The Anti-Vaccination Movement, Much Like Polio, Needs to be Erradicated; Plus the Center for Inquiry Confronts this Dangerous Faction

This is a look at the anti-vaccination movement and disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield, and anti-vaccine advocate Robert F Kennedy Jr.  This also looks at the history of the vaccine which is one of the most important inventions of western medicine. Plus this looks at the Center for Inquiry (CFI), a well known and established secular humanist  organization pushing back and challenging  the anti-vaccination movement. The CFI which merged with the Richard Dawkins Foundation has done some incredible work in challenging this fringe movement. 

“For just a few dollars a dose, vaccines save lives and help reduce poverty. Unlike medical treatment, they provide a lifetime of protection from deadly and debilitating disease. They are safe and effective. They cut healthcare and treatment costs, reduce the number of hospital visits, and ensure healthier children, families and communities.”

Seth Berkley

“Vaccines don’t cause autism. Vaccines, instead, prevent disease. Vaccines have wiped out a score of formerly deadly childhood diseases. Vaccine skepticism has helped to bring some of those diseases back from near extinction.” 

Alex Pareene

“It is the height of absurdity for President-elect Trump, who has trafficked in anti-vaccine conspiracies on the campaign trail, to appoint Robert Kennedy Jr. to lead a ‘vaccine safety’ commission. Kennedy is a man whose leadership of the anti-vaccine movement has spawned torrents of misinformation and pseudoscience about vaccines and their effects, and led directly to outbreaks of otherwise preventable infectious diseases, hurting children and the elderly especially, and causing great harm to public health. We call upon the President-elect to rely on evidence, facts, and the counsel of actual scientists and physicians, and to rescind any invitation he has extended to Mr. Kennedy.”

The Center for Inquiry condemns Donald Trump for appointing Robert F Kennedy to lead a vaccine safety commission. 

The Center for Inquiry at the Reason Rally in the summer of 2016

Disney March of Dimes Anti-Polio Campaign 

Measles would kill 10,000 children a year in Somalia. Due to the high loss of life refugees from Somalia who lived in Minneapolis were very adamant about vaccinations. In 2004 90% of the Somali population was vaccinated. I believe it was actually higher than the native white population. In 2008 some of the Somalis began to notice an increase in autism. The Somali community approached the city for help and the city reached out for assistance from the University of Minnesota, the Centers of Disease Control (CDC)  and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who found out that autism had increased in the community, but that it was on par with the Minneapolis white population. As the medical community tried to figure out what was going on in stepped a man by the name of Andrew Wakefield. In three meetings between 2010 and 2011 Andrew Wakefield told the Somalis that the source of the autism was the measles vaccinations that there were giving their children, and he urged them to not vaccinate their children. As a result the Somali community which had a vaccination rate once of 90% started to decline as parents refused to vaccinate their kids.  Other groups that were opposed to vaccinations started to flood the Somali community with misinformation. One of those groups pumping in misinformation is the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota. Today about 40% of the Somali population is vaccinated. 

In the spring of 2017 measles started to spread amongst the Somali population in Minneapolis and Minnesota found itself dealing with its biggest health crisis in two decades. One profoundly disturbing story that I read is that of Minneapolis resident Suaado Salah which was told in the Washington Post inAnti-vaccine activists spark a state’s worst measles outbreak in decades.I am going to re-print part of that story as it brings the horror of the situation to reality.

The young mother started getting advice early on from friends in the close-knit Somali immigrant community here. Don’t let your children get the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella — it causes autism, they said.

Suaado Salah listened. And this spring, her 3-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl contracted measles in Minnesota’s largest outbreak of the highly infectious and potentially deadly disease in nearly three decades. Her daughter, who had a rash, high fever and cough, was hospitalized for four nights and needed intravenous fluids and oxygen.

“I thought: ‘I’m in America. I thought I’m in a safe place and my kids will never get sick in that disease,’ ” said Salah, 26, who has lived in Minnesota for more than a decade. Growing up in Somalia, she’d had measles as a child. A sister died of the disease at age 3.

