The United States suffers from a well funded celebrity supported anti-vaccine terror campaign. This campaign commonly using internet based media to disseminate fear. Most objections to vaccines are pseudo-scientific fabrications, deceptions or magnification of known problems. Anti-vaccine proponents use internet media to disseminate cherry picked evidence, statistical manipulation, and occasionally outright deception. The overriding theme is fear. Purposeful fear for the express purpose of minimizing or dismissing evidence that does not conform to their world view. Fear mongering that is inaccurate, false, or infers hyper-inflated concerns about vaccines. It is a methodological attack to blunt the message that vaccines have clear benefit and few dangers. The most effective methods are emotional narratives and massaged statistics.
I would call anti-vaccine writings and publications a terror campaign. A terror operation that is expressly designed to provoke a fear response. Anyone that attempts to point out the facts is immediately dismissed as a big pharma shill, corporate apologist or government disinformation agent. In the general media there has been a small amount of push back against this disinformation. Still I see regression of vaccination rates in the United States and elsewhere. The US states Kansas and Alaska lead for overall poor vaccination rates but the numbers are stable. California and Washington are states that have lost the most ground (percentage wise). Other countries have experienced decline in vaccination rates as well. Countries that suffered outbreaks like Australia and Great Britain. I thought Canada seemed to be exempt until I came across data showing a measles outbreak in Canada.
There has been a significant decline in Canadian vaccination rates. Especially in British Columbia. Recently 200 cases of measles in British Columbia. The combination of declining vaccination rates and disease outbreaks demonstrate the negative impact of Anti-Vaccine propaganda in Canada. Fear(even fabricated untrue fear) is a powerful motivator.
It Should be noted that below are some images that people may find slightly disturbing proceed at your own discretion.
The prolific writings of well known anti-vaccine crank Joel Lord has been instrumental in British Columbia. He is the leader of a disinformation campaign based in Vancouver Canada. The group that he leads calls themselves the “Vaccine Resistance Network” or VRM. Joel Lord runs the VRM website from his home.
The VRM mission statement.
“a grass roots, non-profit organization striving to empower communities around the world with the means of self sufficiency, while determined to expose vaccine fraud & pharmaceutical industry malfeasance.”
VRM does “research” at least what they call research-VRM Study
Real research has to be scientific in structure to actually answer any question. Calling something research does not make it so. VRM is looking for known autism cases to determine if vaccines cause autism. Case studies are research starters not a method to determine answers. Plus this question has been answered. Answered by very rigorous scientific methods. Vaccines don’t cause autism period, the end. Despite constant medical monitoring, well structured research, and 20 years of evaluation, there is no credible evidence of autism being cause by vaccines.
Well structured analyses show that unvaccinated children have exactly the same incidence of autism that vaccinated children do. For ideologues facts are irrelevant or lies. So VRM goes forward with “research” in an attempt to confirm what they already know to be true. That is not science that is self confirmation. Plus case studies can provide compelling narratives. Narratives that can be twisted confirm an overall narrative of government/big pharma conspiracy. Case studies is not science and it is not research. It is a fishing expedition. A fishing expedition for the express purpose of producing compelling propaganda narratives.
Lets take a look at the damage that anti-vaccination has done.
In 2005, 81.4 per cent of kindergarten-age children in B.C. had received the five-in-one vaccine. Which provides protection against whooping cough, tetanus, polio, diphtheria, and haemophilus influenzae.
By 2012, that rate had dropped to 75.5 per cent – meaning about one in four children hadn’t been vaccinated. Concerns about vaccine safety in the 1980s prompted officials to set up Impact, the Immunization Monitoring Program Active. Which looks at every single reported case of vaccine adverse reactions in 12 hospitals across Canada. Plus possible adverse reactions including admissions to neurology wards. They monitor 1500 cases of reported illness from vaccines in B.C. a year. Yet there is no evidence of any problems.
These stats are often attacked as proof as the complicity of medical professionals in a conspiracy. A conspiracy that is in itself an impossibly complex fallacy.
The connection between autism and vaccines has been thoroughly debunked by a range of studies, scientific groups and world health organizations. Including the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization, the Mayo Clinic and the American Centre for Disease Control.
Beyond the consensus, there is new research showing that autism is detectable before children even start to get vaccines. To logically maintain the Anti-Vaccine mindset there are only two valid options.
1. That there is a world wide conspiracy including; all branches of public health, teachers, governments(some who actively hate each other), and Physicians. That medical doctors of all walks, and thousands of peer reviewed journals are ignoring or actively hiding the truth. That all these millions of people are ok with giving kids brain damage.
2. That a small well funded dedicated group of Anti-Vaccine enthusiasts lack the medical knowledge to understand the nuances of vaccines, public health, and neurological disorders That they dismiss any evidence that doesn’t conform to their world view becasue the have an emotional attachment to a child suffering from autism. That human nature makes it difficult to understand that bad things can happen with no active culprit, and that we can be powerless to stop some medical issues. Additionally that the belief has become a cottage industry for some that results in significant personal power and money.
There is no credible evidence that there is a conspiracy. The best evidence of a conspiracy was a fabricated study done by a doctor that wanted to sell a competing MMR vaccine. The researcher who published the original paper in a prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, had an undeclared financial conflict of interest, a British medical board found. The study was recalled, while the author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was barred from practicing medicine.
It is human nature to believe what we see, hear and often self confirm. Anti-vax proponents seem unable or unwilling to understand what the medical data means. They continue to promote this agenda despite proof that autism precedes vaccines. When evidence derails their worldview the parameters change to continue to fit a square peg in a round hole. Actions consistent with ideology, and confirmation bias, not facts.
The outbreak in Canada is just another example of how a fantasy based belief system is placing us all at risk. A vocal minority should not dictate our public health. They should not be able to set back huge gains made in pediatric infectious disease over the last 50 years.
Do we really need to see kids dying of polio, diphtheria, and whooping cough? Do we need to see deformed infants due to rubella again, or deafness due to mumps? Do we want the fear mongering to overcome good public health. Success narratives lack emotion “My kid grew up happy and healthy with vaccines”. The absence of disease is not scary and emotion provoking. Difficult to fight ideological fear attacks with simple facts. It is difficult to blunt emotional narratives with”Here is the Data”.
Worse honest physicians and scientists cannot give the type of definitive answers that anti-vaccine proponents offer. An Ideologue will always give the same answer”Yes Vaccines are toxic and harm children”. A good medical professional will give you an honest answer. Even the best medical treatment has a very tiny risk. Vaccines are one of the best medical treatments we offer, and the small risks are rare and well known. The problems are no great mystery. The diseases they protect children from are monstrously dangerous.
The answers are simple for me and my children. Vaccines do have some small risks. Sending my kid to school is risk, driving in car is a risk, letting him jump on the bed is a risk. These are risks most kids can live with. Would I let my child talk to random strangers, play with a gun, ride his bike on highway, have a pet rattlesnake? No I would not because the risks are too high/too deadly.
Vaccination risks are snall risks that kids can live with. The disease they protect your children from are not something they can live with.
United States Pediatric Disease Annual Mortality Prior to Vaccines.
Polio: 20,000 cases paralytic polio
Mumps: 450 deaths from mumps 1 in 20,000 cases became deaf permanently.
Hib: 600 deaths from Haemophylus influenzae b, thousands with loss of limbs and brain damage.
Pertussis(Whooping Cough):9000 deaths plus 200,000 sickened
Rubella: 2100 neonatal deaths and 11,000 miscarriages. Of the survivors 20,000 were born deaf, blind, microcephalic(profoundly developmentally delayed) or all.
Diphtheria: 15,000 deaths a year.
Tetanus: 1100 deaths per year.
Smallpox: Estimated 300 million in the 20th century. In 1967 15 million dead.
My point is not to terrorize you. It is to show you that anti-vax proponents own the compelling narratives, because of vaccines are effective. If the children at your kids school suffered from outbreaks like they did 70 years ago the anti-vax movement would be limited to a crank category. It is my desperate hope that we do not need to have children die in large numbers before parents can come to their senses?
Anti-vax proponents try to twist the numbers from the pre-vacccine era but the facts are the facts. Just talk to your, mother, father, grandma, grandpa, or someone who lived prior to World War II. Ask them what happened to brothers sisters and friends. Ask the about Polio outbreaks, whooping cough deaths, or quarantines due to measles. It will be an eye opening experience.
Prior to public health child mortality rate was 17%, after vaccines 0.7%. The numbers I quoted are US specific. Most of the developed world shares similar numbers. Wherever there are vaccines available kids live. Anywhere vaccines are unavailable or limited kids die. Imagine the number of people who wouldn’t be alive today without vaccines. Prior to vaccines and antibiotics world population was about 1 billion. Just about the time vaccines became into world wide use the population went from 2 billion to about 7 billion. Life expectancy went from 48 to 74. This was not an accident. Vaccines are simply the most effective infectious disease treatment ever. In 25 years antibiotics may be worthless, but vaccines will still be just as effective.
Think about it, and do not let fear mongers put your child at risk.
Parents in the western world, for the most part, don’t ever have to live with the agony of watching their child die from a preventable disease. In some third world countries it is a far fetched dream to have their children vaccinated.
This isn’t the “age of Autism”(about 1.13% of children suffer with autism spectrum disorder). It is the age of life. A childhood free of terrible and deadly infectious disease.
Canada needs to get on the ball, and we all need to minimize this deadly nonsense.
As a additional opinion I feel that anti-vax proponents blame parents of autistic children. Telling them that a big bad drug company made their child autistic. Indirectly telling them that they failed to do the proper research. That they are at fault for allowing this to happen to their kids. As I said before criminal terrorism.