Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Medicine Stats Science Politics

Congressional Committee Casts a Harsh Eye On Vaccination Science 858

The Bad Astronomer writes "A recent hearing of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform became a bully pulpit for antivaccination rhetoric when Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.) made speeches connecting vaccines to autism — a connection that medical experts have shown does not exist. Although there were actual medical researchers there as witnesses, they were mostly berated by the Congressmen on the panel. Vaccines are one of the most successful medical advancements in human history, having saved hundreds of millions of lives, and after copious studies have been shown to have no connection with autism. Despite this, a vocal antivax lobby exists, including, clearly, members of Congress. In part this is why preventable and potentially fatal diseases like pertussis and measles are once again on the rise."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Congressional Committee Casts a Harsh Eye On Vaccination Science

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Broken System (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:57PM (#42181455)

    It's only broken because the electorate is mostly made up of idiots. If most people could approach issues in a rational manner, it wouldn't matter how much money was thrown at them. In the end the truth would win out. But the basic voter is utterly stupid and can easily be manipulated quite simply with basic emotions. You don't even need money if you can pull the right heart-strings.

  • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:59PM (#42181471)

    How about you people explain why the only studies showing any links were to due to fraud [] and any legitimate study shows no links?

  • Freedom of choice (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:59PM (#42181483)

    I do not care what you put into your body but I do care if you try to force me or my family to take something against their will.

    - Are you a nurse or a doctor? Some hospitals require you to take a shot.
    - Are you student in a public school? Staff claims that it's "the law" to take shots. Some schools do not even ask permissions, they just give shots.
    - Are you in the military? Good luck denying taking shots.
    - You have a newborn? Good luck trying not to have your baby taking shots.

    These are just simple examples how vaccines are pushed, in many times against persons will. May not happen near you but they do happen. And if you think vaccines are greatest thing ever, you might not even care enough to notice.

    And one last thing: in many cases medical companies lobby and outright finance drug approval agencies, just like with any big business. Medical business is no different from military, finance or oil. If you don't trust these industries why the hell would you trust medical?

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:02PM (#42181525) Journal

    There are millions of parents of autistic children who are smart enough to understand that there is no connection between vaccines and autism. The fact that he has an autistic child doesn't help provide understanding. He's an idiot plain and simple.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:14PM (#42181727)

    Yes, when the system is not deliberately setup to fail by one party's ideological motivations. People in pretty much all other first-world countries with single-payer system do not have to chose between death and crushing debt from medical bills.

  • Re:Insane (Score:5, Insightful)

    by philip.paradis ( 2580427 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:17PM (#42181761)

    For what it's worth, I've met the man, and I've seen no signs that he was 100% insane. And I've met people that were pretty insane.

    A guy walking down the street wearing a bathrobe chanting odes to aliens that resemble giant bunnies is only dangerous to the extent that motor vehicle collisions might occur due to the distraction of the spectacle. Conversely, people who generally appear stable and sane, but hold deeply ingrained lunatic views and occupy seats of power are the ones you need to worry about.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:22PM (#42181843)

    Nope. Contrary to what the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys would have you believe almost no one in other first-world countries would trade their health care system for that of the US. And, yes, this is even with the errors that happen.

  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:23PM (#42181863) Journal

    Wait a minute... I thought we were only supposed to like politicians that stood up to big evil corporations*. Here we have a politician who is standing up to big evil pharmaceutical corporations, shouldn't we be applauding him?

    * Note that I never said it had to be *logical* to stand up to them, just that you bash them as "evil." The word "corporation" has replaced "jew" as an acceptable target of pogroms in the modern age.

  • Re:SAY NOTHING (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:25PM (#42181891) Journal

    Quite frankly I don't think it should even be a choice. We limit liberties in other ways for the general good; you can't throw toxic waste into water systems, you can't drive the wrong way down the highway, you can't shout "fire" in a theater and you shouldn't be allowed to move freely through the populace unvaccinated.

