Sandy Reider: There is no measles crisis

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Sandy Reider, MD, who is the medical adviser to the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice. He lives in Lyndonville.

While vaccination rates have never been higher, Vermont physicians and politicians are claiming that Vermont has a “disturbing low childhood vaccination rate,” stirring fear over measles, painting a perfect picture of vaccines always working and never causing harm, and finally concluding: “The time is now to mandate vaccination.”

However, a close examination of the Vermont 2013-2014 school data reveals that vaccination rates in Vermont are actually quite high, not “alarmingly low” as many allege. Our exemption statistics are misleadingly skewed by the number of children enrolled in kindergarten with “provisional” exemptions (i.e., those kindergartners who are not yet caught up with all the required vaccinations on autumn enrollment, but intend to be so within six months). With this in mind, the first grade numbers (96 percent MMR coverage in first grade public schools, rising to 98 percent by 12th grade) are actually more accurate proxies for vaccine coverage in kindergarten. Also, the number of students claiming philosophical exemptions has really not increased so much since the sharp jump from 2.5 percent to 5 percent following addition of chickenpox and hepatitis B to the schedule some years ago. If a child opts out of just a single vaccine they are, misleadingly, lumped into the philosophical exemption statistic with children who decline several or all vaccines.

As a primary care physician who has been practicing in Vermont for 44 years, I am old enough to remember how common measles used to be, and how little fear or alarm was associated with it. While never mentioned in vaccine promotional brochures, mortality in the United States from most childhood infectious diseases had already dropped precipitously (98 percent decline in the case of measles) prior to the use of vaccines. Better nutrition, refrigeration, sanitation, clean water, less crowding, and so on were most decisive, not vaccines. Measles in parts of Africa and other developing countries, or in overcrowded refugee camps, resembles more the difficult living conditions seen in the U.S. in the early 1900s, and is potentially dangerous. The risk/benefit may favor vaccination in those situations, but that is a very long way from Vermont today. Here, measles carries little risk for the average well-nourished child. Over the past decade there have been about 1,500 reported cases of measles in the U.S. (one in Vermont in 2011), zero deaths, but 88+ deaths following MMR vaccination, and over $3 billion awarded by federal court to parents of all vaccine-injured children.

There are also some problems with the measles vaccine itself. Cancer centers, such as Johns Hopkins and Sloan-Kettering, warn their immune-compromised patients to avoid any contact with individuals who have recently received any vaccine, like the MMR, containing live virus, because these vaccinated individuals can shed vaccine virus for weeks to months, putting others with compromised immune systems at risk. Measles vaccination may cause “vaccine measles” that is indistinguishable from wild measles. There is at least one reported case of a vaccinated child transmitting vaccine-strain measles to their healthy sibling. Many may recall that it was for this reason that the live Sabin polio vaccine was abandoned in this country in 2000 in favor of Salk’s inactivated polio vaccine.

While wild measles confers robust lifelong immunity, some individuals completely fail to respond to the vaccine (2-10 percent primary failure), while immunity in others wanes significantly (secondary vaccine failure), so that measles is increasingly a problem for adults, with many affected who have been fully vaccinated (note: it is now acknowledged by the CDC and our health department that vaccine failure was the driver behind the recent whooping cough outbreak, not unvaccinated children).

A hundred or so cases of measles in the U.S. does not by any stretch represent a public health crisis, though mainstream media coverage, thriving on sensationalism, would have us think so.


Also, because vaccine immunity fails or wanes over time, women vaccinated in childhood often lack sufficient antibodies against measles by the time they reach childbearing age, and as a result cannot pass this crucial protection on to their nursing infants. Ironically, more very young vulnerable infants are now at increased risk for measles as a direct consequence of the vaccination campaign against measles. “Herd immunity” here is a misnomer, better call it “vaccine herd effect.” With an ever-growing number of adults in whom vaccine immunity has failed or waned, it is easy to predict that there will be more and larger measles outbreaks in the future, blamed, incorrectly, entirely on the unvaccinated.

Finally, consider the following, not so uncommon, predicament: immediately following a particular vaccination(s), the child has a prolonged fever, a shrill cry, and loses muscle tone, but after a few days or weeks appears to recover. The parent then, rightly, determines not to repeat that vaccine, but is unable to obtain a medical exemption (parents report these are impossible to get because contraindications are increasingly narrow in definition). Lacking support from their doctor, and without access to the philosophical vaccine exemption, what choice remains for such a caring parent or guardian … homeschool, move to another state, jail ?

A hundred or so cases of measles in the U.S. does not by any stretch represent a public health crisis, though mainstream media coverage, thriving on sensationalism, would have us think so. And vested interests pushing mandatory vaccination, so willing to ignore the ethics of medical informed consent, appear delighted to take advantage of this.

Let’s support Gov. Shumlin’s decision to leave well enough alone, maintaining the critical right of parents to make medical decisions for their children, and adults for themselves.

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  • roger tubby

    From what I have seen the preponderance of low measles vaccination rates are in private schools. Perhaps these schools are frequented by parents who buy into the don’t vaccinate camp.

    If you are willing to keep your children segregated from the public schools, would you also please keep them and yourselves out of contact with the rest of the population?

    While Dr. Reider thinks it’s OK to take the Salk polio vaccine, where does he draw the line? Tetanus, diptheria, cholera, smallpox?

  • Kathy Hennessy

    Dr Reider, if you have been practicing for 44 years then you are not old enough to remember when measles used to strike fear into Americans. MMR vaccination began in the US 52 years ago and immediately resulted in a dramatic decrease in measles infections. Please remember that part of your obligation as a doctor is to understand correct medical history.

