Best Quotes about Vaccines

Dr. William Osler's Vaccine Challenge Quote

Sir William Osler in 1890
Sir William Osler is often called the father of modern medicine. Photo by Hulton Archive/Stringer/Getty Images

Writing in an a 1915 issue of American Magazine, Sir William Osler, MD wrote in an article titled "Man's Redemption of Man," that:

Here I would like to say a word or two upon one of the most terrible of all acute infections, the one of which we first learned the control through the work of Jenner. A great deal of literature has been distributed casting discredit upon the value of vaccination in the prevention of small-pox. I do not see how anyone who has gone through epidemics as I have, or who is familiar with the history of the subject, and who has any capacity left for clear judgement, can doubt its value.


I would like to issue a Mount-Carmel-like challenge to any ten unvaccinated priests of Baal. I will go into the next severe epidemic with ten selected, vaccinated persons and ten selected unvaccinated persons - I should prefer to choose the latter - three members of Parliament, three anti-vaccination doctors (if they can be found), and four anti-vaccination propagandists. And I will make this promise - neither to jeer nor jibe when they catch the disease, but to look after them as brothers, and for the four or five who are certain to die, I will try to arrange the funerals with all the pomp and ceremony of an anti-vaccination demonstration.

Unfortunately, Dr. Osler would not have as hard a time finding three anti-vaccination doctors these days. Of course, they would probably deny that they were anti-vax and try to say that they were pro-safe vaccine or for green vaccines or some other such non-sense.

As easy as it would be to find anti-vaccination propagandists these days, it would certainly be true that few would have "gone through epidemics" or have any "capacity left for clear judgement."

Paracelsus Quote about Poisons

Paracelsus had training in alchemy and folk medicine.
Paracelsus had training in alchemy and folk medicine and challenged many of the ideas used by the doctors of his day. Photo by Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Paracelsus lived from 1493 to 1541, and is said to be the founder of modern toxicology. He is most well known for the following quote:

All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison….

Or to put it another way - the dose makes the poison. For example, while microscopic doses of bolulism are poisonous if eaten (or can get rid of your wrinkles if injected in the right place), the same amount of arsenic would not be poisonous. A few teaspoons of arsenic (a lethal dose) would move it up high enough to make it a poison though.

Is the small amount of hydrochloric acid in a vaccine poison? No. Neither are other vaccine ingredients, like formaldehyde or aluminum.

Would it be poison if you drank a glass of hydrochloric acid or had it thrown on your face? Yes.

How about water? Of course water isn't a poison, right? It actually is if you drink too much of it too quickly. Water intoxication is a thing after all.

Dr. Paul Offit's Quote on Getting 100,000 Vaccines at Once

Dr. Paul Offit is an expert on vaccines.
Paul A. Offit, MD is a Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Photo by Michael Spencer for the National Institutes of Health Record

Despite this emerging toxic threat, Parenting Magazine and Dr. Paul Offit stated that, “In theory, healthy infants could safely get up to 100,000 vaccines at once.”

Actually, Joe Mercola said that. Like many anti-vaccine "experts," he is misquoting Dr. Offit to try and scare parents and discredit a real vaccine expert.

What Paul Offit, MD actually said was that "each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time."  That is just another way of explaining that our kids aren't going to overwhelm their immune system when they get their vaccines - the too many too soon argument.

Dr. Offit even explained it another way, saying that:

if 11 vaccines were given to infants at one time, then about 0.1% of the immune system would be 'used up.'

Are kids getting too many vaccines too soon? No. In fact, the way vaccines are made now, they are actually getting exposed to fewer antigens than they used to, even though they are getting protected against many more vaccine-preventable diseases.

Jenny McCarthy's Quote on how she is not Anti-Vaccine

To many people, Jenny McCarthy will always be thought of as a major figure in the modern anti-vaccine movement.
To many people, Jenny McCarthy will always be thought of as a major figure in the modern anti-vaccine movement. Photo by Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Although Jenny McCarthy claims that it's not because of any change in her views and despite years of scaring parents away from getting vaccinated, she recently stated that:

 I am not “anti-vaccine.”

It's not surprising though that few people bought it when Jenny McCarthy said that she is not anti-vaccine.

If you don't want to be called anti-vaccine, then don't use propaganda, anti-vaccination talking points, and over-the-top rhetoric to further your anti-vax agenda.

Ewan McGregor Quote about Kids not Being Vaccinated

Ewan McGregor helps advocate for children around the world.
A UNICEF ambassador since 2004, he has helped highlight UNICEF's work for children around the world. Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Working with UNICEF, Ewan McGregor has likely learned a thing or two about vaccines and their importance in preventing life-threatening diseases:

You hear about people who don't like to vaccinate their kids in the Western world, which I suppose is a personal choice, but when you're out there, the result of your children not being vaccinated is that they'll likely die, or be horribly maimed. So yes, I saw a real desire to have their children protected, and also a real understanding of it - I didn't seem to come across anybody who went 'What is it?' Or 'What does it do?' They all seemed to know about it.

