The annals of “I’m not antivaccine,” part 18: Dr. Bob goes full Godwin over SB 277

Antivaccinationists like Holocaust analogies. I’ve described this particularly loathsome phenomenon more times than I can remember, most recently when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. compared the “vaccine-induced autism epidemic” (vaccine-induced only in RFK, Jr.’s imagination and that of antivaccinationists) to the Holocaust. True, even he was forced to apologize, although it was a classic “notpology”:

“I want to apologize to all whom I offended by my use of the word holocaust to describe the autism epidemic,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families.”


In other words, the “vaccine-induced autism epidemic” is as bad as the Holocaust, but I won’t use the word anymore because it offends people who know what a real Holocaust is. Of course, this is not the first time RFK, Jr. has used Holocaust analogies with respect to vaccines. He did it two years ago and, for all I know, has been using such offensive analogies for much longer.

Unfortunately, as you might remember (and as I’ve described before), RFK, Jr.’s not the only one who likes Holocaust analogies. For example, Heather Barajas caught some justified flak for photographing herself and her child wearing badges shaped like a syringe juxtaposed with photos of Jews in Nazi Germany forced to wear yellow Stars of David:

Heather Barajas comparing her plight to that of Jews during Nazi Germany.

Heather Barajas comparing her plight to that of Jews during Nazi Germany.

Yes, because under SB 277 nonvaccinating parents will be treated exactly like Jews during the Holocaust. And she was surprised that the uproar was so great that she was forced to take it down!

The reason I mention Heather Barajas is because I found similar rhetoric from a source from which, believe it or not, I had not expected it. I’m referring to Dr. Bob “I’m not antivaccine” Sears. You remember Dr. Bob. Ever since SB 277, a long overdue bill that would eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, was introduced in the California legislature, Dr. Bob has been agitating against it. In particular, he’s been blowing what I like to call antivaccine dog whistles, in which he couches his opposition in terms of “health freedom” and “parental rights.”

This time around, he’s sounding just like Heather Barajas on his Facebook page:

DR. BOB'S DAILY:THE VACCINE WHISPERERSSo, I've been getting a lot of new patients. Well, refugees really. Patients…

Posted by Dr. Bob Sears on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Here’s what find interesting. Dr. Sears claims that he’s getting all sorts of new patients due to the fear that SB 277 will be passed and these patients’ parents will lose their personal belief exemptions and because Orange County pediatricians are now apparently putting their feet down and kicking non-vaccinating parents out of their practices. Dr. Bob brags about how he accepts them totally:

Each time I meet one of these new families, I can see the scars. The fear. The uncertainty. Even in MY office. It’s as if they can’t yet believe there’s an office who will accept them. As I ask each new patient what brought them to my office, they look around the room (not sure what or whom they are looking for – listening devices, hidden cameras, Child Protective Services? Their previous doctor? A state Senator?). They fidget with their hands, and whisper “We didn’t want to vaccinate.”

When I tell them they are completely welcome here, that about half my patients don’t vaccinate, and that they are in good company, I can see all the tension leave and the relief flood into them. It angers me to see how other doctors, sworn to serve these families, have made these patients feel. It’s so far outside the Hippocratic Oath that I don’t even know what to say.

So what’s Dr. Bob complaining about when it comes to SB 277? If what he is saying is true, SB 277 has been a boon to his practice thus far. No wonder he’s been appearing at anti-SB 277 rallies. It’s free advertising. One wonders if our other favorite southern Californian antivaccine pediatrician, Dr. Jay Gordon, is registering a similar influx of new patients into his practice. Indeed, it looks as though he’s gearing up to become a go-to doctor to support parents’ applications for nonmedical exemptions:

I believe that this bill will pass and will most likely be signed by Governor Brown. If it does, medical exemptions will be the only option for those who would like to vaccinate slower or not at all. These exemptions will not be difficult to justify in most families.

In other words, depending on the requirements for medical exemptions, Dr. Jay (and no doubt Dr. Bob) are all set to do whatever the law permits to get nonvaccinating parents those medical exemptions they so crave; that is, if Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t betray California’s children again and find a way to graft a religious exemption onto SB 277 if it passes, the way he did for a previous effort to tighten up the process for obtaining nonmedical exemptions.

You’d think Dr. Bob would be happy, but he’s not. In fact, he’s so unhappy that he’s echoing almost exactly Heather Barajas’ offensive comparison of herself to Jews wearing yellow Stars of David during the Holocaust:

So I tell them they don’t have to whisper. They can say it loud and clear, with confidence. Ya, I guess you don’t want to advertise it around the neighborhood – that will come soon enough. Scarlet “V” anyone? No, not scarlet. Let’s make it yellow. And not a V – a star would be better. That way everyone can know at first glance who is safe to be around and who is not. That way, if your old doctor and his children are walking down the street, they can easily identify your kids and quickly cross to the other side before they get too close.

Ask your Assemblyperson which color and shape they think would be most appropriate.

I knew Dr. Bob was low, but I didn’t realize how low he would go. Note his reference to a yellow star and how that star would be used to allow people to identify unvaccinated children, so that they could cross to the other side of the street and avoid them. It’s painfully obvious to anyone with even a perfunctory knowledge of Holocaust history that Dr. Bob is referring to the yellow star of David, and during the Nazi reign good Germans would indeed shun and avoid Jews wearing the yellow Star of David because Nazi propaganda taught Germans that they were subhuman, untrustworthy, and enemies of the Reich.

Then, Dr. Bob gets as disingenuous as disingenuous can possibly be:

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as a reference to a holocaust. Rather, it’s intended to raise the issue of prejudice and discrimination. Others have likenend vaccine injury to a holocaust. Instead, we are talking about families who choose to not vaccinate. No holocaust here.

Yes, RFK, Jr. and others have likened “vaccine injury” to the Holocaust. So what? It’s no less offensive to liken parents who don’t want to vaccinate to Jews under to Jews in Nazi Germany forced to wear the yellow Star of David. When Dr. Bob says, “no holocaust here,” he is being so irritatingly smug and disingenuous that, for all its occasional excesses, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jewish Antidefamation League (ADL) give Dr. Bob a piece of its mind. The worst part is that Dr. Bob knows the history, but his sense of perspective is so warped that he is willing to make an offensive comparison between nonvaccinators and the Holocaust (because, you know, keeping children who are not vaccinated out of school is just like sending them to the camps). Or, as a meme I saw floating around put it:

Because vaccine mandates are exactly like what Hitler did to the Jews!

Because vaccine mandates are exactly like what Hitler did to the Jews!

Let’s not forget. During World War II, the yellow Star of David was intended to allow the easy identification of Jews in order to facilitate the state-sanctioned persecution, not just by the state but by regular German citizens, who would shun and/or abuse them. You see the hyperbole. Reasonable people do. Dr. Bob, apparently, does not. Or maybe he does, given how he puts that weaselly addendum on his post.

I congratulate Dr. Bob for having joined the august company of the antivaccine ranks at Age of Autism, where “media editor” Anne Dachel once compared nonvaccinators to the Jews of Budapest in 1940, suggesting that the names of nonvaccinating families be made public to…the Jews of Budapest under Nazi rule. Because, you know, what antivaccinationists face today is just like what the Jews of Budapest and elsewhere in the Third Reich faced, a post so bad that she appears to have taken it down.

I congratulate Dr. Bob for having used the same rhetoric that a The Healthy Home Economist did when she wondered whether the “nonvaccinated be forced to wear the modern equivalent of a yellow Star of David at some point in the near future?

Finally, I look forward to Dr. Bob joining the company of such esteemed kooks as Mike Adams who in February wrote a post entitled When MEDICINE becomes MURDER: America’s vaccine narrative now mirrors Nazi eugenics propaganda, which I discussed not long after it came out. This one is bad, even by Adams’ standards. It features a 1938 German propaganda poster of the “ideal Aryan family,” all blond-haired and blue-eyed sitting on the beach in the perfection of health and compares it to a Pennsylvania poster that shows people showing off their vaccine bandages and reads “Earn your stripe!” It’s the logical next step, once Dr. Bob decided that using Nazi analogies about vaccine mandates, while claiming not to be using Nazi analogies about vaccine mandates, was a good idea. Then perhaps we can expect him to start echoing Mike Adams’ other despicable trope, namely that vaccine mandates racially discriminate against African Americans and are even “genocide,” a word he uses 12 times in his post.

Congratulations, Dr Bob! I now know that you have not a hint of honor and have gone all in with the antivaccine movement. After all, likening vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany and nonvaccinating parents to its primary victims, the Jews, is a powerful (and misguided) antivaccine message. Only the hardest of the hard core antivaccine activists use it. Since you’ve used it now, you might as well just drop the pretense and let your antivaccine freak flag fly high in the breeze for all to see!