Why we believe the Vaxxed bus stories

A blog came out titled “Why I don’t believe the Vaxxed bus stories” by Kathy.  She writes a blog in favor of vaccines.  Her description of herself from the blog:

“I am a long-time vaccine advocate. I am a mother, educator, and scientist. You can read here about what started me on this vaccine advocacy journey.  While I don’t like to use my children for attention, I do believe that story is important to share. I also believe it is valid for me to note that I have a child on the autism spectrum.  My interest in vaccines and autism advocacy comes from the heart.  I will always read respectful comments and consider them thoughtfully. My goal is to educate people about the risks and benefits of vaccines, according to international scientific consensus. I have no ties to pharmaceutical companies whatsoever and never have.”


Reply to Kathy’s blog:

If you haven’t seen or heard of the Vaxxed bus, it travels the country providing parents a way to tell their stories of vaccine injury.  The bus came about after the film Vaxxed was released, you can see it here:  Vaxxed on Amazon    Vaxxed Action Items

Vaxxed details the account of Dr. Brian Hooker and Dr. William Thompson of the CDC.   The Centers for Disease Control are clear in their stance on vaccines and have asserted many times that vaccines are safe.  Dr. William Thompson called Dr. Brian Hooker seemingly out of the blue.  Those phone calls changed our outlook on the CDC, vaccines and the integrity of “peer-reviewed papers.”  Dr. Hooker recorded the phone calls and released some of those in the Vaxxed movie.   This movie was specifically about his issue but it spawned a movement.  Part of that movement is the Vaxxed bus.

The Vaxxed bus has over 6,000 names on it now, all vaccine injured or passed away after receiving a vaccine.  Doctors, nurses, scientist and parents have visited the Vaxxed bus.  Here are a few of their stories: We Are Vaxxed Videos

Rather than pick apart the writer’s critique of each story that she focused on, I will just say this, she isn’t on the bus, she wasn’t in the hospitals, she has never met the parents, she has no medical degree and has no idea of what goes on during interview or pre-interview on the Vaxxed bus.   All of that being said, how can she determine whether vaccines played a role in the child’s health or not?  She can’t.  She can state her opinion based on what she’s read and that’s fair but she cannot say these stories are “fake”.


SIDS:   The writer moves on to SIDS and infant mortality being at an all time low.  She goes on to show graphs and info on why we are doing great and there is nothing to be concerned about.  I am concerned.  We are supposed to be one of the most advanced countries in the world medically.   Can we attribute the decline to the “Back to Sleep Campaign” as the writer suggests?   National Recommendations for SIDS Prevention  

Does back sleeping awareness show a clear reduction in SIDS from place to place?  No, it doesn’t.  If all of the countries listed have the same campaigns and an average number of parents are doing what is recommended yet the SIDS rate is different in each place by a wide amount, what else could contribute to that?  What are the vaccination practices for these countries?  Let’s take a look.  Study Vaccines / SIDS

sids chartsids chart 2sids.gif

We give more vaccines earlier in life than most other countries.  We have a higher SIDS rate than most other countries.  The writer goes on to show this chart and claims the US is closer to the “better countries than the worst”.   We are sitting between Serbia and Croatia.  Both have mandatory vaccination policies but we still hold the record in the number of vaccines given before age 1.  I know, that doesn’t matter.  No proof at all.   SIDS must be because mom’s are doing something wrong.

cia-copy1

An interesting read, written by Dr. Kelly Brogan on the topic:  Could this be Driving the Epidemic of Sudden Infant Death (SIDS)?


Polly and the crew: The writer asks why Polly Tommey (Vaxxed bus leader) doesn’t know there is no autism epidemic.  She claims that the diagnosis change is responsible for much of the rising rate. Polly’s son Billy was injured by his baby vaccines and is autistic.  That was over 18 years ago.  I have never met Polly personally but will this weekend.  From everything I’ve heard about this woman, she’s wonderful.  She cares.  She listens.  She has left her family for a year and taken on a massive project.  This isn’t something people do for fun.  We’ve been called insane or conspiracy theorist for years because we believe vaccines can injure.  Polly put herself on the front line for people like me.  Thank you, Polly. And Del, Andy, Suzanne, Anu, Josh, Patrick and Sheila. You are our heroes. ❤️


AUTISM: There is far too much on vaccines & autism to cover in one blog post.  For the sake of our sanity and time, we will only go into one area at this time. 