Ewan McGregor worked with UNICEF to document his Cold Chain Mission to "deliver vaccines and immunise children in some of the world's remotest places," including India, the remote mountains of Nepal, and a remote village on the Congo river.

Dr. Ari Brown's Quote about Jenny McCarthy

The Oprah Effect has not been good for science and medicine.
In addition to helping to publicize the anti-vaccine views of Jenny McCarthy, Oprah also helped make Dr. Oz famous. Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images

This quote is from a letter from Ari Brown, MD that was originally published in the Wall Street Journal on October 27, 2007 in response to Jenny McCarthy appearing on Oprah.

When a well-meaning parent like Jenny McCarthy blames vaccines for her child's autism, placing the fear of God into every parent who has a baby, it's not only irresponsible - it's dangerous. Why? It's simple math: vaccines are less effective when large numbers of parents opt out. And the more who opt out, the less protected ALL our children are.

Celebrity books come and go . . . but the anxiety they create lives on in pediatricians' offices across the country. A small, but growing number of parents are even lying about their religious beliefs to avoid having their children vaccinated, thanks in part to the media hysteria created by this book.

Unlike other pediatricians who responded to the "new McCarthyism" by pandering to parent's fears about vaccines by creating non-standard, parent-selected, delayed protection vaccine schedules, Dr. Ari Brown called out Jenny McCarthy and the medical errors in her book in an effort to "keep our kids healthy and protected" against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Thomas Jefferson's Vaccine Quote

Lewis and Clark had hoped to vaccinate Native Americans against smallpox.
Thomas Jefferson told Meriwether Lewis to take, distribute, and encourage the use of the smallpox vaccine on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Photo by SuperStock/Getty Images

In 1806, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Edward Jenner:

Future nations will know by history only that the loathsome smallpox has existed and by you has been extirpated.

This is the same Thomas Jefferson who was one of America's Founding Fathers and who wrote the Declaration of Independence.

He wrote this letter to "avail myself of this occasion of rendering you a portion of the tribute of gratitude due to you from the whole human family" because Jenner, with his smallpox vaccine, had "erased from the calendar of human afflictions one of its greatest."

Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States and was very obviously pro-vaccine.

George Washington was too, mandating that new recruits in the Continental Army be inoculated with smallpox.

National Catholic Bioethics Center Quote about Vaccines

Pope Pius VII endorsed the smallpox vaccine.
A portrait of Pope Pius VII, who supported vaccination during a small pox outbreak in Rome. Photo by DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI/Getty Images

What does the Catholic Church say about vaccines? The National Catholic Bioethics Center summarizes their position nicely when they say that:

One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.

Many parents who don't vaccinate their kids forget about that idea of a "moral obligation" to protect those around them who are at risk from vaccine-preventable diseases.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center also states that "There would seem to be no proper grounds for refusing immunization against dangerous contagious disease, for example, rubella, especially in light of the concern that we should all have for the health of our children, public health, and the common good."

That the Catholic Church supports vaccination shouldn't be surprising though. Catholics have promoted vaccines since the days of Pope Pius VII in the early 1800s, when he described the small pox vaccine as "a precious discovery which ought to be a new motive for human gratitude to Omnipotence."

Donald R. Hopkins, in the book The Greatest Killer: Smallpox in History, even describes how priests led "processions of people to be vaccinated." And it was Catholic missionaries who introduced smallpox inoculation to Brazil and other countries.

Dr. Jonas Salk's Quote on Patenting his Polio Vaccine

Dr. Jonas Salk received the Presidential Citation in 1955.
Dr. Jonas Salk received a Presidential Citation from President Eisenhower in 1955. Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images

Dr. Jonas Salk created the inactivated polio vaccine that kids in most developed countries get today. On April 12, 1955, Dr. Salk appeared on the CBS TV newsmagizine See It Now and Edward R. Murrow asked him who owned the patent on the polio vaccine:

Who owns the patent on this vaccine?
Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?

In reality, when Jonas Salk, MD developed his inactivated polio vaccine, he was working for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis - now called the March of Dimes.

The vaccine would not have been his to patent, but it was still a nice idea. The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis didn't patent the vaccine either.

Neither did Dr. Albert Sabin when he developed his oral polio vaccine that replaced Salk's vaccine for over thirty years in the United States. Since 2000, we are once again using Salk's inactivated vaccine again though, although Sabin's vaccine is still used in many parts of the world.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries' Vaccine Quote

An aerial view of a crowd waiting for polio vaccines in San Antonio, TX in 1962.
An aerial view of a crowd waiting for polio vaccines in San Antonio, TX in 1962. Photo courtesy of CDC/Mr. Stafford Smith

When thinking about the modern anti-vaccine movement, never have so many people gotten so many things wrong about such an important topic. And as a leading spokesperson of the modern anti-vaccine movement, Dr. Suzanne Humphries often leads the way in getting things wrong, such as this statement:

If people were really seeing each other dropping dead of smallpox and they really seeing each other being saved by a smallpox vaccine, the line would be out of town to get it, you know. But that has never been the case.

