Is “Dr. Bob” Sears moving away from his profitable anti-vaccine pandering?

A couple of days ago, the blog “Just the Vax” noticed that the re-design of “Dr. Bob” Sears’s website includes some conspicuous changes: Whereas previously, there had been a prominent “vaccines” category of his online forum, now the entire topic seems to have been swept under the (virtual) rug. (Update: here’s another datapoint that highlights why I’m so gobsmacked by Sears’s apparent shift.)

Even more remarkable than the fact that the topic no longer appears on Sears’s discussion pages is the fact that Sears has actually removed The Vaccine Book, his bestselling compendium of obfuscation and misinformation, from his list of books for sale. In fact, the dedicated website Sears had set up for The Vaccine Book has also vanished into the ether.

This is staggering: For the past five or so years, Sears has packaged himself as a vaccine “expert,” telling parents who were concerned about vaccine safety that they could skip some vaccines, or space others out. Earlier this week, I was looking on his old “vaccine” forum and found a series of messages in which he assured parents that travel to Western Europe posed no threat of measles infections…which directly contradicted the CDC alert to families traveling with young children. (France is in the midst of a several-years long outbreak which has already infected thousands of people in 2011.) The extent to which Sears marketed himself as a vaccine “expert” can be seen on Sears’s page at the Hachette Speakers Bureau, which still has only a single suggested “topic” for Sears’s speeches: “Vaccine myths and questions: what’s true, what’s hype, and what you need to know.”^

I wrote about Sears at some length in The Panic Virus. I think you’ll understand why I find Sears’s apparent decision to stop selling himself as a vaccine expert so astounding after reading the excerpt below:


Excerpt from Chapter 22, “Medical NIMBYism and Faith-Based Metaphysics,” of The Panic Virus:

An even better known Southern California doctor who, despite having no specific training in immunology or public health, is an outspoken proponent of “working with” vaccine denialists is Bob Sears, who, like [Jay] Gordon, prefers to be called by his first name only. Sears is, along with his father, William “Dr. Bill” Sears of attachment parenting fame, the primary author of the more than two dozen books that comprise the “Sears Parenting Library,” including The Baby Book and The Healthiest Kid on the Block.

“I became passionate about educating parents all over america [sic] when I discovered that there were no good, complete, unbiased sources of information out there for parents to read,” Sears wrote in an email in response to a question about his initial interest in the topic. “Everything was either completely pro vaccine or antivaccine.  I wanted to create something that would give parents both sides of the story.” The result was 2007’s The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision For Your Child, which includes an “alternative” vaccination schedule that’s based on Sears’s personal experiences as a pediatrician. (Sears’s most recent best seller about a topic in which he does not have specialized training is 2010’s The Autism Book: What Every Parent Should Know About Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention.) …

Sears’s questionable assertions are by no means limited to his recommended schedule: The Vaccine Book includes sections titled “Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Are Not That Bad,” and “Natural Infection is Better Than Vaccination.” The book’s most startling passage, however, is included under the heading “Hid[ing] In The Herd”: “When dealing with anxious parents,” he writes, “I warn them not to share their fears with their neighbors, because if too many people avoid the MMR, we’ll likely see the diseases increase significantly.” …

The realities [of the deaths and hospitalizations of vaccine-preventable diseases like Hib, measles, and pertussis] are obviously hard to square with Bob Sears’s downplaying of the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases—but Sears didn’t need to look to Minnesota for proof that those diseases actually can be “that bad.” [In 2008], a seven-year-old boy who was later revealed to be one of Sears’s patients returned from a family vacation in Switzerland with the measles. While the boy’s parents had made a choice not to vaccinate their child—as his mother explained in a Time magazine article, “We analyze the diseases and we analyze the risk of disease, and that’s how my husband and I make our decision about what vaccines to give our children”—many of the people who paid the price for that decision had less say in the matter. Within days, the measles virus had spread to a swim school, a pediatrician’s office, a Whole Foods, a Trader Joe’s market, and a charter school; an entire plane of passengers headed to Honolulu was quarantined at a military base; and a ten-month child was hospitalized and required around-the-clock care for a full month. (According to Gordon, the hospitalization was an overly dramatic reaction: “My guess is that if this had happened in the 1960s, no one would have been hospitalized.  They would have said, ‘Oh well, an…outbreak of measles.'”) An additional forty-eight children who were too young to be vaccinated had to be quarantined, at an average cost of $775 per family. In total, the outbreak cost public health agencies almost $200,000 to contain.

