Yesterday, antivaxers inundated the public comment session of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. There were only two pro-science advocates versus a host of antivaccine activists spouting pseudoscience
Here we go again. Meet Rep-Elect Mark Green. He's following in the footsteps of Reps. Dan Burton and Bill Posey in bringing the antivaccine crazy to Congress, only this time for the people of Tennessee.
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.
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.
As it does every two years, the CDC has issued its 2018 report on autism prevalence. As in years past, autism prevalence has ticked upward. As in years past, antivaxers have tried to blame it on vaccines. As in years past, they're wrong. Vaccines are not responsible for increased autism prevalence.
On Saturday, The Washington Post broke a story that Trump administration will prohibit officials at the CDC from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “transgender,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based” — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget. Although the Trump administration furiously backpedaled over the weekend and it now appears that HHS was the source of the edict, this an ominous indication that the Trump administration will attempt to impose ideology on the most important public health agency in the federal government.
In January, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. bragged about having met with President-Elect Donald Trump about chairing a presidential commission on vaccine safety. In the intervening eight months, no commission has materialized, but, if you can believe his account, Kennedy has been meeting with government officials to promote his antivaccine views at the behest of the Trump administration. As long as that continues, pro-science advocates can't afford to rest easy.
When HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price announced that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald would be the new CDC Director, he breathed a sigh of relief because in her previous job as Georgia Commissioner of Public Health she was suitably pro-vaccine and pro-science. He should have looked a bit closer and gone a few years further back.
Because of Donald Trump's long history of antivaccine statements, his meeting with Andrew Wakefield during the presidential campaign, and his meeting with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. during the transition, antivaxers thought Trump would give them what they want. They were wrong, just the latest to realize that they've been conned. Is it so wrong for me to feel serious schadenfreude here?