Of course, like most other things, Suzanne Humphries, MD, a nephrologist, is wrong about this. People have stood in long lines for vaccines throughout history.

In addition to lines of people waiting to get vaccinated against smallpox, it is well documented that people waited in long lines for the polio vaccine.

Dr. Maurice Hilleman - Vaccine's Forgotten Hero

Dr. Maurice Hilleman is a true vaccine hero.
Dr. Maurice Hilleman is a true vaccine hero. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Compared to Dr. Maurice Hilleman, most of us would come up lacking if we wondered if we have "done enough," considering that through his work, millions of lives are saved each year.

Well, looking back on one’s lifetime, you say, ‘Gee, what have I done—have I done enough for the world to justify having been here?’ That’s a big worry—to people from Montana, at least. And I would say I’m kind of pleased about all this. I would do it over again because there’s great joy in being useful.

With a PhD in microbiology, Dr. Maurice Hilleman worked to develop 40 experimental and licensed animal and human vaccines, including the first rubella vaccine and vaccines that protect us against measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria.

It is not surprising that Dr. Maurice Hilleman is thought of as a hero and as a "forgotten pioneer of vaccines."

Roald Dahl Wrote a Heartbreaking Letter to Parents

Roald Dahl with his wife, Patricia Neal, and two of their children in 1963.
Roald Dahl with his wife, Patricia Neal, and two of their children in 1963. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Roald Dahl's quote about parents who intentionally don't vaccinate their kids could easily have been said by someone today:

In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunized are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunization is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out. Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunized, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year.

In addition to the above letter about measles, Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Although many people know him because of his books and the Willy Wonka movie, many people are not aware that his 7-year-old daughter Olivia died from a measles infection in 1962, the year before a measles vaccine became available.

It is interesting to note that the final version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was completed in 1963, was said to be very much different than the original manuscript written in 1961.

Benjamin Franklin's Quote on Regretting not Vaccinating

Benjamin Franklin always regretted not vaccinating his son, who died of smallpox.
Benjamin Franklin always regretted not vaccinating his son, who died of smallpox. Photo by Terraxplorer/Getty Images

In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin wrote:

In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.

Benjamin Franklin's son Franky (Francis Folger Franklin) died of smallpox at a time when inoculation meant inoculation with the actual smallpox virus. Edward Jenner, who later discovered the inoculation with cowpox, a much milder disease, could prevent smallpox, had not even been born yet.

Many people were against inoculation against smallpox in Benjamin Franklin's time, including his own brother James Franklin, who published a newspaper in Boston.

Why wasn't Ben Franklin's son inoculated against smallpox? It is not that he was first anti-inoculation and only changed his mind after his son died. Benjamin Franklin had already been inoculated against smallpox himself and had been planning to get his son inoculated too, but he had been too sick at the time. He simply ran out of time.

Walter Orenstein, MD Quote on the Pre-Vaccine Era

Young Girl with Polio in 1948
Young Girl with Polio in 1948. Photo by Getty Images

for those trained in pediatrics in the 1970s, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) was a horror

The first Hib vaccine came out in 1988. It protected children against Haemophilus influenzae type b, a bacteria that classically caused epiglottitis, bacterial meningitis, and pneumonia.

Dr. Bob Sears became a pediatrician in the late 1990s, not surprisingly, long after the 'horror' of the pre-Hib vaccine era. If he had been witness to the many deaths from epiglottitis and bacterial meningitis, maybe his views on vaccines would have been different.

In 1980, 45 children died with epiglottitis and there were an additional 222 deaths from Hib meningitis. When Dr. Bob's vaccine book was first published in 2007, there was only one death from epiglottitis and one death from Hib meningitis in the United States.

As with outbreaks of measles and pertussis, Hib disease has been increasing too, albeit much more quietly. In 2013, five Hib meningitis deaths were reported in the United States.

Jenny McCarthy Quotes on Vaccines and Autism

Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey at their Green Our Vaccines march.
Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey at their Green Our Vaccines march which tried to link vaccines to autism. Photo by Getty Images

If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f--king measles.

 This Jenny McCarthy quote came from an interview she did for Time magazine back in 2009, "Jenny McCarthy on Autism and Vaccines."

Like many of her statements on vaccines and autism, it is overly dramatic and is meant to elicit an emotional response. Since she views autistic children as 'shadows' who should eat separately from "typical kids," it is not surprising that she would rather stand in line for a life-threatening disease rather than have her child live with autism.

