifestyle, why wouldn't he just find a cave somewhere in the woods, hunts gathers and only eats what he can catch or gather... and eats it all raw unless he can make some fire by grinding stones.

A new case in NY - I sure hope people on the train and plane (from other sources he was on the plane first) with this guy were vaccinated:…

Some comments are quite good, like this reply to the person who is asking why people are not vaccinated:

"Because people prefer to take medical advice from a playboy bunny rather than from a medical professional."

I'm glad this "debate" is happening right now. Maybe someone can help some mothers make the right choice based on a true appraisal of the facts. My story
My baby girl was born June 2014, healthy full term, I was nervous about her two month vaccines but went ahead. My daughter screamed a high pitch, blood curdling scream from 10am to 7pm (no rest no food). I called my dr who assured me this was a normal reaction. Two weeks before her 4 month vaccines I was understandably nervous so I decided to do some research, frankly it scared the shit out of me.. SIDS posts, mental retardation, encephalitis etc were the first things to pop up on the Google search. However I wanted to educate muself so I went to Canada ministry of health and America pediatrics who do say these vaccines are safe but also state some mild to severe (even death) adverse reactions. I am not anti vaccine, Im just having a hard time injecting something into my child that has the potential to harm them (my choice could impact their lives). HOWEVER. I am just as equally afraid of these vaccine preventable diseases. I went ahead with the 4 month shots, my daughter slept for 12 hours without waking, I couldn't even wake her up to feed. After the 4 month vaccines I told myself I absoluteky would not be getting the 6 month shots, my daughter is now 8 months and is now two months behind. I went to see my dr to ask if it was safe for MY DAUGHTER to continue, she basically told me it was my choice. So I called the local health unit who with me on the phone got on the Internet to simply Google some answers I was looking for (not comforting) so I called the manufacturer of the dtap my daughter recieved and to much of my surprise here are the responses I recieved "you may want to consider getting dt (not pertussis containing) because we've had some issues with adverse reactions". I wasn't satisfied with this answer so she was going to do some digging and call me back, two weeks later I recoeved a call from their pr office who says "well you have to have them in order for your daughter to go to school....and "if your calling here to have someone say 100% these vaccinations are safe for your child you are not going to get what you are looking for, there are associated risks including death"....
The medical profession needs to understand most parents WANT TO vaccinate their children but they are scared.... What we want is MORE INFORMATION! Ie: why did my daughter scream for 9 hours? Why couldn't I wake her for 12 hours, even to feed at 4 months old? Is there a group at higher risk for adverse reactions? When do I take my child to the er for potential adverse reactions? What if my child has an adverse reaction (moderate to severe) is it safe for subsequent vaccines?
Sometimes I feel like I would rather take my chance at her getting an illness than the potential of her dying from a vaccine that I opted to give her. Then I read stories of mothers losing their child to whooping cough and I want to vaccinate. I am not ignorant, I am scared! No one in the medical field is taking ownership for their lack of communication with the fears of the public, simply saying the vaccines are safe because I said so isn't enough. Even on vaers website is basically states not the trust the stats because they believe a high percentage of m.ds are not reporting adverse reactions. I'm at a loss as well as quite a few mothers I know. I hope someone can help me make the right choice for MY CHILD as I'm really struggling (as are a lot of other families who simoly don't vaccinate becAuse of lack of information)
Thank you for reading

By Questioning va… (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

That is the age range for what the call purple crying.

Even if you never vaccinated your child ever and they never had any illness most kids will have episodes of this around that age.

I'll tell you that immune responses from allergy shots could sometimes wipe me out even if not technically sick. So depending on the vaccine if you get a bit of a fever it can be tiring.

Most of that kind of thing is expected either developmentally or because if they got really sick rather than the mild kind of sick from the immune response you would notice something.

Most of what makes us feel so miserable when we are ill is the side effects of our immune system doing the job it is supposed to do. The illnesses will make a much bigger reaction than the immune activation of a vaccine.

One notes that I linked in my post to the Wayback Machine archive of the post.

There's also a specific reason why I didn't here, just by the by.

Orac writes, virus vaccines are contraindicated in cancer patients who are immunosuppressed due to chemotherapy.

MjD writes,

Vaccines containing natural rubber latex (NRL) are contraindicated in children who are immune sensitive to NRL due to repeated exposure to NRL.

