Tag: celebrities

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

How Jay Gordon On Bill Maher Helps Explain Our Anti-Vaccine Problems

Jay Gordon has been on TV a lot in his career.

“Parents from around Southern California choose Gordon for his outspoken and controversial stance on vaccinations, driving from as far away as Santa Barbara and Long Beach.

They know he will lend a sympathetic ear to their concerns about the possible adverse side effects of childhood vaccinations — even though several large scientific studies have failed to find a connection.

His openness to alternative approaches has earned him an avid following. With thousands of patients, his practice is so busy that he no longer accepts new patients.”

Los Angeles Times on Doctor Contrarian

Often described as a celebrity pediatrician, partly because he sees many of the kids of Hollywood celebrities, the Los Angeles Times once named him Doctor Contrarian.

How Jay Gordon On Bill Maher Helps Explain Our Anti-Vaccine Problems

Jay Gordon has become a bit of a celebrity in his own right too, with appearances on Good Morning America, with Cindy Crawford, the Ricki Lake Show, the Doctors, and he was even a regular on ABC TV’s Home Show back in the 1990s.

#SaidNoDoctor, except Dr. Jay Gordon, who made this statement about the HPV vaccine on the Ricki Lake Show.
#SaidNoDoctor, except Dr. Jay Gordon, who made this statement about the HPV vaccine on the Ricki Lake Show. How many kids ended up getting HPV because their parents listened?

Although he claims he is not anti-vaccine, Jay Gordon has made many other statements over the years that had vaccine advocates shaking their heads.

His main idea is that vaccines should be given on a slower schedule, just one or two at a time and that some shouldn’t be given until kids are “developmentally solid.”

Jay Gordon has no proof or evidence to back up any of his statements.
To clarify my statement, a severe reaction isn’t a reason to stop vaccinating a child all together.

Of course, giving vaccines later just leaves these kids at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease while they are waiting, without any extra benefit of fewer side effects.

Sure, we would see fewer reactions associated with vaccines, because the same conditions would be occurring, but the kids would not have gotten a vaccine to be associated with it.

Jay Gordon has been at the front lines of taking care of parents who don't want to vaccinate their kids.
His “front lines” are parents in Southern California who don’t want to vaccinate their kids…

Is Jay Gordon an expert on vaccines?

Jay Gordon dismisses the statements of a true vaccine expert.
Jay Gordon lists all of the credentials of Dr. Hotez, none of which he has, and then tells him he is wrong!

It should be clear that he is not.

“I talk much more quietly, because I have no proof.”

Jay Gordon

Talking on TV is not exactly talking quietly…

But let’s take a quick look at some of his statements on Real Time with Bill Maher to help those who might think that he is.

B. Maher: I’m just saying vaccines, like every medicine, has side effects… So let’s not deny that or pretend it doesn’t happen. Which ones? How much? How do we manage this? This is not crazy talk.

Jay Gordon: We don’t do it the way we should do it. Manufacturers don’t put… We don’t manufacture vaccines as well as we could. We have a schedule that is invariable for every single child, one size doesn’t really fit all. The polio vaccine that I would get as a 180 lb. man is the same that I give to a 12 lb. baby. We could do it a lot better. I don’t want to bring polio back. I don’t want to bring measles back. Measles is a nasty illness.

No one denies that vaccines have side effects. The thing is, vaccines do not cause each and every thing that anti-vax folks claim that they do. They don’t cause autism, SIDS, most non-febrile seizures, eczema, diabetes, MS, ADHD, asthma, cancer, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, or POTS, etc.

What about Jay’s comments?

Interestingly, Jay has often said that measles isn’t that bad…

“This measles outbreak does not pose a great risk to a healthy child. And quite frankly I don’t think it poses any risk to a healthy child.”

Jay Gordon on Doctor explains why he lets kids avoid the measles vaccine

Healthy kids can just die with measles though. And healthy kids are at later risk to develop SSPE, which is fatal.

And if he doesn’t understand that vaccines aren’t given based on the weight of the child or adult, then he is clearly not a vaccine expert.

Jay Gordon believes that his middle of the road approach gets more kids vaccinated.
If you are scaring parents away from getting vaccinated, then giving vaccines on an alternative schedule may mean that you are anti-vaccine…

If he doesn’t understand the consequences of his slow vaccine schedule, especially if more parents actually started listening to him, then he is clearly not a vaccine expert.

Mostly, he seems to be an expert on pandering to parents who already have fears of vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Jay Gordon's middle of the road approach only works because his kids can still hide in the herd, getting protected from everyone else who vaccinates and protects their kids.
The kids that are vaccinated at “a different pace and thought process” are simply hiding in the herd. They don’t get sick because the rest of us are vaccinated and protected, but that system breaks down if more people start listening to Dr. Jay.

And what he has never understood, even if he does get some of these parents to vaccinate on a slower schedule, his rhetoric likely gets many more parents started on the road to thinking vaccines are harmful or not necessary.

Jay Gordon has been wrong before, as you can see in the way he has changed his stance on the HPV vaccine, which he says he now gives, and he is wrong now.

Why is Jay Gordon still in the AAP?

And his advise is indeed contrary to that of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which makes you wonder why he is still allowed to be a member.

“There is no ‘alternative’ immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a chil​d at risk of disease for a longer period of time; it does not make vaccinating safer. 

Vaccines work, plain and simple. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time. Pediatricians partner with parents to provide what is best for their child, and what is best is for children to be fully vaccinated.”

Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics​

Maybe its time that Doctor Contrarian stopped thinking everyone else is wrong and he takes a long and hard look at his own views on vaccines.

“Nothing I do is free. I feel like I should give you a little bit of a discussion before I recommend Tylenol, because of the impact on the liver. A discussion about ibuprofen, because of the impact on the kidneys. And when someone gets antibiotics from me, I talk to them. You know, there could be a yeast infection. You could get diarrhea and a rash. Sorry about the diarrhea and the rash. But with vaccines, the discussion is closed.”

Jay Gordon

Health care providers are hopefully all giving their patients a vaccine information sheet and informed consent, so the discussion is certainly not closed when they give kids vaccines.

Does Jay discuss the potential risks of delaying or skipping vaccines?

Will he say sorry about the rotavirus, measles, tetanus, and diphtheria?

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

Although he thinks he is taking the middle road, Jay Gordon simply helps fuel the modern anti-vaccine movement.

To be sure though, along the way, he certainly has been in the middle of things…

Jay Gordon was named Doctor Contrarian way back in 1997.
March 1997 article in the LA Times describing how media savvy “skeptics” were attacking vaccines.

From his appearance on Good Morning America in 2000 to discuss why Cindy Crawford wasn’t vaccinating her baby, just as Wakefield was getting started, to testifying against SB277, California’s vaccine law, that didn’t work because doctors simply started writing unnecessary medical exemptions, he has been there. And let’s not forget that he was Jenny McCarthy‘s pediatrician!

“I’m just saying, ‘we don’t know shit,’ that’s why when doctors, when you get a diagnosis, the other doctor gives you another one. They say, right away, get a second opinion.”

Bill Maher

Bill Maher was right about one thing, if you are going to Jay Gordon for advice about vaccines – get a second opinion.

More on Jay Gordon and Bill Maher

Is the TODAY Show Stoking Vaccine Fears?

We know that historically, the media has done a very good job of scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

From pushing vaccine misinformation and vaccine scare stories to providing false balance about vaccine stories, many in the media have promoted myths and fake controversies when reporting about vaccines.

Things have been getting better though.

Is the TODAY Show Stoking Vaccine Fears?

Or have they…

The TODAY Show later deleted this tweet about vaccines.
The TODAY Show later deleted this tweet about vaccines.

Do you see what’s wrong with the TODAY Show story about Jessica Biel?

Are they really asking whether or not vaccines are safe?!?

It’s not a debate!

Vaccines are safe!

HuffPo called out the Today Show for posting an irresponsible message about vaccines.
Even HuffPo called out the Today Show for posting an irresponsible message about vaccines.

Did they really get called out by HuffPo for irresponsibly covering vaccines?

You might realize how ironic that is if you remember just how bad HuffPo used to be, regularly posting some of the worst anti-vaccine stories. Have they gotten better?

The HuffPo is better, but certainly not perfect, by any means…

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is not a vaccine skeptic!

The TODAY Show’s Coverage of Vaccines

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that the TODAY show has scared parents away from vaccines. After all, they are the ones who aired excerpts of Vaccine Roulette, the show which many people credit with starting the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Autism is not associated with vaccines. It isn't a debate!
Autism is not associated with vaccines. It isn’t a debate!

More recently, the TODAY Show had Robert De Niro on to talk about Andrew Wakefield‘s VAXXED.

The TODAY Show fixed their mistake and irresponsibe headline that could stoke vaccine fears.
The TODAY Show fixed their mistake and irresponsibe headline that could stoke vaccine fears.

After so many missteps in the past, the TODAY Show shouldn’t be making these kinds of mistakes anymore.

If they do, there will be plenty of folks ready to call them out.

More on the TODAY is Show Stoking Vaccine Fears

Vaccines and Mother’s Day

Last year, we found several connections between Father’s Day and vaccines, especially that Maurice Hilleman has often been called the father of modern vaccines.

Is there a mother of modern vaccines?

Vaccines and Mother’s Day

Does it have to be modern vaccines?

Of course, the first person that comes to mind is Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who learned about smallpox inoculation in Turkey and used it to protect her own children, also advocating for more general use in England.

But that involved variolation, not vaccination.

So who could be the mother of vaccines?

How about the person who “has done more for immunizations that any one person in this whole country?”

Betty Bumpers was a champion in our efforts to reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases among children in the United States.  She played a major leadership role as 1st Lady of Arkansas in improving immunization in that state and was inspirational in launching the first major Presidential Initiative on Immunization during the late 1970s.  She continued to be a major immunization advocate through much of her life launching “Every Child By Two (ECBT)” which she chaired along with Mrs. Rosalyn Carter, now “Vaccinate Your Family”.

Walter Orenstein

And to honor her, let’s continue her work

Before vaccines, this mother and all of her kids got polio...
Before vaccines, this mother and all of her kids got polio…

For as Betty Bumpers said, “only when every child has completed his or her series of immunizations will our job be completed.”

More on Vaccines and Mother’s Day