Let's once more delve into the bowels of the literary world and review another interesting chapter from Liam Scheff's book Official Stories. This time I have decided to review the chapter about vaccinations, what Liam calls a "religious science". In the past I have been very vocal about my views on the anti-vaccination movement and how I believe they are not only risking their own health and their children's but the wider public's health. I have been extremely critical of people who say that vaccinations cause autism and cite Andrew Wakefield's (now retracted) paper as proof. I have also produced articles and videos talking about the properties of thimerosal and other organo-mercury compounds. As a reward for dedicating a large portion of my time to produce this body of work I am insulted, on a daily basis, by people who honestly believe I am being paid by a pharmaceutical company that want to poison their children. I have made no effort in hiding how I feel about these people; nor have they with me, but I believe we can both come together to agree that Liam's views on vaccinations are comical, bordering on the deluded.
Before I start, I feel I have to point out that like all medical procedures, getting vaccinated does have potential health risks. Some people react badly to them and some have even died in the past. This is something that is openly admitted but it's something that is also very unlikely to happen. One of the risks not associated with vaccinations is the development of autism. Even though this link has been thoroughly investigated and shown to be fabricated, it is still, to this day, pushed by people against vaccinations. This, for the vast majority, is the sole reason not to vaccinate. It's not that vaccinations don't work just that they have unreasonable side effects. They also dont claim that some of the illnesses prevented by vaccinations are imaginary and exist solely to sell more vaccinations. This however is what our friend Liam Scheff believes.
The chapter starts with Liam talking about the history of vaccinations. Believe it or not, the idea of exposing oneself to a weaker version of a pathogen in order to develop immunity is nothing new. However the history of modern vaccinations really begins with Edward Jenner. In 1798 he observed that milkmaids who had previously caught cowpox did not later catch the potential deadly smallpox. To test this theory he took pus from a cowpox pustule and inserted it into eight-year-old James Phipps. Six weeks later he exposed him to another boy who was suffering from smallpox. This had no effect on Phipps who was now immune because of Jenner’s treatment. This origin story is hidden in the word vaccination as it is derived from the Latin word vaccinus which means of or from the cow. Liam talks about this origin and childishly gives it as a reason why you should not get vaccinated. He seems to think that the origin of the word and the procedure is beneath him and something to be scoffed at….I am not kidding. This argument was so juvenile that I had to go back and read the paragraph several times to ensure I had not missed anything.
Like in the 9/11 chapter, Liam is guilty of making the most basic factual errors. Errors that can be easily be corrected by the easiest of google searches or to actually do his job as an investigative journalist and find people who can answer his questions. One of the more embarrassing mistakes in this chapter comes when Liam talks about the rabies vaccinations. He begins to talk about Louis Pasteur and his work on the vaccinations and talks about the case of Joseph Meister. Joseph was an 9-year-old boy who had been bitten many times from a rabies infected dog. Pasteur introduced a weakened version of what he believed to cause rabies and as a result the boy did not develop the disease and survived. Liam seems to think this is the proof that this vaccination does not work as how can the boy be vaccinated after exposure. “But it’s a strange proof because, by vaccine theory, it takes time to produce antibodies against an illness. The boy didn’t have time to become “immune” after being bitten, which seems to indicate that he was already immune or hadn’t been infected”.
Firstly, I have to admit that it is not out of the realms of possibility that the boy was somehow already immune from what is, arguably, the deadliest disease on the planet – where practically all who develop symptoms die. It is also possible that he was not infected in the first place. However it is accepted that this is not what happened here and the boy was infected and he did gain immunity from the vaccination. We also have to remember that this is not the only time someone has gained immunity from rabies after exposure, in fact giving someone the rabies vaccine after exposure is a common practice today and is responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives. This is possibly because of the relatively large time it takes the virus to make its way to the central nervous system. This means that it can take anywhere up to three months between contracting the disease and the start of symptoms.
Liam later begins to talk about the polio vaccination and how he believes that polio is not a real condition. He goes on to say that it is exposure to dangerous chemicals like DDT that cause symptoms that we associate with polio. To back this up, Liam says that the polio virus that the medical community thinks is responsible for polio does not behave correctly, and is seasonal. “It didn’t act like a plague. It appeared in the summer”. Like before, most of what Liam says is trivial to counter. Although he does talk about Jonas Salk’s vaccination, he never once mentions that this virologist (who was the first to develop a successful polio vaccine) never patented his work. This allowed the vaccine to be mass produced preventing the suffering of millions. This is in stark contrast to Liam’s views of the scientific community as being money-grabbing and immoral humans who can’t think for themselves; and thus is ignored.
“Ask the question: Who funds university research? Who hires university researchers? The answer is the same: chemical, oil and pharmaceutical companies.”
So if vaccinations don’t work what does Liam recommend I hear you ask. Well apparently there is a wonder drug out there that can not only cure polio (even though polio does not exist in Liam’s world) but when mixed with green tea extract and selenium, has apparently been shown to eradicate many cancers. It can also cure the flu, non-descript poisoning and snake bites. It also has no side effects and is cheap to manufacture which is why the medicinal establishment is against it. So what is the wonder drug I hear you cry. Well I will let Liam tell you….
“So, what is the drug? It’s something that works as a reducing agent – it allows the body to break apart and excrete toxic molecules like lead metals, arsenic and other things that the body usually can’t deal with. The drug is cheap, readily available and non-toxic even in massive doses. And it’s in your broccoli, kale and oranges. Got it? Right. Vitamin C. Or, injected sodium ascorbate.”
Yep Liam recommends injections of vitamin C salt as a miracle cure. Not only that but he is actively promoting it to people suffering from “invasive cancers”. Even though vitamin C has been extensively researched, the evidence of its anti-cancer properties is unimpressive to say the least. There are papers with pages and pages of anecdotal evidence but when it comes to hard evidence of its effectiveness there is practically none. In fact, some trials have suggested that high doses of vitamin C may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Vitamin C injections have also been linked with kidney stones and people have died as a result of listening to people like Liam who promote vitamin C injections over conventional medicine. This notion of a miracle drug also feeds back into Liam’s paranoid view of the world, where the medical community knows about the effectiveness of vitamin C, but are suppressing it to make money.
These are some of the more interesting claims in this chapter and believe me when I say that I have barely scratched the surface. Liam keeps firing more and more bullshit at you on paper, and because of his hatred for referencing, it would take an eternity to track down where he has got his information from, if it exists at all. I have therefore decided to call it a day on this chapter, as I believe I have adequately shown that this man does not know what he is talking about; nor does he represent the anti-vaccination movement.