    To refresh your memory, read here:

    As for the claim about shedding, you should be more up to date on research before you write something. There are no cases on record of anyone getting measles from a vaccine shedding off another person. Zero. Measles vaccine shedding is theoretical.

    Furthermore, MMR has been shown to confer immunity for life to most all patients. Therefore, most adults are, indeed, immune to measles. You can consult the CDC pink book for that data, if you so choose.

    Finally, if you are an MD, you should know that vaccines are expected to give the patient a reaction. That shows the vaccines is working. Only severe reactions are possibly a contraindication to further vaccination. You did not describe a severe reaction in your letter, therefore of course doctors will not sign off on that being a medical exemption.

    I am appalled at your attempt to give medical advice here.

    • Jeff Moody

      No vaccine shedding?
      “This is the first report of measles transmission from a twice vaccinated individual. The clinical presentation and laboratory data of the index were typical of measles in a naïve individual.”

      • John Greenberg

        Jeff Moody:

        You quote the first sentence of the conclusion, but not the remainder. Here’s the whole thing. “This is the first report of measles transmission from a twice vaccinated individual. The clinical presentation and laboratory data of the index were typical of measles in a naïve individual. Secondary cases had robust anamnestic antibody responses. No tertiary cases occurred despite numerous contacts. This outbreak underscores the need for thorough epidemiologic and laboratory investigation of suspected measles cases regardless of vaccination status. ”

        Where does it say that this is a case of vaccine shedding? The “index individual” had been immunized twice, but as I read this report, it doesn’t say anything about WHY the individual was spreading the virus.

        I’m not a doctor or an expert. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to what I’m missing here.

        • Jeff Moody

          I’m not a doctor or an expert. But it seems to me that if the source of the outbreak was a fully-vaccinated individual, then that means that the virus in all likelihood came from the vaccine. Someone else may be able to clarify.

    • Laura Condon

      Kathy, let me help you with your math in your opening statement. If the good doctor has been practicing medicine for 44 years we can pretty safely assume he’s at least 65, certainly old enough to have had measles and know that no one used to be stricken by fear because of it.

    • I know very little about medicine. But I know about logic. If Mr. Reider is worried about recently-vaccinated people infecting a person with a weak immune system, I would think he’d be worried about a plain old measles case, from a foolish not-vaccinated person, much more. But that does not fit into the crazy anti-vaxx story. Mr. Reider needs to go to an old cemetery and think about all those seven year olds and fifteen year olds and three-year-olds who are lying six feet below his feet because there were no vaccinations. He will get free publicity from the fringe, as long as vaccination rates stay reasonably high. If vaccination rates drop too much and we start burying seven year olds again, there is blood on his hands. In the mean time, smart people vaccinate, and those that are too stupid or lazy or cowardly or cheap can get a free ride from people like me. Ideally, they could all move somewhere and live together, insulated from the sane world, and see the horror, and get smart.

  • Jeff Moody

    Thank you Dr. Reider.

  • ray giroux

    Thank you Dr. Reider – finally someone with common sense and knowledge has finally spoken.

    It is called evolution. We are supposed to grow a strong and vibrant immune system, from generation to generation – building upon each generation to resist these diseases.

    Unfortunately, in our modern society, our food has become less nutritious, drugs have become more invasive – attacking the immune systems and changing our ability to fend off sickness.

    It all boils down to the money.

    It all boils down to our Government taking more and more control of our lives – spurred on by the sensationalist Main Stream Media – funded by BIG PHARMA.

    It is just plain wrong for our Government to tell us we have to put these drugs into our bodies – morally and ethically wrong.

    If measles is such a huge threat to our country, why isn’t Mr. Obama doing something about our open boarders? Many sick people are being allowed into our country – unchecked. Why isn’t this being done in a controlled and lawful manner?

    • Jamie Carter

      ” Many sick people are being allowed into our country – unchecked.”

      Actually immigrants are required to prove they have been vaccinated…

      • Krisann Robles

        LOL! Not the illegal ones.

    • Amy Whitman

      I agree with Dr. Reider, but I would like to point out to Ray that instead of taking a position of being anti-government, you might find it more useful to look at corporate corruption of our regulatory agencies and our legislators. Also look at the revolving door between corporations and those agencies. Corporate executives routinely move between corporations to civil service, where they work on behalf of the industries they’re supposed to be regulating and back out to the corporations again. This practice has broken public health and safety all over the place!

  • Jeff Moody

    We are afraid of the unvaccinated, but we have no apprehensions about the CDC. Is it because we believe there’s been an open and honest debate and they’ve come down firmly on the side of vaccines safe-at-any-speed? Not according to Dr. Bernadine Healy, who as Director of the NIH said in 2008 that there was a “culture of censorship” regarding the vaccine/autism debate. Is it because we’re assured there is no conflict of interest between the desire for vaccine sales and the studies the CDC produces? With the revolving door policy between the pharmaceutical industry and the CDC I don’t see how we can be assured of unbiased research. Maybe we should have faith in the CDC because of the numerous studies that have found thimerosal to be perfectly safe in vaccines– it’s sort of like lemon juice– and we can now give it to pregnant women and infants? Not according to toxicologist George Lucier, who said that in 1999 “when I was Chair of the White House-directed interagency review of methylmercury toxicity and exposure, it was revealed that ethylmercury was used as a preservative in vaccines injected into infants. It seemed unbelievable to me and many of my colleagues that infants would be deliberately injected with alkylmercury, known for decades to be a developmental neurotoxin.” His full testimony is informative: But we can be reassured that the level of thimerosal in vaccines is far too small to be harmful, correct? Not according to Frank Engley, PhD, who said that it’s toxic in extremely small amounts: Nor is this idea backed up by the findings of Lucier and Haley in a 2013 letter to the HHS, FDA, and CDC to the effect that 16 mcg (less than the 25mcg currently in some flu shots) was neurotoxic when given prenatally: I don’t believe we should be pointing the finger at those who refuse vaccines. I think it’s high time we looked more closely at those who want to push more and more vaccines on us, and who refuse to remove a known neurotoxin despite the recommendations of the AAP and PHS in 1999 that thimerosal be removed from all vaccines.

