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.
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.
A group of Spanish veterinary researchers claim that aluminum adjuvants in vaccines make sheep sick. To prove it, they injected a small number of sheep with massive amounts of adjuvants and vaccines and did a whole lot of comparisons, including behavioral observations with a large subjective component. Surprise! They think they've found something. Less surprising, the antivaxers like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are pointing to the study as evidence of how dangerous vaccines are.
Contrary to the stereotype of antivaccinationists as hippy-dippy left wing granola crunchers, in actuality antivaccine pseudoscience is the pseudoscience is the pseudoscience that knows no political boundaries. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that both parties are equivalent. Unfortunately, thanks to the co-opting of conservative activism by antivaxers, the Republican Party in 2018 has become the antivaccine party.
Arizona piloted a vaccine education program to increase vaccination rates by decreasing personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates. It wasn't even a mandatory program. Yet, antivaxers complained, and Arizona caved, shutting the program down. It looks as though Arizona is up to make measles great again.
[Orac note: Welcome back, my friends, to the antivaccine show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Earlier this week, I published a rare guest post by a mole whose services were loaned to me by our great imperious leader Lord Draconis Zeneca (All hail!), to report on the activity of One Conversation, an event whose organizers tried to ensnare Orac himself into participating in a “balanced” (translation: false balance) discussion of vaccines and vaccine injury. )Orac, of course, was too savvy to fall for that trap.) Ultimately, as the provaccine …
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.