Harassment of its opponents is a feature, not a bug, of the antivaccine movement, even if the victims are grieving mothers. The idea is to harass and intimidate their opponents into silence.
A week and a half ago, Orac got to travel to San Diego to participate in a panel discussion about the antivaccine movement. Even better, he got to meet two heroes of his, California Senator Richard Pan and Dr. Peter Hotez.
A new study shows where in the US antivaxers are most likely to make measles great again, thanks to driving up nonmedical exemptions and driving down vaccine uptake.
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?
Whenever vaccine uptake falls to a level below that needed to maintain herd immunity, the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases climbs. It doesn't take that dramatic of a decline. Here's a study that shows how a small decrease in vaccine uptake can lead to a large increase in disease.
Back in the day, I used to write posts with titles like When the outbreaks occur, they’ll start in California. I even wrote a followup, When the outbreaks occur, they’ll start in California, 2014 edition. The reason, of course, was that California was one of the epicenters of vaccine hesitancy as well as the home to some high profile antivaccine-sympathetic physicians, such as Dr. Bob Sears (who’s known for making Holocaust analogies about bills tightening school vaccine mandate requirements) and Dr. Jay Gordon (who’s known for continuing to claim, against all evidence, that vaccines cause autism). Of course, it was …