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.
Earlier this week, Chelsea Clinton spoke out against Andrew Wakefield and in support of vaccines. Hilarity ensued as antivaxers lost their mind in rage and faux disappointment in her.
Colton Berrett developed transverse myelitis at age 13 and as a result was left permanently disabled, with significant paralsysis. Four years later, he died, apparently by suicide. Polly Tommy and the VAXXED crew have been promoting the message that it was Gardasil that caused Colton’s disease and therefore killed him. When I explained why Gardasil almost certainly had nothing to do with Colton’s disease and death, I learned once again how “they” view “us.”
Colton Barrett was a 17 year old boy who developed acute transverse myelitis at age 13, which left him partially paralyzed and dependent on a portable ventilator. Tragically, he died less than two weeks ago. His mother blames Gardasil, which he received two weeks before his first symptoms appeared, for his neurologic illness and death. However, Gardasil almost certainly had nothing to do with Colton’s illness.
The Pathological Optimist is a recently released documentary by Miranda Bailey about Andrew Wakefield that I got a chance to see. In interviews and in the film’s promotional materials, Bailey takes great pains to emphasize that she “doesn’t take a side” about Wakefield. Unfortunately, her film demonstrates that, when it comes to pseudoscience, “not taking a side” is taking a side, and that a film’s bias is often more evident in what is not shown and told than in what is.