Eighteen months after one of his patients had caused the largest number of measles cases in California since 1991, when an outbreak resulted in a total of fifty-one deaths, I wrote to the “media inquiries” email address listed on Sears’s website requesting “a time to speak with Dr. Sears for a book I’m working on for Simon & Schuster about vaccines.”⁠ A week later, I received a response with details about advertising on Sears’s website, which, in addition to an online store selling the Sears Family Essentials line of “healthy snacks and supplements,” features endorsements of products ranging from Vital Choice Wild Seafood (“My favorite salmon!”) to Meyenberg Goat Milk Products. The email read:

I’d like to put together a nice press kit for you. … We’d of course like to book as many [page view] impressions as you are willing to give us on a monthly basis, I believe you mentioned 8,000, would 10,000 be out of the question?  We generally charge $15 cpm [cost per million page views] because of our specifically targeted audience, is that in the price range you were expecting Please respond with any general ideas/questions. …

Also, what sort of tracking will be used and how would be bill according to tracking?

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to the possibility of working with you.

Sears’s willingness to work with advertisers and self-indulgent parents alike has proven to be very profitable. (The Vaccine Book has already sold more than 100,000 copies.) It’s also directly contributed to the rising number of affluent enclaves in which vaccination rates have fallen so low that diseases such as measles and whooping cough are once again becoming endemic. In March 2008, before he had admitted that it was his unvaccinated patient that had brought measles back from Switzerland, Sears wrote on his website, “The recent measles outbreak (if you can call it that)…raises awareness of a growing trend among families to decline certain vaccines.” According to Sears, this was a good thing: “I believe our nation can tolerate a certain percentage of unvaccinated children without risking the overall public health in any significant way. Since most children are vaccinated, our nation has enough ‘herd immunity’ to contain outbreaks like this one.”


I have another brief excerpt from that chapter (in fact, it’s more or less the exact part cut out by the second ellipses above) in a May 6 post titled “Evidence, herd immunity, and ‘total assholes.’” There’s more information about The Panic Virus on my website, and you can get it on Amazon for the low price of $15 (cheap!).

^ Just in case Sears’s page at Hachette also gets disappeared, here’s a screengrab:


If you’re looking for other ways to stay in virtual touch, you can follow me on Twitter (@sethmnookin), check out my Tumblr (, or visit The Panic Virus‘s Facebook page. There’s news about The Panic Virus, as well as my previous books about the Red Sox and The New York Times, on my website, where you can also find more info about me, upcoming speaking appearances, and more miscellanea. See you out in the ether…

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59 Responses to Is “Dr. Bob” Sears moving away from his profitable anti-vaccine pandering?

  1. Pingback: Does this mean no more “Dr. Bob” Sears photo-ops with Andrew Wakefield? | The Panic Virus

  2. Catherina says:

    I think he got booted off the page because he became untenable, Seth. It is not Bob’s page, but the Sears’ family’s and that business is a heck of a lot larger than just 100’000 books…

  3. Twyla says:

    The web site you linked to isn’t Dr. Bob Sears’ web site. I believe it is his parents’ web site.
    — We are William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN. Most folks just call us Dr. Bill and Martha.

    Why his work is no longer there I have no idea. Differences of opinion within the family? Pressure from the AAP? Change of heart on the part of Dr. Bob Sears? Whatever possibilities one can dream up are purely speculative at this point.

    I don’t even have time to write about all the ways that the above excerpt from “Panic Virus” is insulting and biased. Parents with concerns about vaccines are “self-indulgent parents”? Since when is it self indulgent to worry about your baby’s health?

    Measles is expensive? What about the lifetime cost of severe vaccine-induced autism accompanied by IBD? The fact is, this is real — documented in many cases. And this is consistent with the package inserts of the vaccines, the studies showing neuroinflammation in people with autism, and much more evidence from many sources. This is a real problem which must be investigated.

    To present this solely as a choice between, “Don’t talk about it because then people won’t get vaccinated” or “If you talk about it people won’t get vaccinated” is, frankly, stupid. We have a situation where some people are suffering adverse effects from vaccines, collateral damage from our war on germs. We don’t really know how often this occurs, because our government’s tracking is woefully inadequate. Adverse reactions are often not reported, or dismisses as coincidence with no investigation.

    Our government investigates “anecdotal” reports of cars accelerating out of control and e-coli in food. Likewise, we need study of adverse reactions to vaccines. The continual blanket dismissal of these reports shakes consumers’ confidence in the vaccine program.

    It is not good medicine, not good science, to simply present two options: vaccinate or don’t vaccinate. We need to study the vaccine injured children for the sake of identifying susceptibility factors, mechanism of injury, how to prevent, and how to treat these reactions.

    We also need better weighing of the risks and benefits of vaccines and diseases, instead of adding on so many vaccines willy-nilly, without study of the longterm cumulative effects and of the immediate effects of multiple vaccines, and more.

    • Mara says:

      The problem with everything you’ve said is that scientists HAVE investigated claims of adverse reactions to vaccinations and they’ve found that the majority don’t hold water. That’s millions of dollars that could have been spent on finding the real causes of autism and finding real treatments.

      When you talk about studying vaccine-injured children, you’re making the mistake known as “begging the question” by assuming the children were injured by vaccines. A true medical investigation begins by saying “Here are children who are ill. Let’s look at all the possible causes and see if we can figure out what happened.”