Physicians have been exposing patients to the harmful proteins in NRL for decades (e.g., vaccines and many other medical products).

It’s continues to be a profound embarrassment to all physicians.


Do you still use natural-rubber-latex gloves when you do surgery?

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

Questioning vaccine mother:

I won't lie to you. Vaccination does not come with zero risk of side effects. But the risks are so completely outweighed by the benefits.

We grew up in an age where the devastation from these diseases was or had already faded away. We have no experience with them, and so it's easy to look at a child suffering temporary side effects and say "I can't do this" when we haven't seen what these diseases actually do.

I've seen Whooping Cough. You can see it yourself here:

I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

And Chris Christy and Rand Paul have just stepped in it big time. Chris Hayes on MSNBC also pointed out that Paul is a member of the AAPS. Yikes.

Stay tuned right here... :-)

@Michelle #68 Christie is just ignorant and was trying to pander to both sides.

Paul is actually dangerous because he believes in his libertarian at all costs BS (my apologies to any libertarians out there, but Paul takes it to extremes). Paul isn't a libertarian; he's an anarchist.

Wolfson bio: "In 2004, I met the most amazing woman who would soon become my wife. Heather is a chiropractor and has a heavy focus on nutrition and healthy, chemical free living. Since meeting her, I have changed my whole life and medical practice style. I have switched from the sickness paradigm to one of health and wellness. I read countless books, studied hundreds of articles, and attended as many conferences as possible. I met with natural doctors including chiropractors, homeopaths, naturopaths and different types of healers (at which most medical docs would scoff). I immersed myself in the natural lifestyle. Most importantly, I opened my mind from the brainwashing of medical training. My explicit goal in treating patients is finding the cause of disease instead of using the band-aid approach. The CAUSE is the CURE."

BBBLue: Dr. Wolfson is being disingenuous.

Modern medicine has advocated prevention for decades.

But we still need it when prevention isn't enough.

Do you remember back in 2009 when Christine Maggiore died and Celia Farber claimed it was because of the stress from people accusing her of killing her own child, EJ? Now Ms. Farber is singing the praises of Dr. Wolfson, a reprehensible man who actually berates parents and directly accuses them of killing their children. Oh, hypocrisy: thy name is Celia Farber.

The realization hit me that medical doctors were not preventing disease but only attempting to treat symptoms.

Who wants to tell Jack Wolfson that vaccines prevent the diseases they are given for?

I forget, he thinks it is a children's right to get these diseases rather than for them to be prevented. I wonder how he feels about EVD?

Oh, hypocrisy: thy name is Celia Farber.

I have some much better names for Celia Faber.

From BBBlue's quoting of Wolfson's bio ". . . chemical free living . . ."

To slightly re-phrase Inigo Montoya: "He keeps using that term. I do not think it means what he thinks it means." I know our gracious and kind host is not fond of nit-picking corrections (at least of his own magnificent verbiage) but surely the ever-knowledgeable medical genius Wolfson must know that no material entity leads a "chemical free" existence.

@Questioning vaccine mother

Firstly, kudos on putting in the extra time and effort to seek out reliable sources of information. I'm not a doctor but I am a grad student studying immunology, and I'm also an ex-creationist, so I know what its like to struggle with conflicting information and feel like you don't know who to trust. So I'll answer as many of your questions as I can and leave the rest to the more experienced/qualified regulars.

why did my daughter scream for 9 hours? Why couldn’t I wake her for 12 hours, even to feed at 4 months old?

A lot of what we think of as symptoms of disease - including fever and malaise - are actually caused by our own body's immune response. Of course, the whole point of vaccines is to induce an immune response so that when you encounter the real disease your immune system will recognize and eliminate it before it has the chance to make you sick. The trade-off is that, depending on how strong your immune response to the vaccine is, you may have a milder version of some of those same symptoms. I'm sure crying for 9 hours straight doesn't seem mild while its going on, but its a picnic compared to being sick for two weeks (or more!), not to mention the permanent disability and death that can result from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Sometimes I feel like I would rather take my chance at her getting an illness than the potential of her dying from a vaccine that I opted to give her.

