AS284: Vaccines Are Not Killing Us! with Ken Camargo

My guest today is Dr. Ken Camargo. We discuss the anti-vaccination movement, the facts about vaccination, and what is behind all the misinformation out there.  Ken is an MD with a Master’s and a PhD in public health, a professor and researcher of the graduate program in public health at the Institute of Social Medicine, Rio de Janeiro University, in Brazil, and an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Public Health.  Ken shares a wealth of information and experience with us about a topic that is important to the health of everyone.

Here are some additional links he shared for more information:

History of Vaccines

Vaccine Knowledge Project

Common misconceptions about vaccination

CDC information about vaccination

Facebook reference page about vaccination

15 thoughts on “AS284: Vaccines Are Not Killing Us! with Ken Camargo”

  1. Despite the fact that I tend to agree with most of your positions, I find it deeply satisfying to hear how respectfully you treat dissenters. And the fact that you tend to dig into reasons rather than positions is not like most other people. (But I do like Scathing Atheist too). Thank you.

  2. When I was a kid they had the DPT vaccine, which was an injection and the smallpox vaccination, which was the one where they put some goo on your shoulder and scratched your skin with a needle. We had “polio shots” for a while then later the oral polio vaccine (that was given to the whole school at once). Kids hated the shots, but the parents didn’t question the efficacy of the vaccinations and everyone I knew got them.

    The weird thing is that there was apparently no vaccine for mumps, measles (either kind) or chicken pox at the time. The attitude was that the diseases were miserable inconveniences, but that if you got them early, before puberty, they caused no lasting damage and you ended up with life-long immunity after that. So people would take their kids who hadn’t had measles over to play with some kids who had the measles to “expose” them and make sure they got the measles and got over them before puberty, when apparently, they could cause serious lasting damage of some kind. Same with mumps and chicken pox.

    I didn’t hear any discussion of this sort of “immunity management.” Does it work? Is it practical? It sure seemed to work then, at least after a fashion: everyone got the diseases once, but only once. It would be interesting to know how viable an alternative this practice might be and for what diseases, if any.

    1. Measles infection not only can be deadly, it also causes reduced immune function for several years after infection in some people. Mumps can cause sterility or brain infections. Chicken pox is usually self limited but can also cause severe infections, especially in pregnant women and patients with decreased immune function, including brain infections, severe pneumonia and death. In addition, having chicken pox at any age carries the risk of reactivation of the virus later in life, the most common presentation being shingles. It can also reactivate in patients with a depressed immune system, and can be life threatening. Vaccination is FAR safer than deliberately infecting kids with these viruses.

      1. That’s what I was asking. Thanks for your reply. The practice I described was ubiquitous verging on universal in middle class Salt Lake City in the 1950s. Like I said, it was generally acknowledged that you wanted your kids over these diseases before puberty, but other than that there didn’t seem to be any real concern.

  3. Correction for 56:30 where the CDC Whistle Blower (Dr. William Thompson) is ignorantly dismissed as that there is “Nothing” there. The official whistleblower lawfirm “Statement of William W. Thompson, Ph.D., Regarding the 2004 Article Examining the Possibility of a Relationship Between MMR Vaccine and Autism” states the contrary.

    “I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”

  4. Regarding whether you can get the flu from the vaccine: Dr. Camargo stated the flu vaccine is an attenuated virus. In fact, in the U.S., two vaccines are available: the “flu shot” (injectable vaccine) is a killed virus vaccine. You *cannot* get the flu from this, though you can have some mild systemic symptoms auch as fever for a day or so. FluMist is a nasally administered attenuated (live) virus vaccine. As Dr. Camargo stated, it is theoretically possible for the virus to revert to the wild type, just as there is for the polio vaccine, but this is extraordinarily unlikely. More likely is having mild flu-like symptoms. The CDC does not recommend using the attenuated virus vaccone for 2016-17.

  5. In a broad sense, there are two “arms” to the immune system. The innate immune system is non-specific – it just protects you against things which are “not self”. This includes barriers (like the skin),

    The reason people think they get the flu after the flu shot is that the vast majority of the symptoms you suffer when you catch a cold or influenza are caused by your immune system doing its job properly! The virus doesn’t give you a fever, or aching joins, or a runny nose – your immune system does those things to try and get rid of the virus! Until it has a chance to develop specific immunity to a particular infectious agent, your

    When you get the flu shot, you’re trying to induce an immune response, and

    1. Gah, accidental submission half way through!

      So, innate immune system – barriers plus non-specific attacks, which include all of the symptoms that we experience when we get a cold or flu. Runny nose to try and wash the pathogen out; sneezing and coughing to try and kick it out; fever to try and cook it (and also to help other immune cells work more effectively); and so on. It goes after anything it doesn’t recognise immediately, but in doing so it does damage to the host.

      The other arm is what vaccines try to get working – the adaptive immune system. Unlike the innate system, the adaptive arm is HIGHLY selective – using antibodies, it specifically targets individual parts of an infectious agent to disable or destroy them. Through a combination of specific antibodies and cells which clean up only things that have antibodies attached to them, it can fix things without causing all those unpleasant symptoms. And it remembers – if you’re exposed in the future to the same pathogen, the acquired immune system knows how to deal with it and immediately responds to the infection, bypassing the innate response. Problem is, it takes 7-10 days for the body to produce antibodies when exposed to a new pathogen, so we still need that painful but rapid innate immune response to protect us until the acquired system can get up and running.

      The way to solve that, of course, is to vaccinate. If you give a vaccine, you induce the acquired response without causing disease, so that if you come across the disease in the wild your body can mount a selective acquired response, rather than an unselective and painful innate response.

      But when you get the flu shot, you’re trying to induce an immune response to something the body has never seen before, so it’s not at all surprising that, at least sometimes, you’re going to mount a response via the innate system before your acquired system has time to make antibodies – so it’s completely expected that you might sometimes get flu-like symptoms (since, as I said, “flu like symptoms” are actually the body’s normal and healthy response to infection).

      But, because your body is only responding to a small amount of dead virus, compared to the load it sees in an active infection, the symptoms following vaccination are almost certainly going to pale in comparison to an active case of influenza!

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