Vaccination Council: Misleading

July 30, 2012 at 11:47 am (Anti-Vaccination) (, , , , )

Vaccination is one of medicine’s great success stories, preventing deaths and serious ill health caused by infectious diseases – and almost always doing so without causing serious harm in the process. I will be discussing the lives saved and harm prevented by vaccination against diseases such as pertussis and measles in this post, but first a note on safety. As Rümke and Visser wrote: “During recent years a scala of diseases or symptoms have been associated with vaccination (presumed side effects). Careful and extensive investigations have shown that such hypotheses could not be supported. […] The total number of cases where at least a possible relation between side effects and vaccination is observed–apart from local reactions and moderate general symptoms–is very rare (about 0.25 per 1000 vaccinations) and does not balance the benefits from vaccination.” Not everyone accepts that vaccination is safe and effective. Sadly, some of these people mislead others into thinking that vaccination is less effective or more dangerous than it actually is. Read the rest of this entry »


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Anecdotal Evidence

July 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm (Anecdote, Evidence, Placebo) (, , , , , )

As is pointed out in the Wikipedia article on anecdotal evidence, such evidence is considered to be dubious support of a claim. Not only because it may be unrepresentative of a “typical” experience, but also because anecdotal evidence consists of casual observations rather than rigorous analysis. It is inevitable that casual observations will be subject to bias. Rigorous analysis is subject to bias too – but less so. Attempts are at least made to reduce the influence of biases. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daily Mail Science Correspondent on Vaccination

July 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Media) (, , , , , , , )

The Daily Mail have this week published an article on the HPV vaccine. Remarkably, it’s actually quite good. Certainly better than those written by Rachel Porter, Paul Sims, and the anonymous (and ubiquitous) Daily Mail Reporter. (See herehere, here, and here for my thoughts on those articles.) The journalist in question is Fiona MacRae. The article is about girls being denied the “life-saving cervical cancer jab” because of the religious objections of schools. As I say, it’s actually quite good. The only quibble I have is that it includes the following sentence: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Confusing Case of the “Cancer Active” Charity

July 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm (Legal Chill, Miscellaneous)

Professor David Colquhoun of the Improbable Science blog has apparently been threatened with legal action over a blog post about CANCERactive. I am baffled. I am confused for various reasons, including the following: I’m uncertain of the objectives of the charity, I am uncertain of the basis of the legal threat, and I am uncertain of the status of the trading carried out by the charity. Read the rest of this entry »

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