The chances of someone dying from a vaccine reaction are essentially like the chances of getting hit by a meteor: I can't honestly say that it's zero, but its about as close to zero as you can get in real life. Of course, vaccine companies still have to include the possibility - however remote - to cover themselves legally, which I realize can make it sound like they're being evasive or covering something up. I know that actively putting your child at even a minuscule risk seems qualitatively different from passively leaving her at a greater risk, but look at it this way: I'm sure you've heard of people who died in a car accident because they were trapped in their car by their seat belt. But I'm also fairly sure that you buckle up yourself and your baby (in a car seat, of course) rather than deciding that you'd rather take the chance of your child being thrown through the windshield than the potential of her being trapped in the car by a seat belt that you opted to put on her. That's because you know that the chances of being killed in an accident are far, far higher if she's not wearing a seat belt.

Even on vaers website is basically states not the trust the stats because they believe a high percentage of m.ds are not reporting adverse reactions

I'm sure doctors aren't reporting every mild fever and sore arm, but it seems really, really unlikely that there's a hidden epidemic of life-threatening vaccine reactions going unreported. And keep in mind that the unreliable nature of the VAERS reporting system works both ways: there's no way (for you and me, anyways) to verify that a report is even true, let alone that the reported event was actually caused by the vaccine (maybe you've read about the guy who reported that a vaccine turned his son into the Hulk just to prove this point.)

I decided to do some research, frankly it scared the shit out of me.. SIDS posts, mental retardation, encephalitis etc were the first things to pop up on the Google search

I know how scary these kinds of stories can be. I first heard of the anti-vaccine movement when I was still an undergrad, and since I want to develop vaccines "when I grow up," naturally I took these stories very, very seriously and did a lot of research to find out what could be causing these reactions and what was being done about it. What I ended up finding out was that lots of large, well-designed studies had been done (not just by vaccine manufacturers but by the public health agencies of multiple countries) showing that vaccines weren't associated with autism, SIDS, allergies, etc (encephalitis is a possible reaction to vaccination, but its very rare, literally a 1-in-a-million chance.) But I couldn't figure out how to reconcile the scientific evidence with the terrible stories I'd read, and I couldn't imagine that all those people were lying. It was about that time that Dr. Andrew Wakefield's research fraud was discovered and reported by Brian Deer (Mr. Deer's article is the last document on the list I linked to above.) The parents in Wakefield's study had convincing, heartrending stories too - their children had been healthy and normal until the MMR shot, and then, within a week, they developed regressive autism. But the children's medical records told a different story: many of them had developmental delays before getting the shot, and others didn't have any problems until months later, not days. The parents (probably) weren't deliberately lying; their memories were skewed by their belief that the MMR shot had caused their child's autism. Now when I read one of those internet horror stories, I remind myself that I don't have any way of knowing what really happened, whereas the overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccines are safe and effective is open and available to everyone.

I despise the AAPS. It's grand poobah is one Jane Orient of Tucson (where I practice), who had the audacity during the Pima County measles outbreak (see the May 4th 2008 links at , but unfortunately the video link is broken) where she says:

"Dr. Jane Orient heads the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. The 4,500 member national group does not oppose vaccines. But it does oppose the government's requiring them. Orient, a specialist in internal medicine, says, 'We're supposed to have liberty in this country and liberty includes the right to refuse medical interventions.' Orient believes no intervention is perfectly safe. She worries about possible side effects of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. She says, 'It's worried that MMR particularly could be related to the autism epidemic, particularly in combination with a lot of other vaccines.'"

Orient also said measles was not dangerous. And, of course in 2011, the AAPS had Wakefield as their keynote speaker at their annual convention.

I'm kinda surprised, actually, that the AAPS hasn't endorsed Wolfson or made him their next president.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 02 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Questioning vaccine mother:

There's a lot of information in your recounting, and I suspect that there will be equally detailed replies. I'm going to address just one bit.*

Even on vaers website is basically states not the trust the stats because they believe a high percentage of m.ds are not reporting adverse reactions.

VAERS suffers from underreporting, overreporting, and differential reporting. Antivaccine propagandists universally ignore the latter two, from what I've seen.

The raw entries in a passive surveillance system** don't actually tell you anything without further analysis.

