Bill Gates steps in it in a good way, declares vaccine-autism link an “absolute lie”

I never thought I’d be praising Bill Gates, being a Mac person and all and not being at all fond of Microsoft, but it’s impossible for me not to in the wake of a recent interview Gates did with CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

As you probably know, since retiring from Microsoft, Bill Gates has dedicated himself to philanthropy in the form of the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the greatest works of this foundation has been to initiate vaccination programs in the Third World. These activities are likely to save thousands, if not millions, of lives over the next several decades.

Not surprisingly, the anti-vaccine movement has begun to notice and to attack Bill Gates, who has stood up for vaccines as the single greatest medical tool for saving lives ever invented. For example, recently Gates pointed out that, as fewer children die of vaccine-preventable diseases, people tend to have fewer children because more of the children they do have survive. As a result, he was attacked by Gary Null and Richard Gale as promoting Death by Vaccination: The New Eugenics. People, you can’t make stuff like this up. At least I can’t.

I wonder what the anti-vaccine movement will have to say after Gates’ interview with Dr. Gupta, in which Gates defends vaccines and calls the vaccine-autism link a lie:

Here’s the relevant quote:

Gupta: There has been a lot of scrutiny of vaccines recently — specifically childhood vaccines. There has been a lot of news about is there a connection with autism, for example. What do you make of all that? Dr. [Andrew] Wakefield wrote a paper about this [in The Lancet in 1998] saying he thought there was a connection. And there were lower vaccination rates over a period of time as a result in Britain, then the United States. What are your thoughts?

Gates: Well, Dr. Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn’t have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children. It’s a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.

Yes, the antivaccine movement does result in the deaths of children, just as HIV/AIDS denialists cause the deaths of HIV-infected people who are persuaded to refuse antiretroviral drugs.

Not surprisingly, the antivaccine propagandists over at Age of Autism are already in an uproar over this. First out of the box is AoA’s “Media Editor” Ann Dachel:

This opening gave Gates a chance to attack Wakefield for, as he described it, faking his data. He called the idea of a link as “an absolute lie.” That said, Gates went on to talk more about the “miracle of vaccines.”

While autism was only a one small part of the total interview, the title of CNN story was, Bill Gates: Vaccine-autism link ‘an absolute lie.’ It seems that Gates’ plan to promote vaccinations around the world was another opportunity to blame the controversy on Andrew Wakefield. It’s not going to work however. Thousands and thousands of parents everywhere will never stop talking about how their normally developing, healthy children went in for routine vaccinations and suddenly got sick with things like seizures, bowel disease, and life-threatening allergies. They stopped talking and lost learned skills and were eventually diagnosed with autism. Doctors call it a coincidence. They can’t explain what happened to these children. The only thing they’re sure of is that it’s not connected to the ever-expanding vaccine schedule.

Yup. That’s because the vast preponderance of scientific evidence tells us that it isn’t; after close to two decades of searching for such a link in huge epidemiological studies, scientists have not found one. While it is never possible in epidemiology and medical science to completely prove a negative, meaning that it is still possible (albeit highly unlikely given the lack of biological plausibility) that in a very tiny subset of children vaccines might trigger autism somehow), we can say with a great deal of confidence that vaccines are not responsible for an “epidemic” of autism and, in fact, we can say with a great deal of confidence that it is incredibly unlikely that vaccines cause autism. People like Ann are fixated on vaccines, even though there is no credible scientific evidence to support their beliefs.

I’m not a psychic, but I bet I can predict what will happen now. The anti-vaccine movement will go absolutely crazy in a flurry of conspiracy mongering against Bill Gates, Microsoft, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, complete with New World Order insinuations of secret plots of population control and collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and governments. Indeed, the ever-reliably clueless Ginger Taylor has already begun to do just that:

Apparently the attack on Andy was Phase 1 scheduled for January (Along with Offit and Mnookin’s books) We now seem to be beginning Phase 2, Bill Gates coming out party and his Polio Vaccine drive.

Apparently, Gates has declared 2011 is “The Year of the Vaccines” and pledged ten billion dollars over the next ten years (Interestingly, this was a GSK tag line in their 2005 investors annual review).

Wow. Only a die-hard anti-vaccine propagandist could object to someone declaring a year the “Year of the Vaccines,” but Ginger is only just getting warmed up:

So. How long will this push last… the one year? Or the ten years? Will more money, Big Bill sized money, do what all the other money couldn’t do and get people to go back to sleep on vaccine safety? Is part of Bill’s Billions going to push legislation on the Offit telegraphed idea in the Lancet a few months back that people should be coerced into vaccinating, with requirements for re-education camp before one would be “allowed” not to vaccinate?

I wonder if Gates money made its way into Brian Deer’s pocket? He signed a paper for CNN saying he didn’t take Pharma money for the last 3 years (note that he has been writing about Wakefield for 7 years), but he didn’t sign anything saying that he didn’t take Tech money for the last three years.

Unfortunately, even all of Bill Gates’ billions of dollars couldn’t “re-educate” Ginger to reality. She does score extra loon points, however, for trying to insinuate that Brian Deer is somehow in the pocket of Bill Gates. Dammit! How do I get a piece of that action? I wonder if Gates would cut me in if I switched from Mac to PC? On second thought, scratch that idea. Even a pharma shill has standards.

I would just caution the AoA drones (like Ann Dachel) and hangers-on (like Ginger Taylor) to be a bit careful, though, as J.B. should be careful in declaring Bill Gates his enemy. (Don’t forget that J.B. recently declared anyone who accepts the scientific consensus that vaccines do not cause autism to be his enemy, which means that Bill Gates, by declaring the vaccine-autism link to be an absolute lie, has just become J.B.’s enemy, along with the rest of us, I guess.) Remember that your big macher, J.B. Handley, is an operating partner at major investment firm. Do you really want to attack Bill Gates too vigorously? What if J.B.’s firm handles Microsoft accounts?

Now there’s some real conspiracy mongering for you, about as credible as the conspiracy mongering Ann Dachel and Ginger Taylor just engaged in.

ADDENDUM: Even better are the conspiracy theories flying fast and furious in the AoA comments. For instance, we have Autism Grandma:

This post is to me an excellent explanation as to why so many apparently otherwise intelligent people are sucked into the vaccine propaganda. Their eyes are closed to the truth because they are simply deceived by the propaganda and their lack of factual information prevents them from making logical decisions. This is exactly why so many parents are still taking their children into the pediatrician’s office for this horrific vaccine schedule!!!

Yes, there is a major conspiracy going on here, but not everyone involved in doing the bidding of the conspirators really understands what they are doing. We are fighting a major indoctrination program that is well established by the vaccine industry. People need motivation to research the information in order to come to the logical conclusion that vaccines are playing a huge role in destroying the health of this nation’s children and also adults.

Many people in high places do have knowledge of the factual information regarding vaccines and those at the top who run the show at the industry and government levels are chosing to support the vaccine industry in favor of their financial rewards. These people KNOW what they are doing and they willingly comply with the conspiracy. Bill Gates obviously isn’t going to be swayed by money, he has plenty of that; therefore he is just one of the majority who have accepted the propaganda instead of researching the facts. Certainly the vaccine industry has cultivated his support in order to sell more vaccines to other unsuspecting nations. Bill Gates is being used by the vaccine industry due to his financial power and influence. WAKE UP Bill Gates, you are being USED.

Wow. Just wow. One wonders why so many people would buy into such a conspiracy when it supposedly would harm their very own children, too, along with everyone else’s. There isn’t a word to describe a post like Autism Grandma’s except crazy. Well, maybe loony.