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News Commission on Vaccination Safety and Scientific Integrity

  1. Jan 10, 2017 #1
    Robert Kennedy Jr. has been offered and has accepted the chairmanship of Trump's Commission on Immunization Safety and Scientific Integrity. Trump has stated his concern for the side effects of vaccinations in the past. The inclusion of scientific integrity in this commission is particularly troubling. What does this mean? Kennedy is extremely outspoken on his position that vaccinations cause autism claiming 20 million children have autism due to vaccinations. The incoming administration continues to reflect a suspicion of the scientific community.
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  3. Jan 10, 2017 #2


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    This is deeply troubling on multiple fronts. Not the least of which is this commission gives an official stamp of approval to a view (widely discredited within the scientific and medical communities) that vaccinations cause autism. I can only imagine what impact such a commission may have on vaccination rates for infectious diseases, which can be serious for children and adults with compromised immune systems.
  4. Jan 10, 2017 #3
    Does anyone have any insight on exactly what power this commission has?
  5. Jan 10, 2017 #4

    All kinds of Republicans have backpedaled on their former harsh criticisms of Trump in exchange for him supporting their pet agendas. This is the first time I've seen a Democrat make an allegiance with the "dark angels" for that purpose. It's doubly disturbing that the pet agenda here is crackpottery.
  6. Jan 10, 2017 #5
    I'm confused, who makes money from anti-vaxxers? When the GOP said smoking won't cause cancer, it was because the tobacco company would lose money. When they said marijuana causes communism, it was because the lumber companies would lose money. When they still say that humans aren't affecting the climates, it's because oil is still profitable. Usually when they flat out reject science, it's usually because they've been paid to. And since when has crackpottery stopped anything? Aren't the GOP still fighting to prevent millions of Americans from getting married because their imaginary friend said it wasn't okay like two thousand years ago?
  7. Jan 10, 2017 #6
    Could this have been the impetus for this commission? "CDC Scientists Expose Agency Corruption"

    Among other indictments from the article:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  8. Jan 10, 2017 #7
    Interesting, I just read up on Dr Thompson. Seems he had a poor understanding of the scientific method, and was misinterpreting data. According to what I'm seeing, all of the conclusions that he came to were from cherry-picked data. Negative data seems to just be noise. Looks like he was also upset that large numbers of studies did not include research into autism, which was simply because there was no credible evidence for it. He also seems to have no understanding of peer review, how is this guy a doctor?

  9. Jan 10, 2017 #8
    Who makes money from vaccines is the question. for MMRV it is Merck. for other childhood vaccines GlaxoSmithKline, sanofli, and others. What rings out to me is what do companies do when they discover a problem with a product after many years in the market place?
  10. Jan 10, 2017 #9


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    I have worked for years in the pharma industry, and part of the responsibility of pharma companies, according to the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) -- a project that brings together the regulatory authorities of the US, European Union, and Japan -- is to conduct routine pharmacovigilance (i.e. safety monitoring) for those drugs that have already been approved. If there are any concerns about specific safety risks, pharma companies may also be required to conduct separate post-marketing clinical trials (commonly referred to as Phase 4 trials), to determine if there are safety problems.

    It's during these periods that any potential problems could (or should) be identified. Of course, we are aware of pharma companies who have either withheld key safety information on their products or suppressed information on the safety risks of their drugs (e.g. Vioxx). But the point I'm getting at is that the pharma industry is among the most rigorously regulated industries out there, and it's not credible to believe that every childhood vaccine out there could have such large safety risks as autism (as some anti-vaxx people believe), since there is no credible evidence to suggest such.
  11. Jan 10, 2017 #10
    I think Trump's claim is that children get too many vaccines over a short period.
  12. Jan 10, 2017 #11
    I think his claim is based on one very specific shot that contains a number of vaccines at once.

    I'm not even sure there's been discredited work that shows vaccines themselves cause autism. The complaint I've always seen is about the preservative.
  13. Jan 10, 2017 #12
  14. Jan 10, 2017 #13


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    The main discredited claim (which has bolstered the anti-vaxx movement, from what I gather) is the fraudulent 1998 research paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield which purported to show a link between the administration of the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine and autism and bowel disease.



