Author: Flaviano Tarducci

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About vaccines

About Vaccines

This was an article that I read a few months ago and I think it is worth of being on my blog. Thanks Jennifer Raff for your article.

Dear parents, you are being lied to.

In light of recent outbreaks of measles and other vaccine preventable illnesses, and the refusal of anti-vaccination advocates to acknowledge the problem, I thought it was past time for this post.

Dear parents,

You are being lied to. The people who claim to be acting in the best interests of your children are putting their health and even lives at risk.

They say that measles isn’t a deadly disease.
But it is.

They say that chickenpox isn’t that big of a deal.
But it can be.

They say that the flu isn’t dangerous.
But it is.

They say that whooping cough isn’t so bad for kids to get.
But it is.

They say that vaccines aren’t that effective at preventing disease.
But 3 million children’s lives are saved every year by vaccination, and 2 million die every year from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

They say that “natural infection” is better than vaccination.
But they’re wrong.

They say that vaccines haven’t been rigorously tested for safety.
But vaccines are subjected to a higher level of scrutiny than any other medicine. For example, this study tested the safety and effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine in more than 37,868 children.

They will say that doctors won’t admit there are any side effects to vaccines.
But the side effects are well known, and except in very rare cases quite mild.

They say that the MMR vaccine causes autism.
It doesn’t. (The question of whether vaccines cause autism has been investigated in study after studyand they all show overwhelming evidence that they don’t.)

They say that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism.
It doesn’t, and it hasn’t been in most vaccines since 2001 anyway.

They say that the aluminum in vaccines (an adjuvant, or component of the vaccine designed to enhance the body’s immune response) is harmful to children.
But children consume more aluminum in natural breast milk than they do in vaccines, and far higher levels of aluminum are needed to cause harm.

They say that the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (and/or the “vaccine court”) proves that vaccines are harmful.
It doesn’t.

They say that the normal vaccine schedule is too difficult for a child’s immune system to cope with.
It isn’t.

They say that if other people’s children are vaccinated, there’s no need for their children to get vaccinated.

This is one of the most despicable arguments I’ve ever heard. First of all, vaccines aren’t always 100% effective, so it is possible for a vaccinated child to still become infected if exposed to a disease. Worse, there are some people who can’t receive vaccinations, because they are immune deficient, or because they are allergic to some component. Those people depend upon herd immunity to protect them. People who choose not to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases are putting not only their own children at risk, but also other people’s children.

They say that ‘natural’, ‘alternative’ remedies are better than science-based medicine.
They aren’t.

The truth is that vaccines are one of our greatest public health achievements, and one of the most important things you can do to protect your child.

I can predict exactly the sort of response I will be getting from the anti-vaccine activists. Because they can’t argue effectively against the overwhelming scientific evidence about vaccines, they will say that I work for Big Pharma. (I don’t and never have). They will say that I’m not a scientist (I am),and that I’m an “Agent 666” (I don’t know what that is, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not one).

None of these things are true, but they are the reflexive response by the anti-vaccine activists because they have no facts to back up their position. On some level, deep down, they must understand this, and are afraid of the implications, so they attack the messenger.

Why are they lying to you? Some are doing it for profit, trying to sell their alternative remedies by making you afraid of science-based medicine. I’m sure that many others within the anti-vaccine movement have genuinely good intentions, and do honestly believe that vaccines are harmful. But as a certain astrophysicist recently said “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it”. In the case of vaccine truthers, this is not a good thing. Good intentions will not prevent microbes from infecting and harming people, and the message that vaccines are dangerous is having dire consequences. There are outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses nowthroughout the United States because of unvaccinated children.

In only one respect is my message the same as the anti-vaccine activists: Educate yourself. But while they mean “Read all these websites that support our position”, I suggest you should learnwhat the scientific community says. Learn how the immune system works. Go read about the history of disease before vaccines, and talk to older people who grew up when polio, measles, and other diseases couldn’t be prevented. Go read about how vaccines are developed, and how they work. Read about Andrew Wakefield, and how his paper that claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism has been withdrawn, and his medical license has been revoked. Read the numerous, huge studies that have explicitly examined whether autism is caused by the vaccine…and found nothing. (While you’re at it, read about the ongoing research to determine what IS the cause—or causes —of autism, which is not helped by people continuing to insist that vaccines cause it).

That may seem like a lot of work, and scientific papers can seem intimidating to read. But reading scientific articles is a skill that can be mastered. Here’s a great resource for evaluating medical information on the internet, and I wrote a guide for non-scientists on how to read and understand the scientific literature. You owe it to your children, and to yourself, to thoroughly investigate the issue. Don’t rely on what some stranger on the internet says (not even me!). Read the scientific studies that I linked to in this post for yourself, and talk to your pediatricians. Despite what the anti-vaccine community is telling you, you don’t need to be afraid of the vaccines. You should instead be afraid of what happens without them.

“Humans try to make sense of the world by seeing patterns. When they see a disease or condition that tends to appear around the time a child is a year or so old, as autism does, and that is also the age that kids get particular shots, they want to put those things together. Parents watch kids more carefully after they get shots. Sometimes they pick up on symptoms then. Just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean that one caused the other. This is why we need careful scientific studies.”

