Tag: #antivaccine

The Villains You’ll Encounter

I’ve been in the presence of supervillains only a handful of times in my life. The latest was a few weeks ago when antivaxxers descended on a talk by a well-known pediatrician and vaccine developer. Their leader cannot be described in any other way than as being a supervillain. He’s good with words. He’s charming. And he certainly seems to…

Who Are, or Should Be, the Vaccine Watchdogs?

It’s that time of the year again, when the influenza vaccine is recommended for the public and both public and private organizations spread the message of the vaccine’s benefits. They tell us that it is needed, why, where we can get one, and some of them even manage to throw in a sad story or two about what happens when…

The Parent Ren, Part II: Patience

A friend of mine pointed out to me that I had written a blog post referencing “The Child” back in 2012. In fact, my wife and I talked about The Child as far back as I can remember being with her. (That’s something I didn’t do with other girlfriends, by the way.) We started off joking about what a “weirdo”…

Epidemiological Podcast S0E2: The Weight of the Evidence

On today’s podcast, I talk to you about a recent tragedy in our family and how it helped me understand anti-vaccine parents a little more. Not completely, but just enough to realize that there is very little in the way of a debate that one can have with them.

See, When people who don’t believe that vaccines save lives tell you that there is no evidence that vaccines are safe, they’re either misinformed or lying. On the flip side, when they tell you that there is evidence that vaccines cause autism, they’re either misinformed or lying again. There is plenty of evidence for both arguments out there, but only one set of “studies” pass the biological plausibility test (not to say anything about ethics).

However, because an injury (perceived or real) to a child triggers such a deep-seeded, primal reaction, it’s hard to be logical or reasonable. When parents see autism as death (when it’s not), their search for answers becomes chaotic and full of inferences that are misguided. Anti-vaccine people looking to make a buck take advantage of that, and then we’re off to the races on trying to stop further harm, encourage critical thinking, and have an actual debate based on facts.

In about 33 minutes, I tell you about the different kinds of studies out there, and I explain to you why we cannot do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study like the antivaxxers want, but we’ve done plenty of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies in an ethical and scientific way.

Face It, You Think You Know Better Than Me

There’s this person, we’ll call her “Ginny,”* who is an ardently anti-vaccine. She has multiple blogs, multiple social media accounts, participates in protests (traveling far and wide, money for the family be damned), and even thinks she leads a political party. Ginny has no medical or scientific training, per se. The closest she’s gotten is a bachelor’s or master’s or…

Thimerosal Is a Salt, and It’s Pretty Safe

I completely understand why chemicals are scary. From the time that we’re kids, we’re told that there are poisons out there, and that those poisons are chemicals. They usually have really complex-sounding names, names we don’t use everyday. So I also understand when people are skeptical of chemicals included or added in food. Remember the whole debacle over Subway having…

Antivaxxers Trumping CDC

I’ve always been impressed by the cognitive dissonance exhibited by many in the anti-vaccine community. But it wasn’t until this election cycle thatI comes to understand exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. When I see Donald Trump, a sweat stain that just wont come off your favorite country, tell a lie and then almost immediately say that…

The Rorschach Test of anti-vaccine beliefs

You have probably heard by now about a documentary spliced together by known anti-vaccine fraud Andrew Wakefield. I write that it was “spliced together” because so much of it is non-linear. There’s no introduction, thesis statement, and supporting facts. It’s all a hodge podge of talking heads, testimonials, spliced sampling of a recorded conversation of a CDC scientist who never…