Tag: Andrew Wakefield

Anti-Vax Groups Are Targeting Minority Communities

It’s a big deal that anti-vax groups are targeting minority communities.

Anti-Vax Groups Are Targeting Minority Communities

Some of these communities already have low vaccination rates and have been hit with outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Anti-Vax Groups Are Targeting Minority Communities

Unfortunately, Bobby Kennedy and the latest Harlem Vaccine Forum isn’t the first time this has happened.

Remember when Andy Wakefield, JB Handley, and others targeted Somali immigrants in Minnesota?

How about when opponents of new vaccine laws in California targeted Latinos in the community?

Why is this a problem?

“Q: I do have a question, on behalf of the Hispanic media, and also the African-American media. Rates for vaccinations have been historically low. Could you tell us what those communities can do to try and raise those rates, please? And also, the issues that they’re facing?

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, MD: I think it’s very important that, number one, we reach out in ways to communicate with the minority communities in our country, and that we work with the leadership of those communities to actually educate those communities, bring them in, and to provide access, so that we can actually extend the benefit of vaccination to them. Colleagues?

PATRICIA WHITLEY-WILLIAMS, MD: I would certainly agree with that. I also would say, I am a member of the National Medical Association, which is an association predominantly of African-American physicians. We know about the disparities, with regards to vaccination coverage rates, both in adults and in children. But we also know about the deaths and severity of disease related to flu and pneumococcal infections; there is a disparity there, in terms of hospitalizations and deaths among underrepresented minorities in this country.

It is through education. It also depends on that relationship between adult patients and their providers. Again, there should be no opt-out. Patients need to understand that they’re tremendously at risk, and there is a disparity. As I think we all know, there is a historical context and a belief that exists in the African-American community, in terms of maybe mistrust of the medical system, because of experimentation that had gone on earlier. And again, it’s trying to provide that information and education through providers.”

National Foundation For Infectious Diseases (NFID) September 26, 2019

It is well known that many minority communities have low immunization rates.

“Since 1995, annual estimates of MMR vaccination coverage and poliovirus vaccination coverage increased among all children aged 19–35 months, and since 2007, disparities between racial/ethnic minorities and non-Hispanic white children for these vaccines has been nonexistent.”

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

Tragically, we are losing many of the gains that we had recently seen in reducing the gaps in vaccination among some racial/ethnic groups.

“HPV vaccine follow-through is lower in racial and ethnic minorities than Whites.”

Spencer et al on Disparities and reverse disparities in HPV vaccination: A systematic review and meta-analysis

In addition to children and teens, we are seeing growing disparities among adults too.

“On further examination, it is evident that some populations receive vaccinations at a level below other populations. For instance, 31% of Hispanic individuals received influenza vaccine in 2014 compared to 34.4% of African American and 46% of White Americans. This difference is also apparent in populations that receive pneumococcal and herpes zoster vaccines. These differences represent disparities in the use of nationally recommended vaccines.”

Anthony Pattin on Disparities in the Use of Immunization Services Among Underserved Minority Patient Populations and the Role of Pharmacy Technicians: A Review

We must continue to work to remove barriers to access to vaccination and encourage providers in these communities to get the message out that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary.

“There are many Latino and African-American physicians who have a practice that predominantly serves a population of the same ethnicity. We really rely on those providers to help us get the word out, as the press will. These patients trust their providers. We also need to involve community-based organizations to help us in getting the message out as well.”

Patricia Whitley-Williams, MD

Providers, especially in those communities that are being targeted, can improve vaccination rates by:

  • using standing orders, especially during flu season
  • using reminder and recall systems so that everyone knows when they are due for their vaccines
  • providing consumer-oriented information about vaccines to help overcome any negative perceptions, misinformation, and fears parents might have

Don’t allow anti-vaccine propaganda and misinformation to infect your community and make your job harder or put your kids at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease.

More on Vaccines and Minority Communities

Are Kids With Religious Exemptions Spreading Disease?

One common anti-vax talking point is that kids who are unvaccinated can’t spread disease because they aren’t sick. One lawsuit against New York’s new vaccine law went so far as to say that “there has not been one instance of a child with a religious exemption spreading disease in a school.”

Did Assemblymember Colton look for evidence?

Is that true?

I’m guessing it isn’t, but let’s do a little research…

Are Kids With Religious Exemptions Spreading Disease?

Before I considered the latest measles outbreak in New York and how many of those cases occurred in unvaccinated kids in school with religious exemptions, I found a few other examples.

“During April 4-May 17, 1994, the largest U.S. measles outbreak since 1992 occurred among students in two communities that do not routinely accept vaccination. This report summarizes the investigation of and control measures for this outbreak. The outbreak began in a 14-year-old Christian Science high school student who developed a rash on April 4, 2 weeks after skiing in Colorado where a measles outbreak was occurring. The student lived with her family in a community associated with a Christian Science college in Jersey County, Illinois, and commuted approximately 30 miles to a Christian Science boarding school (kindergarten through grade 12 {K-12}) in St. Louis County, Missouri.”

