Tag: advocates

Who is Riko Muranaka?

It’s a shame that you are probably very familiar with Andy Wakefield, Bob Sears, and Del Bigtree, but have never heard of Riko Muranaka.

Do you know any vaccine advocates?

Who is Riko Muranaka?

Riko Muranaka is a doctor and a journalist and was one of the few to push back against all of the negative articles in the Japanese media following the decision of Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to stop formally recommending that girls get vaccinated and protected with the HPV vaccine.

“We can’t afford to sit back and allow a similar situation to develop in which unscientific claims jeopardize lives around the world. The Japanese government should reinstate its proactive recommendation for the HPV vaccine and set a positive example before irrational fear of the vaccine gains further momentum in other countries.”

Riko Muranaka on Stopping the Spread of Japan’s Antivaccine Panic

Not only that, it was her investigation that led to the discovery that the initial report that led to the HPV scare by neurologist Shuichi Ikeda was misleading and inappropriate.

“Evidence she used against Japanese neurologist Shuichi Ikeda revealed that only a single mouse had been vaccinated and the brain section showing damage did not belong to this mouse.”

The EU battle strategy against fake news, fighting the 4Ds that lead to doubt: CORDIS attends the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists

So where does that leave Riko Muranaka?

In 2017, she received the John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science “for promoting science and evidence on a matter of public interest, despite facing difficulty or hostility in doing so.” 

What kind of difficulty and hostility has she faced?

“Because of her science-based reporting on this topic, Dr. Muranaka experienced massive hostility. Unlike before, she became unable to publish in Japanese media. Her family was threatened, and she was sued by an anti-vaccination doctor.”

How Japan was taken by an anti-vax tsunami

Unbelievably, Ikeda sued Dr. Muranaka for defamation and won, even though the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare censured Ikeda for misrepresenting his research. The case is currently on appeal.

And tragically, although HPV vaccines are still available in Japan, after all, they were never banned, they still don’t have a proactive recommendation.

Riko Muranaka still has work to do to get HPV vaccination rates back up in Japan, but she did help to make sure that “Japan’s antivaccine panic” didn’t spread anywhere else.

More on Riko Muranaka

Begun the Vaccine Wars Has

Star Wars imagery has long been a part about discussions about vaccines…

Parents of Earth, are your children fully immunized?
Remember this poster about vaccines?

Unfortunately, it has seeped its way into the other side too…

Begun the Vaccine Wars Has

The other side?

“It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar

Yes, there are folks who are against getting kids vaccinated and protected and for some reason, they identify with the Dark Side of the Force.

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn

Does that mean vaccine advocates are the Jedi in this scenario?

“In my experience there is no such thing as luck.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi

However this plays out, let’s just hope vaccine hesitant parents aren’t stuck on Alderan…

“Somebody has to save our skins.”

Leia Organa

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary.

Let’s help them see through the misinformation and propaganda of those trying to scare them away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

More on the Vaccine Wars

The Vaccine Extremists in the Modern Anti-Vaccine Movement

In 1721, someone through a bomb through the window of the Reverend Cotton Mather’s house in Boston because he was actively promoted smallpox inoculation during a local epidemic.

The vaccine extremists in the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Do we have to be concerned about what the modern anti-vaccine movement might do to folks who advocate for vaccines?

The Vaccine Extremists in the Modern Anti-Vaccine Movement

Before you dismiss the idea, let’s take a look at what they have been doing recently…

Calling for second amendment remedies? Is that a thing in the modern anti-vaccine movement?

“Then I can imagine those same conversations were happening in Nazi Germany amongst the Jewish people. Let’s not talk about it. I don’t want to bring it into my reality. It’s still 20 miles away. I’m still allowed in this theater and not that one. All I have to get is this little star. All I have to do is sign this little thing saying I accept that… that I’m not going to vaccinate because I think that they’re dangerous. And they are dangerous. I’m just going to sign this paper. I’m going to let them put me on a log.

At some point, we have gone too far.

Do you think that it’s a good idea to let the government own your baby’s body. And right behind it, your body. That is the end. To me.

Anyone who believes in the right to bear arms. To stand up against your government. I don’t know what you were saving that gun for then. I don’t know when you planned on using it if they were going to take control of your own body away.

It’s now. Now’s the time.”

Del Bigtree

To many of us, it seems very obvious that anti-vax folks have gone too far.

They don’t seem to get the message though.

Vaccine extremists blocking the entrances to the State Capital in California.
Protestors blocking the entrances to the State Capital in California.

Protesting for a good cause is noble.

But what is it called when you are protesting while holding signs pushing propaganda and misinformation?

The "red liquid substance" was later confirmed to be human blood.
The “red liquid substance” was later confirmed to be human blood.

