The annals of “I’m not antivaccine,” part 14: Vaccine “Trafficking” and beyond

If there’s one good thing about the ongoing Disneyland measles outbreak that is continuing to spread, if there can be a “good thing” about an outbreak of vaccine-preventable disease that didn’t have to happen, it’s that it’s put the antivaccine movement on the defensive. They are definitely feeling the heat. Their reaction to that heat can range from ever more vigorously proclaiming that they are “not antivaccine” in a desperate bid to convince the unwary and those not familiar with the antivaccine movement that they are not antivaccine, all the while softening their antivaccine tropes without actually renouncing them. Bill “I don’t believe in vaccination” Maher, for instance, has been doing that for at least a decade and most recently repeated it (unconvincingly) last Friday. Alternatively, they wrap their antivaccine views in a cloak of “freedom,” creating a dog whistle such that normal people don’t know really saying but antivaccinationists do, as Dr. Bob Sears did recently. A third tactic is to double down on the claim that measles is no big deal, as multiple antivaccine advocates have been doing lately.

Another thing they can do is to double down on the crazy. Certainly we saw this in a certain “paleocardiologist” named Jack Wolfson. Unfortunately for him, he was so vile and despicable that even most antivaccinationists cringed at what he said and probably wanted him to shut up.

One thing I realized with all this blogging about the measles outbreak and then about Brian Clement and The Food Babe, that I hadn’t really paid much attention to my usual antivaccine go-to sites. You might remember that in the recent past I noted that everybody’s favorite antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism had become stale and boring lately, posting mostly dull stuff that didn’t say much, possibly in an attempt to seem more “reasonable.” Unfortunately, the measles outbreak appears to have reinvigorated AoA, and it’s really bringing home the crazy now. Oh, sure, I know you’ve heard analogies that liken vaccination to rape, the Holocaust (particularly Dr. Josef Mengele and Auschwitz), to brainwashing, to the Titanic and the Oklahoma City bombing, and many other very bad things.

But did you know that vaccination is now like human trafficking? I kid you not. Laura Hayes tells us so:

Most of you have heard of “Human Trafficking*”. Today, I want to warn you about “Vaccine Trafficking”, which is equally hellacious, and which needs to be dealt with just as swiftly as is happening with Human Trafficking. Immediate help and compassion for the victims of Vaccine Trafficking, and for their families, are also needed. Here is a comparison of the two. Please note their frightening similarities.

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others.

Hayes took her definition from the definition of human trafficking on the Polaris Project website. My first thought upon reading this post was that Hayes is making a particularly despicable comparison, just as bad as the comparisons between vaccination and rape. After all, one of the most common forms of human trafficking is for the purpose of forcing women into prostitution for profit. It’s all about exploitation, in which sex is sold for cash. Of course, it’s more than just about sex. There are other forms of trafficking in which people are forced to work in highly exploitative situations, but when most people hear “human trafficking,” they tend to think of sex trafficking first before they think of other forms of exploitation, if they even think of those other forms of human trafficking at all.

My second thought was that Hayes clearly thinks she’s being clever, but, like all cranks, she’s just too obvious to be clever, hitting her readers over the head with her analogy over and over and over again, until they are either bludgeoned into submission or have to go away because it feels so good when the bludgeoning with idiotic analogies stops. You’ll see what I mean when you read her elaborating on the analogy:

Vaccine trafficking is a form of modern forced medical experimentation where people profit from the control and exploitation of others.

Although forced medical experimentation is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, dealt with and eliminated by The Nuremberg Code after WWII, vaccine trafficking still exists today throughout the United States and globally when traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control other people for the purpose of increasing international vaccine sales by forcing them to be injected with scores of dangerous, ineffective, “unavoidably unsafe”, potentially-fatal vaccines against their will. Traffickers use mandates, threats of school expulsion and job loss, threats of being being denied medical services and of being reported to CPS, deception, coercion, withholding of facts, covering-up of fraud, harassment, fear-mongering, bald-faced lying, and other manipulative tactics to trap victims in horrific vaccination situations every day in America. All vaccine trafficking victims share three essential experiences – the loss of freedom, the lack of informed consent, and the ruination of health – and sometimes of development, and life, too.

In the United States, vaccine trafficking commonly occurs in pediatricians’ offices, at hospitals, at drugstores, at school sites, even in grocery stores. Vaccine trafficking has been found to emanate from pharmaceutical companies; from there it spreads to governmental regulatory agencies, to trade industry groups and their members, to mainstream media outlets, to prospective and current elected officials, and to uninformed citizens.

Now this is one strained analogy. Again, no doubt Hayes thought she was being clever when she came up with it, but it’s so strained that the tension between the two concepts threatens to stretch whatever connection that can be constructed to the point that it becomes one dimensional and then snaps. Even if vaccination were “forced medical experimentation” (it is not, obviously), this is not the same thing as human trafficking. Hayes would have done better to fall back on the hoary old antivaccine chestnut that vaccination is forced medical experimentation like the kind that Josef Mengele did at Auschwitz and many other Nazi doctors did in the camps on undesirables. As despicable as that analogy is, it makes more sense than Hayes’ analogy. But, then, Hayes would have just been treading a path that many antivaccinationists have trod before, and where’s the fun in that? So she strains to make the analogy ever more explicit, aping the language on the Polaris Project website:

There are two primary factors driving the spread of vaccine trafficking: high profits and low risk. Actually, since 1986, it’s no risk, with a captive and guaranteed market, mostly paid for by taxpayer dollars and cash-strapped parents. Like other prescription-drug trafficking, vaccine trafficking is a pharma-driven criminal industry that is based on the principle of “poison to profit”, with the goal being to ensure that every American is somewhere between sick and dead, for as long as possible. Every year, vaccine traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, including here in the United States.

