Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy Theories


Conspiracy theories have always been popular - at least with certain people. From a belief that the moon landing was faked, that Lee Harvey Oswald didn't act alone, or that Princess Diana was killed on purpose, there are always people who believe in conspiracy theories.

The belief in anti-vaccination conspiracy theories isn't that much different. After all, most anti-vaccination folks are ultimately believing in a coverup that involves all of the world's governments and their health agencies; private and public scientists and doctors working in hospitals, medical schools, and pharmaceutical companies; humanitarian groups that work around the world; and so many more people who have been able to keep their secrets.

 Which of these anti-vaccine conspiracy theories do you believe in?

In the Spotlight - Continued Exposure to Mercury in Vaccines

Thimerosal was removed from vaccines in 1999.
Although thimerosal was removed from vaccines in 1999, some anti-vax folks still claim that many vaccines contain mercury. Photo courtesy of Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claims that even though thimerosal has been removed from pediatric vaccines, "thimerosal levels remain virtually unchanged." This is mostly, he claims, because of flu shots with thimerosal. Also, when a pregnant woman gets a flu shot, Kennedy claims that the fetus gets a bolus of thimerosal "that's about 800 times the amount of mercury the CDC recommends."

First, it is important to remember that the original concerns about thimerosal were because children who received a complete set of thimerosal containing vaccines (only hepatitis B, DTaP, and Hib ever had thimerosal) could get up to 187.5 micrograms of ethyl mercury by the time they were six months old, which exceeded the EPA limits for methyl mercury ingestion (but was less than the FDA limits). They aren't the same type of mercury, and thimerosal free versions of DTaP and Hib were already available in the late 1990s, many kids likely got less than 187.5 micrograms of ethyl mercury.

Thimerosal was removed from almost all vaccines beginning in 1999, leaving flu vaccines as the main pediatric vaccine that still used thimerosal as a preservative.

So did expanded flu shot recommendations for kids mean that they still got a lot of thimerosal over the years?

It is extremely unlikely that many kids got each and every one of their yearly flu vaccines with thimerosal. It is more likely that they got just a few with thimerosal and the rest without, as thimerosal free flu vaccines became more widely available. After all, a flu vaccine with reduced thimerosal was available as early as 2002.

In 2003, thimerosal free flu shots became available and Flumist, a thimerosal free flu nasal spray vaccine was also approved. The supply of thimerosal free flu vaccines increased each and every year. For the 2014-15 flu season, over 100 million doses of flu vaccine are available that are thimerosal free or preservative free (with only trace amounts of thimerosal).

Even if kids did get flu vaccines with thimerosal each year though, would it matter? A 2008 study in Pediatrics, "Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants After Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines," found that the half-life of ethyl mercury was about two days, "suggesting that exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines does not result in an accumulation of mercury in blood." And the highest blood level they found was less than 5-8 nanograms/ml, which is far less than the 187.5 micrograms that anti-vax groups continue to talk about, even in infants who had already received a cumulative dose of 162.5 micrograms of thimerosal.

What about flu shots in pregnancy?

A 2010 study in Pediatrics, "Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism," found that "prenatal and early-life exposure to ethylmercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations was not related to increased risk of" autism spectrum disorders. Two other studies have also found that prenatal exposure to thimerosal from immunoglobulin preparations, like Rho(D) immune globulin, during pregnancy were not associated with an increased risk for autism.

And also consider that even though they became recommended, before 2009, fewer than 15 to 30% of pregnant women got flu shots. After 2009 and the H1N1 pandemic, rates did increase, but only to about 38 to 52%.

Although current recommendations don't state a preference for the type of flu shot for pregnant women, it is likely that at least some of them got thimerosal free flu shots. In California, for example, since the passage of their Mercury Free Act in 2006, pregnant women and children younger than age 3 years have to get vaccines that are 'mercury free.'

So, like all anti-vaccine myths and conspiracy theories, the ideas of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  that "thimerosal levels remain virtually unchanged" and the premise of his new book, don't seem to hold water.

An appearance on Dr. Oz certainly doesn't make Kennedy's arguments any more true, a show during which Dr. Oz seemed to recommend Flumist for pregnant women, a vaccine that is currently contraindicated during pregnancy. Sure it is recommended that pregnant women get a flu shot, but not a live virus flu vaccine.

