Wednesday, January 15, 2020

'Are vaccines dangerous? The flu is much more so'

Professor Hershko also discussed the dangers of the vaccine, explaining that the complications of influenza are much greater and more dangerous than the complications which might occur from the vaccines.
"The story with the opposition to vaccines is something that's always beyond my understanding, because it's very well known in medicine, for hundreds of years already, that the best medicine is preventive medicine.
"Every medical treatment has its complications and the vaccine has complications that you cannot ignore, but if we compare the danger of the vaccine to the danger of flu, there's no comparison.... The vaccine usually has no symptoms, while the flu, in the best case, is a febrile illness which forces the person to stay home, and in a worse case it involves severe bacterial pneumonia which takes advantage of the infection, myocarditis, kidney or brain tissue complications, and more.
"I don't think there's a question what's safer. The vaccination is a surefire treatment, and unfortunately this year a lot of people have bought these stories that the vaccine isn't really safe, and we're seeing the results in the hospital wards, with people who are very sick and whose lives are now in danger."


  1. While I am sympathetic to this editorial's viewpoint, it is making a straw man via false analogy. We suffer influenzas as adults, whereas we inject vaccines at only a few months of age, before the infant's immune system has fully developed.

    More pointedly, regardless of where the bottom line should fall vis-a-vis scientifically informed decisions for a rational agents, the action is the person's to make, not the government's to legislate. To bring the force of sovereignty to bear in requiring citizens to put things in their body -- because, well, smart people in white coats with our imprimatur say so (in the name of the collective good, no less!) -- is positively & truly Orwellian... even in cases where those white-coated folks are justifiably in the right.

    What a radically fundamental freedom to seek to co-opt, and how terribly anti-American! It is a first principle of our democracy that folks have the right to go their own way, even if they want to follow Mr. Pied Piper or drive off cliffs. To resist that basic truth is to salute the flag of take-your-pick of collectivist authoritarian societies spanning the 20th century. At this point in history, we ought to know better.

    The Federal bill under current consideration is truly vile and an attempt by the majority to tyrannize its will over the rest. (What ever happened to the Christian Science movement? I'd think they'd be piping up and winning converts amid hubbub of this forced vaccination issue.)

  2. Of course there are risks to vaccines. The smallpox vaccine had a death rate. It's just that 1:10000 died from the vaccine and 1:3 died from the actual virus.
    As for Passaic friend, the argument is weak. According to his position, there should be no seatbelt laws. Vaccines are mandatory because it's not just about your kid and your lack of caring whether or not he dies of measles but because your stupid decision means exposing my kid and since the vaccine is imperfect, putting him at risk. We don't outlaw drinking even though it causes lots of health consequences but we do outlaw drinking and driving because you might hit me!

  3. You need to read an immunology textbook so that you stop making these ignorant claims, Passaic friend.

  4. Well, obviously I need do no such thing, because clearly my argument -- an easily grasped argument, or so I thought -- is not at all immunologically based, but politically based. I make two claims; in reverse order, they are -

    (1) That even if we were to grant that the anti-vaccination camp be entirely misguided, it still remains the parents' "mistake" to make, and they cannot be forcibly marshalled into compliance in a non-authoritarian society such as is American civil society.

    In other words, no matter how much science you have behind you, such "scientific" truths cannot be forced on another. Here, science, like religion, is the citizen's to embrace or reject. The counter-approach of force was the Soviet Union's, where the Party decided what opinion was the proper opinion -- i.e., was Truth -- and whoever did not expressly agree was labelled subversive. Politically, this amounts to an alternative choice between Thought Control and the Free Exchange [of Ideas]. FYI, the latter is referred to, in the parlance of classical political theory, as "civil society"; its leading advocate, classically, is the 17th-century thinker John Locke, and its espousal lies at the basis of American political philosophy.

    Now, that first point is a political analysis, and clearly has nothing to do with immunology.