Salah no longer believes that the MMR vaccine triggers autism, a discredited theory that spread rapidly through the local Somali community, fanned by meetings organized by anti-vaccine groups. The activists repeatedly invited Andrew Wakefield, the founder of the modern anti-vaccine movement, to talk to worried parents.

As of June 16, 2017 the medical crisis, which I might add could be completely avoided, is still being dealt with by the Minnesota Department of Health. The health department is trying to contain the measles and not let it spread to pockets across the state. The latest is that there are 78 total cases of measles in Minnesota with a breakdown of 69 in Hennepin County, 3 in Ramsey County, 4 in Crow Wing County, and 2 in Le Sueur County. Of the 78 total cases 74 are children.  You can read the latest health information at the Minnesota Department of Health website.  When some in the anti-vaccination movement were confronted over creating a public health crisis they denied it. Andrew Wakefield told the Washington Post that he bears no fault for what happened in Minneapolis. Wakefield told the newspaper, “I don’t feel responsible at all,” he said.

 

The History of Vaccinations 

There has long been a process of inoculation in history. The first uses of inoculation occurred in the 10th century in China. But the earliest documented examples of vaccination come from India and China in the 1600’s. Vaccination was done with powdered scabs from people infected with smallpox, and it was used to protect people from smallpox.  In Europe smallpox was a problem and a serious public health issue. But the one person who gave vaccinations a boost (pun intended!) was the English doctor Edward Jenner. In the 18th century it began to be noticed that people who suffered from a less virulent form of cowpox were actually immune to smallpox. The first recorded use of this idea came from Benjamin Jesty, a farmer in Yetminster in Dorset. He had suffered from the disease and and transmitted it to his own family in 1774. When his sons were inoculated in 1789 they did not get infected. What Edward Jenner did in medical history was to  formally establish the procedure of vaccination. Jenner I believe took a sample from a cowpox vesicle, on Sarah Nelmes a milkmaid; and exposed a young boy by the name of James Phipps. Two months later Jenner inoculated the  young boy with smallpox and the disease did not erupt. In 1798 Jenner published “An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vacciniae.” This is how the term vaccination was created. By 1801 Jenner’s report was translated into six langauges and over 100,000 people were vaccinated. Edward Jenner is known in history as the pioneer of the smallpox vaccine. The smallpox vaccine was the world’s first official vaccine. Jenner is also known as the “Father of Immunology” and is credited with saving more lives than the work of any other human. He is considered to be one of the top 100 Britons by the BBC

Vaccine campaigns went global and became mandated by law for public health reasons. Louis Pasteur built upon Jenner’s work to protect against anthrax and rabies. You can read more about what Pasteur accomplished here. The most prolific vaccine inventor is Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman developed successful vaccines for measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia and Haemophilius influenzae. I would suggest that the most well known vaccination campaign in the United States was against polio.  The United States was declared to be polio free in 1979. Smallpox became the first vaccine-preventable diseases targeted for eradication. The last known natural case of smallpox transmitted naturally occurred in Somalia in 1977. The World Health Organization targeted polio for eradication by 2000. Though that was missed it is close to being accomplished. 

 

How Measles was a Public Health Issue in the United States 

As I was preparing and researching this post I came across the following National Geographic article called “The Anti-Vaccine Generation: How Movement Against Shots Got Its Start.” They did a good write up of the history of measles and what a problem it once was in the United States. In light of the introduction about the measles outbreak in Minneapolis and the history of vaccinations which I wrote; I believe many people should read and consider what we came from, and the health challenges that once existed in the United States. 

“We have become prisoners of our own success,” says William Schaffner, who chairs the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. “Nobody knows what measles is.

“We now have two generations who haven’t seen measles,” he says. “The mothers were vaccinated. They never saw measles. Their mothers—the grandmothers—barely saw measles themselves. So the grandmother has no influence. The mother is clueless and so the child goes unvaccinated.”

