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: diphtheriatetanuspertussisHaemophilus influenzae type Bpneumococcuspoliorotavirushepatitis Ahepatitis Bmeaslesmumpsrubellachickenpoxhuman papillomavirusmeningococcus, and influenzaNote: 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.

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