    (2) That even if the editorialist's conclusion regarding the advisability of vaccination & the intellectual delinquence of those who resist be confirmed to be accurate and the case, nevertheless his argumentative support for that conclusion is hardly as natural and intuitive as he pretends, since it is based on a highly tenuous analogy.

    How adults will tend to treat their own occasional influenza and how they would be inclined to approach their children's certain developmental grappling with disease would likely not extend in parallel the one with the other. So even if his conclusion be the right one, his oh-so-intuitive argument that would dismiss his opponents' position as stupid is in fact remarkably weak.

    This second point amounts to a forensic analysis, and again has nothing to do with immunology.

    You follow now? Because while not everyone need agree with my two points above, whatever it is therein that could be deemed "ignorant" entirely escapes me... Presumably, you think me to hold to some tenet in the underlying immunology?
    But it is plain that nowhere do I touch the subject. So that would be your problem -- either of reading comprehension or the ability to follow basic sevara.

  5. Because you posted this Comment un-threaded, I missed it until just now, one month later, regrettably, only catching it having been precipitated back here by Biotech Observer's reply below.

    I actually find this attempted refutation a very thoughtful reply; your position is a natural one and lends itself readily to reason... as does the editorialist's position that I set out to criticize, actually. However, like his argument, yours cannot stand.

    You have overlooked the fact that there are, in point of fact, no laws imposing the wearing of seatbelts or mandating only sober driving; rather, the laws prohibit driving on public roads without the added safety of seatbelts & sobriety. See the difference? If everyone has available to himself the freedom to move around the public space as he wishes, on or off the public roads, via whatever means he chooses, etc., and then he freely chooses to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, well then with that choice he has concomitantly taken upon himself the added responsibility the law shoulders him with of donning a seatbelt and driving sober. But nowhere has he been forced to drive, or even to travel on a public road, or to abstain entirely from drink. He is not in the army, conscripted as a driver, or under the puritanical decade of Prohibition. Had he, for example, bought himself 30 acres and indulged himself in joyriding his new vehicle all around his property, drunk out of his mind, the law in that case remains contentedly silent. It is his availing himself of the public road that brings these other duties to bear. Nowhere in that circumscription of his conduct by the law is anything absolutely imposed on him.

    So to which of these alternatives -- qualification of a privilege (like driving safely when using the privilege of the nicely paved public road provided by the state), or imposition of a mandate (like being conscripted to drive in Uncle Sam's service every day for an assigned period) -- is forced vaccination better analogized to? Clearly the second (imposition of a mandate), since it is absolute and allows for no choice.

    There are many parents, for example, who would prefer to delay their child's vaccination until later, but because they want to avail themselves the privilege of a certain playgroup, whose organizers or participants require it as a condition of participation, they relent, eager for their child to be socialized. That is their choice, one they made in the marketplace and made freely. So too, I want the added convenience of sometimes commuting to work via my car and not just via the train, so I comply with all relevant conditions attached to that privilege.

    ...All of which is a far cry from, in the name of your safety, being forced to trust the white-coated injection put into my body. Yes, as Americans under the Constitution we believe that enough kicking & screaming, however stubborn, by itself warrants our exemption from compliance, whatever be our private reasons, and however incoherent they be. That's just a fundamental political principle, however reckless its exercise may at times seem to the self-styled scientifically enlightened among us.

    As an epilogue to all that: Do you not see that your position is but a short step away from having to abide forced atheism? After all, all I need add to your position is the general holding that unenlightened attitudes are a form of corruption. Well, since our attitudes are clearly liable to influence each other's, my unenlightened belief is then a threat to you, and in the name of "safety" my religious viewpoint could then be suppressed. All that's required is little shift in the semantics, and voilà: you're a leading citizen of Robespierre's French Directorate... or the Soviet Politburo... or today's Chinese People's "Republic"....

