How many inaccuracies about the vaccine court and autism can you fit in one blog post?

The last time we talked about a blog called “Thinking Mom’s Revolution”, it was in the context of a woman by the name of Cindy Killeen Waeltermann. This time, the blog is back with a post by a person named “Beaker”. Who is “Beaker”? Here’s her bio:

“Beaker started her professional career in the lab as a bewildered chemist who often felt she was a round peg in a square hole! After the birth of her children and the unexpected medical journey that her youngest would take their family on, she found out the EXACT reason she had that chemistry degree and put it to good use as she set out to restore her children’s health. Along the way she found her true calling: sharing their family’s experience with other mothers and helping them improve the quality of life of their children, by staying true to their guiding light . . . their God-given mother’s instinct.”

If I had a dollar for every time someone forgoes the guiding light of science and reason for the guiding light of “instinct”, I’d have a lot of cash on hand. As you read the blog post (go ahead and click on it, they get no increase in ranking), remember that you are dealing with someone who wants instinct to rule her decisions, not the evidence.

Beaker begins with nonsense, of course:

“I knew for nearly a year and a half that something was going very, very wrong, but found no one who could tell me what was happening to my sweet girl. Being a curious person, I, mostly in desperation to find some relief for my screaming child, set out to figure out what was going on! And what I found out shocked me. Why? Because I never knew of any of this until I had to, and, well, by then it was too late (or so I thought!).

What am I talking about? Something called “vaccine injury.””

Of course. It couldn’t possibly be anything else but the goddamned vaccines. What else, “Beaker”?

“And today I would like to suggest the debate is really not if they do or if they don’t. But rather, how many have autism due to vaccination? Or how many have been injured (in some other way) by vaccines?”

Oh. Interesting. Give us the evidence, Beaker.

“In the United States, there exists something called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). It was set up in 1986 as part of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Did you get that? A program set up by the US Government to compensate those in childhood that are injured by vaccines. Okay, so based on the name of the legislation alone, some children must be injured by vaccines, or why else would this legislation exist?? The legislation was actually initiated because so many vaccine injury claims were being filed against the vaccine manufacturers (and many plantiffs won substantial payouts), that the vaccine manufacturers threatened to stop producing vaccines. In response to these threats, this legislation gave the vaccine manufacturer complete liability protection.”

Not true. Vaccine manufacturers are not completely protected from liability. That is a lie that anti-vaccine advocates would like you to believe so that the conspiracy can be upheld. See, if Big Pharma can’t be sued, and it can’t be sued because the government says so, then Big Pharma and the government are in cahoots, and we can’t trust either. We must trust our mommy instincts, even us men.

If the side-effect is known to be caused by the vaccine (albeit at a very low rate) and unavoidable, then the vaccine court compensates the injured, and it does so with money from the pharmaceutical companies, not the tax payers, not the reptilians, and certainly not from my current salary. If the side-effect is something not expected, then the manufacturers can be taken to court, like any other corporation that has a defective product (except gun manufacturers, but that’s for another post).

The vaccine court has made it possible for parents and children to get cash settlements without the hassle of a years-long legal battle in the courts so long as they can prove that the child had a medical condition known to be caused by the vaccine and present after the vaccine was given. If anti-vaccine activists succeed in doing away with the vaccine court (though they helped invent it), the only winners would be the lawyers. They would get paid for lawsuits brought against vaccine manufacturers, and those court cases would go on for years, years for which the lawyers would need to get paid. And then what?

Well, one big, huge settlement for a bogus claim because a jury felt sympathetic to the plaintiff, and we’re left without vaccines against deadly diseases. That, dear reader, is what people like “Beaker” want. That is why they write the things they do with seemingly little to no understanding of what they’re writing. Check this out:

“As you scan down“the list” you will not see the word autism listed in the illness, disability or injury column. “Ahhh,” you say, “I told you so! Vaccines do not cause autism!”

Not so fast.

For some of the vaccines listed you will see “Encephalopathy (or encephalitis)” listed. Do you even know what that is? I didn’t. Until I had to. And then it was too late.”

Without even reading her next sentence, I knew exactly what she was going to write. She is going to try and convince the unsuspecting public that encephalitis causes or is equal to autism:

“Wait, what?? I thought vaccines don’t cause autism. Right. But they do cause “encephalopathy” and “encephalitis” (as is fully disclosed by the letter of the law, stated above) that can then cause a child to exhibit “autistic-like behaviors,” which when viewed through the eyes of a psychologist evaluating a child for autism pretty much looks the same as . . . well, you guessed it: autism.”

