The Vaccine Study You’ve Never Seen

I’ve seen a lot of social media posts or comment threads that say we don’t have any studies to prove that the CDC’s vaccine schedule is safe or effective. As a pediatrician, the first time I read that, I was surprised. But now, I think I understand.

I think they mean that we haven’t done the ideal study. Those of us in the scientific and medical fields frequently demand well-designed studies–like double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trials–so why not apply that same requirement to our immunization schedule? Why hasn’t anybody ever done that study?

It would be pretty simple, really. All we would need is 2 groups of kids. They’d need to be big groups–maybe a couple million kids in each one. That’s a lot of kids, but here’s why it’s important: While deaths from measles, for instance, are relatively common (about 1 in 1,000 cases), allergic reactions to vaccines happen only in 1 out of every million or so doses. Severe side effects from vaccines are so rare that if we studied only a few hundred thousand kids, we’d see some of them die from disease, but we might think the side effects never happen at all.

We would need to randomly divide the kids so that the groups would be as similar as possible except for the thing we’re testing (namely, vaccines). We’d have the same percentage of newborns, preschool kids, and older children in each group. The groups would have similar numbers of children with immunodeficiencies, on chemotherapy, or with other medical problems.

Of course, we’d have to separate these two groups geographically. I know, that may be inconvenient…but it’s for science. We don’t want anyone benefiting unfairly from “herd immunity” (if that’s even a thing). Maybe we could borrow a couple of those rectangular states in the middle of the country. And we need to keep the groups from mingling, so we’re going to build a wall and make Mercola pay for it.

Now to our “intervention.” The first group would follow the CDC’s immunization schedule (except, of course, for the children that have medical reasons why they can’t be immunized). This schedule allegedly protects children from a long list of diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcus, polio, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, human papillomavirus, meningococcus, and influenza. Note: I say “allegedly” not because I don’t believe them, but because it doesn’t matter what I believe. We’re looking for facts.

The second group would go to all the same doctor’s visits, and they would think they were getting vaccines, but really, they would be placebo. Just a syringe with some saline. I know, it seems mean to stick the kids for nothing, but if we’re going to do this study, let’s do it right. We can’t have the parents figuring out which group their kids are in. They might be more careful if they knew everyone else’s kids were unvaccinated, too.

Parents in both groups would be free to attempt to “boost” their children’s immune systems in any other way they see fit.

That’s pretty much it. We want them to live life as normally as possible. The children in each group would go to daycare together, hang out with each other at school, and do whatever it is that teenagers do these days. There will be sneezes, snot, and sex. We’ll give fecal-oral transmission a chance to do it’s thing. Kids will step on rusty nails. It’s going to be a germ fest because, well, that’s just life.

Every few months, we’ll organize trips during which the children in our study can ride on airplanes or visit theme parks with children from other countries–children who haven’t been immunized (not even with placebo). Because in the real world, these exposures happen.

Then we’ll spend the next few decades just observing. I wish it didn’t take so long, but to do the study right, we’re going to need some time. Time for things like chronic liver failure or throat cancer to develop. Time to wait for things like subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (a complication of measles infections that causes severe neurological damage, sometimes decades after the infection). Time for little girls to grow up, get pregnant, and have children with severe birth defects because of congenital rubella infections. If the study is too short, we’ll miss out on a lot of important data.

We’ll also look for side effects from the vaccines. We will set up a reporting system where anybody can report anything they feel might possibly be related to a vaccine. Of course, we can expect to see some reported side effects in both groups. And that’s good, because we don’t want to miss anything, even if it means wading through some dubious claims of vaccines causing car accidents or drownings, or turning someone into the Incredible Hulk. To get any real information from this data, we’ll have to look for patterns, because if we are giving vaccines to millions of kids, we should see actual side effects show up more than once.

And when we look back at the data, it will be important to remember that just because a child has a seizure a few days after getting a shot doesn’t mean the shot caused it. That’s where the placebo group really helps.

The placebo group shouldn’t have any side effects–nothing significant, anyway. Sure, some of these kids will have autism, allergic reactions, or other problems–because, well, these things happen–but we’ll know it isn’t because of the vaccines. We would compare the rates of these side effects to those in the vaccine group. If the rates of, say autism, are the same in the vaccine group as the placebo group, we could conclude that vaccines don’t cause autism.

And then, finally, once we’ve collected decades of data about how many children get these diseases, how many have serious complications, and how many die…we can try to guess which group was which. Click here to enroll your child.