Outbreak of Measles Among Christian Science Students — Missouri and Illinois, 1994

At least 189 people got measles in these communities during this outbreak, including a student in New York.

“Eighteen prospective students from outside St. Louis County attended a carnival at the boarding school on April 16; eight developed measles after returning home (three to Maine, two to California, and one each to Missouri, New York, and Washington).”

Outbreak of Measles Among Christian Science Students — Missouri and Illinois, 1994

During another measles outbreak among Christian Scientists in 1985 in Illinois, there were at least 136 cases, including 3 deaths.

There were even more deaths during a measles outbreak in Philadelphia in 1991.

“According to Assistant Health Commissioner Robert Sharrar, four victims from Philadelphia – two girls 9 years old and two girls 11 and 13 – were affiliated with the Faith Tabernacle Congregation, which shuns medical treatment. The children, who attended the church’s school, had not been vaccinated. “

Philadelphia’s Measles Death Toll Rises

By the end of the 1991 Philly outbreak, 9 children were dead.

Back to New York, during a 2009 mumps outbreak in New York and New Jersey, even though many were vaccinated, “the outbreak primarily has affected members of a tradition-observant religious community.”

Are there any other examples?

Four children in Florida with a religious exemption developed measles in 2012 and although they didn’t get anyone at school sick, they did likely expose someone at an Orlando-area theme park who did later get sick.

Also in Florida, in 2013, in a charter school where 84% of kids had religious exemptions, 316 students developed pertussis, with attack rates of 57%!

What’s the usual attack rate for pertussis?

In another Florida outbreak in 2013, this one at a preschool, attack rates ranged from 23% for kids who were up-to-date on their pertussis vaccinations to 40% if they had fewer than three doses of a pertussis vaccine.

At the Asheville Waldorf School in North Carolina, at least 36 students got sick with chickenpox in 2018. The school had the highest rate of religious exemptions in the state.

And there was an outbreak in Alaska linked to religious exemptions.

“Among the 30 who were not vaccinated, 24 (80%) were eligible to be vaccinated (i.e., aged ≥ 12 months and born on or after January 1, 1957); of the 24 who were eligible to be vaccinated, all 12 school-aged children had religious exemptions, and two of nine children aged 1–4 years were siblings of these unvaccinated schoolchildren. Although no source case was identified, this outbreak coincided with a measles outbreak associated with the Seattle-Tacoma (Washington) airport, the major airport gateway to Juneau.”

Measles Outbreak Among School-Aged Children — Juneau, Alaska, 1996

Remember the last imported case of vaccine associated paralytic polio?

In 2005, an unvaccinated 22-year-old U.S. college student from Arizona became infected with polio vaccine virus while traveling in Costa Rica in a university-sponsored study-abroad program. She had never been vaccinated because she had a religious exemption.

How about the last cases of wild polio in the United States?

“The 1979 outbreak occurred in unvaccinated Amish persons living in Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Overall, 15 cases of illness caused by wild poliovirus type 1 occurred among U.S. citizens: all 10 paralytic cases occurred among unvaccinated Amish persons; three cases of transient paralysis occurred among unvaccinated Amish persons; and two nonparalytic cases occurred among unvaccinated members of the Mennonite church who were in frequent contact with Amish persons. Epidemiologic and virologic evidence indicated this outbreak resulted from importation of poliovirus from the Netherlands through Canada (Ontario), where outbreaks had occurred during 1978 in members of religious groups with objections to vaccination.”

Poliomyelitis — United States, Canada

It was in 1979.

It was among the Amish and may have been linked to religious exemptions, although many Amish got vaccinated to help eliminate the endemic spread of polio in the United States.

Before that, in 1972, there was an outbreak of paralytic polio at Daycroft, a Chris­tian Science boarding school in Greenwich, Connecticut. At least 12 students, all unvaccinated, were affected in the first polio epidemic in the US in seven years.

11 kids got paralytic polio at a Christian Science school in 1972.

Also among the Amish, an outbreak of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 1991, including 16 cases in New York.

“The outcome of pregnancy was determined for the 94 Amish mothers who reported illness or had serologic evidence of maternal rubella (Table 1). CRS occurred in 10 infants, all of whom were born to mothers who had histories of rubella-like illness in the first trimester; seven had possible manifestations of CRS; nine were miscarried/stillborn; and 68 infants appeared normal at birth. During the study period, medical personnel identified one additional infant with CRS from Lancaster County whose mother was a conservative Mennonite. “

Congenital Rubella Syndrome Among the Amish — Pennsylvania, 1991-1992

There have also been cases of tetanus among the Amish.

“In 1997 a 12-year-old Amish boy in Pennsylvania contracted tetanus. His medical bills were $600,000. The Amish community refused to apply for Medicaid because of their religious opposition to accepting government assistance and were able to pay only $60,000 of the bill.”

Some Outbreaks of Vaccine-Preventable Disease in Groups with Religious or Philosophical Exemptions to Vaccination

More recently, the measles outbreaks in New York occurred almost exclusively among completely unvaccinated children, including many school aged children.

“Persons who claim exemptions from immunizations for any reason may be at increased risk of contracting a VPD compared with immunized persons. In addition, persons who claim philosophical and/or religious exemptions (exemptors) may create some risk to the community because unvaccinated or undervaccinated persons may be a source of transmission.”

Salmon et al on Health Consequences of Religious and Philosophical Exemptions From Immunization Laws

Remember diphtheria?

You probably think that it has been a long, long time since a child has died from diphtheria in the United States, especially since we have had an effective vaccine for well over one hundred years.

Well, it has been a long time since anyone who was vaccinated has died…

Tragically, in 1982, a 9-year-old girl died after getting diphtheria at a Christian Science camp in Colorado.

Even more recently, an unvaccinated 4-year-old boy died in Massachusetts died with diphtheria. His mother was a Christian Scientist.

It should be very clear that kids with non-medical exemptions, including religious exemptions, are getting sick and are spreading disease.

We should have acted in 2007, instead of waiting for more and more kids to get sick in outbreaks, as non-medical exemptions to continued to increase.
We should have acted in 2007, instead of waiting for more and more kids to get sick in outbreaks, as non-medical exemptions to continued to increase.

Increasing in the post-Wakefield era, religious exemptions from immunizations put our kids at risk.

More on Kids With Religious Exemptions Spreading Disease

Who is Taylor Winterstein?

Some folks got an introduction to Taylor Winterstein when she planned to take her $200 a person anti-vax tour across Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.

Taylor Winterstein planned an anti-vax tour across Australia, New Zealand, and Samoa.

What’s wrong with that?

These are all places that are dealing with very large measles outbreaks

Who is Taylor Winterstein?

And Samoa.

We shouldn’t forget that Samoa was on her International Tour.

What about the choice of those who are put at risk because they are too young to be vaccinated or who can't be vaccinated?
Catchy slogan, but what about the choice of those who are put at risk because they are too young to be vaccinated or who can’t be vaccinated?

You likely remember Samoa because of the vaccine tragedy that happened there. Two infants died after nurses mixed up the diluent for the MMR vaccine with a powerful anesthetic.

Vaccines were already halted in Samoa, but that didn’t keep Taylor Winterstein from planning to go and further scare folks away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

And where are we now?

Taylor Winterstein was very excited to meet Andy Wakefield.
Winterstein actually went to the Truth About Cancer event, which is basically set up to film “free” seminars that push natural treatments for cancer that they later sell to folks for only $499.

While Taylor Winterstein and her family were in California, meeting Andy Wakefield, there has been an epidemic of measles in Samoa, where at least one unvaccinated infant has already died.

“From 1 January 2019 to 10 October 2019 there have been 1742 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand. 1416 of these confirmed cases are in the Auckland region.”

2019 NZ measles outbreak information

There has also been an awful lot of measles in New Zealand, which was also on her little tour. Two unborn babies have died during these outbreaks, and there are also reports of at least three hospitalizations for encephalitis.

Measles cases are also on the rise in Australia.

Vaccines very rarely cause severe injuries or death.
Vaccines very rarely cause severe injuries or death.

There is a risk to listening to folks like Taylor Winterstein. You have a choice to ignore them and stop spreading their propaganda.

More on Taylor Winterstein

Who is the Controlled Opposition in the Anti-Vax Movement?

Anti-vax folks are big on conspiracy theories.

How far do they go?

They think that some anti-vax folks are part of a controlled opposition.

Who is the Controlled Opposition in the Anti-Vax Movement?

Controlled opposition?

“The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

Vladimir Lenin

Have folks who support getting kids vaccinated and protected actually become leaders of the anti-vaccine movement?

Robert Kennedy, Jr is the only one in his family to ever come out against vaccines...
Robert Kennedy, Jr is the only one in his family to ever come out against vaccines…

Why would they do that?

One reason might be to control the opposition. Get them to do what you want. Another might be to do things that are so outrageous that you make the opposition look bad.

Getting arrested for pushing Senator Pan?

Is Kenneth Austin Bennett a part of the controlled opposition?
Is Kenneth Austin Bennett a part of the controlled opposition?

That guy must be part of the controlled opposition!

Wait, is Austin Bennett controlled opposition or is it Joshua Coleman?
Wait, is Austin Bennett or Joshua Coleman the controlled opposition? Is WAKEsheep alerting folks that Andrew Wakefield is being controlled?

Lose a lawsuit to repeal SB 277.

The lawyer must be a part of the controlled opposition!

Who organized the march?
Who organized the march?

Is everyone in the anti-vax movement a part of the controlled opposition?

Who started the infighting between Larry Cook and Brandy Vaughan?
Who started the infighting between Larry Cook and Brandy Vaughan?

Is there anyone in the anti-vax movement that you think vaccine supporters are controlling?

Is there a conspiracy theory that this guy doesn't believe? Have nanobots in vaccines turned him into a member of the controlled opposition without him knowing???
Is there a conspiracy theory that this guy doesn’t believe? Have nanobots in vaccines turned Chris Kirckof into a member of the controlled opposition without him knowing???

Does this whole idea just seem silly?

I’m sure that’s what “they” want you to think!

More on Conspiracy Theories in the Anti-Vax Movement