Category: Vaccine Misinformation

Who Are the Religious Leaders Who Are Against Vaccines?

Since no major religion is against vaccines, why do we still sometimes hear about religious leaders who are against vaccines?

Well, maybe not leaders…

Who Are the Religious Leaders Who Are Against Vaccines?

It is important to understand that the great majority of true religious leaders advocate for vaccines.

The Catholic Church supports and encourages families to vaccinate and protect their kids.
The Catholic Church supports and encourages families to vaccinate and protect their kids.

And the ones who don’t aren’t following traditional teachings.

Is the National Catholic Bioethics Center misinformed about actual church teachings on vaccines when they say Catholics have "no proper grounds for refusing immunization?" Is the Pontifical Academy for Life???
Is the National Catholic Bioethics Center misinformed about actual church teachings on vaccines when they say Catholics have “no proper grounds for refusing immunization?” Is the Pontifical Academy for Life???

For example, Father Michael Copenhagen, a member of the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton, directly contradicts what the Catholic Church has said about vaccines.

“Applying a thorough moral analysis, many Catholics and conscientious people see clear immediate forced cooperation in the intrinsic evils of theft, desecration, experimentation and trafficking of human remains obtained through violence to produce the product. And this is one of a number of complex moral issues, including STD vaccines, and those which constitute extraordinary means, defined as those where there is no moral obligation to receive them.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Instead, he echos anti-vaccine talking points about forced vaccination and minimizes the danger that clusters of unvaccinated students have to cause outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.

“Consent means nothing if there is no right of refusal, and you would make the price of refusal a permanent state of segregation, isolation, and banishment when there is not even a temporary claimed (public health or infectious disease) crisis.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Father Michael Copenhagen is speaking for himself and not for the Catholic Church.

“These are not only principles of faith, or even ethics, these are principles of sanity. If you pass this measure, you bear for all time the full weight and moral responsibility for outlawing the full public practice of the Catholic Faith, for coercion which fundamentally subverts the moral law and rights of citizens, and undermines the very nature of your own elected office, which is to preserve the good, not to dissolve it.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Speaking of ethics and morals…

“One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

National Catholic Bioethics Center FAQ on the Use of Vaccines

Unfortunately, Father Copenhagan isn’t the only one out there distorting religious ideas about vaccines.

Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky has called vaccines a hoax.
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky has called vaccines a hoax.

For example, while some Orthodox Jewish communities were recently trying to control their large measles outbreaks, there were a few rabbis, including Rabbi Hillel Handler and Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, who were actively advocating against vaccines!

“This is all being orchestrated by the drug companies, which are very close to the CDC,” Handler told the crowd in a gender-segregated room at a catering hall in the Midwood neighborhood. “The doctors all march in lockstep with the CDC. The doctors don’t think they’re marching in lockstep. They don’t understand that the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, is a totally corrupt swamp. … They are criminals.”

Gospels and child sacrifice: Inside a NYC ultra-Orthodox anti-vaccination rally

These outbreaks were the largest and the longest in the United States in at least 28 years.

And the overwhelming response from religious leaders were that those who were not vaccinating and protecting their kids were “Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less! and Reckless!”

“We are obliged by the Torah “Venishmartem Meod L’nafshoseichem,” – “to guard our health” and if the recognized experts are telling us to vaccinate, then we must do it.”

Der Yid Newspaper – Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less and Reckless

Hopefully everyone is getting that message and they aren’t listening to the very small minority of religious leaders who are against vaccines, even if they are quite vocal.

Gloria Copeland told her followers that they didn’t need flu vaccinations because Jesus already “redeemed us from the curse of the flu.”
Gloria Copeland told her followers that they didn’t need flu vaccinations because Jesus already “redeemed us from the curse of the flu.”

Because we know what happens when people do and they aren’t vaccinated and protected…

“Dr. Clymer was Director General of the Church from 1905 to his death in 1966. Following the footsteps of Dr. Wilder, in 1904, he authored his first text on this subject, Vaccination Brought Home to You. He further reiterated the Church’s tenet that immunizations are a form of spiritual blood pollution in The Book of Rosicrucaie, Volume II (1947) and the now out of print book, Age of Treason (1957).”

The Church of Illumination Tenet on Vaccination and Immunization

Are these really the religious leaders you want to listen to?

More on Vaccines and Religion

Bad Vaccine Analogies

Analogies can help explain how vaccines work, especially good vaccine analogies.

Not having a cookie doesn’t make you immune to getting cookies…
Not having a cookie doesn’t make you immune to getting cookies from someone else…

They can also help explain how folks who do not support vaccines think.