      And when real scientists have done that, they’ve found that the vaccines were not at fault in most cases. When they have found the vaccine at fault, the vaccine has been pulled (the first rotavirus vaccine) or changed (polio, after a kick in the pants from the father of a kid who got polio).

      Of course it’s not self-indulgent to worry about your children’s health. Believe me, I worry constantly about mine. The difference is, I also worry about all the other children who might catch measles or pertussis from my kids if they go unvaccinated.

      I worry about my daughter’s classmate whose allergies are severe enough that she can’t be vaccinated. I worry about that two-week-old baby I saw in the pediatrician’s office the other day when I was there with my croupy son. If I were responsible for putting that baby in the hospital, I don’t know how I could live with myself.

      And that is why we call parents who choose not to vaccinate “self-indulgent.” You’re putting other people at risk with your behavior.

      • ailf says:

        vaccines have multiple immuno suppressant additives in them….aluminum just being swallowed has immuno suppressive effects. what makes you think your vaccines are engineered to improve your immune system? the pharmaceutical industry has successfully pushed this product only because people know nothing! in all honesty with my extensive heavy knowledge of poisons and chemicals vaccines are more likely to make someone more susceptible to disease and infection….and anyone with good well rounded uninfluenced knowledge of poisons and chemicals knows this. and big pharma along with government even tried to talk people into thinking mercury was good for you? seriously can you see what your up against? your up against a devious dangerous foe with a hidden agenda covered with a smoke screen of lies….who controls your doctors education in medical school? big pharma does….where not looking at a savior here, where looking at one of the biggest most dangerous agenda in human history to date perhaps…well at least more dangerous then the tobacco conspiracy, and our kids are on the front line taking direct hits from this insane business of disease. whats even worse is that bill gates himself has admitted the use of vaccines towards depopulation….and the United nations has admitted in documentation that vaccines will be used in the effort to control population. so judging by the immune system damaging additives and the connections with United nations , bill gates ( who just greatly assisted in unleashing genetically modified mosquitoes on specific 3rd world populations designed to mass vaccinate populations with what ever they want ) I would say that there preping the populations immune systems to be drastically weaker in preparation for a pestilence depopulation biological weapon release. No joke…you will see, in time a huge pestilence will commence which will be expected to have roughly the same outcome of say…the black plague perhaps? you won’t believe me though, in the end you might though. thats the beauty of industry & Government propaganda…usually people are near death before they realize they got screwed sideways. kinda that feeling you get when someone realizes that chemo therapy was the worst possible treatment they could have gotten to get rid of there cancer? lol

        • Brandt Levitt says:

          I would like to clarify something that was missed in the above comment- Alum is used in vaccines as an adjuvant, that is a substance that is immunostimulatory. Adjunvants are used to increase the immune response to an antigen, in the case of a vaccine, the antigen is a piece of flu envelope or killed virus. I can definitely understand why that might be confusing to individuals who don’t regularly think about this. The previous commentator must have reversed the meanings of immunostimulatory and immunosuppressive when they made that comment!

          • ailf says:

            ok lets get one thing straight, you can just as easily suppress the immune system by over stimulating it then you can directly suppressing it.

            1. ok possible short term effects of aluminum are immune system imbalance (imbalances have a suppressive effect allowing more susceptibility infection/disease/viruses ) caused by a aggravation by the adjuvant.

            2. prolonged aluminum exposure causing accumulation does and will have a severely damaging effect on the immune system

            3. Aluminum injections have been successfully used to decrease the possibility of transplant rejection

            to reduce transplant rejection the immune system is intentionally damaged with these aluminum injections to suppress the immune system in turn lowering possibility of rejection

      • B Gregory says:

        I grew up singing America the Beautiful, Yankee Doodle, God Bless America, and the Star Spangled Banner. I watch our citizens enter the military and fight for our rights. I remember people saying “I don’t like what you say, but I believe in the freedom of speech.”

        What happened? Now you can take your child to the hospital and your child is taken away from you because you wanted a second opinion.

        Doctors don’t all agree on everything. Where do you get the idea that medicine is based on black and white science?

        Well, that’s because we don’t have freedom of speech or freedom of the press. Because the newspapers, TV stations, radio, advertising are all controlled by 6 corporation and a small group of people. The same people who own the pharmaceutical companies.

        What I want to hear from the provaxers – is we need debate on TV and radio between the antivaxers and the provaxers. Lots of debate. Because if your side is right, it will stand up to open debate.

        You convince the antivaxers to get vaccinated. You don’t take away people’s freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, and personal freedom by making vaccines mandatory.

        America is supposed to be the Land of the Free. Don’t you still believe in that? I do.

        • Chris says:

          Debate what? The science versus the non-science? The problem is those that are on the side of non-science cannot be reasoned with.

          I don’t think anyone has tried to stifle folks like Olmsted, Blaxill, Solomon, the Geiers, Bernard, Sears, Wakefield, RJK, jr, Dwoskin and others. They are welcome to their opinions, but not to a different set of facts. Criticizing their non-science is not impinging on their freedom of speech.