Although Jenny McCarthy now likes to say that she is not anti-vaccine, many of the quotes in that interview actually offer a play-by-play guide to the myths and misinformation of modern anti-vaccine movement:

  • "We don't believe it's only the mercury. Aluminum and other toxins also play a role. The viruses in the vaccines themselves can be causing it, too." - as thimerosal was removed from vaccines, anti-vaccine folks started to blame other things, including aluminum, formaldehyde, and other ingredients
  • I do believe sadly it's going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. - it is indeed sad that Jenny McCarthy understood that vaccine-preventable diseases would return and she still pushed her anti-vaccine misinformation on the public
  • "If you give us a safe vaccine, we'll use it. It shouldn't be polio versus autism." - anti-vaccine folks like to call themselves pro-safe vaccine
  • "We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins." - too many too soon and the toxins gambit

Mahatma Gandhi Quote about Vaccines

Gandhi was against vaccination and did not think that small pox was a contagious disease.
Gandhi did not think that small pox was a contagious disease. Photo by Dinodia Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Anti-vax folks like to use the following quote from Gandhi, who was indeed against vaccines. They rarely use the whole quote though or note his other views on health and medicine, which he wrote about in his 1921 book "A Guide to Health."

That Gandhi was against vaccines is a bit surprising, because as like most major religions, “vaccination is widely accepted in predominantly Hindu countries.”

Vaccination is a barbarous practice, and it is one of the most fatal of all the delusions current in our time, not to be found even among the so-called savage races of the world.


Those who are conscientious objectors to vaccination should, of course, have the courage to face all penalties or persecutions to which they may be subjected by law, and stand alone, if need be, against the whole world, in defense of their conviction.


If, while objecting to the introduction of the poisonous vaccine into the system, they surrendered themselves to the still more fatal poison of sensuality, they would undoubtedly forfeit their right to ask the world to accept their views on the matter.

So even though small pox was devastating India at the time (early 20th century), Gandhi was indeed against vaccination. This is actually not too surprising though when viewed in the context of his other writings. Gandhi didn't think that small pox was a contagious disease. Instead, he thought small pox was "caused, just like other diseases, by the blood getting impure owing to some disorder of the bowels; and the poison that accumulates in the system is expelled in the form of small-pox."

Gandhi also thought that medicines were useless, that he could cure Bubonic Plague with a mud poultice, and that "man can live on wheat alone, for in it we have in due proportion all the elements of nutrition."

It is rather ironic that Gandhi also wrote that "Very often we get bewildered at the most ordinary diseases out of sheer ignorance, and in our anxiety to get better, we simply make matters worse. Our ignorance of the most elementary laws of health leads us to adopt wrong remedies or drives us into the hands of the veriest quacks."

Dr. Albert Sabin on Reducing Suffering with Knowledge

Kids getting their oral polio vaccine.
Kids getting their oral polio vaccine on a sugar cube in the 1960s. Photo by Mark Jay Goebel/Getty Images

Dr. Albert Sabin discovered the live, oral polio vaccine that replaced Salk's inactivated polio vaccine for over thirty years. Sabin's oral polio vaccine is still used in many parts of the world, especially where polio is still endemic and in developing countries that are still at risk for polio outbreaks.

Dr. Sabin once said that:

A scientist who is also a human being cannot rest while knowledge which might be used to reduce suffering rests on the shelf.

Globally, the polio virus once paralyzed more than 1,000 children every day. In 2014, there were just 359 polio cases and the global push is on to, like small pox, eradicate this vaccine-preventable disease.

Like many other scientists who helped develop vaccines, Dr. Sabin certainly used his knowledge to help reduce suffering in the world.

Andrew Wakefield's Quote about Vaccines Causing Autism

Andy Wakefield supporters.
Andrew Wakefield and his supporters at the General Medical Council investigation where he later lost his medical license. Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Did Andrew Wakefield ever actually say that the MMR vaccine causes autism?

His original, fraudulent, now retracted study that was published in 1998 actually stated that "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described," with that syndrome being pervasive developmental disorder in children.

However, the MMR is listed as an "apparent precipitating event" for almost all of the children with autism in the study and in the press conference that followed the publication of the study, Andrew Wakefield states:

Again, this was very contentious and you would not get consensus from all members of the group on this, but that is my feeling, that the, the risk of this particular syndrome developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.

 Unfortunately, even after having his paper retracted and losing his medical license, Andrew Wakefield is still at it - trying to convince people that vaccines cause autism.

Gregory A. Poland, MD Quotes on Anti-Vaccine Groups

Why does Dr. Oz have mercury poisoning?
Dr. Oz has recently been found to have mercury poisoning. Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

In an article titled "MMR Vaccine and Autism: Vaccine Nihilism and Postmodern Science," Dr. Poland, in describing folks who continue to try and associate vaccines with autism, writes:

At this point, the antivaccine groups and conspiracy proponents promoting such an association should be ignored, much as thinking people simply ignore those who continue to insist that the earth is flat or that the US moon landing in 1969 did not really occur.

There is no law against being foolish, nor any vaccine against ignorance; however, in the meantime the health of millions of children in the United States and worldwide is being placed at unnecessary and real risk through continued deliberate misinformation and discredited unscientific beliefs, and that should be a crime.

If it were a crime, who would be the first to go to jail? Mike Adams? Joe Mercola? Russel Blaylock? Sherri Tenpenny? Dr. Oz?

Dr. Bob Sears' Quote on Vaccines Causing Autism

Bob Sears made up his own vaccine schedule which leaves kids unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Bob Sears made up his own vaccine schedule which leaves kids unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Dr. Bob Sears doesn't like to think of himself as anti-vaccine, but a recent quote and many other things he says, makes many people think that he is:

...we can’t proclaim from the rooftops that the MMR vaccine causes autism.