Bad Vaccine Analogies

I wonder if all of their bad analogies will end up on tee shirts…

Would you use a parachute that was only 9% effective? Or would you just jump out of the plane and hope you can fly?
Would you use a parachute that was only 9% effective? Or would you just jump out of the plane and hope you can fly?

What do you think of Larry Cook’s analogy?

To be fair, the flu vaccine, in some years, can be as low as 9% effective.

Does that mean you can compare it to using a condom, parachute, or alarm clock that is only 9% effective?

How about this scenario:

You are on a plane that is about to crash and there is something wrong with the only parachute that is left on board. You inspect the stitching but estimate that you only have a 9% chance that it will deploy and get you to the ground safely. There is no backup parachute. Do you use it anyway, jump out without it and see if you can fly, or take your chances in a plane that is barreling towards the ground?

In most other situations, unless it is a life and death situation, you wouldn’t risk using a parachute that was only 9% effective. But what if that was your only option?

What if there is only a 9% chance that the parachute will get you to the ground without any injury, but a 80 to 90% chance that it will get you to the ground without dying? Would you use it then?

Would you use an alarm clock that was only 9% effective? No. I’ll set the timer on my phone to wake me up…

And that’s why we sometimes get a flu vaccine that is far less than 100% effective.

What’s the alternative?

Being unprotected and at a higher risk to get a severe case of the flu.

More Bad Vaccine Analogies

Larry Cook isn’t the only one to come up with bad vaccine analogies.

Why would you let your kid eat a poisoned cupcake?
Why would you let your kid eat a poisoned cupcake?

Of course, vaccinating and protecting your kids is not analogous to giving them a poisoned cupcake.

While vaccines are not risk free, serious reactions are extremely rare.

In fact, for this analogy to make even a little sense, you would have to have one million kids eating one million cupcakes.

Even then, the analogy falls apart.

Who would give their kid a cupcake if there was a chance that it was intentionally poisoned, even if the risk is just one in a million?

What’s the benefit of eating the cupcake?

Is this the last cupcake on earth? Is your child starving and is this cupcake the only thing he can eat? Is it a magic cupcake that can cure them of a life-threatening disease?

We vaccinate our kids, even if there is a one in a million chance of a severe, life-threatening reaction, because of all of the benefits they get from being vaccinated and protected.

Vaccines are not 100% safe, but they have few risks, and are safer than getting the diseases they protect us against.
Vaccines are not 100% safe, but they have few risks, and are safer than getting the diseases they protect us against.

How about all of the vaccine analogies about cars and seat belts?

Anti-vax folks like bad car and seat belt analogies.
Anti-vax folks like bad car and seat belt analogies.

Why don’t we call people who push for safer cars anti-car?

Jay Gordon doesn't think that that he is anti-vaccine.
Jay Gordon doesn’t think that that he is anti-vaccine.

Do these car safety advocates tell people to stop riding in cars or that a safe car can never be made?

Wanting safer vaccines doesn't make you anti-vaccine.
Wanting safer vaccines doesn’t make you anti-vaccine.

Do they say that kids will be hurt every time they ride in a car? Do they tell parents to just drive one day a week or one block a month?

Peanut butter or the plague??? Vaccine advocates aren't immune to bad vaccine analogies...
Peanut butter or the plague??? Vaccine advocates aren’t immune to bad vaccine analogies…

Unlike folks who are anti-vaccine, those who want safer cars generally still drive and ride in cars!

Making Sense of Vaccine Analogies

Have you heard the folks who say that they won’t set their kids on fire to keep someone else warm? They somehow think this is analogous to getting vaccinated and keeping herd immunity levels up to protect those who can’t be vaccinated.

No one wants to set your child on fire...
No one wants to set your child on fire…

You understand why that’s a bad analogy, right?

In addition to protecting others because your child doesn’t get sick and won’t expose them to a life-threatening disease, by vaccinating and protecting them, your own child doesn’t get sick!

Unlike setting your child on fire, it’s a win-win deal.

Well, it’s a win-win unless you believe classic arguments against vaccines, such as vaccines are poison or that vaccines don’t really work to prevent disease.

And maybe that’s why these bad analogies actually do work very well for some of these folks. They believe the misinformation and propaganda that help prop them up.

More on Bad Vaccine Analogies

Did Cancer Research UK Announce an Alarming 54% Rise in Cervical Cancer?

Why do some people think that the Cancer Research UK announced an alarming 54% rise in cervical cancer?