  6. You don't even know how much you don't know. That is why you must read an immunology textbook.

    Despite framing your argument in terms of personal liberties and lots of high minded ideals, you also can't seem to resist paying lipservice to the baseless irrational claims of antivaxxers. I wasn't interested in debating your philosophical stance on the law, despite how much I disagree with it, because the inflexible libertarian dogmatism displayed is more about ideology than sensible policy, and it's not worth it to me to get into philosophical legal debates of that nature on the internet. But when you add antivaxxer ignorance I am determined to dispute that aspect of what you say.

    Quoting you twice: "their children's certain developmental grappling with disease"
    "While I am sympathetic to this editorial's viewpoint, it is making a straw man via false analogy. We suffer influenzas as adults, whereas we inject vaccines at only a few months of age, before the infant's immune system has fully developed."

    The oped was about flu shots (or "flu vaccines" as referred to in the article because the flu shot is a form of vaccination). There was no false analogy made here except by YOU, friend.

    Your implication that a child's physical wellbeing is threatened by lack of completed development of its immune system at the time of receiving routine vaccinations is complete and utter nonsense. The well-established CDC recommended vaccination schedule is evidence-based unlike the weird svaras you are concocting. Reading an immunology textbook would help you
    1. Understand how the immune system works, including how it develops in a baby along with why (and how) vaccination protects a baby against extremely dangerous infections
    2. Understand the evidence demonstrating vaccine effectiveness in clinical trial settings as well as within the real-world results (in numbers) of prevention of infectious diseases since the inception of various vaccines into routine clinical practice.

    All this will make you question why you are talking about healthy babies being at risk from vaccination, which makes no sense.

    The whole "I stand with the antivaxxers of the frum world on libertarian grounds whether their science is wrong or not" is just veiled too-cool-for-school posturing and for some reason its adherents so often seem to use it as an excuse to justify or minimize the antivaxxers' ignorance and basic misunderstanding of biology. The whole origin of the movement built and spread by the goyim whom the frum antivaxxers are aping is the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of science plus the fearmongering that goes with it, not a civil rights effort.

  7. I wonder whether people taking stands like this, if they truly grasped just how mistaken and full of falsehood the claims of antivaxxers actually are (by learning about the immune system) might drop the "civil rights" charade and quit lending them credibility and solidarity.

  8. Plus, the frum contingent oppose or deny science.
    PS, if a vaccine was developed for coronavirus, Rachmono letzlan, would they also oppose it?







  15. Berel, Did your "boy-wonder with autism" oracle/false prophet tell you this was accurate, or was it the phony "codes" you subscribe to?

  16. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I suspect over the long weekend (US Holiday Monday) I'll have the leisure to reply. Just wanted to reassure you, as Shabbos approaches, that I haven't forgotten about you.


  18. R' Bar Hayim is critical of Daf yomi program

  19. Why do you need to be "told " what is accurate ? cant you reason for yourself?

  20. I assess something called EVIDENCE, so I don't need to be told. Especially not by shaved-head vegan hippy nurses, or other anecdotal nonsense that you cite in youtube videos. You, on the other hand.... Are told by all sorts of non-evidence-based sources what to believe. Which is why I asked you. Have you consulted your autistic-boy-oracle lately? Try to remember what the Torah says about what false predictions mean...

  21. Also, one needs extensive training in science to be able to distinguish between good science, data, and also bad data , or junk such as the youtube videos that Berel has access to. A good analogy - can a regular layman suddenly becoem a Dayan in halacha by watching a few youtube lectures given by rabbis?

  22. So it's really been a minute! Regrettable, but a casualty of working full-time while living the frum life, I guess. Blogging is a luxury, after all....

    So let me get this straight: If the Chinese could materially prove to you that the formula toward a permanent substantive improvement in the human race's worldwide health were a nationally enforced one-child family policy, such as they now have, then, with that brave new textbook in hand, you'd call anyone who opposed such authoritarian imposition upon their personal life "ignorant" and "too cool for school" -- i.e., too cool to get with the ultra-modern Chinese program?

    I have more to say, but not the leisure at present. Will try to post more later, but this about summarizes the bottom line of how far it seems to me your "sensible" approach entirely misses the point.


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