A few years ago, Schaffner was invited to speak to a group of 20 young mothers who had reservations about vaccine safety. His task was to educate, not argue, so he began by talking about polio and the vaccine developed in 1954 that practically eradicated it. He had barely begun speaking when one mother, looking confused, blurted out: “Why are you now talking about shirts?”

“She was bright, college educated, computer savvy, and she’d never encountered the concept of polio. She instead mixed it up with Ralph Lauren,” Schaffner says. “It’s a bit humorous, a bit tragic, and illustrative of the problem today.”

Schaffner calls measles “the most infectious disease doctors know.” It’s an airborne illness, transmitted with stunning efficiency when an infected person exhales. Unlike the flu, which requires close proximity for transmission, measles can be spread over time and distance.

“An infected person can walk into a room and leave the room, and a susceptible person can walk into the same room an hour or two hours later and breathe in the residual air in the room and become infected,” Schaffner says. (Learn more about how measles spread.)

In the early part of the 20th century, measles was so common it was considered a rite of childhood. But it was not innocuous. Not only could it be fatal, complications included encephalitis. After the vaccine was licensed in 1963, some 19 million children were immunized over the next dozen years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

By 2000, the CDC declared measles eradicated in the United States. By 2011, the Pan American Health Organization announced that measles had been eliminated from Latin America.

“Talk about stunning,” Schaffner says. “We have no measles upriver on the Amazon. None in Chile, Nicaragua, Mexico. The only country that now has measles transmission in the Western Hemisphere is the U.S.

“You see on the Internet [people] worrying about illegal immigrants causing the outbreak we’re seeing now,” he says. “Hey, they’re doing a better job than we are. We have these upper-middle-class parents of means in the U.S. who have decided they don’t want to vaccinate their kids.”

 

Andrew Wakefield, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Anti-Vaccination Movement 

If you want to read a historical article about the history of resistance and conspiracy theories in regards to vaccination The College of Physicians of Philadelphia published the “History of Anti-vaccination Movements.” While this movement has always existed in some form, the current movement got its start with Andrew Wakefield and his paper in Lancet in 1998. Lancet is an esteemed medical journal in the United Kingdom. In that study Wakefield claimed that there was a link between autism, gastrointestinal disease and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination. Wakefield called for the suspension of giving the MMR vaccination. It scared parents and measles incidents went from 56 in 1998 to nearly 1,400 in 2008. In 2006 a disease that could easily be eradicated claimed the life of a 13 year old boy. He was the first to die from the disease in over a decade. It was later learned that Wakefield had committed fraud in his 1998 article. Wakefield had profited from advising lawyers for parents who believed their child was harmed by the MMR vaccine. In addition at his son’s birthday party he paid kids for blood samples. The General Medical Counsel in January of 2010 decided that Wakefield committed serious ethical infractions, and was dishonest in his research. That same panel found evidence that Wakefield had violated medical ethics when it came to research. The General Medical Counsel terminated Andrew Wakefield’s medical license and barred him from practicing medicine in the United Kingdom.  You can read the General Medical Counsel process here. In addition Lancet publicly rejected and retracted Wakefield’s fraudulent paper in 1998. You can see Lancet’s retraction right here

So what did Andrew Wakefield do? Like Ken Ham he set his sights on the United States and uprooted and came to Texas in 2001. Outside Austin Wakefield established the Thoughtful House Center for Children to further his “work” on autism. He drew a salary from the organization. In addition Wakefield established the non-profit Strategic Autism Initiative. He also has ties to the Autism Media Channel. Andrew Wakefield’s work has been contradicted by multiple medical studies, and below you can read several. 

