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Anti-Vaccine Groups Are Still Targeting Minority Communities

Was anyone surprised when they first learned that anti-vaccine groups were targeting minority communities?

Robert F Kennedy, Jr spoke in Harlem in the middle of the largest measles outbreak in the US in over 20 years.
Robert F Kennedy, Jr spoke in Harlem in the middle of the largest measles outbreak in the US in over 20 years.

Is anyone surprised that they are still targeting minority groups, even as many of these communities are dealing with even lower immunization rates because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Anti-Vaccine Groups Are Still Targeting Minority Communities

Probably not…

Anti-vaccine groups are still targeting minority communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anti-vaccine groups are still targeting minority communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But they should be very concerned that they have gotten some people in these communities to listen to their misinformation and propaganda. And that could end up putting kids in those communities at risk to get a vaccine preventable disease if they don’t get vaccinated and protected.

“The possibility that anti-vaccination leaders — who have already made common cause with those dismissing the risks of the pandemic and protesting state safety restrictions — could further undermine faith in a vaccine among people of color is profoundly worrisome for public health officials.”

Anti-vaccination leaders fuel black mistrust of medical establishment as covid-19 kills people of color

How did it happen?

“Bogdan also broached the subject with one of her patients, Joyce Brooks, a black woman who heads the education committee of the Colorado NAACP. Brooks helped arrange a presentation for the Denver chapter’s leadership by Colorado anti-vaccination activist Phil Silberman and Toby Rogers, an economist who frequently attacks the safety of vaccines on social media and has done work in the past for Kennedy’s Children’s Health Defense nonprofit group.”

Anti-vaccination leaders fuel black mistrust of medical establishment as covid-19 kills people of color

In Colorado, local Black leaders were influenced by a chiropractor and a few well known anti-vaccination activists.

And others continue to push misinformation about vaccines that directly targets Black parents.

Misinformation that, not surprisingly, is very easy to fact check…

“With our country finally engaging in meaningful conversations about race and equity, now is certainly not the time for laws which are blatantly discriminatory. Dr. Gregory Poland at the Mayo Clinic stated that “African Americans have much higher antibody responses to this viral vaccine, rubella, than we have seen in any other population.”

Guest opinion: Philip Silberman: SB 163 is an insult to democracy and freedom

Did Gregory Poland, who is the Editor-in-Chief for the journal Vaccine and has published over 350 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and chapters in books about vaccines, actually say something to imply that there is something wrong with the dose of rubella vaccine that is being given to African American children?

He certainly didn’t say anything to make anyone conclude that “The dose given to African Americans is twice as strong as it needs to be.”

His study, Associations between race, sex and immune response variations to rubella vaccination in two independent cohorts, did find “evidence for racial/ethnic differences in humoral immune response following rubella vaccination,” but all of their immune responses fit into the normal range.

“The bulk of subjects had estimates of 25, 50, or 100 (22%, 32%, and 18%, respectively), and roughly 1% had NT50 values greater than 400.”

High-Throughput Assay Optimization and Statistical Interpolation of Rubella-Specific Neutralizing Antibody Titers

Values greater than 400? Wow!

The “concerning” values in Poland’s study?

They were between 77 to 118…

What’s next?

“A 2017 study by Scandinavian scientists found that the DTP vaccine, while protecting African children from diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, was wreaking havoc with their immune systems. Vaccinated children were dying at up to 10 times the rate of unvaccinated children. “

Guest opinion: Philip Silberman: SB 163 is an insult to democracy and freedom

What’s this about? Vaccinated African children drying at 10 times the rate of unvaccinated children???

While that sounds scary, it’s an ongoing study of the non-specific effects of vaccines that was done by Peter Aaby in Guinea-Bissau West Africa. An ongoing study that many have looked into and most have rejected because his studies about non-specific effects are thought to be weak and at high risk of bias.

What about that hepatitis B vaccine study?

“A 2010 study in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health showed that black boys were at significantly greater risk of regressing into autism after receiving the thimerosal-containing Hepatitis B vaccination series as infants.”

Guest opinion: Philip Silberman: SB 163 is an insult to democracy and freedom

The thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine study with only 33 autistic kids?

Considering that thimerosal was removed from vaccines about 20 years ago, even if that study, Hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997-2002, did find an association between vaccines and autism, then why did rates of autism continue to increase?

What else?

Can you believe that these folks are still bringing up the so-called “CDC Whistleblower?”

Dr. William Thompson, a Centers for Disease Control senior scientist, has testified that he was ordered to destroy data showing that Black children were suffering disproportionate harm from the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. “I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article … The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism.”

Guest opinion: Philip Silberman: SB 163 is an insult to democracy and freedom

Most of you know that William Thompson has not testified to anything.

“I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.

I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.

My concern has been the decision to omit relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub­ group for a particular vaccine.”

Statement of William W. Thompson, Ph.D., Regarding the 2004 Article Examining the Possibility of a Relationship Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

While being secretly recorded by Brian Hooker, he made statements about how he disagreed with fellow researchers about a decision to remove a sub group from a study about the MMR vaccine.

A decision that has been supported by everyone else…

Robert F Kennedy, Jr is Targeting Minority Communities

Are you starting to wonder where all of this started?

