Misleading Headlines Re Tetyana Obukhanych’s 2015 Open Letter to Legislators

March 22, 2017

During the SB277 battle in California, I happened to catch sight of an open letter to the California state legislators written by immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych, Ph.D. The letter explained why there was no scientific rationale for forcing the small percentage of children in California who were not fully vaccinated to be vaccinated in order to attend school. At that point, the letter had not been seen by many people, and it contained a good deal of information that I thought should be more widely known. I asked Tetyana if we could post it on our blog here. She said yes, and there was more material where that came from; would I want it? Of course I said yes. We put it together into the form we published here on April 17, 2015.

Neither of us could ever have envisioned how popular that piece would be. It has been reblogged by dozens of websites in the health freedom community in the last three years, many of which did not bother to ask permission and did not link back to the original. Even worse, however, is the fact that quite a number of them make claims in their titles that Tetyana, as a reputable scientist, would never have made, which makes her look bad in the eyes of anyone who would know better and puts a target on her back. Not only did these sites exhibit poor blogging etiquette and breach copyright, they harmed the very person whose work they were profiting from! 

Tetyana and I have spent many frustrating hours trying to correct the situation, asking the sites to change the headlines and link back to the original, as TMR requires rebloggers to do, and asking people not to post links from sites that refused to do so. Many sites have refused to make the required changes, and quite a few people have indicated that it doesn’t matter at all to them that they are harming the author of the piece, which I find tremendously disheartening. It certainly doesn’t offer Tetyana, or I for that matter, an incentive to ever do it again.

Yet another recent round of pirated versions has prompted Tetyana to publish another open letter asking the health freedom community itself for help in improving the integrity of our own blogging websites. The letter is reprinted here with her permission.

Zoey O’Toole (a.k.a. “Professor”), Editor, Thinking Moms’ Revolution

Dear FB Friends and Health Freedom Community,

Let me start by expressing my gratitude for your ongoing sharing of the Open Letter to Legislators I wrote in 2015 in response to SB 277 in CA and similar bills in other states.

Back in 2015, I opposed SB 277 via faxed letters to key California lawmakers’ offices and testified publicly against SB 277 at the CA Senate Health Committee hearing.

The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR) team had requested to publish my message to legislators. This is the only version of my Open Letter to Legislators that I have endorsed to be published online, on their website:


I am deeply concerned that many other alternative media outlets have re-posted tempered copies of the TMR’s original version of my Open Letter on their own websites with sensationalized and misleading headlines amounting to: Harvard Immunologist said unvaccinated pose ZERO risk. Many of these sites haven’t linked back to the TMR’s original post, in violation of TMR’s copyright, nor have they asked me personally for permission to repost or approve any changes they might have made to the title or content. Egregious titles slapped onto these unauthorized reproductions, unfortunately, twist and distort my message to the detriment of the health freedom community. No, I didn’t say unvaccinated pose ZERO risk in my letter.

The notion of me being a ‘Harvard Immunologist’ in many of these false titles is also incorrect, although I can understand how the mistake might have crept in. I held one of my postdoctoral research training appointments in a lab affiliated with Harvard Medical School. (Note that Harvard University in Cambridge, MA and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA are two different entities). Please know that I don’t have the means to police the internet against all unauthorized and distorted reproductions of my Open Letter, and I therefore ask you to rely on your own good judgment when deciding what links to share with your FB friends. Not everything that goes around with my name or picture is authorized or vetted by me, if published by a website I am not affiliated with.

Thank you all for striving to preserve integrity in the health freedom community by choosing carefully the sources that you use, share, or re-blog.


Tetyana Obukhanych, Ph.D.