Dr. Bob wrote this in describing a now retracted study by Brian Hooker. Since the rest of his post delves into anti-vaccine conspiracy theories about the CDC and he ignores the fact that everyone in the scientific community quickly dismissed Hooker's study, you get the feeling that he really does want to get up on the rooftops and proclaim that the MMR vaccine causes autism. It would certainly make it easier to understand many things, including why:

  • Dr. Bob repeatedly downplays the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases, including the measles outbreaks in his own community. Along with his father, Dr. Bill Sears and his mother and brothers, he goes so far as to call measles, rubella, and other vaccine-preventable diseases "usually harmless."
  • as lawmakers in California propose new immunization laws that would help to decrease the outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases the state has been seeing in recent years, Dr. Bob leads the way in fighting them
  • Dr. Bob routinely speaks at conferences alongside notoriously anti-vaccine speakers and at what are routinely described as quack-fests

Interestingly, Dr. Bob's post on the Talk About Curing Autism website, were later 'clarified' and his rooftop's statement was removed.

Donald Trump's Quotes about Vaccines and Autism

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Donald Trump is well known for having crazy theories for just about everything.

In addition to his birther theory about President Obama that he could never quite let go of, Donald Trump has a theory about vaccines and autism that he has been repeating for years:

Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!

Like Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Bob Sears, Donald Trump likes to think and say that he is not anti-vaccine, but he goes on and on about being against kids getting "monster" shots, "massive shots," and "a single massive dose of vaccine" that are making them get autism.

Donald Trump’s other vaccine quotes include his opinion for “why autism is through the roof:”

  • I'm not against vaccinations for your children, I'm against them in 1 massive dose.Spread them out over a period of time & autism will drop!
  • So many people who have children with autism have thanked me—amazing response. They know far better than fudged up reports!
  • I'm not saying to not give vaccines, I am just saying give them small doses over a long period of time - not one massive dose for a child.
  • With autism being way up, what do we have to lose by having doctors give small dose vaccines vs. big pump doses into those tiny bodies?
  • Autism rates through the roof--why doesn't the Obama administration do something about doctor-inflicted autism. We lose nothing to try.
  • Massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism....
  • A study says @Autism is out of control--a 78% increase in 10 years. Stop giving monstrous combined vaccinations immediately. Space out small individual shots--small babies can't handle massive doses. Get smart--and fast--before it is too late.

Although these are all tied to the too many too soon anti-vaccine myth, what Donald Trump is basically saying is that kids are getting pumped full of massive doses of combined vaccines and that is the reason for epidemic levels of "doctor-inflicted" autism.

It is not really clear what Trump is saying when he talks about spacing out shots, but he seems to be paying homage to Andrew Wakefield and the idea of spacing out the MMR vaccine that came out of his own fraudulent, retracted study. And of course his talk about "doctor-inflicted" autism plays into his love of conspiracy theories.

Whatever you make of it, Donald Trump is clearly wrong, especially as most people don't even believe in the idea of an autism epidemic anymore.

Nate Silver Quote on Correlation and Causation

Organic food sales are correlated with autism prevalence.
Organic food sales are correlated with autism prevalence. Photo by jasonp55

In his book "The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't," Nate Silver explains the common saying "correlation does not imply causation:"

Most of you will have heard the maxim "correlation does not imply causation." Just because two variables have a statistical relationship with each other does not mean that one is responsible for the other. For instance, ice cream sales and forest fires are correlated because both occur more often in the summer heat. But there is no causation; you don't light a patch of the Montana brush on fire when you buy a pint of Haagan-Dazs.

We hear "correlation does not imply causation" a lot when we talk about vaccines and vaccine safety. A type of logical fallacy - the post hoc ergo propter hoc or post hoc fallacy - it is also a fancy way of saying that sometimes things just coincidentally happen at about the same time.

Nate Silver's analogy about ice cream sales is interesting, because it was once believed that eating ice cream could be the cause for polio, a now vaccine-preventable disease.

Of course, we now know that while eating ice cream and getting polio (which is caused by the polio virus) can be correlated with each other (they both occur in the summer time), one does not cause the other - there is no causation. Eating ice cream does not cause you to get polio.

More often these days, we hear about correlation and causation when people believe that their children suffered a vaccine-injury after getting their shots. Just remember though, just because one thing happens after another, it doesn't mean that the first thing caused the second.

SIDS, early symptoms of autism, and other things may seem to correlate with getting vaccines, but it has been proven that they are not caused by vaccines.

Correlation does not imply causation.

If correlation did always imply causation, then that would mean that for some reason, the real cause of increasing autism prevalence is the increase in organic food sales!

It would also mean that the following aren't just spurious correlations:

  • falling/drowning in a swimming pool and the number of Nicolas Cage films
  • US spending on science and technology and the number of suicides by hanging
  • US Crude oil imports from Norway and drivers killed in collisions with railway trains

Correlation does not imply causation.