Hopefully, you’ve realized (if you didn’t already) why we haven’t done this study–and why we never will. Vaccines prevent disease–in your child, your child’s friends, and people who can’t be vaccinated. Vaccines can keep your child from getting cancer.  Vaccines save lives. They are safer, more effective, and less expensive than the vast majority of our medical treatments. No, we don’t have a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial comparing our current vaccine schedule to placebo. But we do have some pretty convincing evidence–check it out for yourself.

This post was written for the 2017 National Infant Immunization Blog-a-Thon. Search #ivax2protect to read more from others dedicated to stamping out vaccine-preventable disease, one blog post at a time.

National Infant Immunization Week Blog-a-thon with woman holding baby. #ivax2protect

As always, your comments are welcomed (even if you happen to disagree). I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Please try to keep it civil--I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

27 thoughts on “The Vaccine Study You’ve Never Seen

    • Interesting pattern, right? Religious objections to vaccines are intriguing to me. Almost every major religion was founded long before the idea of vaccines was conceived, so it takes some interpretation to get there. We certainly have our pockets of low immunization rates in the US as well–only a matter of time until the outbreaks become a really big problem.

      • WHO intended to eradicate measles in Europe before 2010.

        How can we measure the herd immunity objectively? How can we measure objectively the efficacy of the vaccine administered in Europe? Who manufactured MCV administered in Europe?
        Is it the herd immunity’s gap due to an inefficient vaccine? How long does the vaccine protection last? How to measure it?
        Are the outbreaks within Europe connected with some new genothypes of measles? Lots of migration here in Europe due to irresponsible policy(Middle East)?
        Where does your assumption about unvaccinated people responsible for outbreaks come form?
        Czech Republic has measles outbreak too with high level of MVC1 and MCV2 coverage for a long time.
        Scientists, reasearchers suggest te herd immunity gap as a possible cause.
        http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0170257

  1. Interesting comparison to measles and non-vaccinated populatkon – now compare incidents of cancer MS asthma and of course autism btwn vacc’d and non-vacc’d groups

    • There is absolutely no difference… except patients receiving HPV vaccine have far lower rates of cervical and uterine cancer. Vaccines lower certain cancer rates. Palivizumab vaccine for premature infants lowers RSV infection rates and childhood asthma in those patients (since RSV has been shown to cause chronic lung disease). So excellent point to note that certain vaccines lower cancer and asthma! Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. What an absolute clueless, idiot this “Doctor” is!!! You’re an uneducated idiot! Try being a real doctor and research, and learn, with an open mind!!!

  3. How disingenuous! You say measles kills about 1 out of 1,000 – but while that may hold true in Chad – it’s not true and hasn’t been true in the US for about 3 forevers. When i grew up in SW Chicago i was one of 8 kids. Going to a church with over 350 families – some with up to 13 kids, many with 4 or more. My family went to school (through HS) from 1954 through the mid 80s. In that time our 30+ years, with classes above and below ours – we ALWAYS knew when there was a measles or mumps outbreak – and i caught all of them.
    None of us knew any kid who got measles that had permanent injury. Nobody we knew or heard of died – and you are talking THOUSANDS of kids in multiple classes for over 30 years PLUS the church associations, PLUS the friends in public school we all played with….

    Nobody was afraid of these diseases and frankly – i was pist that i couldn’t get them again and have more time off from school. Much rather stay home and play with the cowboys and indians in the Honeycombs cereal boxes…

    So for you to imply that the world’s measles problems are what we are facing in the USA is gross dishonesty. When you add in the fact that since the 1930s it has been KNOWN that vitamin A supplementation reduces the severity and duration of measles – you could help your patients out with this nutritional deficiency (at least in part) illness. In fact – go do your homework – here’s the assignment. Read the 27 studies of Dr Frederick Klemmer – who used Myers solution (slow IV feed of magnesium, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, and sometimes calcium) and how he cured (phukken) POLIO!!!!!!!!!! He did it for people with measles and it immediately STOPPED the measles. It DRIED UP the Chicken Pox pustules… He benefitted people with Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis with this solution. (Which the FDA in their infinite, drug addicted madness) is making virtually inaccessible – declaring it to be a “new drug” when it is not even a damn drug – and new? When it was being used before every single clown in the FDA was born?

    Get real – it’s all about keeping the $$$ in pHARMa (keeping harm large) hands and never curing people to cut the income stream.