          Now if you want to convince us that there is a valid other side, then present some real scientific evidence to support your claims. Just provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any vaccine on the present American pediatric vaccine caused more harm than the disease.

          “…. personal freedom by making vaccines mandatory.”

          Only if you want your child to participate in public school as part of a public health policy. Depending on your state you can start a private school where no one cares about public health policies, or homeschool (where even in states who wants vaccine records of homeschoolers, they don’t try very hard to enforce those policies).

          Also, if you want total “freedom” from laws that you feel are impinging on your rights, there are plenty of countries that are less regulatory. I hear Somalia has nice beaches.

  4. Twyla says:

    re: “scientists HAVE investigated claims of adverse reactions to vaccinations and they’ve found that the majority don’t hold water” Really? Which scientists? When and where? I have read epidemiology, nothing else. The same people who constantly tell us not to confuse correlation with causation also tell us that statistics on correlation (or lack thereof) are a thorough exploration of the question of whether vaccines sometimes cause autism and/or IBD. Parents of vaccine injured children — including those whose cases were paid out by the federal govt — say that nobody has been interested in studying their children. Both CBS news and David Kirby have been told by the federal govt that cases are not tracked to see which children compensated for vaccine injury have a diagnosis of autism. I have never seen a study of vaccine injured children. Barbara Loe Fisher says that her group has been asking for years for studies to define what is a vaccine injury, and how to identify whether an injury/health condition was caused by a vaccine.

    We are still told that autism is a mystery, that SIDS is a mystery, that the increase in immune system disorders in children during the past 25 years is a mystery, and that it all might be due to better diagnosis. As if a child with autism, asthma, IBD, severe allergies, diabetes, or MS could just be overlooked. Yes, very mild versions of these disorders could be overlooked, but if a child cannot talk, breath, digest sugar, etc. this cannot be overlooked, even without medical training.

    Also, when parents tell of their children’s serious vaccine reactions, it is a total nonsequitur to say that it is irresponsible not to vaccinate. They did vaccinate their children. The problem is what to do about these serious reactions.

    • Mara says:

      You’re doing it again: saying “here are vaccine-injured children, which proves that vaccines cause injury.” I’m sorry, but circular logic makes me dizzy.

      First, you have to prove that the vaccines caused the autism or what-have-you. Just because you think it’s the cause, that doesn’t mean it’s true. We harp on the difference between correlation and causation because that’s important!

      A few years ago, my daughter was given amoxicillin and within a few hours she was gasping and coughing and I freaked out, thinking she was having a reaction to the antibiotic. The doctor listened to her chest and explained that she had croup. Once I calmed down, I realized that her breathing sounded exactly like my son’s when he gets croup. But because it happened shortly after she took a medication, I assumed they were related. So I know how it is, I really do.

      As for which studies…well, have you tried going to and typing in “vaccine adverse effects”? Or “vaccine safety”? Because I just did, and I saw studies looking at the safety of vaccines on the very first page of results.

      Another good site is Try searching “vaccine safety” or “vaccine injury” there and you’ll see a lot of good stuff.

      I feel terrible for anyone with a sick child, but there’s no logical reason to believe that the tiny amount of biological and non-biological material in vaccines is a likely cause of autism or IBD, rather than the vast amounts of air pollution, water pollution, chemicals in food, etc., that have increased in the past few decades. I would submit that everybody would be healthier, including the kids, if we focused on those issues instead.

      • Twyla says:

        Pointing out the existence of children with vaccine-induced autism is not circular logi. It is evidence. Too many people from many times and places are telling similar stories of their typical child receiving a round of vaccines and then having acknowledged reactions such as fever, crying for hours, sometimes seizures, followed by loss of language and social skills and eye contact, repetitive behaviors, and in many cases severe GI issues. Too many to be just a coincidence.

        When people report severe diarrhea after eating certain foods, that is looked at as evidence which is the BEGINNING of an investigation. They are not told, “First you must prove to us which food made you sick and with what microbe.” The FDA surveys the sick people to find out which foods did they recently ate, takes stool samples to identify microbes, tests the suspected foods for microbes.

        Why are parents of autistic children told basically, “You have to prove to us that your child was injured by a vaccine and that injury caused autism”? At the same time as we are told that we are not scientists and that we should leave all these issues in the hands of scientists, we are also told that we should do the work of scientists, otherwise all of our observations and experiences will simply be ignored.

        “CBS News has learned the government has paid more than 1,300 brain injury claims in vaccine court since 1988, but is not studying those cases or tracking how many of them resulted in autism.

        “The branch of the government that handles vaccine court told CBS News: ‘Some children who have been compensated for vaccine injuries…may ultimately end up with autism or autistic symptoms, but we do not track cases on this basis.'”

        • Twyla says:

          Of course, I meant “logic” not “logi”.

        • Twyla says:

          Parents who simply contacted as many of these parents as they could find were told that 83 children were diagnosed with autism.

          • Twyla says:

            P.S. They weren’t just “told” that; they verified these diagnoses, as described in the article.