  • Thank you Vermont Digger for bringing balance to this difficult discussion. It should be a discussion. We don’t all need to agree but we need to stop demonizing & shaming people who want to maintain some control over what commercially manufactured substances go into their bodies. We have to consider that some, not all, of the drugs suggested are promoted by way of fear based public policy and pharmaceutical industry pressure. I work from the premise that reasoned discussion in a free society can hold respect for all points of view and back us off the cliff of a black and white “you’re either with us or against us” framework. I’m generally disappointed in the liberal press for jumping on the bandwagon to shut down deeper levels of research and discussion on this issue.

  • Kathy Nelson

    Interesting that Dr. Reider points out how those being treated for cancer (chemotherapy and irradiation) have had their immune systems destroyed and are susceptible to vaccine produced disease. Everyone should look at the case of Cassandra Callender, a seventeen year old who has been forcibly incarcerated in a hospital and forced to undergo chemo for a questionable diagnosis of Hodgkins lymphoma.

    This young woman and her mother began to seek alternative treatments for her illness and were attacked by doctors, CT DCF and the CT courts. Cassandra was forcibly removed from her home, drugged, restrained, had a surgical drug port implanted into her chest, and then was pumped full of poisons that destroyed her immune system, that same immune system that she needs to fight a possible cancer in her body. She has been kept isolated, her cell and room phones removed and she remains under guard with only a few visits from her mother allowed.

    This is what happens when you buck an arrogant and abusive medical system that is allowed, by law, to injure and kill children to maintain a profit margin. The doctors and hospitals that did this to Cassandra will be well compensated by taxpayers and will make a profit on the chemicals used to poison Cassandra (which will be bought wholesale and then be resold to Cassandra with a massive mark-up).

    Cassandra is more likely to die from the violently forced treatment than the illness and even if she survives her body is now permanently damaged by the infusion of poisons into her organs.

    This is one of many examples of how far the medical/legal/big pharma will go. You should remember Justina Pelletier as well:

    Think on it people.
    Thank you Dr. Reider.

  • Thomas Johnson

    Excellent, well thought out article. A very important distinction between ‘herd immunity’ and ‘vaccine herd effect’, I hope it catches on.

  • Timothy D. MacLam

    “As a primary care physician who has been practicing in Vermont for 44 years, I am old enough to remember how common measles used to be, and how little fear or alarm was associated with it.”

    I am glad you are not my physician.

    My father lost his hearing from the measles. My brother was so sick that our doctor was called to the house. His high fever was a mater of serious concern.

    At their best, vaccinations protect people from people who do not care what their children might pass on to others.

    • Jeff Moody

      The issue isn’t that measles may have complications. The issue, in part, is that whereas your story is believed, the same courtesy is not extended to parental reports of vaccine injuries, such as this one:
      “My daughter was perfectly healthy until she received the first Gardasil vaccination at 18 years of age on March 23, 2008. Within 24 hours of the vaccine she began complaining of a terrible backache which lasted about a week. Then she started having fatigue, stomach aches, vision problems and overall body aches. She had her first seizure within a week after these symptoms. She got the second shot on May 6, 2008 and the symptoms worsened and so did the full grand-mal, tonic-clonic seizures. She also started having migraines, tremors and bruising.

      “The seizures increased to daily, sometimes more. We spent the summer of 2008 calling ambulances and in the hospital … where they said the seizures were non-epileptic. She also had several UTIs which she’d never had in her life. In July, she had a cluster of seizures (4) and almost died on my living room floor when she stopped breathing and turned blue.”

  • Jeff Moody

    How will forcing vaccination help? Let’s say all the unvaccinated kids get homeschooled. So does that mean they never go to the grocery store, or concerts, or parks, or ballgames, or the post office, and their parents never go to town meetings (or the grocery store)? And you never go to airports? Or the children’s museum or the playground? And you never walk down the street for fear of the unwashed? Never go to restaurants? How about all the adults whose immunity has worn off? Let’s just calm down about this. Some of us trust the government to guide us and direct us, others not so much, and that in itself is something worth preserving without forcing us all to be true believers in a policy some of us are persuaded is deeply misguided.

    • David Bell

      “How will forcing vaccination help?”

      It reduces the number of people walking around at greater risk of getting and spreading an illness.

      “And you never go to airports? Or the children’s museum or the playground? And you never walk down the street for fear of the unwashed? Never go to restaurants?”

      No more so than people refused to go out when willfully ignorant cranks decide to ignore the risks of smoking and expose those around them to higher risks of lung cancer by smoking in those places.

      By your “logic” we should let the willfully ignorant smoke anywhere they wish since they refuse to accept established medical facts about the dangers of second hand smoking.

      “forcing us all to be true believers in a policy some of us are persuaded is deeply misguided”

      The right to put others in danger because you have persuaded yourself of absurd conspiracy theories based on junk science is not a freedom worth preserving.