    • So much to say…I’ll take this one point-by-point:

      How disingenuous! You say measles kills about 1 out of 1,000 – but while that may hold true in Chad – it’s not true and hasn’t been true in the US for about 3 forevers.

      Actually, those are US numbers, from recent history. Deaths from measles dropped off dramatically after the introduction of the vaccine, but so did the number of cases (proportionally). The death rate in developing countries is significantly higher–up to 10%–but it’s still dangerous in the US.

      When i grew up in SW Chicago i was one of 8 kids. Going to a church with over 350 families – some with up to 13 kids, many with 4 or more. My family went to school (through HS) from 1954 through the mid 80s. In that time our 30+ years, with classes above and below ours – we ALWAYS knew when there was a measles or mumps outbreak – and i caught all of them.
      None of us knew any kid who got measles that had permanent injury. Nobody we knew or heard of died…

      I’m glad that all of your friends remained relatively healthy. However, your decades-old memory of families that you used to go to school with is not the same as scientific data. I agree with you that the majority of kids with measles will recover without any significant problems. But a lot of them don’t. A significant percentage get pneumonia or encephalitis. Some of them end up blind. Some die. The fact that you don’t remember hearing about something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. That’s the reason we study things.

      Nobody was afraid of these diseases and frankly – i was pist that i couldn’t get them again and have more time off from school. Much rather stay home and play with the cowboys and indians in the Honeycombs cereal boxes…

      A lot of people still aren’t afraid of them, which is why pediatricians like myself spend countless hours talking to families about how they really are dangerous. Far more dangerous, in fact, than vaccines.

      So for you to imply that the world’s measles problems are what we are facing in the USA is gross dishonesty. When you add in the fact that since the 1930s it has been KNOWN that vitamin A supplementation reduces the severity and duration of measles – you could help your patients out with this nutritional deficiency (at least in part) illness.

      Never implied that measles in the US is the same as measles in developing countries. See above. Vitamin A supplementation is beneficial in reducing the severity of measles infections–in children who are deficient (perhaps because they don’t have access to high-quality breakfast cereals). Vitamin A–when given to deficient children–also helps with other infections. It isn’t measles magic. We know this because we took the time to study it and document the results. But again, this is in children who are nutritionally deficient. To assume that it would do the same in children who don’t lack vitamin A would be a gross misunderstanding.

      In fact – go do your homework – here’s the assignment.

      A bit condescending…but I’ll bite.

      Read the 27 studies of Dr Frederick Klemmer – who used Myers solution (slow IV feed of magnesium, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, and sometimes calcium) and how he cured (phukken) POLIO!!!!!!!!!! He did it for people with measles and it immediately STOPPED the measles. It DRIED UP the Chicken Pox pustules… He benefitted people with Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis with this solution.

      Tried. On PubMed, I found 5 articles by Dr. Klenner (not Klemmer) from around 1950 in “Southern Medicine and Surgery.” Unfortunately, these don’t seem to be accessible–which would be really strange if he had actually come up with a cure for polio. Or anything. I’m not sure what happened to the 22 other studies. Perhaps they were deemed unworthy of publication? Maybe he never bothered to submit them? I find it difficult to believe that his personal vitamin concoction worked miraculously for every infection as well as some autoimmune diseases, and even stranger that–if it did–we aren’t using it today. 1950’s Big Pharma suppression? Possibly. Quackery? More likely. Especially because trials of mega-doses of vitamins have been rather unimpressive.

      (Which the FDA in their infinite, drug addicted madness) is making virtually inaccessible – declaring it to be a “new drug” when it is not even a damn drug – and new? When it was being used before every single clown in the FDA was born? Get real – it’s all about keeping the $$$ in pHARMa (keeping harm large) hands and never curing people to cut the income stream.

      Do pharmaceutical companies sometimes profit too much? Sure. But it’s complicated. Without financial inventive, there would be no research, no innovation, no new developments. There are abuses that need to be addressed. But maybe the reason they wanted to regulate Dr. Klenner’s cocktail was because it didn’t work? Because excessive doses of vitamins can cause serious harm? Are you seriously arguing that IV magnesium–which, if given inappropriately, can kill you–isn’t a drug and should be entirely unregulated?

      There’s a reason we study things. There’s a reason we regulate things. There’s a reason for science.

      • Chad, your response to that wordsalad was a thing of beauty. Informative, addressed every point in a rational, logical way without resorting to profanity, conspiracy and ad hom attacks. Keep up the great work.