Pin It
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Misleading Headlines Re Tetyana Obukhanych’s 2015 Open Letter to Legislators

  1. Carol English says:

    Can someone explain to me why and how can an immune systems that basically doesn’t exist yet need boosting. What they really mean is they want to cripple it before it even begins. So the body has to deal with all these chemicals with no defense. THE BODY IS INVADED WITH ALUMINUM ALBUMIN ( is protein soluble in water and coagulable by heat, and this could be animal or human, human blood serum **) BOVINE PRODUCTS (any product that is derived from a cow or calf (such as bovine serum, which comes from cow’s blood)the active ingredient has to be grown in laboratories on cultures that contain human cell-lines. This is because the viruses are specific to humans and will only grow in human cells. Once grown, the viruses are purified several times to remove the cell culture material. This makes it *** unlikely ***that any human material remains in the final vaccine. Gelatine (A STABILIZER) derived from pigs is used in some live vaccines as a stabiliser to protect live viruses against the effects of temperature. And please show me where anyone has come down with chicken pox , measles, mumps, herpes … ALL AT THE SAME TIME. AND NO I AM NOT ANTI VACCINE, I AM ANTI CHEMICALS, I AM ANTI STUPID, I AM ANTI OVERLOADING A LITTLE BABY’S BODY WITH A BUNCH OF SHIT. AND NO VACCINES AREN’T THE ONLY ATTACK SYSTEM BEING MADE ON THE HUMAN BODY. HELL ONE OF THEM IS LEGAL AND THE REST ARE CONSIDERED SAFE UNTIL SOMEONE GETS SICK FROM THEM AND THEN GO AHEAD AND PROVE THE ILLNESS WAS CAUSED BY THERE CHEMICAL LACED PRODUCTS. WHAT A BUNCH OF SICK INDIVIDUALS. And I’m sorry but there is something seriously wrong with anyone that thinks any of this is ok. Open your eyes people, don’t sit in total denial, or defend something you know in your gut ( if it isn’t all screwed up) or in your heart ( if you have one that is working properly) is WRONG. Here lets let someone with a masters in biology or chemistry whip up a cocktail and inject it into your 1 day or 2 month old baby. Nah, we don’t know for sure , but it might keep your baby from getting sick , Hey it might give them brain damage but at least they didn’t get sick. Oh, and we don’t know what all it could possibly do to your child now or later, but lets give them to or three doses before thay have a chance to build an immune system to fight ANYTHING. WTF!! What is wrong with people. Is there no one in charge that has any common sense. And if that isn’t enough lets talk about BPS, GMO etc. etc. OUR BODIES , THOSE OF US THAT ARE HUMAN ARE NOT EQUIPPED TO PROCESS CHEMICALS. GET THAT THROUGH YOUR OVERSIZED. , WANT TO PLAY GOD MINDS.. STEAK IN A PETRI DISH, OH YUMMY!! WAKE THE F*** UP PEOPLE. THIS HAS GONE WAYYYYY TO FAR.

  2. Sandy says:

    Thank you for the Harvard clarification, as I have miswrote this in the past myself. Regardless, Tetyana’s schooling is stellar, as is her research.
    I thank her and TMR for the advocacy and bravery. A shift is happening for our side.

  3. runthegamut says:

    Thank you for this. I was very uncomfortable sharing anything from the letter because of the misleading title, and I’m glad to know it was a case of internet telephone and not misrepresentation by Tetyana herself.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      That’s one of the things that annoyed me the most! The letter SHOULD be shared, but I’d never have shared it with that title if I had just come across it.

  4. Len Tukwilla says:

    I don’t see how you get this “IPV (inactivated poliovirus vaccine) cannot prevent transmission of poliovirus” from this https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17429085

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Did you read this paragraph and look at the attending chart?

      “The table below from the Cuban IPV study documents that 91% of children receiving no IPV (control group B) were colonized with live attenuated poliovirus upon deliberate experimental inoculation. Children who were vaccinated with IPV (groups A and C) were similarly colonized at the rate of 94-97%. High counts of live virus were recovered from the stool of children in all groups. These results make it clear that IPV cannot be relied upon for the control of polioviruses.”

      This means that AFTER the administration of the vaccines, the children were “challenged” by deliberate administration of the attenuated virus. Of the children who did not receive the vaccine, 91% were colonized by the virus. A HIGHER percentage of the children who DID receive the vaccine were colonized by the virus. This means that the vaccine did not prevent colonization by the virus. Therefore it is not effective at preventing colonization (infection) and, therefore, transmission of the virus. (This excretion of live attenuated virus after the OPV is exactly what makes the oral polio vaccine dangerous. This vaccine shedding has been responsible for a significant number of polio infections worldwide.)