      The willfully ignorant can convince themselves of anything. Displaying that ignorance as something to proud of should not confer any special rights to anyone.

      • Jeff Moody

        The real danger is that a massive PR compaign is designed to persuade us that vaccines are perfectly safe, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. The real danger is that citizens and medical professionals believe anything the CDC, an institution extremely cozy with the pharmaceutical industry, says– an industry that has no liability for vaccine harm and so it gets all of the profits and none of the liability (paid by taxpayers thanks to the VICP.) The real danger is that the pharmaceutical companies have snuggled up to the medical profession from the day they entered medical school, and their influence resounds through funding of medical studies, foundations, political campaigns, lobbying, advertising, and sales reps that are constantly at physician’s door. The real danger is that citizens are blissfully unaware of the hold the pharmaceutical companies have on the science.

      • Jeff Moody

        The point is, you may want to take away philosophical exemption, but many of us will still refuse to vaccinate our children. My children, for example, will get vaccinated over my dead body, and I can assure you there are parents out there who feel the same way. We already have “legitimate” unvaccinated among us: measles vaccine failures, older people whose vaccine has worn off, people who may be visiting from other countries or other states, children who haven’t been caught up. It’s high time to stop blaming parents for refusing vaccination, and time to look carefully at why they are. Here is the Safeminds commentary on the science:

      • Jeff Moody

        No, by my logic we would not “let the willfully ignorant smoke anywhere they wish since they refuse to accept established medical facts about the dangers of second hand smoking.” By my logic, we would kindly ask that the medical profession review the established medical facts on the dangers of ethylmercury, and then kindly alert the public to these dangers, and then kindly refrain from giving ehtylmercury to our children, as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service recommended back in 1999. And while they’re at it, they can kindly explain why they’ve sat back all these years and let this happen.

        • David Bell

          “By my logic, we would kindly ask that the medical profession review the established medical facts on the dangers of ethylmercury”

          This has already been done numerous times. You simply don’t like the results.

          The same is true of the willfully ignorant who think their ignorance gives them the right to ignore anti-smoking laws because they reject medical science.

          If you don’t like the comparison, stop being willfully ignorant.

          • Jeff Moody

            No, not only do you not like the results, but you haven’t even taken to time to look at them. That’s what I call willfully ignorant. I keep urging people to look at the science because the real science– not the muddled population studies offered up by the CDC– is clear.

          • David Bell

            Seems my last reply was lost.

            To re-iterate: I neither like nor dislike the results. I simply choose not to ignore the work of credible medical experts because a handful of cranks, quacks and charlatans disagree.

            It is truly sad that this is your definition of “real science”.

  • Jeff Moody

    And here’s another testimony. Yes, I keep at it because I just don’t want anybody to get away with saying that vaccines are “incredibly safe” which is hogwash of the first order, and it’s high time Vermonters woke up about this:
    “Lauren’s dates of vaccinations were 2/4/08 (Lot #1448U); 4/16/08 (Lot #1757U); 8/18/08 (Lot #0067X). With her second Gardasil vaccination, Lauren also received Varicella 165U and Menactra U2559AA. Symptoms over this past year and a half have included: enlarged liver, gall bladder attacks, severe nausea, chest pain, severe abdominal pain, severe headaches, brain freezes, stomach ulcer, sensitivity to light.

    The horrible realization is that VAERS is not accurate. Prior to Gardasil, I did not know what VAERS was. When my daughter became ill, I found out about VAERS by research performed on the internet. My daughter’s doctors did not even know what it was and they did not file a report until I filed one myself and told them they were obligated by law to file a report. How can the #’s be accurate if doctors don’t file the reports? I even had to explain what VAERS is. Shouldn’t VAERS and the adverse side effects of vaccines be taught in medical school or shouldn’t the doctors receive periodic newsletters from the CDC explaining VAERS and its importance?

    “The CDC and FDA are not doing their jobs. If they were, after tens of thousands of people died from Merck’s VIOXX, how was Gardasil so quickly pushed into the marketplace? Someone with the proper authority needs to research this and get a full understanding as to how this could happen when Merck had already been proven to be at fault for so many deaths.”

  • jackie Simons

    Thank you Dr. Reiner for examining this measles controversy in a sane, balanced light.

  • sandy reider md

    I am glad my commentary stimulated some debate … we surely need to have one. As long as vaccine manufacturers, the CDC, and medical trade organizations can confine the vaccine discussion to pertussis, measles, etc, they can avoid talking about the likely connection of the current vaccine schedule to the ongoing epidemic of chronic disease in children. The mantra that the science on that score has been settled is not true. Furthermore, that sort of statement is antithetical to true scientific inquiry. They are, to put it bluntly, afraid of an honest discussion, as it could potentially do irreparable harm to the vaccine paradigm.

    • John Greenberg

      Dr. Reider:

      “The mantra that the science on that score has been settled is not true. Furthermore, that sort of statement is antithetical to true scientific inquiry.”

      I realize that an op-ed piece is hardly the place for a plethora of references to scientific literature, but as you can see, the comments columns work a bit differently.

      Since I understand your point to be that there is legitimate debate in the scientific community about “the likely connection of the current vaccine schedule to the ongoing epidemic of chronic disease in children,” perhaps you’d be so kind as to provide us a few links to peer-reviewed scientific literature which provide some evidence that there is indeed real controversy in the scientific community about this. Thanks in advance.

      • Search engines are really easy to use. My suggestion is that you put one to work in search of information regarding adverse effects of adjuvants, and preservatives in vaccines that have been shown to have damaging effects.