Yet it is the case that surveillance for adverse effects can pick up, amplify, and quantify minute signals from such noise. This is what happened with, for example, Pandemrix and narcolepsy (PMID 24360892) and the two connections between H1N1 (1976 and 2009) and Guillain-Barré syndrome, neither of which was pediatric.

So, the only thing that I can think of that's close to those two is the withdrawal of Rotashield and the scrutiny going forward (e.g., PMID 23894308).

I dunno. Some people pay a lot of attention to when they might be wrong, and some are devoted to rooting around for decent-looking, confirmatory cigarette butts from the roadside.***

* Well, I thought I was.
** I have no idea why the title bar of this page includes "Smallpox Vaccine Issues."
*** Confederate General, Brautigan. It's not important.

^ I suppose it would have been much simpler to just have asked whether QVM's concern arose from the specific or the vague. It would be a hard sell to contend that the usual psychological corner-dwellers aren't specializing in the mixture.

Public health, damned if you do and damned if you don't, and it takes genuine cranks to aver gossamer-trigger offense out of intrusions upon the purity.

Dear Questioning vaccine mother,

I am the parent of two physically disabled children where potential reactions to vaccines were very real.

My advice to you is talk to your child's doctor about your concerns. There may be something, it it may have simply been a child's system reacting to the fever. The doctor will have seen many more children vaccinated than you have and will have a much clearer idea of what the range of normal reactions are. Don't solicit advice from random people on the internet, many of whom have no expertise at all and just an axe to grind.

We vaccinated, though not all on schedule, on the advice of our doctor and after he had researched the rare condition our children have.

In hindsight, had there been a chickenpox vaccine available, we would have had that too. Chickenpox for us was not a mild disease with a week in bed with some chicken soup and skin cream, but two weeks of absolute hell with virtually no sleep.

@ Questioning vaccine mother: I think you have been misled by some people at the health department and I cannot fathom how a call to the manufacturer of the DTaP-IPV-HiB vaccine was so unsatisfactory. What your baby experienced were within the normal range of reactions and the link that Kay Marie provided about "purple crying" should allay your fears.

You should have trust in your child's pediatrician and only visit reliable websites for information about vaccine safety and the childhood diseases which vaccines prevent:

I suggest you reread about the VAERS reporting system and the "supposed" under reporting of adverse events, to find that VAERS is a passive reporting system and loaded up with reports of "normal reactions" to vaccines such as pain, redness and warmth at the injection site and mild fevers in addition to more severe events (which are all investigated thoroughly and which are often determined to be not associated with a vaccination):

You could also look up "CDC Vaccine Safety" to see the many ways vaccine safety and efficacy are closely monitored from the time they are licensed and for as long as those vaccines are on the CDC Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule (Vaccine Safety Datalink and CISA network).

These flat worlder types want to live in a modern society, while holding anti-society beliefs. It makes sense to ban them from our society if they reject our protection. Note that Wolfson was vaccinated, he had to be in order to attend school where he was raised. So we give him a choice to ban him and his family to the deep desert, and ensure that his kids are not allowed to attend school, continuing on to college. Let them live with wild pigs, coyote and revel in their flat world.

By Joop deBruin (not verified) on 03 Feb 2015 #permalink

For what it is worth that I'd rather watch someone (or even multiple someones) die from my inaction than suffer from a deliberate action of mine does seem to be pretty ingrained into the human mind.


People, generally, when having to personally be involved in a death (rather than throw a remote switch) would rather watch a large number of people die. Even if they could have saved 5 by causing one death.

I'm also reminded of a friend of mine who was a much older brother than baby sat a lot of his younger siblings. He had a lot of experience with the range of fairly horrifying but completely normal things that all babies go through from time to time. Yes, every so often the screaming for hours, or listlessness, or projectile vomiting is something serious, but more often than not it is just one of those things you did, your parents did, your children will do and your grandchildren as well.

A pediatrician I heard interviewed was discussing how terribly ill a child can seem when it is really a nothing that will be over shortly. He got tired of being in the ER in the middle of the night with suddenly healthy children as cute as they were when cooing and playing as if nothing happened. His rule of thumb was other than something that was clearly an emergency (not breathing, no heartbeat) he'd have the parents drive the kid around the block three times and call back. If the child was still doing whatever scary symptom then he'd meet them at the ER. If the child had now been cured by the car ride he and the parents could all go back to bed.