Jennifer Raff blogs about science, pseudoscience and conflict at You can also follow her on Twitter


Interessante articolo di Elisa Finocchiaro sull’assistenzialismo:

La Malattia dell’assistenzialismo

Mi ha fatto sorridere leggere di “poverivoi” una ONG africana “che porta aiuti umanitari all’Italia”, un progetto di comunicazione provocatorio in realtà, per il quale all’italiano è offerta la possibilità di essere adottato da un villaggio africano per guarire dai mali della nostra civiltà.

Facciamo un passo indietro. Se ne parla ormai da anni. C’è tutto un mondo, quello delle ONG, delle organizzazioni internazionali, dell’umanitario, della cooperazione allo sviluppo, che è fortemente problematico, deregolato, a volte contraddittorio. Solo alcuni dei problemi: il fallimento delle politiche di aggiustamento strutturale e di numerosi programmi/progetti di sviluppo – che in alcuni casi hanno portato a vere e proprie conseguenze negative, il loro inestricabile legame con le eredità coloniali, il lassismo, la corruzione, l’inefficienza, il mancato rispetto della cultura e dei contesti locali, l’ambiguità dell’aiuto umanitario in contesti d’emergenza e i suoi paradossi, la strumentalizzazione mediatica e talora anche militare degli interventi umanitari – bisognerebbe domandarsi perché si è intervenuti in Libia e non in Darfur o in Rwanda nel 1994…Soprattutto l’aiuto “calato dall’alto” dei programmi di sviluppo, senza indugiare nei casi paradossali per i quali alcuni sacchi di cibo gettati da certi elicotteri erano tragicamente simili a mine antiuomo, successivamente scambiate da bambini per sacchi di cibo, appunto…

Ma insomma, anche se ognuno di questi problemi meriterebbe un libro, ed anche se andrebbero effettuate delle distinzioni tra cooperazione, sviluppo, emergenza, e le impostazioni delle diverse ONG, vorrei riportare l’attenzione su quello che ritengo sia un grosso problema di questo mondo, un problema di ordine culturale, quello dell’assistenzialismo. Un problema che purtroppo non affligge soltanto ONG cristiane e che reclutano volontari – e non professionisti come è per le ONG più autorevoli. Un problema che essendo di ordine culturale, si annida a volte anche nell’animo del più professionale degli operatori della ONG più laica.

Il problema cui alludo ha forse il suoi antenato nelle missioni cristiane, quando con una mano si colonizzava e con l’altra si convertiva, si riportavano i “buoni selvaggi all’ovile”. Chi “aiuta” si eleva dall’ umano al “divino” per operare l’ aiuto sui fratelli da assistere, fratelli di cui è in realtà “padre”. Assistenzialismo, paternalismo e altri atteggiamenti neocoloniali. Rendere l’ altro dipendente dagli aiuti e incapace di provvedere da sé, un’umanità dolente la loro, un quasi divino disumanizzato quello degli operatori, spesso rappresentati come degli angeli. Chi è iperprotettivo nei confronti dei beneficiari dei progetti è spesso una persona che non reputa i beneficiari in grado di cavarsela da soli. La sua percezione di potere aumenta a mano a mano che aumenta quella di sentirsi necessario per queste “povere” persone.

Partire per sentirsi un po’ eroi, quante aberrazioni – di cui pagano spesso le conseguenze i presunti beneficiari dei progetti – provengono da questa inconscia postura. Eroi che a casa magari sono dei signor nessuno e che hanno il terrore di mettersi in discussione. Mi ricordo un ragazzino in Rwanda che gonfiava e sporgeva la pancia e sbatteva le palpebre non appena adocchiava il bianco, per suscitarne la commozione. Ricordo un’ operatrice, che piuttosto che fornire ai beneficiari gli strumenti per cavarsela, si faceva carico di tutti i loro problemi, diventando una sorta di mamma generalizzata, dando il suo numero di cellulare per qualsiasi problema a chiunque, ricevendo telefonate anche nel cuore della notte. Instaurare questo tipo di rapporti significa non reputare l’altro degno di farcela da solo, significa volersi sentire egoisticamente necessari, significa non ritenere l’altro in grado di avere un rapporto umanamente alla pari.

Ma insomma, siamo sicuri che certi personaggi in certi paesi non rappresentino l’ennesimo flagello? Piuttosto allora, che si parta per essere “aiutati” e “adottati”.


Elenco di Nazioni per Prodotto Interno Lordo secondo il Fondo Monetario Internazionale

Ecco le previsioni di come si classificheranno alla fine di quest’anno le più importanti economie del mondo secondo studi condotti dal Fondo Monetario Internazionale.
Nel grafico blu la lista dei Paesi fatta per valori assoluti mentre il grafico rosso si riferisce al Prodotto Interno Lordo di ciascun Paese a parità dei poteri d’acquisto.

PIL Paesi secondo FMI

PIL Paesi secondo FMI

Link alla pubblicazione in inglese del World Economic Outlook del FMI pubblicato nell’aprile del 2014 (236 pagine).