        No one should have to do someone else’s research.

        • John Greenberg

          James WIlley:

          “No one should have to do someone else’s research.” As a very general principle, I would fully agree with you, but I also see no point in re-inventing the wheel. Searching for information on the web is time-consuming; I know it because I do it every day. That’s fine when someone else hasn’t already done the very same set of searches, but it makes very little sense when they have. Arguments ad absurdum are perfectly legitimate; ad fatigationem, considerably more questionable.

          Anyway, in this instance, that’s NOT what I asked. It’s not MY research (or lack thereof) that my comment addressed.

          I am asking Dr. Reider to share the results of HIS research, because he is relying here on his credentials as an MD to make a set of contentious allegations. (If there were no debate, there would have been no need for his essay in the first place.) It’s perfectly reasonable to demand of someone asking us to rely on his expert knowledge, and who therefore has presumably already done the research, to provide links to some of what we’re being asked to believe at his behest.

          That’s especially so since his assertions appear to contradict what appears to be the widely held views of most of the medical community. Below my original comment, Curtis Sinclair provided a list of 100 articles directly contradicting Dr. Reider’s statements. To me, that simply enhances the need for Dr. Reider to present a real SCIENTIFIC basis for his statements, rather than simply relying on his expertise.

          Accordingly, I reiterate my request.

          • Just punch in “no link between vaccines and autism” in your favorite search engine and you’ll get all the “supporting” links to your premise that you could ever hope to copy/paste into a forum like this.

            My guess is that those were the key words used to generate that forum hogging list.

            As long as the mega profit motive exists for the producers there will continue to be heavy influence and lobbying to continue their use in current adjuvant/additive laden form. And we all will continue to bear the resultant burden.

          • John Greenberg

            James WIlley:

            Three points.

            1) Your comment doesn’t respond in any way to the point I raised. Nor has Dr. Reider been moved to do so.

            Since you’re contesting the advice of most medical authorities — state, national and international — as Dr. Reider is here, it’s reasonable to request the evidence on which you’re relying. Put more baldly, why should I believe Dr. Reider rather than the CDC, Dr. Chen, etc.? Dr. Reider presumably believes he has good answers to that question. All I’m asking is that he provide them.

            2) That’s particularly the case because, as you can see below in the exchange between Jeff Moody (Feb 26 @ 4:05 PM) and Curtis Sinclair (Feb 27 @ 9:47 AM), it has often been my experience as a reader of these comments columns that those linking to articles misconstrue entirely what they actually say. In many cases, articles have been cited as saying precisely the opposite of what they do, in fact, say. Again, as readers, we have the right to check things out for ourselves.

            3) You do your own argument no favors when you write: “Just punch in “no link between vaccines and autism” in your favorite search engine and you’ll get all the “supporting” links to your premise that you could ever hope to copy/paste into a forum like this.” The question is not whether there are plenty of articles suggesting that the vaccines are safe, the question is whether there are ANY with scientific merit which claim otherwise. The fact that it’s as easy as you say to provide such a list suggests the problem is a real one, as does the absence of any sources for the opposing view from Dr. Reider after my two requests. (Pace Jeff Moody, but you’ve already admitted that you’re not an authority; Dr. Reider has come here representing that he IS.)

  • Curtis Sinclair

    There are over 100 studies that show no link between vaccines and autism. I found the list here:

    Albizzati, A., Moré, L., Di Candia, D., Saccani, M., Lenti, C. Normal concentrations of heavy metals in autistic spectrum disorders. Minerva Pediatrica. 2012. Feb;64(1):27-31

    Afzal, MA., Ozoemena, LC., O’Hare, A., Kidger, KA., Bentley, ML., Minor, PD. Absence of detectable measles virus genome sequence in blood of autistic children who have had their MMR vaccination during the routine childhood immunization schedule of UK. Journal Medical Virology. 2006 May;78(5):623-30.

    Ahearn WH. What Every Behavior Analyst Should Know About the “MMR Causes Autism” Hypothesis. Archive of Behavior Analysis in Practice. 2010. Spring;3(1):46-50.

    Allan, GM., Ivers, N. The autism-vaccine story: fiction and deception? Canadian Family Physician. Oct 2010; 56(10): 1013.

    Andrews, N., Miller, E., Grant, A., Stowe, J., Osborn, V., & Taylor, B. (2004). Thimerosal exposure in infants and developmental disorders: a retrospective cohort study in the United Kingdom does not support a causal association. Pediatrics, 114, 584-591.

    Andrews, N., Miller, E., Taylor, B., Lingam, R., Simmons, A., Stowe, J., Waight, P. Recall bias, MMR and autism. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Dec 2002; 87(6): 493–494.

    Baird, G., Pickles, A., Simonoff, E., Charman, T., Sullivan, P., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., Meldrum, D., Afzal, M., Thomas, B., Jin, L., Brown, D. Measles vaccination and antibody response in autism spectrum disorders. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2008 Oct;93(10):832-7. doi: 10.1136/adc.2007.122937. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

    Berger, BE., Navar-Boggan, AM., Omer, SB. Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination–United States, 2001-2010. BMC Public Health. 2011 May 19;11:340. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-340.

    Black, C., Kaye, JA. Relation of childhood gastrointestinal disorders to autism: nested case-control study using data from the UK General Practice Research Database. British Medical Journal. 2002; 325(7361):419-21.

    Bower, H. New research demolishes link between MMR vaccine and autism. British Medical Journal. 1999. Jun 19;318(7199):1643.

    Chen, W., Landau, S., Sham, P., & Fombonne, E. (2004). No evidence for links between autism, MMR and measles virus. Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 543-553.

