I became aware of Dr. Snyderman in 2009 when she asked:
“What are we going to do to address the crazy people….who’ve decided that vaccines are not good enough for their kids?”
Last week she, along with a number of vaccine fan boys and cheerleaders, blanketed the airwaves extolling the virtues of vaccination and the imagined consequences befalling those failing to embrace the practice. I thought today we'd take a look at her recent comments as well as reflect on what Snyderman's had to say about vaccines and infectious illnesses over the last several years. Doing so should allow us to discover who the crazy one really is.
On Tuesday of last week she appeared with Matt Lauer on a Today Show segment entitled Prepare for Winter Illnesses . Matt wanted to know the difference between having the flu and having a cold. The ever- authoritative (yet consistently incorrect) Snyderman replied, when you have the flu you’re “usually out of work for two weeks”. Two weeks? Really? That seems strange. After all when I was a school child none of my classmates missed school for two weeks due to the flu. And have you ever heard of or seen a hockey or basketball player missing two weeks of their season due to the flu. Do news anchors or anyone else appearing on live TV generally disappear from our living rooms for two weeks each winter? Sadly, there seems to be nothing supporting Dr. Snyderman’s wild claim. But wait those are just anecdotes. Have any studies been done. Well, I’m glad you asked. This is from Flu Prevention Partners, a site encouraging flu vaccination:
Flu: Work Loss (days/case): Work Loss Days are the number of work days absent, per episode of influenza illness. A study of the impact of influenza and influenza-like illness on productivity and healthcare resource utilization in a working population by Keech, et al. found that the mean of lost workdays was 2.8, with a range of +/- 2.0.The discussion then moved to whooping cough. When Matt asked if it could develop from a cold she replied it's a different virus - since pertussis is a bacterium, she again demonstrated she knows as much about infectious illness as she does vaccination: nothing.
Matt then asked why we’re seeing whooping cough outbreaks. Nancy gave two answers that, as could be expected, were both demonstrably wrong. Answer one was that it was Winter and were all inside coughing on one another. Unfortunately for Nancy, pertussis’ peak season is, according to the Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, between July and October.
Nancy’s second answer was as predictable as it was incorrect: vaccine refusal and pockets of unvaccinated children. Here's a quote from her that appeared last week on the Today Show's website expounding on the her explanatory fantasies. She wrote:
Since that first erroneous report [a study linking the MMR vaccine to autism] was published, we have seen outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in various cities around the country. In fact, California in 2010 broke a 55-year-old record for the number of cases of whooping cough. That's directly related to parents who haven’t vaccinated their children.
But pockets of unvaccinated children did not cause or worsen the 2010 outbreak. The real reasons for it were increased awareness and weak vaccine. I addressed this issue last week but thought a few more bits of evidence would be of interest. A 2008 article appearing in Future Microbiology entitled Factors Contributing to Pertussis Resurgence stated:
A resurgence of pertussis is observed in highly immunized populations. Many studies have shown that the causes for the resurgence are multiple, such as increased awareness of disease, use of better diagnostic tools, improved surveillance methods and waning vaccine-induced immunity.
While the Mayo Clinic offered this explanation:
Whooping cough is thought to be on the rise for two main reasons. The whooping cough vaccine you receive as a child eventually wears off, leaving most teenagers and adults susceptible to the infection during an outbreak — and there continue to be regular outbreaks. In addition, children aren't fully immune to whooping cough until they've received at least three shots, leaving those 6 months and younger at greatest risk of contracting the infection.
And according to the California State Department of Health, as of March 2010
Vaccination coverage in California is at or near all-time high levels
Finally immunizeca.org reports:
Pertussis is the only disease that despite high levels of vaccination in early childhood continues to remain widespread in California
Nancy concluded the segment by going into a vaccination sales pitch, imagining pertussis to be totally preventable with a simple childhood vaccination. Yes Nancy, all we need is the initial series of three shots at 2, 4 and 6 months, then one at 15-18 months, then one at 4-6 years, then one at 11, then an adult shot and then one possibly every ten years thereafter.
Maybe Nancy was just having a bad week. Maybe previous TV appearances show her to be knowledgeable and authoritative Let's travel back in time and see.
In 2010 she reported on a number of measles deaths in Philadelphia. These deaths turned out to have been nothing more than figments of her own vaccine-drenched imagination. She repeated the claim in February 2010 on Morning Joe:
Right now we have children dying in the united states of America from measles, mumps…
While in May of 2009 Snyderman appeared on a particularly misleading and error-riddled segment Today Show segment. The hype began with NBC imagining a non-existent scenario:
As more parents are choosing to refuse immunizations, at least one serious childhood illness is on the rise. NBC’s chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman talks with TODAY’s Meredith Vieira.Meridith began:
According to recent studies an increasing number of parents are refusing vaccines…and new research out this morning says that decision has led to a sharp increase in at least one serious childhood illness.The entire statement was either false of misleading. First there's the problem with the implication that an increasing number of parents are refusing vaccines. Here's why. If for example if 5,000 more parents fill out an exemption form (remember, the population of children in California is almost ten million) and the exemption rate goes from 1 to 2% the overall rate can rise due to other factors occurring in the community. It's therefore disingenuous to imply "more parents are choosing to refuse immunizations" when one could just as easily, and more accurately, say increasing numbers of parents are choosing immunization.
Second, the research to which Meridith referred said nothing about "a sharp increase in at least one serious childhood illness". The study to which she referred simply reported and association between unvaccinated children and an increased likelihood of contracting pertussis(these unvaccianted children were,as opposed to vaccinated children, three times more likely to be tested for pertussis when presenting with an upper respiratory infection and therefore more likely to be diagnosed) So Viera's "new research" did not say there were enough of these children to offset generally high vaccination rates elsewhere and therefore set the state ablaze.
The two ladies then engaged in a discussion of pertussis then Nancy misinformed Meridith that pertussis was “an easily to die from illness” but failed to explain how that made any sense when, out of one million estimated cases each year, only ~20 deaths occur. Perhaps she was estimating severity based on only reported cases. But during last years California epidemic only 8 deaths occurred out of ~8,000 cases.
Finally, she, echoing her theme of last week, went on to lament:
“We nearly wiped it[pertussis] out but we’ve become complacent and now so complacent such that in 1994 there were about 1000 cases of whooping cough in this country a decade later 26k cases” Yet she did not elaborate as to how we became so complacent when rates were and are at all-time highs?
The lesson Snyderman drives home is that those comprising the Machine, regardless of qualification or so-called expertise, have either no idea what they're talking about or no compunction about misinforming parents in order to simply move more vaccine off the shelves.