Remember when a protestor in California threw blood from a menstrual cup at legislators on the Senate floor?

Pretty extreme, right?

Austin Bennett assaulted Richard Pan during a Facebook video he conveniently filmed.
Austin Bennett assaulted Richard Pan during a Facebook video he conveniently filmed.

Or when Austin Bennett assaulted Senator Richard Pan as he walked to lunch?

Of course, the usual response from most anti-vax folks is that these are outliers who don’t represent them. Or they are part of the controlled opposition

Vaccine extremists called a boycott of a local store because their senator was going to speak at their grand opening.
Vaccine extremists called a boycott of a local store because Richard Pan was going to speak at their grand opening.

Not surprisingly, it seems that the denials come from the same folks who set out to ambush, stalk, and attack vaccine advocates.

Senator Richard Pan was harassed at the March For Science in Washington D.C. on Earth Day  in 2017.
Senator Richard Pan was harassed at the March For Science in Washington D.C. on Earth Day in 2017.

Advocates who have done nothing except make sure kids get vaccinated and help protect us from the misinformation that is so often pushed on the Internet and on the signs they hold during their protests.

A finger gun pointed at a shirt covered with "blood everywhere."

Yes, Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician in California has been a big target in recent years.

Of course, vaccines are tested in placebo controlled trials, some of which even included a saline placebo. Which makes the Stormtrooper an appropriate costume. Remember, they have such bad aim, they never hit their target…

He is not the only one though.

Paul Offit has been a very frequent target of anti-vax critics.
Paul Offit has been a very frequent target of anti-vax critics.

Paul Offit has been a common target.

Protesters banged on the glass during as ZDogg filmed an interview with Paul Offit.
Protesters banged on the glass during as ZDogg filmed an interview with Paul Offit.

Other pediatricians have also been attacked, with protestors showing up at their offices and harassing their patients.

Pediatricians in New York have been targeted too.
“They went up to 3-4 of the morning patients as they walked in, asked them if they vaccinate and when my patients replied yes, one said “Good luck with that!” They gave anti vaccine literature to all the patients and placed flyers on every car in the parking lot.”

But it is not just pediatricians and legislators who are getting harassed.

Who could ever describe Kristen Bell as hateful???
Who could ever describe Kristen Bell as hateful???

Celebrities who advocate for vaccines are also getting harassed and targeted.

Kristen Bell was targeted at Comic Con too.
Kristen Bell was targeted at Comic Con too.

As bad as this kind of harassment has been though, their messaging might be worse.

Fighting to skip or delay your kid's vaccines and keep them in school is not the new civil rights movement.
Fighting to skip or delay your kid’s vaccines and keep them in school is not the new civil rights movement.

Comparing not wanting to vaccinate and protect your kids to the civil rights movement?

That’s pretty extreme, isn’t it?

That they would invoke the Holocaust when talking about vaccines and autism, and compare doctors and lawmakers to Nazis, tells you a lot about the modern anti-vaccine movement.

And you know you are in extreme territory if you are getting called out by the Auschwitz Museum

What else have they been up to?

Defacing public property.

University of Michigan students quickly covered up all of the anti-vax propaganda on this rock.
University of Michigan students quickly covered up all of the anti-vax propaganda.

But do you want to know what maybe the very worst thing that they are doing these days?

How about harassing parents whose children have recently died, trying to make them think that vaccinations were the cause?

Killy did not die from a vaccine injury. He had meningitis.
Killy did not die from a vaccine injury. He had meningitis.

Yes, this is the modern anti-vaccine movement.

It should be clear that the anti-vaccine movement has “shifted its tactics” as they continue to try and scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

“Upon close inspection, the anti-vaccination movement is not about vaccines. It’s an anti-government conspiracy theory. In order to believe the anti-vaccination line, you have to believe the government is working proactively to harm your children (by protecting them from deadly and debilitating diseases). It’s paranoid thinking, and a very small but vocal minority of Americans fervently embrace the irrational fear of immunization.”

The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board on Activism or Terrorism? Anti-vaccine movement must use facts, not violence, to argue

From getting doctors to write unnecessary medical exemptions, misusing religious exemptions, harassing vaccine advocates, targeting minority communities, using racist attacks, and pushing misinformation and conspiracy theories, many in the anti-vaccine movement have clearly moved into extremist territory.

Still, it is very important to remember that these folks are indeed a very small minority, even if they are very vocal and sometimes hard to ignore, especially as they trigger some of the largest outbreaks in recent history and expose high risk kids and adults to life-threatening vaccine-preventable diseases.

And that’s because the great majority of people understand that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and very necessary.

Make the right choice. Vaccinate and protect your family.

More on the Vaccine Extremists in the Modern Anti-Vaccine Movement