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January 16, 2011


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McCarthy has made the same mistake. A while back (On "The Doctors", IIRC), she said that thousands of parents report "a change in their child immediately after vaccines, but sometimes months later." Which is it?

Interesting reveal Skeptico, and an illuminating title, "The Very Confused JB Handley".

Handley is also apparently confused about the U.S. childhood immunization schedule.

At 1:23 into the video, he says the following:

"I think it's important for parents to understand, children are given 36 vaccines in the U.S. by the time they reach the age of 5. The MMR is only two of those 36 shots. Typically the shots are given simultaneously. So an average child will get six vaccines in a single appointment."

36 Shots???

The full CDC childhood vaccine schedule only contains 31 "shots" by age 5, and that's only if one doesn't take advantage of nasal flu vaccines (after age two), and gets all the 4-6 year shots before age 5, and gets a 6-month dose of Hib (not indicated, after having received both the 2-month and 4-month doses of Pedvax or Comvax).


If the discussion is to stay relevant to autism, let's not forget that onset must be by age three. That lops off a chunk, and the actual number of "shots" is 24 over three years, including influenza.

As a parent, I think it's worthwhile to avoid the pain of shots for my kids where it can easily be avoided. So, opting for the nasal influenza vaccines after age two, and going with the combination vaccines like DTap/HepB/IPV, it's actually pretty easy greatly reduce the total number of "shots" even more - like to no more than 3 per appointment at six appointments, all while completely following the recommended schedule.

I feel sorry for Handley, he's apparently been deceived, is clueless or confused, or something.

Welcome Back!

This is yet another news broadcast that actually comes down on the antivax washups. i wonder what changed in the business.

I'm not really a conspiracy person, I tend to think people arent that smart or dedicated to their conspiracy, but I'll propose a marketing driven one. Wouldn't it behoove the owners of news outlets to tout how the science was wrong, how vaccines may be dangerous and then a couple of years later bash the people they interviewed on this subject?

Please make the RSS feed for this wonderful blog easier to find.

@Skeptico: You might be interested to know that Salon has retracted RFK Jr's "Deadly Immunity" after almost 6 years.

I thought it interesting that in 2005, there was a regression at 18 months. Last year it was a long slow slide starting very early. This year it is a regression at 15 months. Even the regression stories don't match.

Welcome back, I check nearly everyday and as usual I was mot disappointed by your post.


Correct. Not to mention, if the changes occur sometimes months after the vaccine, what makes them think the vaccine is to blame?


Thanks. I also saw Orac’s post. I’ll put a note on the original post.


I think Handley’s regression stories are themselves regressing. Ironic, no?

Clearly, I need to set an alert for when your feed is updated. Welcome back!

When Parker and Spitzer was launched, I remember telling my wife that I didn't expect to watch the show. "To tell the truth, I don't think I could get past the moral turpitude." I mused, "And I'm not too wild about Eliot Spitzer, either."

But seriously, folks. It is good, at every opportunity, to rub J.B. Handley's nose in the harm his looniness has caused -- but let's not expect any change in behavior. His entire life is now based on the proposition that vaccines cause autism, a position he has defended for years with absolute conviction and the drama of a tent-revival. He is so far out on that limb that he can't see the ground anymore, let alone climb down. At this point there is nothing for it but to saw him off.

In other news, Orac gave you a nice nod at Seth Mnookin's blog for your pathbreaking expose of RFK Jr. Still a great post, and still well-remembered.

Woo-hoo! Skeptico is back!

on another topic: what happened to the previous comment format, why must we sign in with typepad?


Yeah sorry about that. I had so many spammers leaving comments that was the only way to hold them off for a while. I've removed the requirement now - let's see how it goes.

My question from that clip would be, do the two studies that he was waving about as supporting his stance actually exist? And do they in fact support his claims? Obviously he puts a lot of faith in the original study even though it has been proved to be fraudulent. Are these other ones of similar quality?

Why does that not make sense? The first statement says "It is exceptionally rare that I hear the story, “my son was 100% fine, and at 2 years old after one vaccine appointment he lost everything.” I have heard that story, but very rarely."

The second statement is "I have personally talked to about a thousand parents who all report that their children where that regression took place immediately following a vaccine appointment."

The first statement says he rarely hears about the effects of the vaccine later and the second statement says it is usually much earlier. How is that contradictory? Please explain.

Hammy, RTFA:

So it’s exceptionally rare but he has personally talked to about a thousand parents who report it true. Hum. I guess when your claims get trashed so many times that you forgot where you moved the goalposts to, you occasionally get confused and contradict yourself.

The first statement says it's "exceptionally rare" but the second says he's personally talked to a thousand parents claiming it true.

nzchris wrote:

The first statement says he rarely hears about the effects of the vaccine later and the second statement says it is usually much earlier.

The two statements say no such thing.

The first statement says he rarely hears of children regressing (to autism) just after a vaccination. The second statement says he has spoken to 1,000 parents whose children have regressed just after a vaccination. Either few children regress after a vaccination (ie it is an anomaly) or many children regress after a vaccination, but it can’t be both.

The reason it is important to point this out, is that it highlights how Handley fits the evidence to his foregone conclusion (which is that vaccines cause autism). When he is arguing with Dr Novella, he needed to show that autism progresses over a period of time (ie does not start just after a vaccination). When someone asks him how he knows autism is caused by vaccines, he needs to say that the autism appeared immediately after a vaccination. Of course, if he were really following the evidence to determine a conclusion, instead of trying to shoehorn evidence towards the conclusion he had already made, he would not make such basic errors.

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