          • Catherina says:

            actually, less than half of these patients had an autism diagnosis – the team just made more diagnoses up.

        • Tsu Dho Nimh says:

          The FDA surveys the sick people to find out which foods did they recently ate, takes stool samples to identify microbes, tests the suspected foods for microbes.

          I’ve done this kind of investigation … if 17 people show up in the ER or doctor’s offices one week, and they all went to the same church picnic, that’s cause to suspect the food at the picnic.

          If they all ate the potato salad, that’s cause to suspect the potato salad … BUT if several hundred other people all ate the potato salad and didn’t get sick, the chances of it being the salad are slim. Keep looking.

          Same way with vaccines – you can’t just look at what you assume are “vaccine-damaged” children and claim it’s the vaccine because they all got one. You have to look at ALL the children who got that vaccine. When you do that, the likelihood that the vaccine is causing problems are vanishingly small.

          The probability that autism is genetic (either inherited or de novo mutations), involving very basic brain structures that are laid down early in gestation is increasing with each research paper.

      • Twyla says:

        More from CBS News & Dr. Bernadine Healy:

        “According to Healy, when she began researching autism and vaccines she found credible published, peer-reviewed scientific studies that support the idea of an association. That seemed to counter what many of her colleagues had been saying for years. She dug a little deeper and was surprised to find that the government has not embarked upon some of the most basic research that could help answer the question of a link.

        “The more she dug, she says, the more she came to believe the government and medical establishment were intentionally avoiding the question because they were afraid of the answer.

        “Why? Healy says some in the government make the mistake of treating vaccines as an all-or-nothing proposition. The argument goes something like this: everybody gets vaccinated at the same time with the same vaccines or nobody will get vaccinated and long-gone deadly diseases will re-emerge. (When I asked about cases of brain damage resulting in autism that have been quietly compensated by the government in vaccine court over the years, one government official recently told me that ‘it’s still better overall to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated.’)

        “Healy says the argument need not be framed in those terms (vaccinate or don’t vaccinate). Instead, she says, we should vaccinate, but work to do it in the safest manner possible based on what we know and what we can find out.

        “That’s what the parents of autistic children have told me as well. If we can screen children to see which ones might be more susceptible to vaccine side effects, and vaccinate them on a more personalized schedule that is safer for them, why wouldn’t we? If it’s safer for all children to have their vaccinations spread out, why wouldn’t we? Healy says it’s called ‘personalized medicine’ and is being done in virtually all areas of medicine today with the exception of vaccines. Yet the government continues to frame the conversation in all-or-nothing, ‘one-size-fits-all’ terms.

        “Lastly, Healy says the government has a long way to go to even do basic research that could get at the heart of what she believes is an open question. For example: why in the past decade hasn’t the government compared the autism/ADD rate of unvaccinated children with that of vaccinated children? If the rate is the same, it tends to point away from vaccines. If the rate is markedly lower in unvaccinated children, it tends to point toward vaccines.

        “The government has a dataset of unvaccinated children available. It has published more than one survey of parents of undervaccinated and unvaccinated children (to find out why the parents are choosing not to vaccinate). It would seem simple to use those same families to measure their rate of autism/ADD. Also, why hasn’t the government used vaccine court as a resource to ask the autism/vaccine question. There, nearly 5,000 families have self-selected as believing their children’s autism was caused by vaccines. Many have expressed willingness to let their children’s medical records be released and studied; but nobody in the government has been interested.”

      • Twyla says:

        Mara, you suggest that I do searches on PubMed or ScienceDirect for studies on vaccine safety. That is often the response I receive — telling me to do my own search. If you are so sure that vaccines have been thoroughly researched, please cite some studies on the following topics:
        1) Comparison of longterm health and cognitive outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children or animals, to show the cumulative combined effects of our current schedule.
        2) Study demonstrating that it is safe to give multiple vaccines at once (and I don’t mean Dr. Offit’s math calc resulting in his conclusion that we can receive 10,00 or 100,ooo vaccines at the same time. I mean real world studies.)
        3) Study of individual children whose parents report that they regressed into autism after a vaccine reaction.

        I’m not saying that vaccines are not studied at all for safety. Of course they are. But they are generally studied for the obvious short term reactions.

        It’s important to note that parental reports of vaccine induced autism are consistent with research showing immune system disregulation in autism: inflammation in the brain, auto-antibodies to the myelin basic protein coating nerve cells, high rate of family history of auto-immune disorders (perhaps a susceptibility factor), imbalance between certain cells in the immune system such as Th-1 and Th-2 cells, and more.

        In addition, it is accepted that vaccines can cause febrile seizures, ongoing seizure disorder, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and encephalopathy (disease/injury in the brain). These are listed on the vaccine package inserts (as well as diarrhea) and on the HRSA vaccine injury table. So why is it such a stretch to believe that vaccines can cause autism?

