Antivaccine movement’s bad PR hits critical mass

Six months ago we were looking at a serious flu pandemic, a very strong  and vocal campaign demonizing vaccines, as well as a growing public distrust of vaccines and the entire medical industry. But then a funny thing happened. Despite all their bark, the antivaccine movement proved to lack sufficient bite, as enough Americans still seem to have gotten vaccinated against one or both prominent strains of flu, leading to a dramatically reduced number of flu cases and flu-related deaths this season.

It also goes without saying that none of the doom-saying predictions made by the antivaccine crowd panned out either. There was no dramatic increase in autism, Guillian-Barre Syndrome, or dystonia. Nor were there many deaths or serious injuries directly linked to the vaccines. And many of the “alternative” “medicines” the antivaccine crowd flock to like homeopathy and chiropractic  also got hammered with terrible press. But that’s not all that went wrong for the antivaccine movement over the last few months. There are numerous other reasons why 2010 is already proving devastating to their entire movement. … continue reading this entry.

Dangerous Legal Games

Shackling Reason

(Image Pelham Library)

The anti-vaccine community is at it again, launching inane legal assaults in an attempt to gain a foothold in their war against science and reason. This time, Barbara Loe Fisher, infamous founder of the ironically-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), has launched a libel suit against Paul Offit, renowned vaccine expert and Chief of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I can only hope some good will come of this idiocy. First, some background. … continue reading this entry.

Is this a media tipping point?

The_associated_press_building_in_new_york_city_SMI’m not sure I should be even writing this article.  I’m worried I’m going to encounter some kind of quantum news effects, where if I somehow manage to probe into the inner workings of American Media, maybe I’ll accidentally send one electron flying off in the wrong direction, letting off some cascade that erases exactly what I want to talk to you about.  So it is with great trepidation that I tell you this.  In the words of Buffalo Springfield, “There’s something happening here.  What it is ain’t exactly clear.”  In the past week, I’ve seen two stories in relatively mainstream news outlets that actually take the scientific perspective on vaccines and alternative medicine.

Please tell me the waveform didn’t just collapse. … continue reading this entry.

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