I just stumbled across this guy (Wolfson), having not heard of him before today.. and found that he released his own statement.... It is probably the most terrible thing I have ever read:…

What a terrible human being, pro-vax or anti-vax - this guy should NEVER have gotten any sort of stage to have access to the public.

He is a "natural" cardiologist. He believes toxins can cause heart problems.

Go to his website. He's a "natural" cardiologist, who believes that toxins introduced to the body can cause heart problems. He's "holistic". Not surprised. And he's married to a chiropractor who introduced him to this new way of thinking about medicine. Snake oil.

Most adults are unvaccinated for pretty much all the diseases their boosters are long overdue. Gates says if we vaccinate we can decrease the population and prevent global warming. Start with the adults. Why are the adults voting for kids to get shots and not themselves first?

And he sells an alphabet-soup variety of vitamins and supplements on his website. How on earth do natural holistic purity proponents reconcile "natural" with "having to take a lot of pills each day?"

Gail: "He is a “natural” cardiologist. He believes toxins can cause heart problems."

I'd like to see his explanation of what toxin caused my son's obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a genetic thickening of the heart muscle, which can block valves).

Tom, I got the Tdap and influenza. Since I was born in 1957 and will be traveling to California in a few months I am planning on getting an MMR vaccine.

Why are the adults voting for kids to get shots and not themselves first?

Speak for yourself.

By Marry Me, Mindy (not verified) on 03 Feb 2015 #permalink


Yes, speak for yourself. I make sure I'm vaccinated against influenza and am up-to-date on the DTaP in part because I don't want to give either of those diseases to a child too young to be vaccinated, or to a person of any age who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Also, right now if you never leave the United States and don't work in healthcare, you have the right to risk your life and health by declining vaccination. That hasn't always been the case: laws have forced people to get vaccinated against smallpox, for example. There are quite a few countries you can't visit without a yellow fever vaccination, no matter how old you are.

Children aren't making their own decisions on vaccination: some adult or adults will decide for them. Unlike some so-called libertarians, I don't believe that parents own their children and have the right to sacrifice them on the altar of an anti-medicine and anti-federal-government ideology. (If someone hinted at sacrificing a child to Satan, everyone would be appropriately upset; sacrificing children to Ayn Rand or Mammon is apparently as American as apple pie.)

Lots of good responses to QVM, here's my 2 cents:

The medical profession needs to understand most parents WANT TO vaccinate their children but they are scared…. What we want is MORE INFORMATION!

With the highest respect, madam, I don't believe you want more information. You've probably got too much already. I realize that sounds like the ultimate concession to conspiracy (and doubtless some anti-vaxxer somewhere will misquote me), but allow me to explain.

Scientists are pedantic pretty much by nature. Their life's work depends heavily on the world around them being precisely defined, to a mathematical and linguistic degree that laypeople (such as you and I) find ludicrous. A scientist who exaggerates or downplays a probability isn't a very good scientist. However, this makes it easy to put scientists (and to an extent physicians) in a position where it looks like they're admitting to some kind of wrongdoing by playing on that natural pedantic tendency. So yes, the risk associated with vaccines is non-zero, in the strictest and most technical sense possible. So is the risk associated with breathing, but the consequences of *not* doing so are far, far more drastic than the tiny risks of continuing to inhale and exhale. Thus we breathe. And, by all available evidence, thus we vaccinate.

More information about vaccines will likely scare you more, not less, because the brain is easily hijacked by the tearful anecdotes you encounter along the way. In a way, scientists make this worse by refusing to play along and insisting on precision at the expense of a good story. There are no modern anecdotes about people who were saved by vaccines, because *not* getting an illness is an utterly uneventful thing.

What you really seem to want is to know with absolute certainty who to trust. You want full assurances that your doctor is infallibly directing you on the best possible course of action for your specific child, but frankly such assurances do not exist. Anyone who claims to offer such certainty is selling something.

By Shadowflash (not verified) on 03 Feb 2015 #permalink

I have said it a million times before and I will say it again: unless medically contraindicated, all vaccines should be mandatory and ON TIME. Failure to do so should result in absolute quarantine, fines and jail time. Also, something new: if you refuse vaccination, you pay higher health premiums and your insurance should not cover ANY treatment for any vaccine-preventable diseases.