        Here is an intersting article on how little we really know about the affects of early immune challenges:

        • Chris says:

          Perhaps we’d believe you more if you actually linked to some real science comparing the risks between the vaccines and the actual diseases. For instance measles is known to cause permanent injury (from hearing loss to death) in one out of a thousand cases. What you need to do is post some actual science that shows that the vaccines cause injury at or greater than the vaccines.

          The posts to news reports and blogs, plus ignoring that autism is not listed on the Vaccine Compensation table is not proving anything. Repeating the common talking points from Age of Autism and SafeMinds is not proving anything.

          “So why is it such a stretch to believe that vaccines can cause autism?”

          Because there is no real evidence. Just saying vaccines cause autism over and over again does not invalidate the several large epidemiological studies done in several countries on three continents over the past twenty years.

          The evidence for long term effects are evident in that that many institutions like Willowbrook that used to house children disabled due to rubella, polio, and other diseases have closed (for instance the deaf-ed program that was next to my kid’s special ed. program had 80 kids when he started there twenty years ago, five years ago it was down less than a dozen students). Also that having to bury at least one child per household is no longer common (like the two uncles my mother never met because they both died before their seventh birthday). And that the average lifespan has doubled from a hundred years ago.

          By the way, your first proposal to study populations of unvaccinated children versus vaccinated children was done in Germany. The only real difference was that the children who had no vaccines came down with pertussis, measles and mumps more than the other kids.

          So if you want more studies like that done, then encourage Generation Rescue and SafeMinds to pay for them. They have paid for other research, so they are the ones you should demand to do the studies.

          Those of us with disabled kids (like mine from an actual disease) are tired of this wild goose chase. We would like scarce federal and state funds to go towards things that will help our children. Like educational supports and supports for the disabled adult.

          • ailf says:

            I’m curious….what exactly do you class as ” real science” now days given that science can be easily butchered if the price is right? or shall I remind you of past bullshit stories involving supposedly “safe” products which involved supposedly real science too?

            why do people forget that which teaches us what to look out for and what never to fall for ever again? is everyone’s critical thinking centers that crippled that they can’t work it out for them selves? no dot joining, no thinking, no intelligence just good little pets is all I see…and big pharma loves you lol hell they might even throw you a tasty little bone.

          • Chris says:

            I recognize the words as English, but the way they are arranged make no sense. Especially in regards to what I wrote.

            If you have an issue that the studies performed at Willowbrook and other institutions for disabled children brought about several ethics reforms, then please present them.

      • Twyla says:

        Mara, you ask why vaccines are a suspect rather than the numerous kinds of environmental pollution. Toxins in the environment such as mercury are certainly of concern, and may very well be a factor in autism. But vaccines are prime suspects for the following reasons:
        1) The rate of autism has risen in tandem with the increase in the number of vaccines we give to infants and toddlers.
        2) Thousands of parents have reported autistic regression following vaccines.
        3) The whole purpose of vaccines is to stimulate the immune system. Studies have shown that immune system disregulation is a significant factor in autism.
        3) Injection bypasses the normal detox systems present in our GI system, lungs, and skin.
        4) There was a lot of pollution in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s and yet the rate of autism was much lower than today. Some environmental toxins are worse now (such as the level of mercury) but some have been cleaned up.

    • Paddy says:


      I’d like to suggest that you read this review:

      And this account of what was really going on behind the MMR scare:

      There’s no evidence for a link, and plenty for it having been cooked up.

  5. Twyla says:

    Chris –
    re: “Perhaps we’d believe you more if you actually linked to some real science comparing the risks between the vaccines and the actual diseases.” Ah, there’s the problem. You’d think there would be such science, wouldn’t you? Our govt agencies are great at tracking the risks of diseases, but the risks of vaccines are not well tracked, as I have been saying. Yes, there is VAERS, but reporting of adverse reactions is not mandatory, and surveys indicate that only a minority are reported. Of those reported, very few are investigated.

    Yes, autism is not listed on the Vaccine Compensation table, and an earnest effort is being made to deny autism because it would be terribly expensive to admit to it. But cases filed based on the root medical causes of autism, such as the case of Bailey Banks, have a greater chance of prevailing in court. Mary Holland discussed this here:

    There is evidence that vaccines cause autism. True that just saying vaccines cause autism over and over again would not invalidate large epidemiological studies, but SafeMinds and Generation Rescue have done a pretty darn good job of describing what is wrong with those studies:

    Also see Put Children First for a history of vaccine research shenanigans:

    Again, I am not anti-vaccine. I believe that vaccines have been effective in preventing some serious diseases. I am not saying to stop vaccinating or to do away with vaccines! But we have to deal with the down sides. That is part of an effective program. That is important for any medical treatment. There are plenty of drugs which are beneficial at certain doses but harmful at higher doses, or beneficial for some people but harmful to some who have conditions precluding that drug, or beneficial alone but interact harmfully with other drugs. Some of the saddest stories I hear are of a toddler getting “caught up” on vaccines and receiving 9 or 11 at once, and suffering lasting harm, or a toddler suffering increasingly worse reactions to a series of vaccines which are none-the-less continued, full speed ahead, until an even worse reaction causes permanent brain damage.