    Christie, B. Scottish expert group finds no link between MMR and autism. British Medical Journal, 2002. May 11;324(7346):1118.

    Clements, CJ., McIntyre, PB. When science is not enough – a risk/benefit profile of thiomersal-containing vaccines. Expert Drug Opinion Safety. 2006. Jan;5(1):17-29.

    Dales, L., Hammer, S. J., & Smith, N. J. (2001). Time trends in autism and in MMR immunization coverage in California. JAMA, 285(9), 1183-1185.

    De Los Reyes, EC. Autism and immunizations: separating fact from fiction. JAMA Neurology. 2010;67(4):490-492. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.57.

    DeWilde, S., Carey, IM., Richards, N., Hilton, SR., Cook, DG. Do children who become autistic consult more often after MMR vaccination? British Journal of General Practice. 2001 Mar;51(464):226-7.

    Demicheli, V., Jefferson, T., Rivetti, A., & Price, D. (2005). Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 4. (a review of 31 studies)

    DeStefano, F. MMR vaccine and autism: a review of the evidence for a causal association. Molecular Psychiatry. 2002;7 Suppl 2:S51-2.

    DeStefano, F., Chen, RT. Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: No epidemiological evidence for a causal association. The Journal of Pediatrics. 2000 Jan;136(1):125.

    DeStefano, F., Bhasin, T. K., Thompson, W. W., Yeargin-Allsopp, M., & Boyle, C. (2004). Age at first measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in children with autism and school-matched control subjects: a population-based study in metropolitan Atlanta. Pediatrics, 113(2), 259-266.

    DeStefano F., Price CS., Weintraub, ES. Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism. Journal of Pediatrics. 2013 Aug;163(2):561-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Mar 30.

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    • Jeff Moody

      And here are papers supporting a link between thimerosal and neurological disorders:
      Many of these are toxicological studies (often ignored by the CDC) whereas many of the no-link studies are population-based.

      • Curtis Sinclair

        I just checked one of your papers. It actually shows that thimersol, even in massive doses had no adverse effect. “Squirrel monkeys were dosed intranasally with saline or thiomersal (sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate, 0.002 percent w/v) daily for six months. The total amounts of thiomersal given during the six months period were 418 mug (low dose group) and 2280 mug (high dose group). This was equivalent to 207 and 1125 mug mercury. The dose differential was achieved by more frequent administration to the high dose group. Mercury concentrations were significantly raised over control values in brain (high dose group only), liver, muscle and kidney, but not in blood. Concentrations were highest in the kidney, moderate in liver and lowest in brain and muscle. Much of the mercury was present in the inorganic form (37-91 percent). No evidence of toxicity due to thiomersal was seen in any animal.”
        Another: “Administration of vaccines containing thiomersal does not seem to raise blood concentrations of mercury above safe values in infants. Ethylmercury seems to be eliminated from blood rapidly via the stools after parenteral administration of thiomersal in vaccines.”

        And it is easy to get vaccines without thimerosal. MMR doesn’t have thimerosal. In 2001 thimerosal was removed or reduced to trace amounts in all childhood vaccines except for one type of influenza vaccine, and thimerosal-free alternatives are available for influenza vaccine.

        • “And it is easy to get vaccines without thimerosal. MMR doesn’t have thimerosal. In 2001 thimerosal was removed or reduced to trace amounts in all childhood vaccines except for one type of influenza vaccine, and thimerosal-free alternatives are available for influenza vaccine.”

          You neglected to add available at substantial added cost. The thimerosal preservative is present ostensibly to limit cross contamination of a multi-dose ampule, thereby ensuring the ability to bulk package the potions.

          Thimerosal free flu vaccines are a double joke because they haven’t matched the current outbreak strains of flu in years.

          BTW, the measles portion of the MMR has been shown to be ineffective when in the multi-vax state, although it does provide protection when administered by itself.

        • Jeff Moody

          Intranasal isn’t the same as injected in the reference to And the last sentence is: “Nevertheless accumulation of mercury from chronic use of thiomersal-preserved medicines is viewed as a potential health hazard for man.” And concentrations significantly raised in the brain? That doesn’t sound harmless. No evidence of toxicity– well, maybe, it would be good to know how they measured this.
          Regarding, it shows that mercury is in the blood after vaccination but below safe values– but funny that we’ve studied methylmercury to death while we seem to know so little about ethylmercury despite it’s presence in medicine for over 60 years: “The effect of vaccines containing thiomersal on concentrations of mercury in infants’ blood has not been extensively assessed, and the metabolism of ethylmercury in infants is unknown.” So what exactly is a safe value? Do we really know?
          I’ll refer you to where it says:
          “Thimerosal, an organomercury compound, has been widely used as a preservative. Therefore, concerns have been raised about its neurotoxicity. We recently demonstrated perturbation of early serotonergic development by prenatal exposure to thimerosal (Ida-Eto et al. (2011) [11]). Here, we investigated whether prenatal thimerosal exposure causes persistent impairment after birth. Analysis on postnatal day 50 showed significant increase in hippocampal serotonin following thimerosal administration on embryonic day 9. Furthermore, not only serotonin, striatal dopamine was significantly increased. These results indicate that embryonic exposure to thimerosal produces lasting impairment of brain monoaminergic system, and thus every effort should be made to avoid the use of thimerosal.”
          I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: when in doubt, take it out.

  • Jeff Moody

    The media tend to present information from government sources as unquestioned truth while marginalizing dissenting opinions and effectively controlling the terms of the debate:

    • David Bell

      It’s not the media, it’s every credible medical organization on the planet.