Gates says if we vaccinate we can decrease the population and prevent global warming.

Better trolls needed.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 03 Feb 2015 #permalink

That hasn’t always been the case: laws have forced people to get vaccinated against smallpox, for example.

I really hope that this isn't a reference to Jacobson, which was about a fine.

Questioning Vaccine Mom - I had fears like you and just found every excuse in the book not to take my younger kids to get their shots - usually because they had a cold around the time they needed their shots. Besides, my kids didn't have any chronic conditions, and the anti-vaccine crowd's claims that healthy kids could fight off these illnesses easily seemed convincing. On August 4, 2014, my 3yo was completely healthy and happy, playing outside with his siblings. On 8/5-8/6, he developed a fever and a slight cough, on 8/7, he woke up crying and gray, in respiratory distress and had to be helicopter transported from a small hospital to a major children's hospital. After much panic and 3 back-to-back bronchoscopies trying to figure out why they "couldn't get air into his lung", he was diagnosed with what was probably Pneumococcal Pneumonia. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.

He spent 6 days completely sedated and intubated and 9 days in intensive care. Some may think this is just a case of "fear-mongering", but it really did happen to us, as hard as it is for me to believe. Trust me: you would NOT rather have your child go through a vaccine-preventable illness than get the shot; I'm still struggling with guilt over it all, even though he has fully-recovered. I used to fear the vaccines, but now I fear the diseases.

In doing research on the disease the other day, I found this article:, which includes this quote: "In the US alone, more people die from pneumococcal disease each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined."

You really don't want to be an advocate for vaccine-preventable diseases. I can't believe I am now.

By Still Shaking Mama (not verified) on 04 Feb 2015 #permalink

Of course adults have the right to *not* keep their vaccinations up to date. They also have the right to *not* enter countries where yellow fever is endemic & they could end up being carriers. And - I hope - once we have vaccines for malaria and dengue, those same people will have the right to *not* spread those, either.

Most adults are unvaccinated for pretty much all the diseases their boosters are long overdue.

Citation needed, tom: What percentage of all adults in the United States are no longer protected against ifnection by any of the diseases on the CDC's current recommended childhood vaccination schedule, because they have not received appropriate booster innoculations?

Anyone familiar with the process have any idea what the chances are of something coming from it?

I've already guessed an Advisory Letter at the most. Unless, of course, the mutual-referral setup with Prasad comes up and actually is as interesting as it looks at first glance.

^ For D.O.'s, the name is apparently "Letter of Concern" instead.

Dr. Jack is not an MD and he's a not ABMS board certified

By David Sorensen (not verified) on 04 Feb 2015 #permalink


Even if the choice of bankruptcy or death was an ethically acceptable punishment here (which I disagree with), that's stupid and counter-productive from a public health standpoint. Not everyone knows how bad things like measles and pertussis can be: there are few Americans who aren't aware of how expensive medical care can be. Your vindictive policy would increase disease transmission, including to children, immune-compromised people, and those whose vaccination didn't take or wore off sooner than expected.

It's not exactly difficult to verify that he is indeed certified in internal medicine with a subspecialty in cardiovascular disease.

Arizona medical licence look up will bring him up as the DO he claims he is and his board certifications.

Please forgive my ignorance, but since we have a vastly different system here in Australia re osteopaths would one of you fine people please explain how a DO in the US can be considered a cardiologist. I know that the DO qualification is considered the equivalent of an MD, but I'm at a loss as to how one then progresses to be a certified cardiologist.

My confusion may also stem from the fact that a cardiologist over here is a consultant physician who specialises in cardiology, of which cardiovascular disease is just one component.

DO's can do the same residencies as MDs in the USA. I don't think cardiology is significantly different, but heart disease is a big part of their specialty practice.

The good DO in question did residencies in internal medicine and then cardiology the way any MD who is going into cardiology would.

“…some antivaccine parents that their child should be their first concern and that they are not responsible for other people’s children.”

Aren't we, who vaccinate our children, being completely responsible for his unvaccinated children not getting sick because of herd immunity? As far as what both Dr's said I am appalled. Absolutely disgusted. I can't even wrap my head around such inhumanity and ignorance...

