[Orac note: Welcome back, my friends, to the antivaccine show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Earlier this week, I published a rare guest post by a mole whose services were loaned to me by our great imperious leader Lord Draconis Zeneca (All hail!), to report on the activity of One Conversation, an event whose organizers tried to ensnare Orac himself into participating in a “balanced” (translation: false balance) discussion of vaccines and vaccine injury. )Orac, of course, was too savvy to fall for that trap.) Ultimately, as the provaccine …
The Vaccine Choice Empowerment Symposium is coming, full of antivaccine misinformation and dishonest conflation, and it's coming to Orac's neck of the woods. Should Orac attend, given that the misinformation will be black hole density?
Last week antivaxers Shannon Kroner and Britney Valas held an antivaccine quackfest known as One Conversation. It had started as a "balanced" debate/conversation/panel/roundtable, or whatever, but rapidly devolved into an antivaccine crankfest as the pro-vaccine scientists invited declined. A brave minion attended and is now reporting back.
"One Conversation" was originally planned to be a panel discussion between pro- and anti-vaccine advocates. However, as pro-vaccine scientists learned just how disreputable the antivaccine cranks on the panel are, they've canceled, leaving an antivaccine crankfest. Yesterday, I learned that this antivaccine confab has added two more cranks, one of whom is a real blast from the past.
One Conversation was originally sold as a public debate or discussion about vaccine that would represent "both sides." When the real scientists who had been enticed by Britney Valas and Shannon Kroner's seeming sincerity found out about the antivaxers on the panel and just what they do and believe, things fell apart. Now what's left is an antivaccine crankiest.
Barbara Loe Fisher, Joe Mercola, and other antivaxers frequently deny that the flu is dangerous and that all the promotion of flu vaccines every year is a plot by big pharma to make money based on fear. The CDC argues otherwise, reporting that influenza mortality last season was higher than iit's been in decades. Roughly 80,000 people are estimated to have died last season from influenza or complications from the flu.
Here we go again. Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher make up a fake "Vaccine Injury Awareness Week" as an excuse to fundraise and spread antivax pseudoscience hither, thither, and yon. Same as it ever was. At least this year, they avoided the gratuitous Nazi references. It must have taken enormous restraint on their parts.
Hillary Simpson created the Facebook group #crazymothers to co-opt the perception that the science-based world has of her and her fellow antivax mothers. Now, she's cooked up a hashtag and social media campaign called #DearDoctor to encourage mothers to harass their child's former pediatricians by writing letters blaming them for vaccinating and supposedly causing their children's autism. Oh, and she does freestyle rap, too. Badly.
An 11-month old boy suffered a stroke after chickenpox, an underappreciated risk of varicella zoster infection. This catastrophe could have been avoided if his parents had just vaccinated his two older siblings.
Riley Hughes died of pertussis, and his father is trying to encourage vaccination against pertussis. The "Drs. Wolfson" object. They're antivaccine quacks, and they blame the victim.