  • Re:Insane (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhartman34 ( 886109 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:39PM (#42182127)
    1) It doesn't matter what percentage of the time he's right. If he's got this particular position, he's a moron. It's like being smart other than thinking the moon is made of Gouda cheese.
    2) Thank .
    3) 100% insanity doesn't matter. As we see here, 1% insanity goes a long way.
    4) See #1
    5) Ron Paul thinking he's not nuts should tell you something.
    6) Crazy people can often do quite well for themselves. Look at Jesse Ventura.
  • Re:One sided (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:40PM (#42182147)

    A child's immune system is well established in the months after they are born, else the vaccines wouldn't do anything in the first place (since they rely on the immune response to actually do anything). We vaccinate children as young as possible because young children get sick! Pretty much the only "STD" that a young child is vaccinated against is Hep B, which is also transmitted any number of other ways and has huge repercussions for the rest of the child's life if contracted. Not to mention that every single "well baby" visit is less likely to be attended than the one before it, especially by the poorest people who are at the highest risk for these diseases.

    This isn't rocket science! Vaccinating children, even newborns has zero detectable health costs (despite the anti-vaccine crowds looking for them for decades) and provides enormous benefits.

  • Re:Broken System (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:42PM (#42182191)

    the system isnt broken. it's amoral. i has no rightness or wrongess, no fixedness or brokenness. the system just is. it is a tool. the tool is never anything in and of itself but a means to some end. what the end is is dependent on the user.

    and right now the majority of the users arent paying attention and/or dont care about how the tool is being misused to their detriment. they're too busy watching Biggest Loser and the Kardashians.

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:42PM (#42182193)

    Yes, stupid people have been speaking out against vaccines for more than a century. But this isn't stupid people on the street. It isn't a former playboy model. It isn't your high school drop out cousin. These are the people we chose to represent us and make decisions on our behalf. That they are so wildly, ridiculously misinformed on such an important topic is horrifying.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:52PM (#42182355)
    We already have death panels. The difference is that under the "old" system, your death panel makes more money the more people they kill. But the people that are (indirectly) paid to kill you are ok because it's "private."

    Or are you asserting that there aren't thousands of dead people who were denied treatment (usually with the excuse it was "experimental") by their private insurance?
  • by gorzek ( 647352 ) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:02PM (#42182535) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, but.... FREEEEEEEDOM!

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:08PM (#42182613) Homepage

    Really, cause it always seems people are coming to the U.S. to get treatment they can't get approved elsewhere.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:09PM (#42182627) Journal

    And people make fun of Sarah Palin. Kucinich is a nut job, he is just left wing enough that leftwingers ignore much his nuttiness.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:09PM (#42182641) Homepage Journal

    Y)OU cite sources. What rationing? what are you calling rationing?

    Right now, in the US Rationing is happening in the form of '30+million people getting no health care.
    Every country with government healthcare has better health care.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:16PM (#42182769) Journal

    And that's not rationing? If you have money, you can get it. If you don't, die. That's pretty severe rationing in my book.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:22PM (#42182871) Homepage Journal

    We already have death panels. The difference is that under the "old" system, your death panel makes more money the more people they kill. But the people that are (indirectly) paid to kill you are ok because it's "private."

    Maybe it's a good idea to take out a life insurance policy with the same insurer. "Oh, $100,000 is too much for a new lung? OK. That works out to $735,000 for my widow."

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvolutionInAction ( 2623513 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:27PM (#42182945)
    I don't know about the European, but the Canadian Debt Crisis is... Well, non existent. How's the mortgage crisis coming along?
  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:33PM (#42183037)
    Who modded this troll? Honestly, it's hard not to go into hyperbole when talking about anti-vaxers. They're killing children. Literally, albeit less directly than slitting their throats. And these people have ears on congress. It's not enough that congress protects banks above the national interest, protects industry's ability to pollute over the interests of it's citizens and the rest of the world, and erodes our rights to make people think they're doing something to stop terrorists... NOW you have these people spreading lies about an invention that does nothing but save lives?

    What about that doesn't suck? If there's a better example of congress sucking than this, what is it? The patriot act's passage? At least there were two sides in that debate. With anti-vaxers, they've got nothing. Papers which were proven bad, gut feelings, and a lot of movie stars vomiting into the media. That's all there is. Compared to this, the patriot act is a shining beacon of logic from our legislature.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:43PM (#42183153)
    It hasn't been in vaccines for years, and the reports of autism increased with media reports, increasing after the removal of mercury.

    P.S. Cl is a poison, and Na is also deadly. But they are the two ingredients in the most common seasoning on the plant. You really put NaCl into your body? It's an explosive metal and gaseous poison!

