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Anti-Vaxxers on the March Nationwide

2019 promises to be a banner year for the number of measles outbreaks in the United States.

A disease that many thought was completely under control is making a comeback – along with whooping cough, the mumps, and rubella.

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And there’s little doubt why:  more and more Americans are resisting mandatory childhood vaccination.

The “Anti-Vax” movement got its start in 1998 when a researcher in the UK published a study showing a link between vaccination and autism, a childhood communications disorder that is rapidly on the rise.

No less than 12 separate researchers have tried to debunk the 1998 study, exposing numerous flaws.  One investigation claimed that the lead UK researcher, Andrew Wakefield, deliberately falsified his results.

Another revealed that Wakefield was paid a large sum – a half-million dollars – by a funder interested in finding a vaccination-autism link.

It hasn’t mattered.  Public distrust of government-funded medical campaigns continues to skyrocket.

Even before the autism scare, some segments of the populace disputed the need for vaccinations, especially of children.

Some argue that the vaccines, including flu vaccines, are ineffective or that they cause the very illnesses they’re supposed to prevent.

Other say vaccinations are simply unnecessary.  Improved sanitation and personal hygiene are the real reason that diseases like measles and even polio began to decline in the late 1950s.

Vaccinations, they argue, are simply a way of making drug companies rich.  They also help indoctrinate the citizenry into thinking they need government-funded medicine and expensive doctors to stay healthy, rather than simply taking better care of themselves.

Within the African-American community, there has long been deep distrust of the public health establishment dating to the infamous Tuskegee experiment that deliberately exposed Black men to syphilis to study the effects of the disease.

To this day African Americans resist participating in clinical trials of new drugs because of lingering fears of the contamination or even death that might result.

In recent years, some government-funded information campaigns designed to allay public fear of vaccines have actually backfired.  Many parents who were unaware of the controversy have turned against vaccines once they learned of the alleged dangers.

Another factor that’s stoking the anti-vax movement is the high-level support it’s received from outspoken politicians like Sen. Rand Paul and a host of Hollywood celebrities, including Jim Carrey and Jessica Biel.

Paul, during the 2016 presidential campaign, railed against vaccines as an infringement on personal liberty and despite criticism from the medical establishment, has refused to let up.

In March of this year, Paul, who is a doctor, was the only lawmaker at a public hearing to speak out against mandatory vaccinations.

He acknowledged that his own family had been vaccinated but said it is “wrong to say there are no risks to vaccines.”

His comments drew rapturous applause from anti-vaccination advocates in attendance.

At the time of the hearing, there were just 211 confirmed measles cases in 11 states.  Currently, there are nearly 1200 cases in 17 states, but more cases are expected.

Most of these cases are clustered in six “outbreaks,” primarily in the Pacific Northwest.

In response to these outbreaks, some states are moving to strengthen their vaccination laws, mainly by limiting the number and types of exemptions allowed.  But they’re facing stiff opposition from increasingly well-organized parents.

In June, for example, a proposed California bill to limit medical exemptions from vaccinations for schoolchildren drew loud protests from anti-vax forces, who crammed a public hearing to voice their opposition.

Similar pressures were felt in Oregon and Washington, where a large portion of the current measles outbreaks are concentrated.

Oregon has the nation’s most lenient policies toward exemptions, allowing parents to opt-out virtually at will.

Supporters of the bills limiting the exemptions have been surprised by the strength of grassroots opposition.   In most cases, legislatures have decided to table their bills, fearing the political fall-out that might result from successful passage.

The Centers for Disease Control and other medical authorities have criticized the information available online about vaccinations, saying it is heavily biased in favor of the anti-vax movement.

An analysis conducted by the left-wing Guardian newspaper in the UK found that Facebook search results for groups and pages with information about vaccines were “dominated by anti-vaccination propaganda.”

The Guardian also found that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm “steers viewers from fact-based medical information toward anti-vaccine misinformation.”

Facebook has announced that it will crack down on anti-vaccination “misinformation” content online.  YouTube has announced a similar effort, though analysts are skeptical that either effort will succeed.

If anything, anti-vaccination forces seem to have grown stronger politically in recent years.

Trust in public health authorities is declining, and parents are demanding greater control over health care information and the decisions affecting their children especially.

That may mean having the right to be wrong and expecting everyone – including their own families — to live with the consequences.

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About Stewart L

Stewart Lawrence is a trained sociologist and political scientist and a regular columnist for the Washington Times and the Federalist. He is also a former feature contributor to Inside Philanthropy, Counterpunch and the Huffington Post. In 2012 and 2016, he covered the US presidential election campaign for the conservative news magazine Daily Caller. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor and Washington Post. He is currently working on a book about the politics of US immigration policy.

13 comments

  1. I’m old, and I’ve had all those named diseases. Today’s parents, most likely vaccinated, haven’t had them, so they have no idea what their children may face.