      You want the media to be “balanced” by putting respected researchers in a room with hacks on the lunatic fringe.

      You want peer reviewed papers to be weighed against lies written by said hacks even after they have been shown as nothing but liars and frauds who deliberately falsified their work.

      In the mind of a tin foil hat enthusiast, this constitutes “balance”. To everyone else it is merely proof the person stating this desire is severely unbalanced.

      • Jeff Moody

        Did you by any chance look at the studies I linked to that showed an association of neurological damage with thimerosal exposure? All hacks, liars and frauds there? All of them deliberately falsified their work? And Dr. Bernandine Healy, former head of the NIH who admitted the autism/vaccine link was biological plausible and decried the culture of censorship on the issue? She a hack, liar, and lunatic too? Deliberately falsified work … where have I heard that before? Oh, yes, the Thompson whistleblower case, and the huge controversy over the Verstraeten 2003 paper. But I know, all of us are ______ (insert more insults here.)

      • Kathy Nelson

        Mr. Bell, are you insinuating that Dr. Reider is a “hack”? Please state your qualifications, and reasoning, for making such an insinuation.

      • David Bell


        “Did you by any chance look at the studies I linked to that showed an association of neurological damage with thimerosal exposure? All hacks, liars and frauds there?”

        Yes, if you bothered to check any credible medical source, such as the American Medical Association, you would know there is no credible evidence that low doses of thimerosal in vaccines have been shown to be harmful despite decades of research and dozens of studies.

        “And Dr. Bernandine Healy, former head of the NIH who admitted the autism/vaccine link was biological plausible and decried the culture of censorship on the issue? She a hack, liar, and lunatic too?”

        Among other things. When you attach yourself to a bandwagon of frauds and lunatics whose views have been laughed out of the medical profession all those titles apply.

        Now, come back when you can find credible medical data, or at least take the tin foil hat off.


        I am stating flat out that her claims are erroneous. My reasoning is simple: every credible medical and scientific organization I have encountered acknowledges that vaccines are both safe and effective.

        Try checking into statements made by the CDC, WHO, National Academy of Sciences, AMA, etc.

        • Jeff Moody

          I don’t believe the AMA, WHO, and CDC are credible sources on this particular issue. They are too closely allied with an extremely powerful pharmaceutical industry that puts profits first, which is fine except that the watchdogs are in on the game too–yes, I’m crazy, but I have good reason to be suspicious and every thoughtful citizen should consider that possibility. I believe the science behind vaccinations has been corrupted almost beyond repair, and that we are being pushed to get more and more vaccines because of profits, not health. Now, call me crazy. We already have a vaccine mandate– fine. Maybe good people disagree with that mandate– fine. Is there a health crisis due to measles now? No. Enough people are vaccinated and the overwhelming majority believes in vaccination. If the government wants the rest of us to buy into the program, then do it by persuasion. Or, like the Governor of Texas, are we going to force Gardasil on children even though you can’t catch cancer? When will this stop? Maybe you’ll be forced to take all your medications? Maybe the pill police will come to your house and forcibly restrain you? Where does it end? We already have a mandate, and that should be limit and extent of government coercion. To take away all choice is to cede too much power to the government and the health authorities, especially when it comes to such a personal matter as what the authorities are allowed to inject into our children.

  • Jeff Moody

    I know some of you think I’m nuts– that’s OK. Hold the insults for me and the rest of us and try to understand our concerns, as we try to understand yours. No, we don’t want measles any more than you do (at least I don’t.) We don’t want TB or polio or any of that. And contrary to some of the vitriol I hear, we care very much for our children and all children, or else we really wouldn’t give a crap. But … we do have serious questions about safety, and these are based on our understanding of what’s going on in the big picture (yes … corporate and institutional pressure to produce science that backs vaccines) as well as anecdotal evidence (parental reports) and science. For part of the science: to me, it seems exceeding odd that you can’t possibly design a toxicological experiment for ethylmercury that doesn’t show that it destroys neurons in extremely minute doses. It just can’t be done, and hasn’t been done. And yet we have all these population-based studies that show there’s no problem even in relatively large doses, and that thimerosal is even protective in some cases? Please. And we have evidence that the population-based studies have left out significant data: the 2003 Verstraeten , the 2003 Madsen, the 2010 Price, and most recently the DeStefano 2004 study (the CDC whistleblower study.) So to say the science is settled isn’t accurate. I think the people who want to push more and more vaccines on us want us to believe it’s settled, and that scares me, and it should scare you, too.

    • Jeff Moody

      I will anticipate some criticism. One would be that ethylmercury just doesn’t act like “normal” mercury. Here is what a 2013 review of the science says: “Major databases were searched for human and experimental studies that addressed issues related to early life exposure to TCV [thimerosal-containing vaccines]. It can be concluded that: a) mercury load in fetuses, neonates, and infants resulting from TCVs remains in blood of neonates and infants at sufficient concentration and for enough time to penetrate the brain and to exert a neurologic impact and a probable influence on neurodevelopment of susceptible infants….” From “Low-dose mercury exposure in early life: relevance of thimerosal to fetuses, newborns and infants.”
      The science on thimerosal toxicity is clear: it’s a dangerous neurotoxin whose effect is amplified by aluminum (also in many vaccines) and some antibiotics. There is no doubt about the toxicology (and the toxicology is repeatedly ignored by the CDC.) But somehow when we inject it into infants it becomes purified? That’s what most of the population studies say— studies that are easily confounded, are produced by institutions and individuals with tremendous bias to show all vaccines “incredibly safe,” and in which we see a curious predilection for leaving out significant data that is only uncovered later or else is somehow lost.