Dr. Oz even double-downed on his bad advice, appearing on a radio show on WPLJ in New York City to hype up a show about the "epidemic levels" of enterovirus infections (being sure to call it a cousin of polio) and telling people to 'get the mist, which works for most adults that way you don't have any shots, or just get the shot itself. But don't get it with thimerosal. You can get it thimerosal free now. That's free of the mercury. That's what I would recommend to folks. Especially if you are pregnant."

Again, flu vaccines are a great idea if you are pregnant, but pregnant women shouldn't get Flumist.

Fake Vax Ops Gather Our DNA

Have you seen the headlines?

"White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public"

It originated with the Natural Health News site, but was quickly picked up by many of the anti-vax websites. Going so far as to use the New York Times and The Guardian as a source, they make the jump to say that:

It’s almost as if the White House is saying, “Yeah, we ran a fake vaccination op; we harvested the DNA of your children; we lied to your people under the cover of public health and we got caught… but NOW you can trust us! We promise!”

It's almost like Natural Health News, the NVIC, the FHFN, and others are saying that the government is harvesting the DNA of all our children right now... probably at the order of our Reptilian overlords.

Of course, the "public" in the CIA operation that they are talking about were the family members of Osama Bin Laden who were living in his compound in Pakistan. And the operation was not successful in its goal of getting any DNA samples.

The operation was successful in harming efforts to get kids vaccinated in the area, driving up polio rates. Come to think of it, that simple fact kind of conflicts with a few other anti-vax conspiracy theories.

If polio disappeared or was renamed and vaccines don't work, then why are we still seeing it in the few countries where we are having problems getting people vaccinated, like Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria, etc.

And if vaccines don't work, why is it that unvaccinated northern Pakistan has an unstoppable outbreak of polio while the rest of vaccinated Pakistan is mostly polio-free?

There is no government plot to use vaccines to get your children's DNA. That is an argument that the Taliban is using to keep humanitarian workers out of Pakistan. The CIA used vaccinations as a cover for spying. They have stopped.


Typical anti-vax research and arguments.
Typical anti-vax research and arguments. Photo courtesy of Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes

When faced with evidence that their anti-vaccine talking points are basically lies and propaganda, the fall back position is often that you are a "Big-Pharma shill" if you actively support following the immunization schedule of the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics. After all, they believe, you must have sold-out to the interests of the big pharmaceutical companies who make vaccines if you really think that vaccines are safe and effective.

The Pharma Shill Gambit is a popular attack method of many who prefer alternative medicine to more traditional methods of health care, including protecting their kids from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Can't defend your position that vaccines are toxic (the toxin gambit) or that they don't work? Then just launch an ad hominem attack on the experts you are "debating."

What they don't mention, is that most anti-vaccination and natural medicine sites do their own selling. Vitamins, supplements, newsletters, and cure-all books, etc., are all big sellers for the natural or alternative medicine folks.

Population Control

Close-up of hand in rubber glove filling syringe
Blend Images - ERproductions Ltd/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Do you know how vaccines are used to reduce human populations? The population control conspiracy or depopulation myth can be found on many anti-vaccination sites. Natural News even has articles about.

It is not a new conspiracy. The vaccine genocide conspiracy has long been a favorite of the WHALE anti-vax site - it is a part of "the on going Reptilians agenda to kill off humans" - but it got new life when anti-vax folks misinterpreted a quote by Bill Gates during a TED talk a few years ago. Bill Gates stated that "if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent," referring to the predicted growth in the world's population to 9 billion people.

Of course, he is referring to the fact that many people in third world countries have extra children because they know many of them will not survive childhood. These countries do have the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

Vaccines Don't Work - Better Hygiene

An Anti-Vaxxers History Lesson
An Anti-Vaxxers History Lesson. Photo courtesy of Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes

So, vaccines didn't save us and vaccines don't really work?

Yes, coincidentally, just after a vaccine was introduced for each of these diseases, better hygiene, clean water, and better nutrition helped to decrease the incidence of:

  • smallpox in the 19th century
  • diphtheria in the 1940s
  • pertussis in the 1940s
  • polio in the 1950s
  • measles in the 1960s
  • rubella in the 1970s
  • mumps in the 1970s
  • Hib in the 1990s
  • rotavirus in 2007

Of course, these vaccine-preventable diseases have decreased or have been eliminated (smallpox), not because of better hygiene, sanitation, and better nutrition, but rather because of the vaccine that was introduced to fight the disease.

