in 2015, SB 277 was passed in California, eliminating personal belief exemptions (PBEs) to its school vaccine mandate beginning in 2016. Two years on, health officials express frustration with shortcomings of the law, the two most glaring of which involve their lack of authority to deny scientifically bogus medical exemptions sold by antivaccine doctors and their lack of authority and resources to track medical exemptions.
Contrary to the stereotype of antivaccinationists as hippy-dippy left wing granola crunchers, in actuality antivaccine pseudoscience is the pseudoscience is the pseudoscience that knows no political boundaries. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that both parties are equivalent. Unfortunately, thanks to the co-opting of conservative activism by antivaxers, the Republican Party in 2018 has become the antivaccine party.
Arizona piloted a vaccine education program to increase vaccination rates by decreasing personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates. It wasn't even a mandatory program. Yet, antivaxers complained, and Arizona caved, shutting the program down. It looks as though Arizona is up to make measles great again.
[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 …
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.
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.
I was invited to discuss vaccines with antivaxers for a panel called One Conversation. Recognizing an antivaccine trap, I politely declined. Unfortunately, other legitimate medical authorities did not, thus enabling the illusion of legitimization of antivaccine views.
It seems as though I have to write a post like this every year or two, as measles outbreaks keep raging and children keep getting sick and even dying. I feel obligated to "thank" the primary author of this misery, the man whose scientific fraud and other efforts have fueled antivaxers' fear of the MMR vaccine. So thanks Andrew Wakefield. Thanks for the measles. Again. In 2018.