  • In 2015, the Vermont Health Department purchased 25,000 doses of mercury-laden flu vaccine meant for our children.

    You may confirm this fact by visiting 2015 assessment, page 5 ($File/2014-10-15%20VVPP%20budget%20and%20assessment%20worksheets%20(VVPP2015)%20v6.pdf); then check the CDC price list, coding for fluzone 49281-0621- 25 ( and then check the Fluzone(R) Quadrivalent product package insert, page 17) –

    This scenario does not build parent trust.

    In my opinion (not a doctor, simply a parent): 12.5 ug per pediatric dose of thimerosal (49.55% w/v mercury) is not safe; it is criminally irresponsible.

    All the epidemiological studies in the world are no substitute for studying the patient (a susceptible child) right in front of your very eyes. Herein lies the problem: Doctor says “come on everyone does it” and ” it is safe”, then gives multiple shots at once. Parent says child reacted and yet doctors claims any adverse event is a coincidence, parents see with their own eyes but are told they are just looking for an excuse, any reason – but it cannot be the vaccines. Go away if you are not going to continue with more.

    Since there is no accountability the parents are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after their children suffer chronic sequelae, which sometimes includes brain injury or death.

    Might want to check out the Compendium as a submission by the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD, Inc.) to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC3) to be held in Nairobi, Kenya from Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2011 (; and “CDC Scientist Still Maintains Agency Forced Researchers To Lie About Safety Of Mercury Based Vaccines” – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., 2/12/2014 –

    But this issue is not only about thimerosal. Most parents do not even know that they CAN say NO, to government-issued school vaccines. And they certainly do not know what is in these shots.

    However, all Vermonters deserve the right to know, and the right to choose what they put in their body regardless of purported pharmaceutical product benefits.

    And our unelected government agencies need to be held accountable.

    • Don Dalton

      According to the CDC website, it seems that children may get 25mcg of ethylmercury, and not 12.5. Also note that Afluria, which contains 24.5 mcg of ethymercury, is not recommended for children before age nine because the “ACIP recommends Afluria not be used in children aged 6 months through 8 years because of increased risk for febrile reactions.” (And what does that mean? Febrile seizures?) See note for Afluria. Note that the package insert, according to the CDC, says it’s OK for 5-year-olds. How many nurses and doctors are going to check the CDC website against the package insert? Probably close to zero.

  • Jeff Moody
    Acute encephalopathy followed by permanent brain injury or death associated with further attenuated measles vaccines: a review of claims submitted to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
    “A total of 48 children, ages 10 to 49 months, met the inclusion criteria after receiving measles vaccine, alone or in combination. Eight children died, and the remainder had mental regression and retardation, chronic seizures, motor and sensory deficits, and movement disorders. The onset of neurologic signs or symptoms occurred with a nonrandom, statistically significant distribution of cases on days 8 and 9. No cases were identified after the administration of monovalent mumps or rubella vaccine….
    This clustering suggests that a causal relationship between measles vaccine and encephalopathy may exist as a rare complication of measles immunization.”

  • Eric Fisher

    Here is a CDC quote on adverse reactions which gives CA alone about 24,000 seizure cases a year from measles vaccine alone. Just stuff they won’t tell you about. And think of all the reactions that are disregarded as to little to report or thought of as just going to happen even without vaccines being performed. Oh but we had 150 cases of measles in CA, so take away our civil rights to chose what we consider safe for our selves and kids. PS, I wonder how many kids died from the seizures or have associated brain damage…………just stuff they aren’t going to share. A Closer Look at the Safety Data
    Two recent studies indicate that for every 10,000 children who get their first MMR and varicella vaccines as separate shots when they are 12-23 months old, about 4 will have a febrile seizure during the 5-12 days following vaccination. Children of the same age who get the combined measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV) vaccine as their first vaccine against these diseases are twice as likely to have a febrile seizure during the same time period.
    Studies have shown that for children younger than 7 years old, there is a small increased risk of febrile seizures approximately 8 to14 days after the MMR shot; this happens in about 1 in 3,000-4,000 children.
    Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a disorder that decreases the body’s ability to stop bleeding. It can happen after both natural measles infection as well as after receipt of MMR vaccine. It is usually not life threating, however; treatment can include blood transfusion . The risk of ITP has been shown to be increased in the six weeks following an MMR vaccine, with one study estimating 1 case per 40,000 vaccinated children.
    Joint pain is linked with the rubella portion of MMR vaccine. Joint pain and temporary arthritis happen more often after MMR vaccination in adults than in children. Females after puberty also experience this issue more often than males. Joint pain or stiffness occurs in up to 25% of females past puberty; their symptoms generally begin 1 to 3 weeks after vaccination, are usually mild and last about two days. These symptoms rarely come back.
    Measles inclusion body encephalitis, or severe brain swelling caused by the measles virus, is a complication of getting infected with the wild measles virus. While rare, this almost always happens in patients with low immune systems. The illness usually develops within one year after initial measles infection and has a high death rate. There have been 3 published reports of this complication happening to vaccinated people. In these cases, encephalitis developed between 4 and 9 months after the MMR shot . In one case, the measles vaccine strain was identified as the cause.
    Signs of autism typically appear around the same time that children are recommended to receive the MMR vaccine. Some parents might worry that the vaccine causes autism. Vaccine safety experts, including experts at CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), agree that MMR vaccine is not responsible for increases in the number of children with autism. For more information about vaccines and autism, see: