I am writing to comment on Mr. John-Michael Dumais’ letter of March 29 (“No-liability vaccines are experimental”). Space limitations prevent addressing all the issues he raises. I will address two. First, the rhetorical tactic of moving the goalposts. Second, the misrepresentation of sources.

On Feb. 8, Mr. Dumais averred: “3) we have yet to see a double-blind placebo study of a single childhood vaccine.” On Feb. 18, I refuted that statement, pointing out several vaccines that had undergone placebo controlled trials.

On Feb. 26, the goalposts are moved as he states “… his [meaning me] claim that any childhood vaccine has been proven by a double-blind randomized controlled trial against an inert placebo is factually incorrect. I challenge him to prove me wrong.” On March 13, I cited a study which refuted his claim.

His claim having been once again disproved, the goalposts get moved again. Now he states: “I was shocked to learn that none of the childhood vaccines introduced since 1986 have undergone adequate safety testing or reviews (https://bit.ly/3bYvG5h)” (note the change from any to since 1986).

To counter that statement, the HPV vaccine is a childhood vaccine (per CDC). In the March 2007 issue of Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal is the study “Safety and persistent immunogenicity of a quadrivalent human papillomavirus types 6, 11, 16, 18 L1 virus-like particle vaccine in preadolescents and adolescents: a randomized controlled trial.” The study randomized, double blinded, with asaline placebo. Despite moving the goalpost, Mr. Dumais’ claim is once again incorrect.

On to the second point. The source for Mr. Dumais’ claim (https://bit.ly/3bYvG5h) is a 2018 article alleging the Department of Health and Human Services had not submitted required Vaccine Safety Reports with Congress in 30 years. The conclusion of both the article and Mr. Dumais is that no safety studies were done. Reading the article, it becomes apparent the author is conflating not filing a report with not having studies. This is analogous to saying I have not filed tax returns for 10 years therefore I had no income for 10 years. In both cases, the first clause does not imply the second clause. That DHHS did not file a report does not mean the studies weren’t done (see preceding paragraph). Claims that the studies were not done misrepresents the article.

Given these rhetorical and logical fallacies, Mr. Dumais’ claims need to be taken with more than a grain of salt.

ELLIOT KAPLAN

Gilsum