You don't need to be a genius to figure out that this is all anti-vaccine propaganda.
You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that this is all anti-vaccine propaganda.

The usual suspects…

Did Cancer Research UK Announce an Alarming 54% Rise in Cervical Cancer?

The first thing you should quickly see that’s wrong with Bobby Kennedy‘s statement is that 24-29 year olds are not the first generation to get vaccinated and protected with HPV vaccines.

In fact, they would have been the last generation that wasn’t routinely vaccinated and protected!

“The national HPV vaccination programme began offering vaccination to females in England in September 2008 and has recently extended the offer to include males (from September 2019). This programme offers HPV vaccination routinely to males and females entering year 8 of school (aged 12-13 years) and is almost exclusively delivered in schools. There was a catch-up programme in the first 2 years of the programme to offer vaccination to all females aged up to 18 years in 2008.”

Surveillance of type-specific HPV in sexually active young females in England, to end 2018

And next?

“Incidence rates for cervical carcinoma in situ in the UK are highest in females aged 25 to 29 (2014-2016).”

Cancer Research UK on cervical cancer statistics

Know that the rise that has been seen in the UK is in cervical carcinoma in situ and could just reflect changes to their screening program in recent years.

“Screening from age 20 yrs, rather than from age 25 yrs, would not prevent any more cancers from spreading beyond the cervix (stage II or worse) by age 27 yrs. The substantial increase in stage I cervical cancers in 24 and 25 year old women, corresponds to changes whereby a high proportion of women are now screened for the first time between ages 24.5 and 25.5 yrs. Previously some of these early stage screen detected cancers would have been prevented by treatment of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia following earlier screening and a few would have been screen-detected later – at age 26 or 27 yrs. Others may be slow-growing cancers, some of which could be argued to be over-diagnosed.”

Castanon et al on Is the recent increase in cervical cancer in women aged 20–24 years in England a cause for concern?

Fewer people getting cervical screening on time is also contributing to rising rates of cervical cancer.

“Latest figures show less than three-quarters of women invited for cervical screening take it up – and this falls even further in younger age groups and more deprived regions. Cancer Research UK believes this is part of the reason why cervical cancer still affects over 3,000 people each year.”

Cervical cancer progress falters as screening uptake hits record lows

And the study, “Will HPV Vaccination Prevent Cervical Cancer?,” by Claire Rees in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine?

It is a poorly done “review” that has been heavily criticized.

If this is Rees' revision, I'd hate to see what the original article looked like...
If this is Rees’ revision, I’d hate to see what the original article looked like…

Gardasil has a great safety record, with few risks.

The HPV vaccines are eliminating HPV infections among those who are getting vaccinated and protected.

“Over the next decade, as people who have been vaccinated reach the age when they’re most at risk of cervical cancer, disease rates are expected to fall.”

Cervical cancer progress falters as screening uptake hits record lows

Don’t let propaganda about vaccines scare you away from vaccinating your kids, which in the case of the HPV vaccine, could put them at risk to get cancer.

More on Cervical Cancer Rates

Product Tampering to Spread Propaganda About Vaccines

Have you heard about the folks placing propaganda about vaccines inside baby products?

Tampering with baby formula to spread misinformation about vaccines. This is the modern anti-vaccine movement.
Tampering with baby formula to spread misinformation about vaccines. This is the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Yes, that’s really thing…

Product Tampering to Spread Propaganda About Vaccines

And it isn’t isolated.

There are Facebook groups that sell cards with misinformation about vaccines and folks are encouraged to spread them around.

It's not a coincidence that these folks would go so far as to tamper with baby products to spread their misinformation.
It’s not a coincidence that these folks would go so far as to tamper with baby products to spread their misinformation.

Why are they doing it?

Tampering with a product is a crime. Learn the Risk
Tampering with these products is a crime. Learn the Risk

They are planting seeds spreading propaganda about vaccines.

Misinformation about vaccines does not give you informed consent...
Misinformation about vaccines does not give you informed consent…

They are going into stores and tampering with products, from baby formula and diapers to clothing.

You now have another job - protecting your family from propaganda about vaccines.
You now have another job – protecting your family from propaganda about vaccines.

Especially clothing for babies.

Who’s tampering with these products?

Is it really so hard to figure out?

Posting videos of your tampering with baby products on TikTok is a little bit suspicious...
Posting videos of your tampering with baby products on TikTok is a little bit suspicious…

Especially when they provide their own evidence on Facebook and TikTok…

The real question is when are these stores going to stop them?

More On Techniques to Spread Propaganda About Vaccines