NVIC: Information that’s not. Exhibit C.

It’s one of the most widely used tricks to misinform the public. Take a quote from an official source and splice it to your advantage. One of the people associated with NVIC did just that. As always, I don’t name names, but here is the article. Here is the key part of that article:

“Researchers noted: “Despite widespread childhood vaccination against Bordetella pertussis, disease remains prevalent. It has been suggested that acellular vaccine may be less effective than previously believed. Our data suggests that the current schedule of acellular pertussis vaccine doses is insufficient to prevent outbreaks of pertussis.””

The writer then goes on an anti-pertussis vaccine rant. Read more below to see what he did.
The writer quoted the “Background” “Conclusions” section of this research paper. If you click on that link, you’ll read the ENTIRE “Conclusions” section. It reads (with the part that the writer failed to include in bold):

“Our data suggests that the current schedule of acellular pertussis vaccine doses is insufficient to prevent outbreaks of pertussis. We noted a markedly increased rate of disease from age 8 through 12, proportionate to the interval since the last scheduled vaccine. Stable rates of testing ruled out selection bias. The possibility of earlier or more numerous booster doses of acellular pertussis vaccine either as part of routine immunization or for outbreak control should be entertained.”

Here is the “Background” section (with the part that the writer failed to include in bold):

“Despite widespread childhood vaccination against Bordetella pertussis, disease remains prevalent. It has been suggested that acellular vaccine may be less effective than previously believed. During a large outbreak, we examined the incidence of pertussis and effectiveness of vaccination in a well-vaccinated, well-defined community.

Then he writes the following about “cocooning” and another research paper:

“Known as “cocooning,” this controversial practice is being promoted by the AAP and government health officials as a way of protecting babies from whooping cough and other infectious diseases like influenza by vaccinating their parents and other adult caregivers. However, there is little evidence to show that this works! In fact, research from Canada showed just the opposite. The Canadian study investigated how many parents would need to be vaccinated in order to prevent infant hospitalizations and deaths from pertussis using the cocoon strategy, and the results were dismal. They found the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) for parental immunization was at least 1 million to prevent 1 infant death, approximately 100,000 for ICU admission, and >10,000 for hospitalization.iv Researchers concluded: “… the parental cocoon program is inefficient and resource intensive for the prevention of serious outcomes in early infancy.””

What did the actual study conclude? In addition to destroying the writer’s assertion that the whooping cough vaccine doesn’t work by showing that the use of vaccine reduced both the number of cases and the number of deaths from whooping cough, the Canadian study had this conclusion (again, I bolded the part the writer failed to include):

“In the context of low pertussis incidence, the parental cocoon program is inefficient and resource intensive for the prevention of serious outcomes in early infancy. Regions contemplating the cocoon program should consider the NNV based on local epidemiology.

Imagine that! If your rates of whooping cough are high, or the burden of the disease is heavy, based on local epidemiology, then you should take those things into consideration in your cocooning program. In other words, don’t commit the ecological fallacy in applying Canada-level data to your local community. This is exactly what the writer does, only in reverse. He wants to apply “the incidence of pertussis and effectiveness of vaccination in a well-vaccinated, well-defined community” to the entire [expletive] country’s immunization program.

In conclusion, the writer – who is constantly associated with NVIC and whose opinion has been used by NVIC in its practices to misinform the public – took two studies and failed to include the complete “conclusions” part of the studies in his assessment of whooping cough vaccination practices. I’m sure it was just an oversight. After all, if you truly want to inform the public, you put all your cards on the table, even the science that disagrees with your theory, and then let the public decide. Right?

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “NVIC: Information that’s not. Exhibit C.

  1. "Cherry picking" is the correct term to use for the way that these people are presenting studies and then ignoring statements within those studies, statements that don't agree with their worldviews.

  2. I am a bit confused after trying to research this comment from an avid (and often less than truthful) antivaxer. It seems her argument is that because the twelve year old study in a half a dozen adults found little "bactericidal immune response", that the Tdap was useless. Therefore there should be no pertussis vaccination.I tried to look at the research, but I mostly did see that, yeah, the vaccine is not perfect. But just like the conclusion of the paper you quoted, it is an argument for more frequent boosters.

Comments are closed.