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    Correcting this week’s misinformation: week of June 20, 2024

    Is the childhood vaccine schedule safe?

    The Claim:

    In a widely shared video, Dr. Peter McCullough argues that the current childhood vaccine schedule is harmful. He mentions the 1986 Vaccine Injury Act, which admits vaccines can cause unavoidable harm. He also cites studies showing unvaccinated children have better outcomes and points to a rise in autism rates, linking it to immune system problems from vaccines.

    The Facts:

    In 2011, the Supreme Court decided a case called Bruesewitz v. Wyeth. It started when the parents of a girl who was thought to have serious side effects from a vaccine sued the company that made the vaccine. Her parents believed that the vaccine was poorly designed, which caused her problems.

    However, the Supreme Court agreed with the vaccine manufacturer. They said that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act protects vaccine makers from being sued if a vaccine causes injuries or death as long as the side effects are unavoidable and the vaccine is made and labeled correctly. They explained that the law stops any lawsuits that claim a vaccine’s design is defective.

    The court didn’t say that all vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” The ruling was just about whether the parents could sue under this specific law. The phrase “unavoidably unsafe” was mentioned in the court’s discussion, but it relates to the terms set by the law, not a general statement about vaccines.

    So, are vaccines the cause of the rise in autism rates? Reasons for the rise in autism rates are many: changes in diagnostic criteria, increased awarenesseducational changes, and lowered rates of intellectual disability account for most of the rising rates. Biological risk factors such as the father’s age and premature birth could also play into a rise in some incidence of autism.

    And there’s plenty of evidence that vaccines do not cause autism. Not only do the studies done to date show vaccines are not in any way linked to autism, but studies indicate disorganization of the prefrontal cortex in the brains of autistic people. This part of the brain develops before birth. Of all the risk factors in developing autism, we know genetics looks the most likely, and being vaccinated is not among them.

    As for the myth that unvaccinated children are healthier than their vaccinated counterparts, almost all of the studies are similar in nature. One such study was funded by two different anti-vaccine organizations (Generation Rescue, Inc., and the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute). The study, which was retracted a month after it was published, relied on surveys sent out to parents of homeschooled children. They didn’t specify how many people were eligible to take the survey, but they only received 415 responses.

    Along with self-selection bias, a study design like this introduces other biases, such as recall bias and reporting bias. The study itself shows that the unvaccinated group was less likely to seek medical or dental care and less likely to use medications. They might also have a different perception of illness or neurological disorders than someone from the vaccinated group.

    A study this small with so many clear biases needs to be discarded (or retracted–which it was).

    Did the CDC hide harms about mRNA vaccines?

    The Claim:

    A former Canadian radiologist claims that there have been 56 sudden and unexpected deaths among children aged 12-15, saying these deaths were caused by COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and suggesting an increase in sudden deaths and cancer in vaccinated children.

    The Facts:

    To believe Makis, we would also need to believe that side effects are reported 30 times less often than they actually happen. That statistic comes from an analysis of VAERS that claims that severe adverse events during the drug trial should happen at the same rate as the general population, forgetting that adverse events are not necessarily caused by vaccines. In trials, every event, even those not caused by the vaccine, is recorded. However, in the general population, this doesn’t happen as often.

    Remember that anyone can report anything to VAERS, even if it wasn’t caused by the vaccine, as noted on the VAERS website. One doctor famously submitted a report that the flu shot turned him into the Incredible Hulk. VAERS is helpful for keeping track of vaccine safety, but just because something is reported doesn’t mean the vaccine caused it.

    This radiologist then goes on to list 10 deaths of children from across the globe, where none of the articles about these children discussed their vaccine history. He continues to conclude that every death is a vaccine death without any evidence that the vaccine was given much less caused these deaths.

    At the conclusion of the tweet, he mentions 56 deaths (apparently from around the world) of which 5 were cancer. Again, without any evidence that these people were vaccinated.

    No evidence supports the claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause so-called turbo cancer or any other form of cancer. The idea that these turbo cancers are a result of vaccines stems, in part, from claims that doctors are seeing huge spikes in cancer rates. However, even some of the most powerful carcinogens can take years to manifest in the form of cancer. While there has been an increase in early-onset cancers (not turbo cancer), this increase started in the early 1990s, well before the introduction of COVID vaccines.

    Vaccines are not shown to cause cancer, and anti-vaxxers have yet to produce credible evidence the vaccine is causing turbo cancers.

    Read more issues of our newsletter where we debunk turbo cancer myths.

    Do boosters make you more likely to get COVID?

    The Claim:

    paramedic shared a story about a healthy man experiencing near-fainting and abdominal pain, later discovered to be an aortic dissection, who survived surgery but eventually deteriorated and died, proof of what he claims is a rise in such cases following COVID vaccinations.

    The Facts:

    A paramedic who often gives opinions about the COVID shots, was called to an emergency. He gets a brief history as he transfers the patient to the hospital, where he is eventually diagnosed by his physician with an aortic dissection.

    Beyond the fact that the paramedic only gets a brief history, nothing in the history he gets would lead him to believe a vaccine caused the aortic dissection. A paramedic, who is a lifesaving hero, is not in the position to make this kind of call about a patient.

    He claims it was the vaccines because the patient at some point “received three COVID vaccinations.” He also claims that aortic dissections and aneurysms were rare before COVID vaccines. The COVID pandemic also brought about COVID, a known cause of aortic dissections.

    Find more of our newsletter posts where we debunk myths about COVID boosters.

    Disclaimer: Science is always evolving and our understanding of these topics may have evolved since it was originally posted. Browse the latest information posted in Just the Facts Topics.

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