    There's nothing wrong with mercury in vaccinations, and no evidence anyone was ever harmed by its presence.
  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:47PM (#42183207) Journal

    Rationing exists in any healthcare system with limited resources (which is all of them) - it's just a matter of how you implement it. In USA, it's based mostly on your ability to pay - no cash, no care. In other countries, it's made available to everyone, which, of course, means that if you're a rich guy, you are not serviced as quickly or as well as you would in a system where you'd be the only guy buying the service (though in most places, you can spend extra $$$, beyond what you pay in healthcare taxes, to get better service - with some exceptions like Canada).

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:53PM (#42183315) Journal

    The difference is that with private insurance you can switch companies and try for a better policy and better service. It is also far more likely to be efficiently run, and therefore not go out of business or suddenly cut benefits like government run programs will have to do when the money runs out.

    All this hypothetical laissez-faire handwaving is well and good, but care to explain why, for an average citizen, healthcare is better and cheaper (accounting for taxes etc) in countries with public healthcare systems, compared to USA? Practice shows that 1) it is not more efficiently run (if by "efficiency" you mean bang for the bug, i.e. effective treatment and/or prevention per dollar spent), and 2) no matter how much you shop around, the best you can get is still worse than what you'd get in a public system.

    With the government you've got exactly zero choices and if you don't like what they did what are you going to do?


  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hewligan ( 202585 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @04:16PM (#42183679)

    Remember those "death panels" that were such a joke? Meet a victim of one: []

    It's true. These socialised health care systems have a horrible tendency to not fund vital drugs like this, just because the clinical evidence shows they don't work. []

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @04:53PM (#42184207) Homepage Journal

    The US is #1 in only one health care metric. Life expectancy? Nope. Children dying in their first year? Nope. First five years? Nope. The one metric that we are #1 in is cost. We have the most expensive health care system in the world, but it's far from the best.

    You really believe you get what you pay for? I have a bridge for sale...

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:40PM (#42184849) Homepage

    Australia's health care system works pretty well.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comrade Ogilvy ( 1719488 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:41PM (#42184865)

    My mother-in-law was begging her insurance company for 19 months to get the MRI her doctor authorized, as her hip painfully disintegrated. The insurance knew better than the doctor -- hey, surely another round of painkillers will be good enough.

    When the insurance company finally relented, I think it only took a few weeks to get that MRI. So under the statistics about the awesome American health care system, her "wait" was ~14 days. Yet from her doctor's POV, her actual wait was, oh, 570 days. If only she were in the crappy land of Canada, her wait would have been, oh, 400 or 500 days less.

    Lo and behold, her MRI showed such a dangerously disintegrated hip that she was ordered bed ridden until she could have an emergency hip replacement.

    But WE do not ration in the USA. Oh, no, no, no, not evil socialist rationing. We just worship at the altar of the Free Market (and pretend that rationing is not rationing, even to the point of lying to ourselves.)

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPalmgren ( 1009823 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:54PM (#42185051)

    What about massive procedure backlogs for critical surgeries? My aunt in Finland died because there was too long of a wait between breast cancer detection and removal (1 year). To him, that's death panels...she wasn't important to operate on fast enough for a life threatening issue. Apparently they have some of the best socialized medicine in the world, but it was bad enough to turn my dad into a die hard conservative on the topic. He says its like a lottery, if you get assigned to a bad center then you're totally fucked.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @07:03PM (#42185929) Homepage

    Supply and demand. Piss off the doctors and medical industry, and either the docs will retire early, change career path, while disincentivizing the young from entering the field.

    If you want to address the "why" of health care being so expensive and limited, maybe you should first understand the "how" of *regulation and it's effects along with the lack of proper industry standards. A lot of our healthcare issues boils down to the entitlement mentality and shoving the burden of support on others without just compensation.

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @07:33PM (#42186195) Journal

    I'm Libertarian, and I find retarded people on every side, including my own. Some people even claim I am retarded ;)

  • Re:Congress Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @07:41PM (#42186277)

    Would you rather have death panels appointed by the government or by the insurance industry?

    In both cases they can decide not to pay for treatment you need to survive, but the private industry also has an incentive to let you die quickly - any money they save on treatments can then go to their bonuses.

    And in both cases you have the option of paying for the procedure yourself, bypassing the panel.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.