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        If the recovery of OPV in stool specimens from IPV-inoculated individuals 7 days after an OPV dose means “IPV cannot prevent transmission of poliovirus”, why didn’t the authors of the study say that?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Good question, isn’t it? The more you read vaccine “science,” the more you notice obvious points being completely left out of the discussion (and sometimes DATA like the study where the CDC’s William Thompson said he and his co-authors LITERALLY threw away the data that implied a link between timing of MMR and rates of autism, particularly in black boys). Get used to being frustrated.

        One of my all-time favorites is this one that finds a HUGE correlation between vaccination and asthma and eczema and completely DISMISSES it with the flimsy argument that (in a country with socialized medicine) most of the unvaccinated children had not seen a doctor more than three times in the first six months of life. What healthy child NEEDS to see a doctor more than three times in the first six months if they are not vaccinating? Vaccination and Allergic Disease: A Birth Cohort Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448377/

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        Maybe they overlooked such an obvious point, but I still have to wonder if maybe they understood The Netherlands and Sweden eradicated polio using IPV alone. And that, more broadly, in highly developed countries with excellent vaccine coverage and sanitation (like the US) polio would mostly be transmitted oral-oral rather than fecal-oral, and that IPV prevents primary infection and induces excellent oral mucosal immunity. And that it significantly reduces the duration and amount of OPV fecal shedding. And that it doesn’t cause vaccine-induced polio.
        I guess we’ll just never know!

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I agree that it’s likely we’ll never know as there are so many weirdnesses when it comes to polio. The vast majority of polio infections (I’ve read official estimates between 85% and 95%) are symptomless or appear as a mild cold. If that is the case, obviously there could be many people at any time who have active poliovirus infections and no one would know because they are not tested for the presence of poliovirus. So it’s impossible to know if “polio” was eliminated (not eradicated, as that means gone from the Earth) from specific countries due to a vaccine program or that the paralysis associated disappeared due to some change in the environment. It’s also interesting to note that while “polio” was eliminated in India (where they use OPV), the rates of NON-polio acute flaccid paralysis have risen at a similar pace to the drop in incidence of the version due to poliovirus. The actual number of people being paralyzed is still quite high despite eliminating “polio.” I suspect to the populace of India it looks like not much has changed.

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        I know, right? I mean who cares that India, a third world country with a population of over 1.3 billion, started an AFP surveillance program in 1997 in which all cases of AFP are reported and those subjects and their contacts are screened for polio with stool DNA studies? We know it’s the vaccines!

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Not sure what your point is, Len. None of that changes anything about what I said. MY point was that the vaccine may not have significantly changed the AFP situation in that third-world country that has recently supposedly “eliminated” polio. Your comment only supports that further.

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        The polio vaccine was designed to eliminate paralytic polio, not NP-AFP. NP-AFP prevalence is higher in India now is because of the AFP surveillance program. NP-AFP wasn’t even reportable prior to that. To claim the population of India hasn’t greatly benefited from polio eradication, or even worse to imply OPV actually causes NP-AFP, is illogical.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        No one’s implying that the OPV CAUSES NP-AFP. (Seriously?) What I’m saying is that it appears from the actual data that OPV has not reduced the rate of PARALYSIS in India so perhaps the paralysis is less due to the poliovirus itself than it is to environmental factors that allow the virus to invade the central nervous system. And AFP surveillance has been around long enough that identifiable trends should be reliable–or should we say that polio elimination cannot actually be determined because the data is unreliable?

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        If you’re not implying OPV causes NP-AFP, what did you mean when you said, ” It’s also interesting to note that while “polio” was eliminated in India (where they use OPV), the rates of NON-polio acute flaccid paralysis have risen at a similar pace to the drop in incidence of the version due to poliovirus”?

        Since you don’t seem to think the AFP surveillance system has anything to do with the rise in NP-AFP cases, what do you find “interesting”?

        And are you saying environmental factors are increasing or decreasing the overall rates of paralysis in India?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I think I made it very clear that I meant that it seems likely that the widespread overall OPV campaign in India, while officially “eliminating” “polio,” appears to have done nothing to eliminate PARALYSIS, which presumably is all that Indian citizens really care about.