If better hygiene and sanitation is the answer for all infectious diseases, then why are so many other diseases still around for which we don't have vaccines? We haven't seen croup, scarlet fever, roseola, West Nile virus infections, or staph infections go away yet, have we?

Vaccines Don't Work 2 - Disappearing Diseases

How do diseases disappear?

According to some anti-vaccination sites, instead of vaccines working to dramatically decrease disease, health experts simply change the name of the disease once they introduce a new vaccine. That makes it seem like the vaccine worked, since even if the disease is still around, it is now known by a different name.

The Vax Truth(er) site claims that "Doctors around the world are being faced with children catching the diseases they have been vaccinated against. Rather than diagnosing these children correctly, professionals have discovered that the doctors are giving the diseases new names. This suggests a cover up is going on and the vaccinations we are all being told are safe and effective are in fact completely useless."

Of course, no one else notices the name change. And it makes you wonder why they even need this conspiracy theory if better hygiene and sanitation already makes all of the vaccine-preventable diseases go away.

Chemtrail Vaccine Conspiracy Theory

Contrails from planes flying over London.
Contrails from planes flying over London. Photo by Getty Images

Do chemtrails ring a bell? In many anti-vax circles, they are the preferred term for contrails, the condensation trails that you often see behind planes and jets. This seems to be one of Dr. Russell Blaylock's (a neurosurgeon) favorite conspiracy theories. He thinks that nanoparticles of aluminum of being sprayed on us from airplanes in chemtrails, causing Alzheimers and other diseases.

What started as a conspiracy theory of the United State Air Force using the so-called chemtrails to spray us with chemicals, it has now morphed into a conspiracy involving vaccines too.

Does your anti-vaccination expert believe in chemtrails? Do you?

Vaccines Cause Peanut Allergies

Is peanut oil being used as an adjuvant in vaccines? Could peanut oil or another adjuvant be creating allergic children?

Many anti-vax sites claim that "peanut oil is a hidden and non-stated ingredient in the manufacture of children's vaccines." Their source of that information is a doctor who testifies as an "expert witness" defending parents accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome, helping them with their claims that the children instead suffered from a "vaccine injury."

However, according to experts at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, they are "not aware of any documentation in the medical literature of the contamination of vaccines by peanut antigen" and peanut oil "has never been included in vaccines."

What about Adjuvant 65? This is an adjuvant that was once tested in flu vaccines - in the 1960s. It is a water-in-oil emulsion that used peanut oil, Arlacel A, and aluminum. By allowing the slow release of vaccine antigens from the water-in-oil emulsion after an injection, this method helps provoke a better immune response than some others with less antigen.

Because of the concern for side effects though, we continue to use aluminum-based adjuvants in our vaccines. It was the Arlacel A component of Adjuvant 65 that led it to be discontinued in vaccine tests, as that chemical was found to be capable of causing cancer in mice.

Adjuvant 65 is hardly the "dirty little secret" that anti-vaccination folks make it out to be.

Anyway, peanut oil is typically refined and doesn't contain any peanut allergens. In fact, most people with peanut allergies can eat foods that are cooked in most types of peanut oil, unless it is extruded, cold-pressed or expelled peanut oil.

If peanut oil doesn't contain the peanut allergens that would trigger an allergic reaction in people who already have a peanut allergy, then how would peanut oil in vaccines, if Adjuvant 65 was actually ever used, trigger a peanut allergy epidemic?

Vaccines Cause Shaken Baby Syndrome

Some anti-vaccination experts not only believe that vaccines cause shaken baby syndrome, they actually work to defend people accused of harming or killing children.

At the very least, they provide a defense for these parents or caregivers, who can claim it wasn't the fact that they shook the child, but rather it was the vaccines.

The NVIC even offers advice to parents who have been accused of shaken baby syndrome.

Fortunately, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome offers their own advice - "prosecutors of shaken baby cases should be aware of this untrue defense and be prepared to exclude this irresponsible medical testimony."