    The issue you mentioned about the preservative was with respect to thimerosol (or thiomersal), which is an organomercury compound used as an established antiseptic and antifungal agent. It had been an additive in some childhood vaccines, but there has been no evidence of any toxic effect within vaccines (thimerosol can be toxic when inhaled or ingested). However, the CDC asked vaccine makers to remove thimerosol from vaccines as a purely pre-cautionary measure. As it turns out, that was an overreaction. See the Wikipedia article below.

  15. Jan 10, 2017 #14


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    Trump doesn't follow such rules of being a politician. My perception is that he's driving this issue because he believes it -- which is probably more dangerous.
  16. Jan 11, 2017 #15
    The intent of this thread was not to call attention to a prominent democrat cooperating with a republican program nor to discuss the fact or fallacy of a vaccine link to autism. The inclusion of scientific integrity in the title of the commission begs the question of the trustworthiness of scientifc investigations or the veracity of the scientists. It is my concern that the incoming administration's suspicious attitude toward science may have reprocussions. This commission sounds more like an inqusition rather than an mere inquiry or am I overreacting?
  17. Jan 11, 2017 #16


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    While I don't discount the possibility that Trump genuinely believes it about vaccines, it's just as possible that he maybe driving this issue for self-serving reasons, given his tendency towards attention-seeking, and/or his perception that his core base of supporters may jump on this issue.
  18. Jan 11, 2017 #17
    I'm not sure that is actually the title of the commission. It may just be a tentative description of what Trump wants it to cover.
    It seems to me that, if you place someone at the head of an "inquiry" who has already made it publicly known they are sure the suspects are guilty, it would be unrealistic to expect they have a chance of being exonerated.
  19. Jan 11, 2017 #18


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    In this crazy news cycle who knows what or who to believe.

    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. sounds a little, out of order.
  20. Jan 11, 2017 #19
    I think news orgs need to slow down. There is such pressure to be the first to break a story that mistakes are made.
  21. Jan 11, 2017 #20


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    Worth an echo.
  22. Jan 11, 2017 #21
    I would bet the confusion arose from the Trump team not being explicit that the plan was only tentative, and that Kennedy was merely a contender for the chairmanship.
  23. Jan 17, 2017 #22

    There have been essentially unsafe vaccines in modern times despite all those regulations... which in itself invalidates somewhat the assumed effectiveness of the safe vaccines. (Especially newly created vaccine)

    During the swine flu epidemic in 2009 there was considerable outrage at the swine flu vaccine which caused narcolepsy side-effect in children (much worse disease than autism I would imagine having watched the news stories)

    That vaccine was made by glaxosmithkline and was called pandemrix.

    Whether or not traditional vaccines for "old diseases" like polio are unsafe... that would have to be judged separately for each vaccine I reckon...

    But I dont think it is wise to ignore scientific and medical proof of the unsafe vaccine (like pandemrix)

    Side effects of narcolepsy in children from supposedly safe vaccines in government encouraged vaccination drive probably did not have a good effect on public trust.
  24. Jan 17, 2017 #23


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    Important note on the Pandemrix case as the discussion focuses on the US:
  25. Jan 17, 2017 #24


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  26. Jan 17, 2017 #25


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    A few points to consider:

    1. First of all, as Ygggdrasil has already pointed out, Pandemrix (which is the example you pointed out) was not licensed for use in the US.

    2. The development of the pandemic flu vaccines (including the one developed by a company I had previously been employed) involved special fast-track application and approval processes, given the demand for speed and the need to prevent the said pandemic. Keep in mind that the vast majority of vaccines do not go through this process.

    3. In relation to what I said earlier in point #2, in the case of pandemic vaccines, yes, potentially serious side effects could end up being introduced. Under these circumstances, a judgement call is made -- do the (potential) side effects that may occur outweigh the very real dangers that a pandemic could cause?

    Let me put it another way -- let's say, hypothetically, that a new virus is spreading so quickly that we are looking at a new pandemic, and the only effective vaccine currently available has the (potentially small) risk of narcolepsy. Would you or would you not want to make that vaccine widely available? There are no easy answers, and this is the kind of thing that regulators and medical researchers have to grapple with.
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