Anti-vaccine folks are always interested in having debates about vaccines.
It helps create the impression that all views about vaccines are equally valid – the facts and science of those who support vaccines and the misinformation and pseudoscience of the anti-vaccine movement.
But Shelly Wynter, the prominent FM Radio Talk Show Host who is moderating the One Conversation Event will make sure that things don’t end up leaning to any one side, right?
“Next up were Bro. Tony Muhammad and his friends who are helping to get the word out about vaccines. The point being made by the anti-vaccine advocates is the message that the vaccines are poison. Not one of them was making the argument that vaccines are not necessary; but that the CDC and its government masters are poisoning the vaccines. History tells us that this should not be thrown out so easily as a conspiracy theory. It must be investigated more and we should not be so quick to believe the “Government” over credible doctors who have blown the whistle.”
I wouldn’t bet on it…
What about the organizers?
Can’t be any bias against vaccines for Shannon Kroner or Britney Valas, right?
Integrity? Neutrality? Sure…
Even the idea that funding from individual donations couldn’t bias the event is suspect.
“To maintain the integrity and neutrality of One Conversation, the One Conversation organizers purposely chose to not publicly fund raise nor tie the event to a specific organization or special interest group. Funding for One Conversation is provided by ticket sales and individual donations of which are heavily contributed personally by Dr. Kroner and Ms. Valas.”
Individual donations from whom?
Big donations from just a few individuals, like Claire Dwoskin of the CMSRI and Barry Segal of Focus for Health, would likely help fund a big event like this, but certainly wouldn’t do much to help maintain its integrity or neutrality.
So what can you expect from the One Conversation Vaccine Event?
Pay just $115, and you can find out.
In addition to “learning” about Public Health and Immunity from folks who have said that vaccines are full of toxins, you will get dinner and 2 drinks.
Or skip dinner and pay just $15 for the event.
“One Conversation” provides the platform for questions to be addressed among an esteemed panel of participants who specialize in a spectrum of specific focuses and expertise.
If you ever wander into a holistic parenting group or a vaccine group that claims to offer “both sides” to educate folks about vaccines, you will, or at least you should, quickly notice that all of the posts and replies sound eerily alike.
If a parent asks about a tetanus shot for their child’s wound in one of these groups, no one will suggest that they rush to their pediatrician and get it.
The only disagreements you might see are whether they should treat the wound with colloidal silver, black salve, garlic, urine, activated charcoal, tea tree oil, raw honey, essential oils, or some other non-evidence based therapy.
It is no accident that folks get uniform advice against vaccines in these so-called vaccine “education” groups.
Anyone who goes against the “vaccines are dangerous” mantra of these groups typically has their comments quickly deleted and gets banned from the group.
“Echo chambers abound for many other conditions which are not medically recognised, from chronic Lyme disease to electromagnetic hypersensitivity. But perhaps most worrisome is the advance of anti-vaccine narratives across the web. The explosion of dubious sources has allowed them to propagate wildly, undeterred by debunking in the popular press. We might take the current drastic fall in HPV vaccine uptake in Ireland, driven by anti-vaccine groups like REGRET, despite its life-saving efficacy. While organisations including the Health Service Executive have valiantly tried to counter these myths, these claims are perpetuated across social media with little to stop them.”
Echo chambers are dangerous – we must try to break free of our online bubbles
After all, it is easier to feel confident in your decisions when you think that everyone else is doing the same thing. Of course they aren’t though. The great majority of people vaccinate and protect their kids.
It is only in these echo chambers of anti-vaccine misinformation that anyone would think that it would be okay to not get an unvaccinated toddler proper treatment for a cut, to skip a rabies shot after exposure to a rabid bat, or to not get travel vaccines before visiting high risk areas of the world.
That’s the power of confirmation bias.
And whether or not you realize it, confirmation bias is likely one of the reasons that you aren’t vaccinating and protecting your kids.
That’s why you need to step out of these echo chambers if you want to understand that vaccines are safe and necessary.
What to Know About Anti-Vaccine Censorhip
Anti-vaccine groups routinely censor, ban, and block messages from people who correct misinformation about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases.
“A MenB vaccine series may be administered to adolescents and young adults aged 16–23 years to provide short-term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease. The preferred age for MenB vaccination is 16–18 years.”
ACIP on Use of Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccines in Adolescents and Young Adults: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 2015
The MenB vaccine, for example, unlike most other vaccines, only has a permissive recommendation – parents may get it for their kids, but they don’t have to.
“First-year college students living in residence halls should receive at least 1 dose of MenACWY before college entry. The preferred timing of the most recent dose is on or after their 16th birthday.”
ACIP on Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
In contrast, the recommendation for most other vaccines state that kids “should” receive them.
Why the difference?
Experts aren’t yet sure that the pros of the MenB vaccine, helping avoid MenB disease, outweigh the cons, which include the high cost of the vaccine, short duration of protection, and that it doesn’t cover all MenB subtypes. The cons aren’t about safety.