Tag: false balance

The Harlem Vaccine Forum

It isn’t a surprise that anti-vax folks will be hosting a vaccine forum in New York and that Bobby Kennedy is a part of it.

Why is Rev. Al Sharpton associated with the anti-vax Harlem Vaccine Forum?

It is a surprise to many that Rev. Al Sharpton is participating though.

The Harlem Vaccine Forum

Wait, how do we know that this is an anti-vax forum?

It's no surprise that they took the vaccines are dangerous link off the new flyer...
It’s no surprise that they took the vaccines are dangerous link off the new flyer…

The website for the event organizer is named vaccines are dangerous!

Did the Harlem AIDS Forum change anyone's understanding of HIV/AIDS?
Did the Harlem AIDS Forum change anyone’s understanding of HIV/AIDS?

A website and organizer who promotes the idea HIV is not the cause of AIDS!!!

Yes, HIV denialism is a thing…

Mothering no longer publishes a print magazine, but still has active anti-vaccine forums. How many HIV+ mothers listened to her advice?
Mothering no longer publishes a print magazine, but still has active anti-vaccine forums. How many HIV+ mothers listened to her advice?

Don’t recognize the name Christine Marjorie?

That’s because he really means Christine Maggiore.

Christine Maggiore spoke at the Harlem AIDS Forum in 1998. Her daughter, Eliza Jane, was born three years later.

Christine Maggiore, “the notorious AIDS denialist who barely escaped felony charges in 2006 after her baby died untreated for HIV, has herself succumbed to the disease she claimed did not exist.”

She died in 2008.

“Dr. Jay Gordon, a Santa Monica pediatrician who had treated Eliza Jane since she was a year old, said he should have demanded she be tested for the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, when, 11 days before she died, Maggiore brought her in with an apparent ear infection.”

HIV skeptic faces child’s death

Her daughter, Eliza Jane Scovill, died with AIDS related pneumonia in 2005.

And now the same folks who were pushing misinformation in a forum about HIV are holding a forum about vaccines to scare people away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Or I should say another forum about vaccines pushing misinformation…

“…Reverend Sharpton’s National Action Network will host the Harlem Vaccine Forum at its 106 West 145th St. headquarters at noon. Medical doctors, holistic health practitioners, lawyers, activists and parents will discuss recent changes in New York’s vaccine laws that have a dramatic and disproportionate impact on African American families and their rights to religious practice, education and parental rights.”

Mary Holland on New York’s repeal of the religious exemption to vaccines: what it means for African American families

Misinformation from “medical doctors, holistic health practitioners, lawyers, activists and parents” targeting African American families that might already have lower vaccination rates.

“Compared with white children, black children had lower coverage with ≥3 and ≥4 doses of DTaP, the primary and full series of Hib, ≥3 and ≥4 doses of PCV, ≥2 doses of HepA, the completed rotavirus vaccine series, and the 7-vaccine series (Table 2).”

Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19–35 Months — United States, 2016

Maybe Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Harlem Vaccine Forum should focus on that issue…

“I do not believe in silencing people, because to silence people means to assume that I am so gullible that I am going to believe something because I hear it. If everyone is heard, then everyone can make their own decision.”

Rev. Al Sharpton at the Harlem HIV Forum

While he obviously doesn’t believe all of the ideas of the people that appear at his meetings, rallies, and forums, he would hopefully realize that providing these speakers with a platform to push their false ideas about vaccines creates the impression with many people that they have equal weight with the opinions of experts.

That gets in the way of the message that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are necessary.

More on the The Harlem Vaccine Forum

Five Things to Know About the Reporting on California’s New Vaccine Law

California has a new vaccine law, and based on the media coverage, a lot of folks still don’t understand what it does or how to report about vaccines and the anti-vaccine movement…

“Other opponents say the law tries to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Elizabeth Aguilera on Five Things to Know About California’s New Vaccine Law

As is typically the case, the problem is false balance.

Five Things to Know About the Reporting on California’s New Vaccine Law

Before we talk about what California’s new vaccine law does, let’s remind folks about what it doesn’t do.

What does the new law do?

It doesn’t eliminate all exemptions, stop doctors from writing medical exemptions, require all exemptions to be reviewed, or revoke all medical exemptions.

It simply helps stop providers who are writing inappropriate vaccine exemptions – or at least keep them from writing more than four inappropriate vaccine exemptions.

How did we get here?

It is no surprise how California ended up passing two vaccine laws in four years.

The state has a problem with clusters of unvaccinated kids. Unfortunately, the first vaccine law, SB277, didn’t fix the issue, as some providers found that they could get around it by writing unnecessary medical exemptions.

Some even found that they could make money writing these exemptions!

The vast majority of kids are vaccinated, so what’s the big deal?

While it is great if a state has high immunization rates, that doesn’t mean as much if half the kids in your child’s school are unvaccinated.

This is known as a breakdown of herd immunity.

It puts kids at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease, especially if they have a true medical exemption.

Are vaccines dangerous, as some critics say?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks.

What is dangerous, are the folks who push misinformation about vaccines that scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids. Why don’t we hear more stories about them in the media?

So is this fight over now?

While this should be a time when everyone starts to learn about why vaccines are safe and necessary, unfortunately, some are doubling down and still don’t want to vaccinate and protect their kids.

Did the opposition write this article in the Valley News?
Did “the opposition” write this article in the Valley News?

That might change if instead of simply printing what the opposition says in the spirit of being balanced, the media ever actually fact checks what the opponents to SB 276 and other vaccine laws have been doing and saying…

More On Reporting About Vaccines

Reactions to SB 276 Passing the Assembly

On the same day that the LA Times wrote what some are calling a false balance about Bob Sears, SB 276 passed the California Assembly and Gavin Newsom called for the addition of amendments that would protect doctors who have been writing an excessive amount of medical exemptions.

Gavin Newsom's proposed amendments could weaken SB276.
Exempting individual medical information on exemptions from the Public Records Act is not a bad idea.

Coincidence?

Reactions to SB 276 Passing the Assembly

As the amendments only serve to weaken SB276, Governor Newsom should consider backing off on his request to change the bill, especially as he had previously said he would support it.

Protecting kids from vaccine preventable diseases is unethical and evil???
Protecting kids from vaccine preventable diseases is unethical and evil???

While the amendments will protect those who have been writing inappropriate medical exemptions, they won’t appease most people who are against SB 276.

Who is talking about forcibly injecting people with vaccines? Remember, mandates don't force anyone to get vaccinated and protected...
Who is talking about forcibly injecting people with vaccines? Remember, mandates don’t force anyone to get vaccinated and protected…

Especially as most of those folks still don’t understand exactly what SB276 does!

SB 276 does not eliminate all medical exemptions.
SB 276 does not eliminate all medical exemptions.

What silent loophole are these folks talking about?

The nephew of California State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez is immunocompromised.

“His doctor said no, he can’t have live vaccines, so no, he can’t be immunized against measles or chicken pox. Every time he is not in the hospital, he wants to be in school, but those diseases could kill him. Definitely put him back in the hospital. These are the children, the truly medically fragile children that we are trying to prevent from getting these diseases and why it’s so important.”

California State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Assembly Floor Session, Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

He has a medical exemption to getting vaccinated.

Unless the medical exemption is to all vaccines and not just live vaccines, he won’t lose his exemption and won’t need a “silent loophole.”

Having a “known severe immunodeficiency” is a well known contraindication to getting live vaccines, including MMR and the chickenpox vaccine.

Not only would his exemption be allowed, it not be one of only 5 exemptions that his doctor is allowed to make!
Not only would his exemption be allowed, it would not be one of only 5 exemptions that his doctor is allowed to make!

SB276 also doesn’t limit the number of medical exemptions that doctors can write. It just states that if a doctor writes 5 or more exemptions in a calendar year, then those exemptions will be reviewed by a medical panel to make sure that they are legitimate.

Why do 5 exemptions trigger a review? Because the average doctor will likely not need to write that many medical exemptions, as there are very few true medical reasons to avoid or skip vaccines. What if a doctor writes 10 or 15 legitimate medical exemptions? If they are reviewed and found to be legitimate, then 10 or 15 of their patients will have medical exemptions!

How will they revolt - because they don't want to vaccinate and protect their kids?
How will they revolt – because they don’t want to vaccinate and protect their kids?

Are Newsom’s amendments going to stop folks who are talking about revolutions?

Wait, which amendment is she talking about???

Is it going to protect kids from those who might continue to get unnecessary, permanent exemptions until the protections of SB 276 finally do take effect?

More on SB276

Who is Rita Palma?

Rita Palma?

WUSB needs to learn a thing or two about false balance...
WUSB needs to learn a thing or two about false balance

Who?

Who is Rita Palma?

Rita Palma is a parent in New York who had her request for a religious vaccine exemption turned down by Bayport-Bluepoint School District in New York in 2008.

“About two years ago I hit a wall with it,” she said. “I said I was going to listen to my inner voice. The whole vaccination process is based on fear of getting diseases but I would rather put my faith in God to heal diseases.”

Rita Palma on More Families Are Shunning Inoculations

Since then, she has been selling a step-by-step guide and instructions that teach parents how to “craft a unique and honest letter that is religiously based so it fits perfectly with the law.”

A unique and honest letter to do what?

Get a religious vaccine exemption because they “hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary” to getting vaccinated and protected.

“After reading the book, if you need to retain my services for letter-writing purposes, please contact me for fees.”

She also has vaccine exemption workshops, in which she can apparently teach you what your genuine and sincere religious beliefs are and why you need an exemption based on those genuine and sincere religious beliefs, even though extremely few religions are actually against vaccines.

But didn’t they just pass a law in New York ending religious exemptions for vaccines?

I imagine that’s going to cut into her business of teaching folks to abuse religious exemptions

As the media gives these folks attention, they should make sure they give the full story.

More on Rita Palma