    You mention that “having to bury at least one child per household is no longer common… And that the average lifespan has doubled from a hundred years ago.” Up until a little over 20 years ago, we gave far fewer vaccines than we give today. We’re not comparing today with 100 years ago but with 25 or 30 years ago. A whole lot has changed since 100 years ago, including antibiotics and flush toilets. During the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s in the U.S. we did not have terrible epidemics killing and maiming lots of children – I know, I remember those years. Furthermore, while our vaccine schedule has grown, our infant and child mortality rate has not gotten better than other countries’; we have actually fallen behind many countries that give fewer vaccines, and we have higher autism rates as well.

    You talk about institutions for the disabled that used to house those injured by childhood diseases. What I hear more commonly from people who have worked with the handicapped for a few decades is that these institutions (and special ed classes) used to commonly be populated by people with Downs and cerebral palsy — with mental handicaps but sociable and usually verbal — but now have a much higher percentage of people with autism.

    I’m all in favor of “educational supports and supports for the disabled adult”. It’s not an either-or. And if we don’t address the causes of all this disability, we will have to spread the funding for services and supports even thinner in the future than now.

    Regarding the German study you linked to, there were only 94 unvaccinated children in the study, compared with 13,359 vaccinated. The study says, “Because of the low proportion of unvaccinated persons in the population, the numbers even in the large KiGGS study are small, so that statistical evaluation— especially subgroup analyses—is hindered by small case numbers.” There were ZERO 1 to 10 year olds with asthma in the unvaccinated group, compared with 242 in the vaccinated group, but the small number makes it difficult to draw conclusions. Furthermore, Germany only gives 22 vaccines by the age of 5 compared with 36 in the U.S., so their situation is not quite the same as ours. I don’t see autism mentioned at all in this report. Did I miss it?

    Lastly, you think Generation Rescue and SafeMinds should fund the studies? Parents of vaccine injured children must pay the price of funding studies? This isn’t the responsibility of the CDC or FDA? And how are these parent organizations to obtain access to data? When parents did a FOIA request to get access to data on cases paid by the vaccine court, they were told it would take 4 or 5 years and they would have to pay $750,000, half of it up front.

  6. Twyla says:

    It should be noted that Dr. Bob Sears is not “anti-vaccine”, he is not “pandering” and I doubt that he makes any more money from his books on autism and vaccines than he would make on books on other aspects of baby and child health and care. His book on vaccines is very balanced, providing solid information on the risks of the diseases and providing several vaccine schedules as possible ways for concerned parents to vaccinate with care. He provides information for parents to make informed choices.

    He does not tell people not to vaccinate. But he does not kick people out of his practice for not vaccinating. To hold him responsible for an unvaccinated child contracting measles is wrong. It was the parents’ choice not to vaccinate their child.

    Parents who are worried about the MMR used to have the option of monovalant (separate, individual) vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella. That choice is no longer available. Another example of the “our way or the highway” approach of our vaccine establishment.

    • Mara says:

      Hey, we’ve found a point of agreement! I actually do think that the option of separate vaccines is a good idea. I know a kid who’s allergic to an ingredient in one part of the MMR (something in the rubella portion, I think?) and her mom was unable to find separate vaccines, so she had to skip the whole thing. That’s unfortunate.

      I don’t think that most kids should get them separated or skip any of them, but I think it should at least be possible to do so under certain circumstances.

      Mind, I suspect we’d disagree on what circumstances, but hey, it’s nice to find something we can agree on :)

    • Catherina says:

      Bob tells parents not to vaccinate ALL THE TIME (handy that the board with those posts disappeared). He started out as just filling an alternative niche, but he has become clearly anti-vaccine, spreading misinformation and bluntly fear mongering (“I tend not to vaccinate children with X, just as a precaution” – no further info given on what could happen even when asked) – the man is a public health menace.

  7. Twyla says:

    Here is another really interesting article on the relationship between brain and immune system from passionlessDrone:

    The Interconnectedness of the Brain, Behavior, and Immunology and the Difficult to Overstate Flaccidity of The Correlation Is Not Causation Argument

    “…Correlation does not equal causation.
    “It must be stated, the above statement is absolutely true. Unfortunately for the people for whom this accurate, but simplistic catchphrase comprises the entirety of their argument, it completely ignores a wealth of research that tells us in very unambiguous terms that there is incontrovertible evidence that crosstalk between the immune system and central nervous system can modify behavior. The research indicating a relationship between immune dysregulation and autism does not exist in a vacuum, but rather, is only a tiny fragment of evidence, mostly accumulated within the last few years, that tells us that the paradigm of the past decades, that of the brain as a immune privileged organ without communication to the immune system, is as antiquated as refrigerator moms and a one in ten thousand prevalence… ”

    PassionlessDrone is his/her own person, not at either extreme in these arguements, and says that “I do believe that lots of parents have witnessed a very real change in their children post vaccination, and I also don’t believe for a single second that vaccines are the cause of an epidemic of autism.” I myself do believe that vaccines are the main cause of an epidemic of autism, but I am also always very interested in what pD has to say.