  4. Wold you be doing genetic testing to get an honest appraisal of the types of children you would be using as guinea pigs in this test.

    • This post was satirical–I am not actually recommending that we perform it. I am pointing out the reasons why we haven’t.

      But no, I wouldn’t suggest genetic testing in this situation. Primarily, because we wouldn’t know what to do with the information.

      If we knew that 50% of children with a specific gene mutation had a serious adverse reaction to a particular vaccine, that would make sense. But we don’t, so that would be a lot of unnecessary testing.

      • What we desperately need to have worldwide is a safety policy instead of arbitrary claims of “safe and effective”! What we need is an identification of those who are prone to adverse reactions and policy of minimising the risk it’s occurance. Instead ppl still got only claims and statemens.
        Monitoring system of adverse reaction is not interested in collecting any datum in at least few countries I know. They even do not try to make believes. Unfortunately provaxxers will need to face more and more loud voices that vaccines are the common cause of coincidence just due to the science’s faith and believe they are safe. Just due to an ignorance and impotence.

        • I’m a little confused by your comment. Our claims that vaccines are safe and effective are not arbitrary–they are based on very sound data. If we knew that certain children were at risk of severe adverse reactions, it would make sense to screen for them. But I’m not sure what you’re actually suggesting.

          As for vaccines being the “common cause of coincidence,” presumably for adverse reactions, that is the intervention we are measuring in these studies…so it’s the one thing that can’t be blamed when an event happens at the same rate in both groups.

  5. Dear Sir,

    I enjoyed your post and every single word. However, I would never-ever-ever enroll my (still pending) kids in such a study (although I’m aware it was just a joke) for the fear they might end up in the placebo group. I am very grateful to have been born in this amazing age where everyone can be protected – through jab or heard immunity.

    At the age of 33, I’ve contracted chicken pox. After being diagnosed, I learned a simple jab would have protected me. I was fortunate that my adult onset chicken pox was easy on me and the worst thing I’ve experienced was itching (and a cabin fever). If they don’t introduce it into regular schedule where I live, I’ll make sure to get my future kids immunized properly. For those who think that vaccines are the “big pharma’s cash cow”: during my mild chicken pox, I’ve spent more than twice the money on treatment than a jab would have costed me. Had it gotten complicated, the expense would be much greater. Not to mention the loss of income from not being able to work for 3 weeks. Top that off with my personal frustration for having nasty scabs all over my skin, worrying that they might leave scars (luckily, they did not) and my hairdresser refusing to touch up my roots until all scabs from my scalp had fallen off 😉

    As for the number of deaths per 1000 infected with measles, please look at the current epidemic in Romania. Out of 4000+ registered cases, there are 20+ deaths. For those not so versed in global geography and economy, Romania is one of the EU Member States located in Eastern Europe – so certainly not undeveloped country, where people would get 1 meal a day of boiled rice or something and walking miles through scorching sand to get a jug of questionable-quality water each day.

    For all those who refuse to utilize the revolutionary benefits provided by vaccines, I encourage you to refuse some other modern day benefits, including, but not limited to: internet, refrigeration, electricity, water and sewage, internal combustion engines, wheel…

    • Thanks, Lana. Appreciate your comments.

      I would also refuse to enroll my children for the same reason. But it occurs to me that those parents who are distrustful of vaccines would as well, because they wouldn’t want them injected at all. (Yet another reason why this study will never be done.)

  6. I don’t even want to name what you propose to do. To leave million kids without vaccination and don’t let them know about it?!? So if some of them got hurt by rusty nail, but parents are sure their kid is vaccinated from the tetanus. How many kids may die from that desease? At least all fatal deseases should be excluded from that study. Actually i don’t like that study at all. Use kids as laboratory animals is inhumane.

    • Marina–totally agree. I’m not actually suggesting that we do this study. Just using satire to point out why we don’t.

      (BTW, if we excluded all diseases that could be fatal, there wouldn’t be any vaccines left.)

      • Since the drug-pushers and the “medical community” are in general too non-creative to figure the problem of vaxassinated versus non-vaccinated – here is a study recently published among comparative groups. These are both homeschooled groups of children from four states and compare vaccinated vs unvaccinated kids.