Contaminated Vaccines

The hot, stagnant water in a pond like this can put a child at risk for Naegleria.
The hot, stagnant water in a pond like this can put a child at risk for a deadly infection with the Naegleria fowleri ameba. Photo by Vincent Iannelli, MD

Some anti-vaccination sites aren't just concerned about all of the "toxins" that they believe are in vaccines. They also worry about contaminants that they fear could be in vaccines, from nanoparticles to brain eating amoebas.

While Naegleria fowleri, the "brain-eating amoeba," are known to enter the nose when children swim in warm, stagnant water, noted anti-vaccine expert and micropaleontologist Viera Scheibner thinks she can link the infections to vaccines.

There are also conspiracy theories that vaccines continue to be contaminated with simian virus 40 (SV40), which was found in oral polio vaccines made before 1963. Or that SV40 contaminated vaccines can cause cancer.

Barbara Loe Fisher of the NVIC provides plenty of articles about SV40, including her testimony before Congress. Interestingly, they don't include the research by the National Cancer Institute which concluded that "exposure to simian virus 40 (SV40) is not associated with cancer in humans."

The NVIC does provide information and "evidence that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may have been created after simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) entered the human population when African green monkey kidney tissues infected with SIV were used to produce polio vaccines."

Vaccines and Satanic Rituals

One of popular anti-vaccination sites describes "a link between vaccinations and satanic rituals or witchcraft."

Another misuses a verse (which talks about Noah and the flood) from an "extra biblical book" to try and make a point that vaccines are "an affront to the Lord and a violation of his law."

And if that isn't convincing enough, you should know that "it has been found that the word VACCINATION translates to a specific number, and easily so. Merely assign multiples of six to the alphabet. For example, A = 6, B = 12, C = 18, D = 24, etc. Then add the respective values in the word VACCINATION. The sum is 666, the number of the beast."

All of that helps more than a few anti-vaccination sites conclude that "Vaccines can be seen as a devilish war against the sanctity of human blood and mankind" even though there are very few religions with an absolute objection to vaccines.

Secret Government Database

Ironically, the "Secret Government Database" conspiracy is a favorite of the anti-vax website that pushes a book telling parents to make an informed vaccine decision and that they should think twice before vaccinating their kids.

This "secret government database" is supposedly filled with the names of "vaccine-damaged kids."

It is so "secret" that they include a link to the database.

It is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System Database. While anyone can search database, "when evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event."

So while the VAERS database is not a secret, it is also no secret that searching VAERS is not that helpful.

Vaccines Make People Gay

One of the latest anti-vaccine conspiracy theories is that homosexuality is a "microform of autism" and it is of course, caused by vaccines.

The scientist who uncovered this conspiracy states that "One of the main causes is represented by vaccines, which go against life, disturbing our mind and our spirit. The proof of that is the big increase in the number of homosexuals. Since mass vaccination began, this is the result."

Vaccine Induced Diseases

In addition to autism, many anti-vaccination experts continue to claim that vaccines cause other diseases and conditions, including SIDS and Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Other "vaccine induced diseases" that are supposed to be caused by vaccine injury include:

  • alzheimers
  • asthma
  • celiac disease
  • diabetes
  • down's syndrome
  • eczema
  • henoch-schoenlein purpura
  • infertility
  • kawasaki syndrome
  • leprosy
  • lou gehrig's disease
  • myasthenia gravis
  • obesity
  • parkinsonism
  • peanut allergies
  • SSPE

The NVIC even provides "new evidence for a connection" between diabetes and vaccination reactions - from 1998.

Medical Mind Control

Why does vaccination continue?

Mind control, of course.

I'm not sure I understand this one, but rest assured, "once you have or allow your children to have vaccines, it means you have bought hook line and sinker the vaccine belief system," and that is a form of mind control.

Vaccines as Tracking Devices

What better way to track people than to create a pandemic and then mandate that everyone get vaccinated with a new immunization that contains nanobots, "weaponised machines the size of viruses that can be triggered, later on, perhaps with simple radio."

Are you being tracked by nano particles you had injected into your body the last time you got a vaccine?

Covert Vaccine Agenda

What is the covert vaccine agenda?

In addition to allowing "them" to track us, the covert vaccine agenda conspiracy theory includes:

  • creating disease (vaccine genocide)
  • conducting illegal experiments on our children
  • spiritual suppression (vaccinated school children couldn't see flying saucers according to one of their reptilian overlords)
  • vaccines as birth control (Gardasil makes you sterile conspiracy theory)

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