Last week antivaxers Shannon Kroner and Britney Valas held an antivaccine quackfest known as One Conversation. It had started as a "balanced" debate/conversation/panel/roundtable, or whatever, but rapidly devolved into an antivaccine crankfest as the pro-vaccine scientists invited declined. A brave minion attended and is now reporting back.
One Conversation was originally sold as a public debate or discussion about vaccine that would represent "both sides." When the real scientists who had been enticed by Britney Valas and Shannon Kroner's seeming sincerity found out about the antivaxers on the panel and just what they do and believe, things fell apart. Now what's left is an antivaccine crankiest.
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.
Hillary Simpson created the Facebook group #crazymothers to co-opt the perception that the science-based world has of her and her fellow antivax mothers. Now, she's cooked up a hashtag and social media campaign called #DearDoctor to encourage mothers to harass their child's former pediatricians by writing letters blaming them for vaccinating and supposedly causing their children's autism. Oh, and she does freestyle rap, too. Badly.
I was invited to discuss vaccines with antivaxers for a panel called One Conversation. Recognizing an antivaccine trap, I politely declined. Unfortunately, other legitimate medical authorities did not, thus enabling the illusion of legitimization of antivaccine views.
Riley Hughes died of pertussis, and his father is trying to encourage vaccination against pertussis. The "Drs. Wolfson" object. They're antivaccine quacks, and they blame the victim.
Dr. Robin Berzin founded a concierge functional medicine practice, Parsley Health. Her practice is growing and has expanded to three major cities thus far, and she's begun a foray into pediatrics? Are holistic concierge medical practices the future of "integrating" quackery into medicine, be it functional medicine or other models?
A study released yesterday has led to numerous breathless headlines in the media about Russian bots on Twitter sowing discord about vaccines by spreading polarized antivaccine and provaccine messages. The stories imply that this is a huge problem. But is it? There's no doubt that this study showed some Russian bots Tweeting polarized messages about vaccines, but, contrary to the news stories, it doesn't support the concept of a widespread Russian effort to stoke conflict about vaccines. It's unclear whether the Russian effort was opportunistic or experimental, but it wasn't huge.
Our old friend anti antivaccine activist J. B. Handley invokes the “vaccines didn’t save us” gambit. It doesn’t go well for him. You could say that he fought vaccine science, but, as always, the vaccine science won.
Orac recently came across an antivaccine post called "The Adult Vaccine Pledge." So he deconstructed it. It did not go well—for the Adult Vaccine Pledge.