Let’s look at the latest viral issue – Somali children and Autism.  We’ve only heard about this epidemic because of the measles outbreak of 2017.  The Somali community slowed down the rates of vaccination when the rate of autism grew to 1 in 32.  Prior to 2008 and seeing all the cases of autism, the Somali people vaccinated around 92%.  Many Somali parents say the changes happened directly after vaccination. The autism issue has been around for many years in the Somali community in MN (and other states).  In 2010 a study was done to determine the prevalence.  It was released in 2013.  Univ of MN Study    Longer version of study

Here is a video from the parents.  Autism: A Somali-American Story   It’s been said the Somali community stopped vaccinating because they meet with Dr. Andrew Wakefield.  Here is a father who says that simply isn’t true.  Somali dad talks autism and vaccines  Another video done by VICE titled “Anti-Vaxxers and Fear Caused Minnesota’s Measles Outbreak.” Anti-Vaxxers and Fear   This shows both sides – leaning more toward the pro side.  What do you think?

Vaccines are rare in Somalia, with an estimated 30% of children even having access to them. And the Somali schedule, outlined by the World Health Organization, contains roughly half the number of vaccines compared to the U.S. schedule. When Somali immigrants were told that all the vaccines given here were necessary to protect their children, they confidently complied.  Autism One article (parents perspective)

Because many Somali parents had never heard of autism and being different is taboo in their culture, many parents have hidden their children.  Epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff says “It shouldn’t be overlooked that we may be underestimating autism in the Somali community”.  Underestimating?

somali kids


STORIES: The writer then goes on to pick apart a few of the over 6,000 stories that have been told on the bus.  I won’t go into any detail there.  I don’t know the parents, the child, the medical history, the situation or anything that would qualify me to judge these people.  Shame on the writer for even trying to discredit them.


DIAGNOSIS:  We can move on to autism not being an epidemic but only rising due to the changes in diagnosis.

Let’s go over the DSM (the test or tool used to diagnose disorders).  The criteria for autism: Autism – DSM-5   dsm5 autism

DSM-5 criteria for what is now called Intellectual Disability, formerly Mental Retardation Intellectual Disability (formerly Mental Retardation)

dsm5 MR

Please read the last line – This disorder is considered chronic and often co-occurs with other mental conditions like depression, attention-deficits/hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder.   Co-occurs.  That means one would get a diagnosis of both Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability, they are not one in the same.  That change does not account for the increased prevalence in Autism.   Here is what the writer said in the blog “Mental retardation diagnosis was REPLACED by ID or Autism. That isn’t correct.   Below is the graphic from the writers blog:

Kathy

Rather than assume I was right, I called the American Psychiatric Association at 703-907-8640.  I asked them if Intellectual Disability and Autism spectrum disorder were two completely different diagnoses.   Answer – yes, they are two totally different diagnoses and you can have both but they are not interchangeable.  I asked if somehow they are all being put under Autism Spectrum Disorder and she said “No.  They aren’t the same. ID did replace MR and can be diagnosed along with autism but not in place of it.”  The website which lists the screening tools, fact sheets, changes and more.  www.psychiatry.org  – info is listed under DSM.


The debate on whether or not to vaccinate has been around since vaccination began.  This is not a new trend.  Jenny McCarthy didn’t start it.  Andrew Wakefield isn’t the Godfather of our movement (but we do love him).  I believe people like Kathy believe everything they are saying, just as I do.  I believe that Kathy is firm in her stance on vaccination just as I am on my stance not to vaccinate.   Unfortunately, it’s come to a point in this debate that we can no longer have civil conversations.  We have pages and groups that have one purpose:  harass, ridicule and cause issues for parents who question the safety of vaccination.   All of us who run groups, pages or sites have a responsibility to provide accurate information.  A major complaint I have with these groups is that false info runs rampant (both sides).  Vaccines are not without risk.  Vaccines aren’t a one size fits all.  Vaccines aren’t going to kill and maim every child.  I have two children, one fully vaccinated and one vaccine injured.  Many of us are that way and we trusted that nothing bad would come of vaccinating.  We were wrong.  We’ve seen it happen and most of us were afraid to speak up.  We doubted what we saw with our own eyes.  Most of us had nowhere to turn and no one to talk to about this.  That’s where social media comes in.  Community.  People who can validate our experience.  BUT it’s also where fear can be pushed or bullying can happen.  We’ve got to work on encouraging parents to do the research and to trust themselves.  If you don’t understand the disease then you will fear it.  If you don’t understand what an antigen is, you will believe anything we tell you.  Read.  Talk to doctors, chiropractors, friends, family.  Then read some more.  If you don’t understand what you are reading, find someone who does.  Someone without a strong opinion either way.  But you must do the work.  Not vaccinating isn’t a decision I took easily and you shouldn’t either.

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