Told you so.

See, in the mind of the anti-vaccine devout zealot, symptoms of a disease equal having the disease. Because encephalitis gives you symptoms of autism, then you are autistic. (They try the same trick when they say that acute flaccid paralysis is polio, because polio causes paralysis.) But that’s where “Beaker” ends her tale of intrigue. She doesn’t go further because she can’t.

She can’t go further because there is an enormous difference between autism and the “autistic-like behaviors” that encephalitis triggers. Encephalitis goes away quickly, and the child returns to whatever was their baseline. If the child was neurotypical, he or she goes back to being neurotypical. If they were autistic, they go back to being autistic. With autism, however, the child is autistic through and though, for years to come. Sure, they can catch up and reach milestones, but they remain autistic.

After all, autism is not a brain injury or a mental disease. It’s a neurodevelopmental delay. Encephalitis is not. It really is all in how you say things, and you’ll see that the anti-vaccine and anti-science people in your life like to twist around language and make it sound like the evidence agrees with them when it clearly doesn’t. It’s all theatricality and deception, so remember to be initiated. Remember to call them on their bullshit. Remember that if your leg is asleep and you can’t move it, it’s not because you’re having a stroke.

Know what I mean?

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4 thoughts on “How many inaccuracies about the vaccine court and autism can you fit in one blog post?

  1. Reuben, you forgot to mention how the grande dame of the anti-vaccine movement, managed to hoodwink mainstream media and members of Congress, with her nonsensical story about her son’s supposed encephalitis, after receiving DPT vaccine, as related by Seth Mnookin, here….

    http://blogs.plos.org/thepanicvirus/2012/09/13/the-whole-cell-pertussis-vaccine-media-malpractice-and-the-long-term-effects-of-avoiding-difficult-conversations/

    Recently, a crank poster claim her child’s autism was caused by the hepatitis B birth dose, which caused encephalopathy; diagnosed by the intuitive mommy because she determined her newborn had an “encephalitic cry”. (Her latest claim is that her own ASD diagnosis is due to a reaction to DPT vaccine, administered when she was three months of age).

  2. So, in the world of “Beaker”, should I be autistic? I suffered from West Nile encephalitis.
    By her candle, I should be autistic! Or perhaps, comatose.
    Of course, here in the real world, encephalitis has a different outcome. Usually, people recover from encephalitis. Some will not, depending on the cause, immune factors and plain, dumb luck.

    I disagree with your gun manufacturer limitation of liability, unless you have some knowledge on the subject that I don’t. That law protects gun manufacturers from liability if one of their products is used in the commission of a crime. Does Ford get sued if someone intentionally runs over people with a Ford car or truck? Why should Colt get sued if a criminal violates the law and harms someone?
    Someone supplying a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm one *should* be liable, but again, manufacturers do not sell direct.
    Firearms manufacturers are most certainly not held harmless if their firearm is defective in design and causes harm. If the firearm explodes when properly used, the manufacturer is held liable. If the safety is defective and causes harm, the manufacturer is held liable. If an armed robber shoots someone, the manufacturer is not held liable.

    Now, let’s conduct a thought experiment.
    If a new vaccine for influenza were produced that worked for all strains of influenza, we’ll even make it 100% effective for the sake of the experiment.
    It also has a rate of deleterious effects that matches the smallpox vaccine, both in severity and rate of incidence.
    Would you suspect that that particular vaccine would not be licensed?
    I would suspect so. We try to ensure that our vaccines are as safe as possible and that deleterious effects are minimized and lesser than the deleterious effects of the disease that is being protected against.
    Indeed, the only reason that the smallpox vaccine was permitted was due to its deleterious effects were substantially lower than the infection rate and deleterious effects of smallpox itself by a great margin.
    Just a round about way to further undermine the nonsense promulgated by the antivaccine crowd.

  3. Thank you. This is really helpful. One comment on where the money comes from: it comes from an excise tax on each vaccine. The companies serve as the government’s tax collector in this. You might think, well, this means consumers pay. But remember that the way companies usually cover liability is by purchasing a liability insurance policy – and the price of such a policy is rolled onto the consumer. In other words, the consumer would end up paying anyway.

    • Just to clarify…the excise tax is 75 cents per antigen. The excise tax on the triple antigen MMR vaccine is $2.25.

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