Friday, July 1, 2011

Vaccines and SIDS

I recently wrote a post about vaccines and infant mortality, and as you may expect, Mr. Hubbs didn't appreciate data and statistics that serve to destroy his misheld beliefs.  As a result, Mr. Hubbs tried to direct me to an opinion piece to claim vaccines actually cause higher rates of infant mortality along with him rambling on about SIDS (as he has done so often in the past). Unfortunately, Mr. Hubbs once again displays the fact that he fails to understand correlation does not equal causation.

His source attempts to mirror rates of infant mortality with the nations that vaccinate, however vaccination rates don't tell the whole story, and you need to understand the context and underlying causes for higher rates of mortality before making a unsupportable claim about causation.  If one was to look at the rates of infant mortality, they would soon find out the rates are dramatically different among various races, and because the US is a very diverse nation, our statistics bear this out.

For example, the infant mortality rate per 1000 live births for non-hispanic whites in the US is 5.7, whereas for blacks it is a disproportional 13.6.  The rates for children of Cuban, Central American, or Asian ancestry are lower than those of whites while Native American children were higher than average.  Therefore as you can see there is a huge disparity between races within our very own nation even though we don't have different vaccination schedules based upon race.  This all suggests a strong genetic component coupled with other societal factors (income, access to medical care, geography, cultural variances etc, etc) that tend to differ among races.

Therefore if you were to compare the infant mortality rate of a nation that is much less diverse (lets use Japan as an example) to the infant mortality rate of only the Asian or Pacific Islander population of the US, you would find those rates are nearly identical (5 vs. 4.89).  Obviously the US doesn't use one vaccination schedule for white children, another for black children, yet another for Asian children etc, so in order to really understand why our infant mortality rate as a whole is higher than some other nations, we need to dig deeper.

The reality is the industrialized nations that tend to have lower infant mortality rates than the US vaccinate their children too, so it is a rather disingenuous to suggest it has anything to do with vaccines when the data itself doesn't bear that out.  You can look at a chart that compares the various rates of infant mortality amongst nations and clearly see those nations with the lowest rates are the very same nations that vaccinate (primarily nations throughout Europe and Asia), while the nations with the highest rates of infant mortality have historically struggled to provide vaccinations to their populations (many nations from Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America).  The data doesn't lie, but some people do try to misinterpret it and cherry pick facts to support their predetermined viewpoints.  Go figure.

If we are speaking about SIDS specifically it is also important to note that the Netherlands has the lowest reported rate of SIDS (0.56 SIDS deaths for 1000 live births). In comparison New Zealand had a reported rate of 2.9 and the US has 1.3.  So since the US has one of the most rigorous vaccination schedules, and if vaccines are really the root cause of SIDS, shouldn't we have a higher rate than a country like New Zealand or Ireland (2.2 SIDS deaths per 1000 live births)?

One interesting point to be noted is that the rate of SIDS in the US has decreased by 50% since 1990, yet as any good anti-vaxxer like Mr. Hubbs will tell you, we are using more vaccines than ever.  So if vaccines really caused SIDS, how does an anti-vaxxer explain the reduction in SIDS deaths?  As you can see, once again the anti-vaxxers just choose to ignore the data that doesn't support their viewpoints because they have no logical way to explain it away.

I should also mention that the Immunization Safety Review Committee was established by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to evaluate the evidence of possible causal associations between immunizations and certain adverse outcomes.  The Committee concluded that there is no evidence of a causal relationship between these vaccines and sudden infant death syndrome, sudden unexpected death in infancy, or neonatal death.  I suppose the IOM is in on some vast conspiracy too though... so I suppose they aren't a trustworthy source when compared to a bastion of knowledge such as (sarcasm intended).

Obviously the evidence, as well as the scientific community at large, overwhelming disagrees with the anti-vaxxer viewpoint that vaccines cause SIDS or lead to higher infant mortality, but that doesn't stop the anti-vaxxers from continuing to push their ignorance onto others while displaying their inability to understand and comprehend detailed data.

I especially liked that the article Mr. Hubbs cited claimed "SIDS [...] was relatively unknown prior to the 1960s when national immunization programs were initiated". Yea... sure thing.  The reality is, the term 'SIDS' may be fairly new, but the condition is not. In decades past it was commonly referred to as crib death, cot death, or overlaying and often times such a death was blamed upon other conditions such as smallpox, diphtheria, or whooping cough if a child was suffering from one of those conditions and died in his or her sleep.

In time as vaccines were developed to prevent infants from succumbing to these preventable diseases, it became clear there was another cause, and in 1969 the term "SIDS" was first used to describe the condition.  It wasn't until 1973 that a separate cause-of-death category to distinguish deaths due to SIDS was added.  As this Trends in Infant Mortality by Cause of Death and Other Characteristics report from the US Department of Health and Human Services explains (page 15):  "Before 1973 there was no separate category for SIDS, and many SIDS deaths were probably classified under other category numbers in the “Symptoms, Signs, and 111-Defined Conditions” chapter of the ICD, as well as under respiratory conditions, Accidental mechanical suffocation (ICDA–8 No. E913), and a variety of other causes (30-32)".

In 1990 the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) defined SIDS as “the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history”.

Therefore if you were to look at vital statistics report from 1950 for instance, you aren't going to see a separate category for SIDS, because the acronym "SIDS" hadn't yet been invented.  Does that mean that infants weren't dying from unknown causes while they slept?  Not at all.  It merely means those deaths were classified under other categories because there wasn't a clear way to identify them yet.

Based upon Mr. Hubbs' logic, one could claim there was no such thing as Lou Gehrig's disease until 1939 when Lou Gehrig himself was diagnosed with it.  Never mind that the disease was officially called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and had been known since the 1800s... I guess the condition doesn't count until it has an official modern name.

However, back in the real world Mr. Hubbs may be interested to know that such unexplained infant deaths have been occurring long before vaccines were ever introduced.  In fact, if he was to reference the Old Testament in the Bible, (1 Kings 3:19) he would realize even in biblical times people were blaming unexpected deaths upon people rolling over on their children - which was considered to be a leading cause for many decades.  That is exactly why the term "overlaying" was used to explain it as doctors and medical examiners simply assumed it was due to a parent rolling over and suffocating the child inadvertently.

However, as time progressed and medical advances allowed us to examine the infant to determine the true cause of death, it was determined it wasn't as simple as suffocation and the issue is much more complex.  In fact even today experts openly admit SIDS has no single cause, however they also agree that it is not caused by bad parenting nor is it caused by vaccines.  Of all of the risk factors associated with SIDS, vaccines have not been identified as being one of them in any study thus far.  In fact, according to the CDC study, there was actually a decrease in the risk of SIDS after infants had received the DPT vaccine.  I suppose the CDC is in on this vast conspiracy too though... so they can't be trusted (again... sarcasm intended).

Then again, we need to keep in mind that Mr. Hubbs doesn't actually believe SIDS even exists in the first place.  Rather, Mr. Hubbs believes SIDS is just a condition invented to cover up for vaccine damaged children. 

Case in point:

"There is no such thing as SIDS" ~Lowell Kevin Hubbs
However, if there really is no such thing as SIDS how do you explain SIDS deaths in non-vaccinated kids? Here are a few studies that have focused on SIDS - none of which have found a statistical difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated infants:

Jonville-Bera AP, Autret E, Laugier J. Sudden infant death syndrome and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-poliomyelitis vaccination status. Fundam Clin Pharmacol 1995;9(3):263-70.

Carvajal A, et al. [DTP vaccine and infant sudden death syndrome. Meta-analysis] Med Clin (Barc) 1996 May 4;106(17):649-52.

Mitchell EA, Stewart AW, Clements M. Immunisation and the sudden infant death syndrome. New Zealand Cot Death Study Group. Arch Dis Child 1995 Dec;73(6):498-501.

I really don't expect Mr. Hubbs to be able to explain these studies - in fact I'm quite sure they are far beyond his reading comprehension level.  Even if he did take the time to actually review them he would soon find out they disagree with his viewpoints, which is why (as always) Mr. Hubbs will just simply choose to ignore the science and the data as he continues his quest to make the world a dumber place.  He will then attempt to change the subject to some other topic such as random 'toxins' in vaccines or he will return to his pattern of accusing someone of hacking his computer or hiring a hitman to silence him.

So at this point one has to wonder if Mr. Hubbs actually cares about these children or if he is just looking for another excuse to point fingers at the pharmaceutical industry and/or the federal government.  Rest assured if there was any doubt in your mind, it can be put to rest once you read the following quotes from Mr. Hubbs in relation to shaken baby syndrome:
"Many infants who suffer so-called 'shaken baby syndrome' may be victims of undiagnosed vaccine damage."  ~Lowell Kevin Hubbs
"[T]here are alleged to be close to 3000 people sitting in prisons falsely accused of shaken baby syndrome, your vaccines have caused."  ~Lowell Kevin Hubbs
So basically Mr. Hubbs would rather assume vaccines are responsible for killing infants rather than the people who actually violently shake them to the point of death.  Then again this is the same guy who was caught driving drunk no less than four times (and likely got away with it hundreds of other times) so clearly he is just fine with putting the lives of innocent people at risk.  Instead of actually placing blame upon criminals, Mr. Hubbs would rather pretend they are innocent and that the judicial system is a mockery.

Stay classy Mr. Hubbs.


  1. "One interesting point to be noted is that the rate of SIDS in the US has decreased by 50% since 1990, yet as any good anti-vaxxer like Mr. Hubbs will tell you, we are using more vaccines than ever. So if vaccines really caused SIDS, how does an anti-vaxxer explain the reduction in SIDS deaths?"


  2. I doubt Lowell can respond to that point Andy. He can't claim that vaccines cause SIDS and then not have an explanation for the reduction in SIDS deaths as that goes against his theory. He loses either way.

  3. Well Andy and Cable24, Mr. Hubbs did try to respond to that point, but his excuse is merely that he doesn't trust the numbers. I guess the CDC is involved in some vast conspiracy to hide the truth, so they must be secretly going around the country and deleting and/or falsifying medical records and bribing coroners so they don't report a death as SIDS related or something.

    Granted Mr. Hubbs can't seem to come up with any numbers of his own, and he actually tries to use as a source for his ramblings.

    This guy just doesn't get it. He has been shown to be a fool time after time, day after day, and he keeps coming back for more. He is now to the point where rather than even attempt to explain a scientific cause for a significant reduction in SIDS deaths, he just refuses to acknowledge the numbers and plugs his ears like a four year old.

    Once a conspiracy theorist... always a conspiracy theorist.

  4. He will ignore it because he can't explain it. That is the anti-vaxxer way.

    He will just change the subject again and again. It is about time for him to start talking about being hacked again or maybe he can give us an update about his friends and their abuse of young girls.

  5. Nice try Hubbs... but posting under someone else's name doesn't work no matter how many times you try.

    You STILL haven't figured out how I can trace your nonsense? It doesn't matter what name you use, I have a way to attribute your comments back to you.

    You fail once again, and your attempt to post under yet another username once again shows you lack credibility. Nice try though.


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