She’s obviously referring to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. I wonder if she knows that the woman who is now the grande dame of the antivaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher, was intimately involved in helping draft that legislation, which created the Vaccine Court and was actually meant to make it much easier for parents of children who suffered adverse reactions to vaccines to be compensated relatively quickly. The legislation was drafted in response to the DPT scare in the 1980s, in which the DPT vaccine was blamed (incorrectly, as it later turned out) for permanent neurologic injuries suffered by children because it caused a higher incidence of febrile seizures, even though we now know that the DPT vaccine was not associated with long term neurologic complications. At the time, a flood of lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers was so bad that the government was concerned about the very real possibility that vaccine manufacturers would stop serving the US market. As I’ve described many times before, in the Vaccine Court the evidentiary stanards are actually relaxed, unlike the situation in normal courts parents can make pretty much whatever claim of causation they want, and they can expect reimbursement for legal fees. (The latter characteristic of the Vaccine Court has made it more than a bit of a gravy train for certain antivaccine lawyers.) The problem, as anyone who’s studied the antivaccine movement knows, is that there is no scientific evidence that the “injuries” to their children claimed by women like Hayes have anything to do with vaccines. So claims of vaccine-induced autism end up being rejected, and parents convinced that vaccines caused their children’s autism end up viewing the court like Hayes, as a mechanism to “protect” big pharma and has entered antivaccine cannon as a key conspiracy theory ever since.

It’s actually a sad conspiracy theory, because there’s little doubt that if parents of children with suspected vaccine injury had to enter the court system they’d do much more poorly than they do now, given how much more difficult it is to obtain a favorable judgment there than it is in the Vaccine Court. However, because our courts often don’t do too well adjudicating science, however, it is possible (albeit not very likely anymore) that one or two families might win a large judgment for “vaccine-induced autism” while all the rest go down in flames. It’s not surprising that in The Greater Good, an antivaccine movie, we see lawyers as a major force complaining about the Vaccine Court and how difficult they perceive it to be to win a judgment, complete with the same sort of conspiracy-laden nonsense like the kind Hayes used.

After seeing the “vaccine = human trafficking” post, I wondered what could be next. Then I found it, courtesy of Kim Stagliano:

I made a short video of her watching her favorite song, Sing, from Sesame Street.

This particular version is from the anniversary special titled, Sesame Street, Twenty Years and Counting. Just like my daughter, twenty years old and still counting 1….2…3. You’ll see a familiar person introducing the song, the show host.

Take it away Bill Cosby – “America’s Dad!”

Oh wait a minute… Bill Cos……..

Sometimes – sometimes – things you trust, things that are part of the fabric of America – they betray you in the cruelest fashion. They harm. They wound. They change lives. And then lies follow. Covers ups. IT CAN NOT BE TRUE.Sometimes – sometimes – things you trust, things that are part of the fabric of America – they betray you in the cruelest fashion. They harm. They wound. They change lives. And then lies follow. Covers ups. IT CAN NOT BE TRUE.Sometimes – sometimes – things you trust, things that are part of the fabric of America – they betray you in the cruelest fashion. They harm. They wound. They change lives. And then lies follow. Covers ups. IT CAN NOT BE TRUE.Sometimes – sometimes – things you trust, things that are part of the fabric of America – they betray you in the cruelest fashion. They harm. They wound. They change lives. And then lies follow. Covers ups. IT CAN NOT BE TRUE.IT CAN NOT BE TRUE.IT CAN NOT BE TRUE.IT CAN NOT BE TRUE.IT CAN NOT BE TRUE.

That’s right. Stagliano’s comparing pro-science vaccine defenders to apologists defending Bill Cosby against the numerous rape allegations that have surfaced recently. This isn’t the first time she’s made this analogy, either. Here she is in the comments of AoA four weeks ago:

Of course most of us who have seen our kids fall into the pits of hell thanks to vaccination will never touch one again – but we are in the boiling water – as frogs – those outside our community can not FATHOM the danger and like a religion – like the Cosby apologists, “injury” simply can NOT be true. So we must spoon feed. use a Trojan horse, educate one by one with a gentle hand. Not bend them over sans lube.

Nice analogy. Antivaccinationists are just so full of nice analogies. Vaccination is a Holocaust. It’s the Titanic. And, as I just saw yesterday, it’s still rape:


This is a meme Tweeted by a particularly nasty antivaccine loon. His account, fortunately, has been suspended because I and several others complained when he aimed this at the Twitter account for Voices for Vaccines.

I shudder to think what other analogies antivaccinationists will come up with now, given that they are on the defensive because of the ongoing measles outbreak.