  1. Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.”
  2.  “Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.”
  3. MMR-vaccine and regression in autism spectrum disorders: negativeresults presented from Japan.”
  4. No evidence of persisting measles virus in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from children withautism spectrum disorder.
  5. Immunizations and autism: a review of the literature.”
  6. Pervasive developmental disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: prevalence and links with immunizations.
  7. Is there a ‘regressive phenotype’ of Autism Spectrum Disorder associatedwith the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine? A CPEA Study.” 
  8. Relationship between MMR vaccine and autism.”
  9. Immunization Safety Review:

You can read another 32 studies or reviews that rebuke Andrew Wakefield’s “work” right here. It should also be noted that evidence against the MMR-autism link has been accepted by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC. Andrew Wakefield continues to claim that autism is environmental and promoting bad science. In 2016 he produced a film that is propaganda called Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe. But Andrew Wakefield is not the only one promoting bad science when it comes to this field.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr, has also been critical of vaccines and been vocal about it. Robert F Kennedy Jr is the son of Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy who was assassinated in 1968 while running for president. He is the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and he is known for environmental activism, and being an attorney. Robert F. Kennedy  attended Harvard and continued his education at the London School of Economics. He graduated from Harvard in 1976. He went on and earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia and a Master of Laws from Pace University. Robert F. Kennedy, like Andrew Wakefield has been a strong advocate of people not getting their children vaccinated.

Kennedy has been active in the anti-vaccine movement for over a decade now. In 2005 he published an article in Salon and Rolling Stone magazine which was called “Deadly Immunity.” In that article Kennedy stated that “government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public.” Thimerosal is a mercury based vaccine that has been found to have no link to autism. The article was found to be so flawed, that like Andrew Wakefield’s article in Lancet, Salon magazine retracted it saying that the response from scientists and medical professionals “eroded any faith we had in the story’s value.” You can read Salon’s retraction here. On his radio show in 2011 Kennedy claimed that government is “involved in massive fraud” and that the CDC researchers and doctors were “poisoning kids.” In a 2014 article about Kennedy Discovery writer Keith Kloor reported that Kennedy spoke at the 2013 Autism One/Generation Rescue Conference in Chicago. At the conference according to Kloor, “[Kennedy] referred to specific individuals – such as a pediatric researcher who was a vocal vaccine advocate – as the equivalent of Nazi concentration camp guards and said: “They should be in jail and the key should be thrown away.” To read more about Robert Kennedy I would recommend the following Washington Post article called  “Robert Kennedy Jr.’s belief in autism-vaccine connection, and its political peril.” 

Donald Trump linking vaccination and autism in his Twitter feed in 2012. 

Donald Trump and the Anti-Vaccination Movement 

Into the vaccination issue also is Donald Trump who has long been a proponent of anti- vaccine conspiracy theories. I believe that the autism vaccine theory is one of his most popular conspiracy theories. In 2010 Donald Trump gave $10,000 to Jenny McCarthy who is also involved in the anti-vaccination movement. As far back as 2012 Donald Trump has ranted about autism and vaccines, as you can see in the 2012 tweet that Trump sent out which I have above. Early in the presidential race in late 2015 Trump linked autism and vaccines which you can see in this Youtube clip.  In the campaign Trump made references to the autism-vaccination claim. In August 11, 2016 Trump appeared at a fund-raiser that was hosted by disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield in Florida. Trump listened and talked with the anti-vaccination activists for 45 minutes. After Trump was elected Andrew Wakefield attended one of his inauguration balls and stated that Trump would do a “huge shake up at the CDC.” I take it that means that conspiracy theory “doctors” driven by junk science would then get into the CDC and help determine or roll back vaccination schedules. If you want to see how Andrew Wakefield views Trump I would recommend this article

Meanwhile Donald Trump also met with anti-vaccination crusader Robert F. Kennedy. In January of 2017 after meeting with Trump the infamous anti-vaccination crusader said that Trump asked him to led a vaccine safety commission. You can read what Robert F. Kennedy said in “RFK Jr. says Trump still wants ‘vaccine safety commission’The reaction was swift and concerning. In the Washington Post a pediatrician from New England said that the country was going to get sicker and that his job as a doctor was made needlessly more difficult. I would encourage you to read “Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just made pediatricians’ jobs a lot harder.” Many scientists and people in the medical community reacted with shock and concern. Consider what was written in this following Politico article

And yet, Kennedy has remained dogged. He even wrote a 2014 book—titled Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak—on the topic, arguing the chemical is harmful, but the dozens of studies cited in the book either do not support Kennedy’s claims or were authored by discredited researchers. (Kennedy initially agreed to an interview for this story, to clarify the details of his meeting with Trump and what came of it, but later cancelled, stating, “The Transition has asked me to not make any statement for the time being.”)

This kind of disregard for accepted science—and Trump’s embrace of it—has experts in the scientific community worried. Even forming a commission on autism and vaccines without Kennedy’s involvement would be counterproductive at best and harmful at worst, says Mark Schleiss, division director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“In an era where government has limited resources, any commission given the task of exploring this issue is a complete waste of time, money and resources because this issue is already settled,” Schleiss says. “If thimerosal had been a problem, we would have seen autism rates decline when we took it out of vaccines, and they didn’t. Those are resources that could be directed toward meaningful autism research or toward support for families with autism children.”

Alison Singer, co-founder and president of the Autism Science Foundation, agrees. “We need to devote our scarce resources and our energy to study what really does cause autism,” Singer says. “Instead of doing the 40th study on vaccines, let’s do the first study on something we haven’t studied.”

Singer, mother of a 19-year-old daughter with autism, says she led the charge to study vaccines and autism back in 2000. But those studiesconclusively, consistently showed no association between vaccines and autism. And so she accepted the facts and moved on.

“We don’t get to choose our facts, and RFK is unwilling to accept what the data clearly show,” Singer says. “His position is ‘I don’t believe the studies,’ and that’s just not how science is done. That’s a very dangerous position, to say he knows better than all of the scientists and all of the studies. That’s a position that’s a public health threat.”

In addition one can also see how Trump is giving “credibility” to anti-vaccine movements such as this one in Texas. You can read more in this Washington Post articleTrump energizes the anti-vaccine movement in Texas.” In time the White House backed away from Robert F. Kennedy but sadly we shall see what happens.

 

Paul Offit speaking at CFI about the 1991 measles outbreak in Philadelphia. 

Center for Inquiry Pushes Back and Educates Against this Reckless Group 

Against all this has stood one of the largest secular humanist groups – that of the Center for Inquiry (CFI). In January of 2016 the Center for Inquiry merged with the Richard Dawkins foundation and Robyn Blummer leads both organizations today.  One of the earliest articles about this topic from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (which is a program of the Center for Inquiry) was published in 2007 by Steven Novella. Steve Novella is the Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine. Steven is also the president of the New England Skeptical Society.  It was called “The Anti-Vaccination Movement.” In that article one of the last paragraphs sums up the problem when describing the issue. 

The forces of irrationality are arrayed on this issue. There are conspiracy theorists, well-meaning but misguided citizen groups who are becoming increasingly desperate and hostile, irresponsible journalists, and ethically compromised or incompetent scientists. The science itself is complex, making it difficult for the average person to sift through all the misdirection and misinformation. Standing against all this is simple respect for scientific integrity and the dedication to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

CFI has been vocal and raising concerns about this movement both at the national level and the individual chapter level. For example in 2014 CFI in Michigan had an awareness and education session. You can see it be promoted in the below Facebook image.

On September 6, 2014 Paul Offit accepted the Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking from CFI. In the presentation which you can watch above Paul lauds and thanks the CFI for their vocal work in this area. He talks about how crucial CFI has been in this area. Paul Offit’s biography as written by CFI you can read below.

Paul A. Offit, MD, is Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is the coinventor of RotaTeq, a rotavirus vaccine recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for universal use in infants and credited with saving hundreds of lives each day. With dozens of appearances on media outlets ranging from CNN to The Colbert Report and op-eds published in papers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Offit is one of the nation’s most visible public advocates for vaccination. He is the author of five books, including Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine and Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All.

When Donald Trump asked Robert F Kennedy to lead a vaccine safety commission the CFI was swift and condemned the selection. You can read their press statement here. And the CFI is still educating and pushing awareness on this topic. This month the CFI has published another article on the anti-vaccination movement. I would encourage you to read “Vaccines, Autism, and the Promotion of Irrelevant Research: A Science-Pseudoscience Analysis.” 

 

Its not a Freedom of Speech Issue When Lives are Threatened; Plus Some Analysis of the Situation

I am a firm believer in freedom of speech. This writer must be, especially with some of the stories I have written, and will eventually write. But I have to say this as a free speech advocate. What Andrew Wakefield is doing doesn’t amount to free speech. It comes down to reckless endangerment especially when people’s children and lives are threatened. We as the United States and the west have come too far to believe in conspiracy theory claims that are rooted in fraud. To call Andrew Wakefield a fool is far too kind in my belief. This is a man who is a public health risk and a menace to society and community health. Wakefield was a doctor so he should know better, that is why I spare nothing in criticism of him.  In reading and preparing to write this post I came to conclusion and personally believe that Andrew Wakefield is mentally ill. When your research has been discredited, rebuked, and found to be fraudulent you have no claim to advocate any such opinion. Its my hope and belief that Andrew Wakefield will one day be prosecuted by the law and held accountable for outbreaks like the one in Minneapolis which I wrote about it in the intro. Think of it like this…it should be negligence if a parent failed to vaccinate their child and threatened their life or health. Now think of how much worse it becomes when someone who is not vaccinated is introduced into the public square and places. They are threatening the safety and well being of others as well. I don’t see this issue being any different than screaming fire in a crowded movie theater. But you know what makes Andrew Wakefield incredibly cruel? It is the fact that he is playing off people’s fears and vulnerability. Andrew is exploiting those who have autism, and even those Somali immigrants in Minneapolis. He played on their fears and concerns.  

As for Robert Kennedy I am profoundly disappointed that someone who went to some of the best schools in the United States, Harvard and the University of Virginia would be leading this crusade. Robert Kennedy however, is a lawyer. He did not go through medical school as Andrew Wakefield once did. Robert Kennedy I just believe is misguided and deluded. He is dangerous and he has no credibility on this issue. By the way can I ask a question to those individuals into conspiracy theorists? What is it with the claims of someone being a Nazi? I mean you have Robert F Kennedy allegedly comparing pediatric researcher to Nazi concentration camp guards, and then you have Donald Trump calling members of the CIA, and the intelligence community to Nazis. I have deep respect for people in the medical profession. That was how my Dad who worked as a physician raised me. Likewise I have deep respect for employees of the CIA and the intelligence community. Those who are calling people Nazis today seem to have a problem with the facts. 

I am a firm believer in science. As I have said I am a son of a physician and I grew up in a medical family. Science reigned and ruled and was the foundation of my family as I grew up. My Dad’s career was guided by science and it was a profession that he had deep and reverent respect for. Its my belief that our society should rest on the pillar of modern medicine. Medicine that helps keep illness, disease and epidemics in check. It should also serve the public’s best interest. The west has been the source of some major medical accomplishments and ground breaking research. The invention of the vaccine is one of the greatest feats in western medicine. We need to remain committed to science. The rejection of truth and science by some  is a dangerous foundation. We do not need to go back into the Dark Ages. There is much for science to find and provide. In addition to wasting time on trying to disprove already discredited research there are the resources being kept from working on other diseases or illnesses. That is also a threat to our society. When it comes to autism I believe the answers will come in time. Some people have to be patient with some of these issues.  Like I said there are many medical conditions and issues that still need work and medical breakthroughs to accomplish. 

I don’t view issues in black and white. I view issues in shades of gray. And that is why this Christian is profoundly grateful for a secular humanist organization leading the charge against a dangerous movement. The anti-vaccination movement is down right dangerous. The Center for Inquiry has been spot on in confronting and challenging the anti-vaccine movement. As a Christian I am deeply and profoundly grateful for CFI to contest and challenge this bizarre and unethical movement. My hope is that CFI will step up its efforts in dealing with this and find ways to work closer with the medical community in combating this dangerous movement. All those committed to science should be grateful for the way some have been alarmed and have been pushing back against the anti-vaccine movement. The CFI in this area is a gem and it deserves recognition and gratitude by many members of the United States who are just trying to live their lives and making decisions. People do not need to be confused and CFI has been there educating and challenging this movement.

 

If You Read this…Get Your Child Vaccinated 

If you read this post and you are hesitant about getting your child vaccinated, I am going to encourage you to do it. It is the best decision you could make. Yes there are risks. However, there are risks to driving a car, to swimming in a pool or flying on a plane. You should not give up flying or driving due to a car or plane wreck. Vaccines are similar, they are for the greater good of society. By getting your child vaccinated you will be doing the best thing for your child. You will also be a good citizen by doing the right thing and making society safer. That includes your neighborhoods, schools, malls, movie theaters, and more. So if you read this and you are unsure speak to a medical doctor and get your child vaccinated. I would also encourage you to read this piece by Peter Holtz from the Baylor College of Medicine that was written for the New York Times. That’s it for the day guys! 

5 thoughts on “The Anti-Vaccination Movement, Much Like Polio, Needs to be Erradicated; Plus the Center for Inquiry Confronts this Dangerous Faction

  1. Because CFI is ATHEIST ATHEIST ATHEIST, I am waiting for Anti-Vax to join YEC as the Litmus Test of whether you are Really a Christian.

    In addition one can also see how Trump is giving “credibility” to anti-vaccine movements such as this one in Texas.

    And for the past year, TRUMP has been God’s New Anointed Messiah.

    “Who is like unto The Trump? Who can stand against him?” — filk of Rev.13:4

    P.S. I am just old enough to remember the big drive for polio vaccination. The pig-sticking lines at school (until Sabin developed an oral vaccine), “braces” and “iron lungs” being commonplace words, the TV commercials every spring (Summer was Polio Season) for vaccination showing withered legs in braces and crutches and wheelchairs. (At least for those polio victims who could still breathe.)

    Before Dr Salk, hospitals had entire wings full of nothing except this Weird Al song:

    P.P.S. I am also old enough to have had measles. Twice. Once in 1st or 2nd grade and once in high school. This was before measles vaccination became widespread. I don’t remember hearing of any fatalities, just being sick. (And in my first bout with it, one isolated measle spot right in the palm of my hand.)

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  2. When the Anti-Vaxxers really hit the news, I remember a local news website with a map of Greater Los Angeles showing the percentage of vaccinated children in various schools and daycares. Having lived in Greater LA for the past sixty years, I was familiar with the cities, neighborhoods, and general vibe of the areas mapped. And I noticed a pattern:

    With a couple exceptions/anomalies, almost ALL the low-vaxx areas were in the RICH parts of town. The only parts that scored a solid 100% were the barrios and other blue-collar and poor areas where there were a lot of non-white ethnics and recent immigrants. Especially immigrants from Third World countries (who had probably buried a few kids from these diseases in the old country). It was almost a solid corollary of the richer the area, the fewer vaxxed. (I don’t remember the locations of the anomalies at this late date.)

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    • P.S. The Anti-Vaxxers hit the local news because Los Angeles had its first outbreak of Whooping Cough in almost a century. Not in the slums of South Central or East LA, but a mini-epidemic among schoolkids in an upscale part of the San Fernando Valley.

      And non-white immigrants DO have a reputation (deserved or not) of being disease vectors. In the OC in the Eighties, it was Vietnamese and Turberculosis. Don’t know if there was anything to it (I suspect rumors started by a TB case surfacing in Little Saigon or something similar), but it was one of those “Everybody Knows That” memes among us whites for a while. Do not want to give any more details, as the source was one of my family who really got into that meme.

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  3. Kind of reminds me of how “environmentalists” were able to successfully implement a ban on DDT, which brought back malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases, after it had been virtually eradicated. So much death & disease reinstated into the human race on account of misinformation and irrational fear.

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