    • Chris says:

      pD is a very nice person, but not one to get any kind of scientific data from. He/she tends to ignore the corrections to his/her assertions and continue to pursue blind alleys.

      In the future just post the journal, title, date and authors of the papers that support your position that we can find in our local medical school library.

  8. Eileen says:

    Well, Age of Autism will no longer publish my posts, which is outrageous because I just politely disagreed and asked questions. I have read everything, and truthfully went to AofA with an open mind, looking for answers. However, their paranoid anger was a real turn-off. I have talked to many other parents who have the same experience. Now, I really do NOT believe vaccines cause autism. I have two daughters on the spectrum, and they are the most beautiful, innocent, charming people I know. They are not “damaged” or “injured” and I deeply resent them being described that way. Rational parents of kids with autism need to reclaim the cause from zealots who have made all of us seem crazy, paranoid, and angry. I want the money to be spent on research and therapies that work! Dr. Bob just realized he was alienating his “consumers.” Why would anyone trust him and not their own pediatrician. My kids’ doctor loves them and I know she is not part of some vast conspiracy. I am so tired of that. We don’t need any more studies on vaccines! We need money spent on things that can help our kids. We need to advocate for all that is sweet and special about our kids. We need to stop denigrating them publicly, and remind the world that all people have worth and inherent spiritual value.

    My final question is: Just how much have all these 14 studies cost? And can we please spend that money in the future on helping our kids.

    PS. I firmly believe the American government is far too large, unwieldy, and incompetent to carry out a conspiracy of that magnitude of covering up the cause of autism. Don’t you?

  9. Matt Carey says:

    Well, vaccines are linked again on the Dr Sears site.

    For the 2011 vaccine schedule, Dr. Bob starts out with:

    “My main worry about this schedule is that there really hasn’t been enough research on the various chemicals and ingredients in many vaccines to prove that they are 100% safe. ”

    Has anyone said that anything is 100% safe? There has been a lot of research to show that the vaccines are very, very safe.

    The fact that the Dr Bob posts on vaccines are back is sad. I had hopes that the Sears family would make the move to a more responsible approach.

    • ailf says:

      ok hang on….so vaccines are safe, but the ingredients used in them aren’t ? I don’t know how you can not smell the bullshit nor do I understand why you continue to parrot the same bullshit your fed without even thinking “well hang on a sec….somethings not right here” lmao

      wait a sec, there is a video around here somewhere of your mum dropping you on your head lol

  10. barry says:

    Hello all.
    I’m may be a bit ignorant here, but you may be able to help me answer a question. How does one person with the Measles cause an outbreak in a population of people vaccinated against it?

    In the past 15 years, I’ve read many cases of this happening in US schools where vaccinations were manditory. This doesn’t make sense.

    Ok, so there is a chance my child could get a life threatening disease.
    If I vaccinate, there is a chance my child could get a life threatening reaction AND still a chance they could catch a life threatening disease.
    I feel like I’m doubling my childs risk by vaccinating him. And doing it on purpose.

    • Chris says:

      How does one person with the Measles cause an outbreak in a population of people vaccinated against it?

      Because people who are prone to not vaccinate gather other people who do not vaccinate. Take for example the outbreak in Dr. Bob Sears’ area, San Diego. If you read this report you’ll see that the child infected his siblings, kids at his school who were not vaccinated (which had a larger number of like minded families), and babies too young to be vaccinated.

      If I vaccinate, there is a chance my child could get a life threatening reaction AND still a chance they could catch a life threatening disease.</blockquote.

      Explain how the chance of a one in a million chance of a serious reaction to the MMR vaccine doubles the chance of something happening to your child. The vaccine is 90% effective with the first dose, and about 99% effective after the second dose. The risk of real harm from measles is is much higher. Numbers from the linked article show about one out of a thousand get encephalitis, six out of a thousand get pneumonia, about three out of thousand die and 20% need hospital care.

  11. Pingback: When another doctor stops behaving like one | The Poxes Blog

  12. Definitely back.

    This advice is especially dangerous: “Don’t give the Hepatitis B vaccine to newborns in the hospital. Because this shot can cause fever, lethargy, and poor feeding (problems you don’t want to see in a newborn), it’s better to delay this shot for the first two months of life, especially since the disease doesn’t even occur in newborns (it’s a sexually-transmitted disease).”

    Do the Sears’ docs mean that because the thousands of newborns who used to get hepatitis B and become chronic carriers each year didn’t have any symptoms as newborns or infants, then the disease didn’t really occur? It isn’t a “disease” until they develop chronic liver disease or liver cancer later in life???

  13. Chris says:

    Nah. Don’t bother, Dr. Bob Sears is just pandering to parental fears:

  14. Pingback: The Pufferfish Effect | The Vaccine Blog

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