Category: Vaccines

Scientific Consensus

On the “right” to challenge a medical or scientific consensus

While everyone has the "right" to challenge a scientific consensus, overthrowing a scientific consensus takes data. Lots and lots of data. Few people realize how difficult it is.

/ March 23, 2015
vaccinationRates

Personal Belief Exemptions for Vaccines

Positive change not only requires a valid argument, it requires political will. My colleagues and I have been pointing out for years that vaccines are safe and effective, and the anti-vaccine movement, which is built largely on misinformation, threatens the public health by eroding herd immunity. These arguments are no more valid today than they were five or ten years ago (except...

/ March 4, 2015

Pseudoscience North: What’s happening to the University of Toronto?

  Today’s post is a reluctant challenge. I’m nominating my own alma mater, the University of Toronto, as the new pseudoscience leader among large universities – not just in Canada, but all of North America. If you can identify a large university promoting or embracing more scientifically questionable activities, I’ll happily buy you a coffee. Yes, it’s personal to me, as I...

/ February 26, 2015

How not to report about vaccine safety issues, Toronto Star edition

I remember it well, because several of my readers forwarded it to me not long after it appeared on the website of the Toronto Star: An eye-catching headline proclaiming a “wonder drug’s dark side,” that “wonder drug” being Gardasil, one of two vaccines against the human papilloma virus (HPV) designed to prevent cervical cancer by preventing infection with the HPV virus. The...

/ February 16, 2015
"Dr. Bob" Sears

What do we do about politicians and physicians who promote antivaccine misinformation?

There are politicians and physicians out there promoting antivaccine misinformation. None of us expect politicians to be scientists or physicians, but we do expect them to listen to them. Worse are physicians who betray their profession to promote antivaccine pseudoscience. What can be done about these very public figures who endanger public health?

/ February 9, 2015

Do two half-truths add up to a complete truth or a complete falsehood? Vaccinations truthiness.

I swear that the evidence that I shall give, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth The interwebs are not a court of law, that is for sure. The whole truth. Interesting idea. I have no idea how applicable Godel’s theorems are outside of mathematics, but from a practical point knowledge is always incomplete. There is too...

/ February 6, 2015

Hot-Zone Schools and Children at Risk: Shedding light on outbreak-prone schools

The subject of parental vaccine refusal and the impact that has on disease outbreaks has been covered many times on SBM and elsewhere. I apologize to our readers who are growing tired of the subject, but there is perhaps no subject more deserving of focus and repetition. There’s also an important angle to the discussion that I’ve written on previously and which...

/ January 30, 2015
The Brady Bunch

The Disneyland measles outbreak: “Dr. Bob” Sears says measles isn’t that bad, and an antivaccine activist invokes the Brady Bunch fallacy

One argument antivaxers frequently make about the measles is that it's not dangerous. As "evidence" of this contention, they will often cite examples of sitcoms and cartoons from a half a century ago or more when measles was played for laughs. This is a fallacious argument, and there was a profound disconnect between the popular perception of measles and its reality.

/ January 19, 2015
Disneyland

Say it ain’t so, Mickey! A holiday measles outbreak makes the happiest place in the world sad

A measles outbreak at the Magic Kingdom? And it's due to unvaccinated children? Say it ain't so, Mickey!

/ January 12, 2015

No, the HPV vaccine does not cause promiscuity

Today’s post isn’t about the flu vaccine, but that vaccine played a part in bringing you today’s topic. It seems that this year’s vaccine is a mediocre match for the circulating strains of influenza, and I was one of the unlucky ones in whom it didn’t appear to provide much protection. After spending several days effectively bedridden, I still feel like I’m...

/ December 18, 2014