The Vaccine Choice Empowerment Symposium is coming, full of antivaccine misinformation and dishonest conflation, and it's coming to Orac's neck of the woods. Should Orac attend, given that the misinformation will be black hole density?
"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.
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.
An 11-month old boy suffered a stroke after chickenpox, an underappreciated risk of varicella zoster infection. This catastrophe could have been avoided if his parents had just vaccinated his two older siblings.
In Houston, a toddler was admitted to the pediatric ICU at Texas Children's Hospital with a serious case of the measles. Unfortunately, one of the nurses there is antivaccine and blabbed about him on social media. The hospital quite appropriately fired her, but I would go further and say that antivaccine nurses should not be caring for children. Ditto antivaccine doctors.
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.
In this edition of antivaccine Whac-A-Mole, Orac discusses a large study that fails to find a link between maternal Tdap vaccination and autism in the baby. No big surprise there. So, mothers, get your Tdap to protect your baby.
Here we go again with yet another case of religion-inspired child neglect in which lack of medical care led to the death of a child. This time, however, the authorities actually appear to be ready to bring the hammer down on the parents.
Infectious disease outbreaks are costly in human and financial terms. An analysis of the 2013 Brooklyn measles outbreak shows just how costly one outbreak can be and how much it can strain already strained public health resources. This is the cost of antivaccine madness.
Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a fascinating feature about Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop. In it, we learn—surprise! surprise!—that Gwyneth Paltrow does not like fact-checking. We also learn that the criticism of Goop's selling of pseudoscience and quackery has reached the point where Paltrow has given in and plans to hire a fact checker. Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that it will do no good and that skeptics will have as much work to do refuting Goop's quackery after the fact-checker is hired as we do now.