Dr. Joseph Mercola has built a massive alternative health empire. Unfortunately, he's now using his wealth to fund antivaccine propaganda.
The grande dame of the antivaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher, is ranting again. This time, she is peddling both misinformed consent about vaccines and likening her struggle to social justice movements of the past as she portrays well baby visits as "vaccine battlegrounds" instigated by the AAP.
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.
It may be two days after the 4th of July, but it's never too late to deconstruct a holiday-inspired antivaccine rant about "zero tolerance vaccine laws" by the grand dame of the antivaccine movement.
Recently, Dr. Peter Hotez characterized antivaccine groups as "hate groups," and antivaxer Barbara Loe Fisher took great umbrage, accusing Dr. Hotez and the public health community of "bullying" parents of "vaccine-injured" children. Did Dr. Hotez go too far? And what about Fisher's hypocrisy, given that Dr. Hotez has received death threats credible enough to warrant police protection and Fisher herself has sued her critics, in effect trying to bully them into silence?
I’ve used my current pseudonym since at least the late 1990s, first on Usenet and then on the first incarnation of this blog. Not surprisingly in retrospect (although it surprised me at the time), people who didn’t like me began trying back in the 1990s to “unmask” me. It began with Holocaust deniers. No, I’m not trying to Godwin this post; it really did begin with Holocaust deniers because, as longtime readers know, my “gateway drug” to skepticism was refuting the lies and misinformation of Holocaust deniers. So, round about the turn of the millennium, a group of Holocaust deniers …
How quickly things change. If there’s one thing I always feel obligated to warn my fellow pro-science advocates about vaccines and the antivaccine movement, it’s that we can never rest on our laurels or assume that the tide is turning in our direction. The reason is simple: Antivaccinationism is a powerful belief system, every bit as powerful as religion and political ideology. It’s powerful not just among antivaccinationists, but also because it taps into belief systems that are very much part and parcel of being an American. In fact, depressingly, yesterday I learned of a perfect example of this unfortunate …