By NikkiSixx (not verified) on 04 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ Still Shaking Mama #102

Thank you so much for your post. This is what everybody needs to hear. Not just QVM, but some folks who think anyone who has failed to vax on schedule is a hopeless case. Again, there are anti-vaxers who are so convinced injections cause harm they will never be persuaded by even additional mountains of evidence to the contrary, and will never stop their crusade. But then there are folks like you and QVM who were/are just afraid and hesitant and maybe confused into passivity.

@ QVM #65
I understand what you mean about "MY CHILD". Basically your question is, 'OK, if some kids will be harmed by vax reactions, how do I know whether my child is one of them". And Sarah has given you the truth: you can't know because life doesn't work that way. Humans aren't smart enough to predict exact consequences of anything for individuals — we can only speak in probabilities. However, your request for 'more information' is still rational, and still points to failings of the medical information system – a lot of which, as Sarah noted, has to do with legal restrictions, but also lack of funds, and also, unfortunately, failure to understand your fears and deal with them in a compassionate manner.

So while any accurate additional information you might get will still come in probabilistic form, absent of 100% guarantees, I can imagine two things that would be helpful:

1) "Is there a group at higher risk for adverse reactions?" Some sort of genetic screening, other testing, or medical history evaluation that would narrow probabilities of vaccine reactions in specific cases. That probably does not exist now, and is unlikely to be forthcoming as the incentives to devote scare funds to the research are probably quite low.

2) More to the point in your case, information of the probability of the sort of reaction you daughter had after one injection indicating an even more severe reaction may occur after a subsequent shot — "What if my child has an adverse reaction (moderate to severe); is it safe for subsequent vaccines?" ChrisP and lilady are certainly correct that the experience of a physician who has seen many cases will be FAR more telling here than anything your find on the Web. But it would still be nice to have some 'harder' data that goes beyond anecdotal experience, e.g. 'only (X)% of children who experience symptoms such as 9 hours of screaming and 12 hours of wakelessness will be at risk for permanent injury or death" and that would seem to my layman's mind a more reasonable stat to complie.

You ask other reasonable questions:

3) "Why did my daughter scream for 9 hours? Why couldn’t I wake her for 12 hours, even to feed at 4 months old?" Sarah's answered that quite well. It's not at all uncommon, and nothing to be particularly worried about. The question I'd ask is "Why weren't you properly informed that your daughter might scream for 9 hours, and spend 12 wakeless hours, but that's not to be unexpected or a matter for deep concern?" That certainly seems like a failure on the part of the medical establishment to me.

4) "When do I take my child to the ER for potential adverse reactions?" Ditto. How can that not be part of a well-written handout delivered to every parent when their kid gets a vaccination? KayMarie's anecdote about the pediatrician strikes me as deeply callous, though not necessarily to the fault of the Dr. I don't have kids, but I can imagine how angry I could be if I was worried, called in distress, and heard, 'drive the kid around the block and see if it goes away.' I mean, it seems like it's actually quite sensible advice, but delivered at the wrong time in the wrong context.

It's hard to read your post w/o thinking it wasn't 'information' you needed, but compassion, understanding and someone with the time and ability to discuss stuff with you properly. If you're not getting that, that's not you're fault to begin with, but the moral of the tale would seem to be going to the Internet will likely only make it worse, and a better action for a concerned parent is to find another doctor.

Again, i think I know exactly what you meant, but the bottom line is a mother could lose her child to whooping cough caught from your unvaccinated daughter, and I doubt you want to bring up your child with that on your conscience.

@ Minions
Re: QVM's question "“When do I take my child to the ER for potential adverse reactions?”
I just searched the CDC site for ANY info on what sort of MMR reaction would warrant any kind of contact of contact with Dr. or hospital. If there's anything there, I couldn't find it in 15 minutes of clicking. The information hierarchy on that site is atrocious. It's like the designers were tasked to scare frightened patients even further.

It's easy to say "don't trust the Internet' but if you can't get your kid to wake up, and you're a conscientious sort, you might check the web to see 'is this normal, or should I call a doctor?' And if you Google 'vaccine reaction' the top hit is a CDC page with no advice and kind scary lists of side effects, and most of the rest of the hits are the anti-vax scare sites...