        I also think it was fairly obvious that I meant environmental factors may be affecting when and if a virus is able to invade the central nervous system, thus causing paralysis, and that the specifics of “poliovirus” infection may be relatively unimportant to overall rates of paralysis whether they are rising or falling. You may or may not be aware that poliovirus infection was fairly universal in early childhood prior to the twentieth century, rarely causing anything more than a slight “cold.” Something happened that made it significantly more virulent in the early and especially mid-twentieth century. That “something” may be making OTHER viruses just as virulent right now in India.

    • Len Tukwilla says:

      Why would this only be happening in India then? Why not the other 194 countries in the world?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        How do you know it’s not? For instance, in this country there has been a recent spate of “polio-like” paralysis: https://www.cnn.com/2016/10/05/health/afm-polio-like-flaccid-myelitis-paralysis-children/index.html. In any event, the point of my post was that there could be some environmental factor that makes a virus more virulent, and it could be that current-day India shares that factor with 1950s United States.

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        Well in India they’re averaging around 50,000 cases of NP-AFP per year while in the US it’s been < 100. In 2 of the last 3 years it's been in the 20s.

        And there were 100s of thousands of children paralyzed by polio every year in India before it was made polio-free. Estimates range from 500-1000 children per day. So even if you refuse to believe the increase in NP-AFP is due to the AFP surveillance system you can't say the overall paralysis rate in India hasn't markedly dropped because of polio eradication.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Of course the numbers in countries would deviate significantly in two countries with such drastically different infrastructures (you yourself called India a “third-world country”). Or are you arguing that environmental factors don’t differ significantly between India and the United States?

        SINCE India’s surveillance began (and prior to that all we have are “estimates” as you correctly point out), the ratio of polio AFP/non-polio AFP has changed dramatically, while the overall number of paralysis cases has not. That does not argue for the increase being due to surveillance. Sorry that’s not the way it works.

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        You claimed it wasn’t just happening in India and that in fact it was happening in the US. Now you’re acting like you didn’t just say that. So what other 3rd world countries are seeing numbers of NP-AFP like India?

        And since you keep claiming the overall paralysis rate in India hasn’t changed, how do you know that?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Len, I’ve lost track of the number of times that you’ve claimed I’ve said something I haven’t. I’m starting to think it’s either deliberate or you have a severe reading comprehension problem. Either way, I’m getting tired of it. I generally choose my words carefully. Please read what’s actually there if you’re going to engage.

        I said — and I quote — “How do you know it’s not?” That is not a declarative statement of ANYTHING. It’s a question. However, I did offer some SUPPORT for that POSSIBILITY by linking a story about an “outbreak” of paralysis in the United States that had nothing to do with the poliovirus. The SIZE of said outbreak has nothing to do with whether or not the MECHANISM behind it is the same mechanism in operation in India or whether what I suggested it COULD be is correct. Therefore, yes, that is evidence that the same thing COULD be happening in the United States — on a much smaller scale due to obviously huge environmental differences. And I have no idea whether it is happening in other third-world countries or not because I haven’t investigated it.

        I got the information about India from WHO statistics on AFP, polio and non-polio, during the surveillance period. Have fun tracking that down. They don’t make it easy. 😉

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        It’s funny how people can interpret responses in such different ways:)

        But back to the overall paralysis numbers in India, which I feel are waaay down and you say are stagnant, you forgot to link that WHO data.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Nope, no “forgetting” involved. Again, I choose my words carefully: “Have fun tracking that down. They don’t make it easy.” I did the work. You can too. 😉 Happy hunting!

        Your “interpretations” leave a lot to be desired. If they are indeed honest mistakes, your vision must be colored by highly incorrect assumptions. You might want to keep that in mind as you interact.

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        So you found WHO data showing that despite the eradication of polio in India the overall rate of paralysis there hasn’t changed, and you’ve chosen not to share it, and I’m sure there are completely innocent reasons for that. But think about us non-PhDs who aren’t so steeped in research. And what about those awful vaccine proponents who will say you’re just making it up?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Reading comprehension, Len. I haven’t “chosen not to share it.” As I’ve made clear, I’ve chosen not to put in the considerable effort of looking it up for YOU. As I mentioned, it was not easy to find that information on the WHO website. Surprisingly, I have absolutely ZERO desire to do that work for someone who has repeatedly demonstrated poor reading comprehension. Go figure. I also don’t give a flying fuck what “awful vaccine proponents” say about anything, so don’t bother with the lame attempts at manipulation.