To be a little clearer, it is likely better to say that correlation does not necessarily mean causation, because sometimes it does. Smoking does cause lung cancer. Vaccines did help eradicate smallpox. The first rotavirus vaccine, RotaShield, since withdrawn from the market, did cause an increased risk of intussusception in infants. We know those things are true not just because of the correlation, but also because "other types of direct evidence that established causality."

Vaccines don't cause autism. When we say this, it is not just because we are dismissing the correlation. We have plenty of direct evidence to help dismiss causality in this case.

Dr. Jay Gordon on Vaccines and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Jay Gordon is a celebrity pediatrician.
Jay Gordon is a pediatrician that cares for the kids of many Hollywood celebrities. Photo by Dr. Billy Ingram/WireImage/Getty Images

Dr. Jay Gordon is a celebrity pediatrician who gained a bit of notoriety for being the pediatrician for Jenny McCarthy. Dr. Jay was also in the news some time ago because of his association with Christine Maggiore, an HIV denialist whose own daughter died with AIDS because she was untested and untreated.

Like Dr. Bob, Dr. Jay actually seems to think that he is helping increase vaccination rates by pandering to parents' vaccine fears. Not surprisingly, he does not consider himself anti-vaccine, even giving a daily count of MMR doses given during the latest California measles outbreak as some of his patients get caught up.

Like Dr. Bob, Dr. Jay has repeatedly said that measles is not dangerous:

The measles outbreak of 2014 does not pose a risk to your healthy child.

Most health experts would consider that one of the most irresponsible things that a pediatrician, who should know better, could say.

Other Dr. Jay quotes about vaccines are even worse, include his saying that:

  • They edited the segment to make me sound like a vaccination proponent. We also have to understand the impact of a person as well-known as Cindy Crawford delaying vaccines for over six months.
  • ...the idea of vaccinating everybody in America, every child in America, at six weeks of age with six or seven different vaccines, 'cause you know we're adding one, that's not the best medicine. We don't give six of anything else. We don't give six antibiotics.
  • We in America do have the luxury of knowing that we have eradicated or nearly eradicated some diseases. And that these vaccines are no longer as relevant to us, and that the risk-benefit analysis... with polio eradicated, ah, thirty-four years ago, thirty-five years ago we eradicated polio in the United States, we can discuss risks and benefits.
  • I think that the public health benefits to vaccinating are grossly overstated.
  • Yes, there have been cases of Disney spread from Measlesland. I will give MMRs to kids 3 yrs+ if parents are worried.
  • Soon, we'll have something important to tell people and they'll believe us less because we overplayed our hand Measles 2015
  • Please let me see a tweet from an ID doc who has NOT take money from the makers of the vaccines they're promoting w all this fear.
  • Would any scientist give SIX vaccines at once to a baby? Asking for trouble. One at a time makes so much more sense.
  • Flu vaccines are probably harmless, but nothing has changed since this 2006 article. No good evidence of protection.
  • Wait until a child is clearly developmentally "solid" before vaccinating because we just don't know which children will react badly to immunizations
  • The new CDC report today: 222 Cases of measles amongst 320,000,000 Americans in 2011.
  • In spite of what you may read, last week no measles in USA ... A grand total of 13 cases in the USA in 2012 Stop worrying!
  • Infants get too many vaccines. Judicious vax schedules, safer. Countries giving more vax have higher IMR.
  • Please delay/Defer vaccines, avoid other possible, albeit unproven, triggers w first child ASD. #AUTISM
  • Rotavirus vaccines belong in Third World countries where risk/benefit is favorable. NOT in USA
  • I give vaccines every day. Reactions can increase w "catch up"
  • recommend measles vaccine to children with an ASD? Never.
  • But the VAST majority of experts disagree and deem all 6 two-month vaccines safe. I like slower--much slower--schedule.
  • Focus on Wakefield is a distraction. So many possible toxins in kids' lives: flame retardants, plastics and more.Vaccines play a role though
  • There are a lot more vaccines than the last generation was given and their combined safety is unproven.
  • ...when I give your six-week-old seven different vaccines with two dozen antigens, I am supposed to try to convince you that the adverse reactions you have heard about are just coincidences.
  • Immunization is also the only area of medicine where your twelve pound baby and 180 pound man get the same dose; A polio vaccine, for example. If she and I received the same dose of amoxicillin, Tylenol or virtually any other medicine, your baby could be badly harmed.
  • I don't like this vaccine... Heaven help us if we have a generation of kids who get a hepatitis B vaccine and a HPV vaccine and they think that now unprotected sex is okay... I don't think it is really clear that this vaccine is really as safe as they say it is and it is certainly not as dangerous as they say it is, but I recommend against it in my practice.  (discussing the HPV vaccine on The Ricki Lake Show)
  • ...the misdiagnosis of pertussis is a dangerous and often vengeful effort by a doctor to make you feel bad about choosing your own vaccine schedule. VERY few long hard coughs are actually caused by Bordetella Pertussis... I am truly sick of doctors trying to scare parents into believing that pertussis is a common illness. (tweeted on March 12, 2012 - at the beginning of the worst year for pertussis in the United States since 1951)
  • There are many doctors and even more parents who would like a more judicious approach to immunization. Give vaccines later, slower and with an individualized approach as we do in every other area of medicine.
  • The way vaccines are manufactured and administered right now in 2010 makes vaccines and their ingredients part of the group of toxins which have led to a huge increase in childhood diseases including autism.
  • Unvaccinated children do not pose a threat to vaccinated children or their families.
  • It took fifty years before the courts finally acknowledged that cigarette smoking causes cancer.

Like Jenny McCarthy, Dr. Bob, Donald Trump, and others, Dr. Jay says that he is not anti-vaccine. He is very obviously playing by the same anti-vax playbook that many others use though, hitting just about every anti-vaccine myth there is, from vaccines haven't been proven safe and vaccines cause autism to vaccines increase infant mortality rates.

Dr. Jay admittedly relies on anecdotal evidence, even as he insists that he is a reasonable voice who is there for fearful, vaccine-hesitant parents, but it becomes very clear when you look at his statements that he is one of the ones that is creating that fear.

He completely misses the point that in the 1960s, the three vaccines kids got (DTP, polio, and smallpox) had over 3200 antigens, as compared to the "few dozen antigens" they might get now with many more vaccines. All together, by the time kids complete all of their vaccines as teenagers with the current immunization schedule, they will actually only get exposed to about 150 different antigens.

It is also a bit concerning that despite being "a pediatrician for thirty years" he doesn't understand the concept of why dosing is considered differently for vaccines and antibiotics, that unvaccinated kids can get vaccine-preventable diseases and pose a risk to others, and that we do have an individualized approach to vaccines. After all, there are contraindications to vaccines and recommendations for some extra vaccines and extra doses for high risk groups, so not every child walks in the door and gets a shot - it is not a one size fits all schedule.

Why wouldn't a parent be afraid to get vaccines when Dr. Jay tells them that they are getting too many too soon, that they should delay them until their kids are older and they can be sure they are developing normally, that vaccine-preventable diseases aren't that bad unless you are in a Third World country, and that they should consider the motivation of anyone telling them otherwise?

Although I'm sure he will never admit it, as he thinks he is helping parents "make informed choices" because "no one knows your child better than you do," it has become very clear to many people who watch and listen to his interviews and read his tweets and posts, etc., that he is the one pushing parents onto a non-standard, parent-selected, delayed protection vaccine schedule.

Bill Gates' Quotes about Vaccines

Bill Gates giving a polio vaccine to a child in India
Bill Gates giving a polio vaccine to a child in India. Photo by Jeff Christensen/Liaison/Getty Images

In a TED Talk, "Innovating to Zero," Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest people in the world, once said that:

The world today has 6.8 billion people. That's heading up to about nine billion. Now 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.

Is this about a plan to depopulate the world using vaccines? Of course not, although you can read that and other anti-vaccine conspiracy theories about Bill Gates on most anti-vaccine websites.

Instead, Bill Gates was saying that we could reduce population growth if we improved vaccines, health care and reproductive health services because "the correlation between child death and birth rates is strong." That is why the fastest growing populations and the highest birth rates tend to be in the countries with the most deaths. In other words - "when children survive in greater numbers, parents decide to have smaller families."

For example, in many countries over the last 50 to 60 years, as the child mortality rate dropped, the birth rate also dropped, and "the country’s population grew more slowly as more children survived."

It is crazy to think that Bill Gates is involved in a conspiracy to depopulate the world. It is almost as crazy as complaining that his efforts to save so many lives will lead to overpopulation.

His main idea since leaving Microsoft has been that "by backing innovative work in global health, we could help dramatically reduce inequity" and that the "lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history."

Vaccines are a big part of his plan to improve people's lives, because he believes that
"immunizing the world’s children is necessary to achieve a world without extreme poverty, a world where mothers and children don’t die any longer from preventable causes or diseases, and a world where children have a chance not just to survive, but to thrive."

We recently saw his commitment to vaccines when The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation declared 2010 the decade of vaccines, pledging "$10 billion over the next 10 years to help research, develop, and deliver vaccines for the world’s poorest countries."

Bill & Melinda Gates are not involved in any conspiracies. They are reducing child mortality, from getting more people vaccinated and developing new vaccines to improving sanitation and nutrition, etc.

Vaccine Quotes from Celebrities

Kristin Cavallari with her baby in Los Angeles
Kristin Cavallari with her baby in Los Angeles. Photo by Photo by SMXRF/Star Max/FilmMagic/Getty Images

With Dr. Jay Gordon being the pediatrician to many celebrity parents, is it any wonder that some of them are anti-vaccine?

"There is a pediatric group called Homestead, or Home First? Pregnancy brain, I've got it confused," she continued on Thursday. "They've never vaccinated any of their children and they haven't had one case of autism. And now, 1 in 88 boys is autistic, which is a really scary statistic ... The vaccinations have changed over the years, there's more mercury and other..."