        Needless to say, the unvaccinated kids are MUCH healthier – even less likely to get some diseases for which most people vaccinate. We won’t get into how that practice simply shoves the dangers more on the tiny shoulders of infants, and the tired shoulders of the elderly, while endangering the older schoolchildren and young adults. For example – chicken pox is 20 X more likely to kill a young adult than an infant. 15 X more likely to cause permanent damage…

        So without further ado – a study comparing vaxxed vs non-vaxxed.

        http://info.cmsri.org/the-driven-researcher-blog/vaccinated-vs.-unvaccinated-guess-who-is-sicker?utm_content=buffer4e245&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

        • That’s not a study. It’s a survey–a really bad one. And it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Please see my response to another comment in this thread

  7. Umm….”why we haven’t done this study, and why we never will”??

    Like most pediatricians, it sounds like you don’t keep up with the scientific literature. They’ve been working for years on this *exact* study, and published it just a few days ago. Finally a controlled study in the US of over 600 children (vaccinated vs unvaccinated).

    Study here:
    http://oatext.com/Pilot-comparative-study-on-the-health-of-vaccinated-and-unvaccinated-6-to-12-year-old-U.S.-children.php

    Discussion here:
    http://yournewswire.com/study-unvaccinated-healthier-vaccinated/

    Good control group. Good methodology. Peer reviewed. Good scholars (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health, Jackson State University).

    They found some expected results – unvaccinated children did get more cases of chicken pox, whooping cough, and rubella. But no fatalities, no known complications. Just a week of illness.

    However … they DID find the vaccinated children had increased autism rates, and all kinds of other side effects:

    Vaccinated children were 300% more likely to be diagnosed on the autistic spectrum
    Vaccinated children were 3,000% more likely to have hay fever
    Vaccinated children were 2,200% more likely to have allergies
    Vaccinated children were 400% more likely to develop a learning disability
    Vaccinated children were 300% more likely to develop ADHD
    Vaccinated children were 340% more likely to develop pneumonia
    Vaccinated children were 700% more likely to require surgery for ear infection

    …and those are just some of the highlights. And no, to answer your rhetorical point, the unvaccinated children did not have seizures.

    This is the 4th large study of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children, and all of them come out the same. The largest (an ongoing longitudinal German study) has been tracking over 17,000 children for 25 years, with similar results. It was actually the vaccinated children who grew up to have children with birth defects. And a Dutch study published last month also found similar results.

    • Like most anti-vaccine advocates, it sounds like you have no idea how to evaluate scientific literature. If you did, you would realize that this was in no the “*exact* study.” My point in writing this post was to point out the important aspects of a clinical trial.

      What you linked to was a parent survey. Those things are very different–different enough that the results are meaningless except with the possibility of generating a hypothesis to design better studies (which have already been done).

      1. They picked a non-representative sample (homeschool organizations that a university–with no medical school–already had a relationship with). Statistically, families who homeschool are likely to make other decisions that would affect the results. (Nothing against that–just important to recognize).

      2. The sample size is really small. So small that we wouldn’t expect to see any major outcomes from these diseases.

      3. The sample isn’t randomized. And we have no idea what percentage of those invited responded. (Parents of a child with ASD, for instance, would be more likely to respond.) Google “selection bias” if you want to see why these things are important.

      4. “Table 1” should compare the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups so that we know if they were similar aside for the variable we are studying. I’m not sure if this was out of ignorance or intentional, but it doesn’t.

      5. Results depend on parent report. This may not seem important to you, but it is. Look up “recall bias” when you get some time.

      6. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children probably receive less medical care in general. So how many ear infections were undiagnosed in that group? How many kids have long-term hearing or speech problems because they *didn’t* get tubes? How many have undiagnosed autism, ADHD, or learning disabilities simply because their parents didn’t seek a diagnosis?

      7. Unvaccinated children weren’t surrounded by a population of unvaccinated children. Doing so would be unethical, but it’s important to realize that this is exactly what the anti-vaccine groups are pushing for. A world in which nobody else vaccinated their children would be a far more dangerous world for your child.

      These are the types of critical thinking questions that need to be asked when you read a scientific study. They–not the authors’ credentials, the name of the journal, or the fact that it was peer-reviewed–are what will help you decide if it was good science or crap science. These questions will help you make informed decisions. Learning how to evaluate a study takes a great deal of time and effort and is a large part of medical education.

      You can’t just pick the article that confirms what you already believe. And when you do, you shouldn’t convert odds ratios to percent increases to make the results seem 100x scarier. That’s just misleading.

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