During the last weeks, @steemtruth has made a small fortune with a series of anti-vaccination posts, seemingly providing evidence for the complete failure of vaccines to immunize against illnesses and for their harmful, poisonous behaviour towards humans, especially children.
First off: I appreciate the guy.
Unlike many other vaccination sceptics, he seems to base his views on scientific studies and statistics – which makes his theories tangible, and opens the possibility for scientific evaluation. So let’s do exactly that: Let’s take his posts, evaluate his key points and recheck his statistics and cited studies. After all, @steemtruth’s credo is: “Truth Fears No Investigation”.
So let’s investigate, for real. Part 1 of my answer will focus on his first post (I will deal with his other posts asap, but RL stress is preventing this for tonight):
Here, he posted a series of graphs demonstrating that the number of deaths caused by several infectious deseases decreased long before vaccination programmes were started. Look yourself, this is an example:
Wow, at first glance this looks impressive. It gave me a pause for a second. But then...
First off, I have no idea where the numbers come from, as the quoted book states just one number for 1848-1954 (342), which is much lower than the number in the graph, but nothing for the time between 1854 and 1973. And I did not find those numbers from reliable sources in the net, so they are more than up to doubt.
Also, it seems @steemtruth has not only used all pictures of this source, but plagiarized a good part of text aswell. But that's just secondary and should be more a task for @steemcleaners than for me.
For now, let’s just assume the numbers are correct, and let’s analyze the graph.
Two minor points up front:
- The graph is formatted to look impressive. In the slim portrain format, any de/increase looks stronger than it actually is. This is a neat graphic trick that one can often observe on semi-scientific posts.
- making dots every 25th year and then drawing straight lines results in an immense loss in accuracy. A year, a dot. Then the viewer could see the up and downs, and that it was no straight development.
Now the real argument:
If you read the graph, you will notice it says mortality, which is the number of people dying from a illness. But vaccination does not primarily try to eliminate the death toll of a disease.
And I think we can all agree that medical treatment improved a lot from 1850 to 1950, which is the logical reason for the decrease in mortality you can see.
Vaccinations, however, try to make people immune against a disease, which should primarily result in less cases per year, i.e. a lower "incidence".
Which is what you can see here, next to the graph you already know:
Source: UK Parliament
When you compare the two graphs, you can see: until the late 1960s, the number of measles cases per year stay more or less constant. At the same time, if you believe the numbers provided by @steemtruth, mortality decreased drastically. This is a clear prove for the improvement of medical treatment and hygienic conditions.
But measles incidence did not decrease before vaccines were invented, and - after a last little spike in 1971 – incidence does dramatically decrease with increasing vaccination uptake rates.
The same principle can be applied to the other graphs provided in the post - I double-checked, but it's just too much for a post.
In conclusion, this does of course not 100% prove that vaccines were responsible for the decline of measle incidence, as there is no 100% in science. I feel generous: Let’s say 95% and call it a day.
However: It shows that building an argument against vaccinations on the base of mortality is completely invalid!
P.S.: A not so funny fact:
Measles are back. After being almost eradicated in Western countries, we see an increase of cases and some few mortal cases again during the last 10 years. Sadly, this correlates with an increased percentage of people rejecting vaccination, and the victims of the virus are most often unvaccinated (source).
Disclaimer: In my blog, I'm stating my honest opinion as a researcher, not less and not more. Sometimes I make errors. Discuss and disagree with me - if you are bringing the better arguments, I might rethink.