So, yeah: "No one in the medical field is taking ownership for their lack of communication with the fears of the public, simply saying the vaccines are safe because I said so isn’t enough." Is pretty much right on. Changed the search field to 'child vaccine reaction', and found an actual recommendation from a real hospital:

When to Call Your Doctor for Immunization Reactions
Call 911 If…
• Your child has difficulty with breathing or swallowing
• Your child is not moving or very weak
Your child is unresponsive or difficult to awaken

So QVM did consult with her doctor — who punted. She did call the health unit: where the staffer just went to the same Google pages she'd probably been to while she listened to this incompetence all the phone, and for all the due diligence she seems to have exercised none told he she was supposed to call 911 immediately if he daughter wouldn't wake up..

Atlanta, I think we have a problem.

Maybe it is wrong but I always thought part of the doc's job was to triage the calls and they fall in three categories

1. Always go to the ER as the chances are it is a something needing immediate treatment (although I will say of the 6 times I've been in the ER in my life for things I would think anyone would put in this category 3X the symptoms either resolved in the car or once 2 minutes after they checked me in)

2. Never go to the ER, it is never serious and if it is still bothering you in the morning make a walk in appointment to see if they can do something to make you feel less miserable or shorten the duration of misery.

3. It might be possibly be a something, but the majority of the time it is a nothing.

So a brief pause to see if it self-resolves is reasonable, and having the parents get the likely not so cooperative kid bundled up and in the car during the wait time so that if it isn't over they are able to hit the road immediately. But if it is just going to self-resolve in 15 minutes they don't have to pay $500 or more dollars (my best insurance was $500 a pop to go to the ER) for a doc to look at you and say your kids fine go home.

What would you have him do when it is a case of in 5-30 minutes it will probably be over but every so often it isn't.

@ Origami, I have no doubt the lowest common denominator will cheer her on. She's in good company with Wolfson.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Feb 2015 #permalink

Oh, the poor, poor dear. Being "famous" not all it's cracked up to be, eh?

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 05 Feb 2015 #permalink

my best insurance was $500 a pop to go to the ER

Jeezums. My worst was $50 if you weren't admitted.

Apparently the paleo-doc is beginning to feel the heat.

"The board says it's received two complaints and is investigating."

Hey, those can be accounted for rather straightforwardly.

@ shay, and it looks as though Sears and Gordon have suddenly gotten camera-shy as well. I'm certain they'll get to strut like peacocks soon enough when a new bill to eliminate non-medical exemptions in California is proposed.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Origami - Unfortunately the way this militant conspiracy theorist feels is how most feel. What they don't understand is the only reason her child is safe is because of herd immunity. As soon as the percentage is imbalanced her child will be the first to catch the deadly disease. I can't understand the mentality of these people who refuse to listen to scientific facts. Thanks for sharing that and making my head explode! JK!

By NikkiSixx (not verified) on 05 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ Kay Marie
Thank you for your information re DO residencies etc.
Totally different to our osteopaths down under.


I have no doubt the lowest common denominator will cheer her on.

As it turns out, "him."

As it turns out, “him.”

Ah, my bad. I was thrown by the self-referential "b!tch". And honestly, after reading that bit of self-congratulatory shite about being a b!tch, it didn't occur to me to ascertain the sex/gender of such an obvious wanker.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Feb 2015 #permalink

Just looked at the Wayback version of the deleted post (nope, he still hasn't figured it out), and lookie here, a Quack Miranda Warning!

From Wolfson's site:


© Copyright 2015 Dr Jack Wolfson Integrative Cardiology Blog. All Rights Reserved

Medical Disclaimer

This site provides materials for information and education only. It is not to be considered medical advice. We encourage you to contact your physician for any of the health issues discussed here. The field of medicine changes on a regular basis; therefore, we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided on this site, nor do we guarantee that the information represents the most currently accepted standards.

- See more at:…

By Phoenix Woman (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

Just when you think the "journalists" at AoA cannot sink any lower, along comes the Media Editor with a post defending Dr. Jack Wolfson and his cruel remarks about the parents of young Eli, who are concerned about Eli contracting measles.

Anne Dachel is shocked...that Wolfson's insensitive remarks were not well received by Orac and other science bloggers. Scroll down to view the short Skype interview, where Dr. Wolfson provides us with information about protecting his children by not exposing them to toxins in vaccines.…