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        Gosh, it looks like my reading comprehension needs a lot of work 🙂

        “As I mentioned, it was not easy to find that information on the WHO website.”

        I bet it wasn’t, but your due diligence paid off! And since you found the evidence on the WHO’s own website that it’s pointless to eradicate polio, wouldn’t that would be great ammunition for AVers everywhere?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Oh look, Len! I forgot the Wall Street Journal had actually done some of the investigation for you. Isn’t that lucky?

        “India’s Victory Over Polio Has an Unexpected Consequence” https://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2015/06/26/indias-victory-over-polio-has-an-unexpected-consequence/

        “In 2003, when polio was endemic in India, 8,500 cases of AFP were recorded [surveillance has been in place since 1997]. So far in 2015, a year after India was declared polio free, there have been nearly 18,000 reported instances but none linked to polio.”

        “Research by Dr. Jacob Puliyel from St. Stephen’s Hospital in Delhi and two colleagues shows a positive correlation between the number of doses of polio vaccine given to a child on average in a state and the number of reported cases of AFP that turn out not to be caused by polio.

        “In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, non-polio AFP cases are higher than in Kerala and Goa, where fewer doses of oral vaccine are administered per child each year, even after factoring in other differences between the states.

        “‘We speculate that repeatedly giving polio virus vaccine is probably causing a strange shift… and there is some other polio-like disease which is beginning to exist,’ Dr. Puliyel said in a phone interview.”

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        Puliyel is a well known AVer who also ignores the effect of massive screening on the prevalence of NP-AFP in India. But where’s that WHO data?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        “ignores the effect of massive screening on the prevalence of NP-AFP” 😀 😀 😀 Yeah, that “screening” got so much “better” in 15 years that, despite the trumpeted drop in polio cases, it managed to find more than TWICE as many cases of paralysis! Sounds just like the “improvements” in autism screening that “made” autism so prevalent that it its bankrupting our educational and social services systems.

        Gee, I wonder where the Wall Street Journal got the numbers for their article. Are you really so Google-challenged that you can’t find World Health Organization Disease tracking?

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        “Sounds just like the improvements in autism screening that made autism so prevalent…”

        Couldn’t have said it better myself:)

        ” Are you really so Google-challenged that you can’t find World Health Organization Disease tracking?”

        No I just can’t find the part about polio eradication being worthless. But I’m sure you did!

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Aaaaaaand . . . there it is! The verification that your egregiously bad reading comprehension skills on our website are not an aberration but are indeed your M.O. The only people who believe that autism ISN’T more prevalent than it used to be are people who wish to believe it despite the overwhelming evidence in front of their faces. I’m done wasting my figurative breath on you.

        And of course you didn’t “find the part about” how the polio elimination program was quite possibly worthless (which is, of course, much closer to what I actually said) because that would require you to THINK beyond CDC or WHO talking points, and you clearly have no interest in that.

        Bye, Len.

  5. Jeannette Bishop says:

    IMO aside from accuracy, the TMR title educates a little more. I hope those with sincere intentions do not find it too difficult to correct their headlines or sourcing (I can’t help considering the possibility that some of these venues exist to, at least in part, set up straw man arguments–so please save me from my suspicious nature!–in case that adds any proper motivation).

    I hope further that I’m not breaking any protocols in adding that I recently learned one can support Dr. Obukhanych on patreon.com.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      No break at all! We love to promote people who are doing great work and don’t get other means of promotion. Tetyana definitely qualifies.

      I don’t think those venues specifically exist to undermine the message, but I think there are people within the health choice movement who are just as interested in making a quick buck or promoting themselves as those in the pharmaceutical industry. Our society is set up to reward that behavior, and let’s face it the headlines they chose ARE “clickbait.”

  6. Rebecca Lee says:

    This is the same reason we are so ferocious defending the Andy Cutler protocol copyrights, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *