I haven’t dabbled much into the vaccine wars lately because I’ve been busy. I’ve had bigger fish to fry, not because it was easy to fry them, but because it’s hard to fry these kinds of fish. Once in a while, I’ll make a comment on an anti-vaccine news story or some such, but nothing big. No big, long blog posts here about the anti-vaccine brigades and they danger they bring with them.
So I was somewhat surprised that AgeOfAutism.com mentioned me the other day. The context? Dorit Reiss is a professor of law out in California who has been doing a ton of work on the legalities behind vaccination policy. She uses science, reason and logic to make her points, something that is an anathema to the anti-vaccine crowd, especially those who continue to push debunked theories of vaccine-autism causation. The author of the blog post (a self-described “open letter”) is an anti-vaccine activist and lawyer, and she seems to detest that someone can be schooling her on vaccine policy. In her “open letter”, she wrote that I was among those who were acknowledged by Dorit in her work:
“Intriguingly, several members of this “esteemed and exclusive crowd,” in Michael Simpson’s words, are among the people Prof. Reiss thanked in her acknowledgments to this article: Michael Simpson himself (of Skeptical Raptor blog fame; blog to which Prof. Reiss refers readers often , affiliated with Kaiser Permanente; Allison Hagood, Facebook page administrator of AVWOS, Carolyn Bursle, Queensland pediatrician; Paul Offit, Merck vaccine inventor and pro-vaccine spokesperson, recently an advocate of putting journalists in jail who do not toe his line (David Kroll, “Dr. Paul Offit: ‘Journalism Jail’ For Faulty Medical Reporting,” 3/29/14, Forbes online.). Paul Offit is on the Scientific Advisory Board for Voices for Vaccines; Stacy Hillenburg, on the Voices for Vaccines Parent Advisory Board with Prof. Reiss; ; Will Robertson; Rene Najera; and Maggie Howell (Note: membership of Voices for Vaccines Facebook page is no longer open information, as it was in March 2014.).”
I’ve bolded my name up there for you to see.
To be included in that bunch is quite the honor. People go entire lifetimes wanting to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the scientists and people in that paragraph. (And, no, Dr. Offit did not propose putting journalists in a real jail, a prison. He proposed making them aware of their responsibilities as journalists when they use false balance to make it look like they’re doing their job as journalists.)
I made the following comment on that “open letter”, a comment that is yet to see the light of day:
“Thank you for the mention. Every time an anti-vaccine blog mentions my name in their posts, I donate $50 to a pro-vaccine organization or an autism support organization that is not anti-vaccine. I then throw in an extra dollar for every libelous, hate-filled comment in the comments section aimed at me. So have at it… $50 and counting. :-)”
I’ve given $50 to vaccinate children in Africa though Doctors Without Borders:
And I’m serious about $50 for each anti-vaccine blog post mentioning/attacking me, and $1 for each additional mention or attack in the comments section. (Hey, it’s all tax deductible, so it’s a win-win for all of us.)
Up to a certain limit, of course. If tomorrow they decide to publish 100 posts, I could break the bank and not have a very good summer.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
About History of Vaccines: I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Please read the About page on the site for more information.
About Epidemiological: I am the sole contributor to Epidemiological, my personal blog to discuss all sorts of issues. It also has an About page you should check out.