Kristin Cavallari said this in a 2014 interview, stating that she won't vaccinate her children because she is worried about autism and because "Something is happening, and we can't really ignore that. I choose to believe that I think it's in the vaccines..."

Although she claims to "understand both sides of it," I don't think that "it" also including all of the risks of not getting vaccinated. One of all her following statements is that "It’s our personal choice, and, you know, if you’re really concerned about your kid get them vaccinated."

Kristin Cavallari gets several things wrong about vaccines, including that:

  • thimerosal (mercury) has been removed from almost all vaccines and thimerosal free versions of all vaccines on the childhood immunization schedule have been available for many years
  • while it is her choice to not vaccinate her kids, we can't fully protect our own kids simply by getting them vaccinated. Some are too young to be vaccinated or fully vaccinated (you don't get your first MMR until you are 12 months old and your second until you are 4 years old), some have immune system problems and other chronic diseases that put them at higher risk or keep them from getting vaccinated (kids with cancer getting chemotherapy, for example), and sometimes, unfortunately, vaccines don't work. If her intentionally unvaccinated kids catch a vaccine-preventable disease, like measles or pertussis, they can put many other kids at risk.
  • vaccines don't cause autism and there are unvaccinated kids with autism
  • Homefirst is or was a medical clinic in Chicago that sold various supplements and pushed many controversial treatments, including Lupron injections (chemical castration) for children with autism, a metabolic HCG diet, and advised parents to not vaccinate their children. Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, the founder of Homefirst died last year.

Kristin Cavallari is unfortunately not the only anti-vaccine celebrity to be influenced by the myths and misinformation of the anti-vaccine movement, over-estimate the risks of vaccines, and underestimate the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Others include:

  • Jenny McCarthy
  • Mayim Bilik - in an interview stated that "The number of vaccines that we received when you and I were kids is a third or a fourth less than kids get now.  So my feeling is, you can really do whatever you want, just like I get to do whatever I want.  But I don't inherently think that no one should get the flu [vaccine], for example.  That's my personal opinion.  Meaning, to me, the things that people choose to vaccinate against are not necessarily things that were vaccinated against 20 or 30 years ago.  My feeling is that everyone gets to decide and do research based on their family and their needs as to what they want to do..."
  • Alicia Silverstone -  she certainly sounds like she is channeling Dr. Jay when she writes in her parenting book that “While there has not been a conclusive study of the negative effects of such a rigorous one-size-fits-all, shoot-’em-up schedule, there is increasing anecdotal evidence from doctors who have gotten distressed phone calls from parents claiming their child was ‘never the same’ after receiving a vaccine. And I personally have friends whose babies were drastically affected in this way.”
  • Rob Schneider - in addition to saying that vaccinating children is against the 'Nuremberg Code,' Schneider, pushing the Big Pharma conspiracy theory, was quoted as saying that "The doctors are not gonna tell you both sides of the issue... they're told by the pharmaceutical industry, which makes billions of dollars, that it's completely safe." 
  • Bill Maher - it started when he advised people to not get the H1N1 flu vaccine back in 2009, but since then, Bill Maher has let his anti-vaccine thoughts be well-known, including this recent quote about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases - "Measles is not really that deadly a disease."
  • Charlie Sheen - fought in court to keep his ex-wife, Denise Richards, from vaccinating their two children, because he thinks vaccines are dangerous, and when they were finally vaccinated, reportedly paid pediatrician's bill in nickles.
  • Robert Rodriguez - the writer and director of Spy Kids praised Andrew Wakefield, saying that "His wise and measured advice about vaccinations helped us dodge a bullet... We now fully realize [he] would have been a victim of immune overload had we followed the regular vaccine schedule... "
  • Holly Robinson Peete - blames Amanda Peet for fearmongering, but in the same statement claims that it is scary "to think that today there are more than 30 vaccines that children are required to receive," even though there are only 13 vaccines in the complete childhood and teen immunization schedule...
  • Chuck Norris - hits many anti-vaccine conspiracy theories in his writings
  • Lisa Bonet - way before Wakefield, Lisa Bonet, one of the stars of the Cosby Show, warned viewers of The Donahue Show that vaccines could "introduce alien microorganisms into our children's blood and the long-term effects which could be trivial or they could be quite hazardous - and they could just be allergies or asthma or sleep disorders or they could be cancer, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It's very scary and it's very serious and I think because I felt wrong doing it... that's why I didn't do it. You know we have to think twice. You know why are our kids getting these diseases?"
  • Billy Corgan - the singer for the Smashing Pumpkins blogged about "forced vaccinations" and that "I for one will not be taking the vaccine. I do not trust those who make the vaccines, or the apperatus behind it all to push it on us thru fear. This is not judgment; it is a personal decision based on research, intuition, conversations with my doctor and my ‘family’. If the virus comes to take me Home, that is between me and the Lord."

Of course, there are many more celebrities who are well informed about vaccines and do vaccinate their kids and protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases.