A study released yesterday has led to numerous breathless headlines in the media about Russian bots on Twitter sowing discord about vaccines by spreading polarized antivaccine and provaccine messages. The stories imply that this is a huge problem. But is it? There's no doubt that this study showed some Russian bots Tweeting polarized messages about vaccines, but, contrary to the news stories, it doesn't support the concept of a widespread Russian effort to stoke conflict about vaccines. It's unclear whether the Russian effort was opportunistic or experimental, but it wasn't huge.
Before 2005, I did pay attention to the antivaccine movement, but it wasn’t one of my biggest priorities when it comes to promoting science-based medicine. That all changed when Robert F. Kennedy published his incredibly conspiracy-packed black whole of antivaccine pseudoscience entitled Deadly Immunity. Sadly, almost exactly ten years later, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. hasn’t changed. He’s still spewing the same antivaccine pseudoscience and conspiracy theories that he was spewing a decade ago, with no sign of letting up. One thing that has changed over the last decade is the social media landscape. Back when I first started blogging, pretty …
Autism Awareness Month is nearly upon us again. Unfortunately, the antivaccine movement has found a new way to ruin it by hijacking autism awareness to promote their antivaccine pseudoscience and quackery, along with contempt for autistic people. Behold #SaidNoMother and #SaidNoFather.
A new study shows where in the US antivaxers are most likely to make measles great again, thanks to driving up nonmedical exemptions and driving down vaccine uptake.
A recent spate of articles over the last couple of days report that Elle Macpherson is dating an antivaccine "icon," disgraced antivaccine doctor and scientific fraud Andrew Wakefield. Given her love of "alkaline diet" woo, which she sells through her very Goop-like Wellco website, the attraction shouldn't be surprising. It is, nonetheless, troubling. It wouldn't surprise me if Macpherson is antivaccine herself, given that in "alkaline diet" lingo, vaccines are often viewed as "toxic acid" insults that "alkalinization" can reverse.
If there’s one thing about the reporting of the 2016 election that irritated me, it was the massive underreporting of certain antiscience views held by the man who is now our President-Elect. Sure, there was coverage about his denial of anthropogenic climate change from time to time. Much less reported was his long history of antivaccine views, a history I’ve been documenting since 2007. I started documenting it again in September 2015, just before the first Republican Presidential Debate. Then, the vaccine issue came up during that debate, and the mainstream media took notice—briefly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just Donald Trump …
A few dozen antivaccine activists descended upon Washington, DC to protest and lobby their legislators. The protest itself was not impressive, but pro-science advocates shouldn't let this pathetic march lead them to be complacent. Antivaxers are meeting with legislators, and President Trump is sympathetic to their aims.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is the committee that decides on the CDC-recommended vaccine schedule. Naturally, antivaxers don't like it—or any scientist on it. Or any vaccine advocate, for that matter. Paul Offit is a particular target of their ire, and they can be quite scary.