Who keeps bringing up all of these studies to try and scare parents in these communities away from vaccinating and protecting their kids?

“The most reliable studies in the scientific literature indicate that African-Americans are more susceptible to vaccine injury and may also have increased susceptibility to neurological disorders such as autism.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr on African-American autism and vaccines

You guessed it!

In addition to the “reliable studies” we have already discussed, Robert F Kennedy, Jr makes a lot of other claims that are easily fact checked.

What about the measles vaccine trials? Could you consider them a modern day Tuskegee experiment?

“Less than 10 years ago, in June 1996, African-Americans in Los Angeles learned that the CDC had been conducting vaccine experiments in their communities. Beginning in 1989, the CDC conducted an experiment on nearly 1500 Black and Hispanic infants using an unlicensed measles vaccine without disclosing to parents that the drug was a high-potency experimental vaccine designed to overwhelm the baby’s maternal immune system. The CDC only halted its secret experiment in 1991, when companion clinical trials conducted in Africa and Haiti showed an increased death rate and severe immune-system disorder among female infants who received the vaccine. Those children died within two years after the vaccination.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr on African-American autism and vaccines

While a mistake was made during the vaccine trials in that they didn’t disclose that the vaccine was not approved in the United States, another version of the “high-potency experimental vaccine” was already licensed in many other countries at the time. That’s why researchers didn’t consider it to be experimental.

And something else Kennedy doesn’t mention?

None of the children who received the “experimental vaccine” in the United States were harmed.

“During 1989–1991, a resurgence of measles in the United States resulted in 55,622 reported cases, approximately 11,000 reported hospitalizations, and 123 reported deaths. Affected children were disproportionately inner city or were American Indian, Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and low-income children aged <5 years who had not been vaccinated. Racial/ethnic minority children were at three to 16 times greater risk for measles than were non-Hispanic white children.”

Reduction of Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Vaccination Coverage, 1995–2011

And the higher dose version of the vaccine was ultimately found to be safe in many studies.

“Because measles causes an estimated 2 million deaths per year among children in developing countries, including a substantial proportion of infants less than nine months old–the age at which vaccination is recommended–there has been interest in using different strains of vaccine and higher doses to achieve immunization of younger infants. We conducted a randomized trial of three different doses of Edmonston-Zagreb and of Schwarz measles vaccines in infants to evaluate the effect of the strain and dose of vaccine on the serologic response and acute adverse reactions to vaccination.”

Markowitz et al on Immunization of six-month-old infants with different doses of Edmonston-Zagreb and Schwarz measles vaccines

Nor does he mention that 75 people, mostly children, died in Los Angeles because they weren’t vaccinated and actually developed measles from 1988-1990, which is why kids were getting these “experimental” vaccines.

What about the study Kennedy cites about autism rates among African-Americans in Los Angeles County?

“A 2014 study published in Pediatrics showed higher rates of all categories of autism among African-Americans in Los Angeles County compared with Caucasians, with the incidence of severe autism elevated by 263 percent among foreign-born Blacks and 152 percent for U.S.-born Blacks as compared with U.S.-born whites.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr on African-American autism and vaccines

The study, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Race, Ethnicity, and Nativity: A Population-Based Study, was mostly about foreign born mothers and found that “crude rates of AD in US-born Hispanics and Black children were lower than in whites.”

“Recently, members of the African American community have become concerned that certain vaccines may not be safe for their children or that they may cause autism. This is simply not true. The worldwide scientific community has conducted multiple studies and reviews demonstrating that neither vaccines, nor components of vaccines, are linked to autism”

The Safety of Vaccines for African American Children

And not surprisingly, the other reliable study he cites didn’t find higher rates of autism in African-Americans either.

“A 2010 nationwide study of the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring Network found autism incidence about 25 percent higher in African-Americans than Caucasians.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr on African-American autism and vaccines

It actually found lower rates of autism in African-Americans.

“Non-Hispanic white children were approximately 30% more likely to be identified with ASD than non-Hispanic black children and were almost 50% more likely to be identified with ASD than Hispanic children.”

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010

Wait, do these Black children actually have lower rates of autism?

“Furthermore, African American children are no more likely to develop autism than White, Asian or Hispanic children. However, they are less likely to receive a timely diagnosis of autism. In addition, while there has yet to be an identified cause or cure for autism, vaccines have been evaluated extensively and the evidence shows that vaccines do not play a role in the condition.”

The Safety of Vaccines for African American Children

No.

“Prevalence estimates were approximately identical for non-Hispanic white (white), non-Hispanic black (black), and Asian/Pacific Islander children (18.5, 18.3, and 17.9, respectively) but lower for Hispanic children (15.4).”

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2016.

The initial findings were thought to be due to lower recognition in these communities, which led to efforts to improve early diagnosis in minority communities.

Efforts that will be disrupted if Kennedy and these other activists are allowed to advance mistrust of pediatricians and other health care providers as they push misinformation about vaccines.

Anti-Vaccine Groups Are Still Targeting Minority Communities

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, for everyone without a true contraindication, and are obviously necessary.

What’s not safe is the kind of misinformation and propaganda that targets minority communities.

More on Vaccines and Minority Communities

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