  2. dr wakefield was “discredited” by a dishonest journalist who was hired by a drug co to find dirt on him. when he couldn’t find any, he smeared wakefield w/lies & 1/2 truths including manipulating timelines in order to make him look like he was seeking financial gain. if u read all the info as well as the misinfo, u can draw ur own conclusions. the fact that the govt vaccine court has given millions to families of vaccine injured kids, says something about the “safety” of vaccines.

  3. When I was a kid, no one got into public school without being vaccinated. Anti-vax makes no sense. All the hype about vaccines causing ADD, or whatever, has been proven false. Comes now the illegals, bringing disease (and bugs) with them, and we will continue to see more illnesses we had eradicated. If these parents are listening to Hollywood, they are foolish indeed.

    • Your comment about all of the Illegals allowed into our Country and I add without proper vetting … like we did at Ellis Island … to determine if they were sick or had been, any diseases, where they came from, what skills they had, did they have a Sponsor, who their relatives were, any criminal history, their age, marital status, etc.

      I ask: WHY do we not see Media talking about the correlation between diseases showing up here again and the number of Illegals coming in?

  4. I recommend you do your homework before you write articles like this. First, there is a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Second, go to vaccineinjury(dot)info, then navigate to Vaccine damages section, read reports. Thirdly, there is a channel on YouTube called “VAXXED TV”. If you deny all of these because of your belief, you are not a journalist, period.

  5. First and foremost, vaccines are not mandatory. This is still a free country and we get to choose what medical choices we make (or so we should). Everyone knows that all medical procedures and vaccines are included come with risks and we should all have “Informed Choice” regarding medical decisions. That being said, with informed choice, hopefully parents will make the informed appropriate choice with the help of their doctors for their children. Note that measles, etc. on the rise, is coming from people from other countries and it is even spreading to those of us who have been vaccinated. Maybe, people would have more trust in vaccines and their testing if doctors and pharmaceutical companies could be sued if they were negligent in some manner in either their production or testing of the vaccines which they are trying to require people to take.

  6. Vaccines caused my daughter problems. You don’t inject the disease into little children hoping they develop an immunity to it. You wait until they are fully developed if at all. You never hear about the ones that it has damaged.

    • Well of course not! I goes against the religion of Doctorism. And the vodoo experts with their potions that we are supposed to guzzle down! Notice that these are moderated. They surely won’t want MY responses up here.

  7. I don’t know…seems to me that pumping mercury, formaldehyde, monkey puss, snake venom and a host of other things that you don’t have in your system to start is a great idea! And those people in the drug industry are such fine upstanding PSYCHOPATHS! We should ALWAYS believe them! Do you sense a bit of SARCASM? Fact is, they try to FORCE us to vaccinate I will show them first hand why the 2nd amendment was put in the Constitution.

  8. You people who censor folks that disagree with us, can stick your needles up your ass. I’ve got an answer for forced vaccinations…A FUCKING BULLET TO THE HEAD OF THOSE ADMINISTERING IT. Got it your fucking psychopathic pieces of shit? I know this won’t make it up but if it does…you’ll shock me.

  9. Apparently we are to just call me and my daughter collateral damage and move on. Tens of thousands in this USA have reported reactions to vaccines but we are silenced, ignored or just called lairs. I am living it and have watched my daughter suffer for over ten years now so don’t tell me it didn’t happen.

  10. Wow, Some of the intensity and lack of decorum illustrate what is wrong in today’s society. I am not a psychopath or advocate killing to get a point across. I hope Mr. Reynolds does not have access to a weapon.

    In Florida a shot and health form must be on file in order for the students to be admitted to a preschool, elementary, middle or high school program. Parents have the absolute right to bring their children to school without vaccines. In order to do this, a form must be obtained from the Heath Department that states the child has no vaccines. It takes the place of the shot record. Being in the school system, I see an increase in kids without shots. Generally, during an outbreak the children that are harmed or get sick are the children who have no protection from the virus (s). I have also seen outbreaks in which children without vaccines are urged to stay home to reduce exposure. The state of Florida respects a parents right to choose but also realizes that the ones who generally get the virus (s) are the children whose parents have decided not to get them vaccinated. In my school, I have seen children without vaccinations get very sick because they have no protection. This is a risk. I have also heard (but have not seen evidence) of shots causing harm. This is also a risk.
    Supporting parent’s rights is paramount. Parent’s should also take personal responsibility for making the best decision for their children. Instead of threatening bodily harm or using vulgar words we should take advantage of parent rights and not disparage people because they make different decisions. What are we teaching/modeling if we use behavior and language like above? If a parent is extremely unhappy they have the right to home school.

  11. There is no free lunch. This is an age old axiom modeled by our grandparents’ parents that is plainly seen in this situation of distrust of the medical community. Simply put, the medical “experts” have lied to the public a number of times on very important issues. To name a few: during the late sixties, the medical intelligentsia led the public to believe antibiotics would bring a final solution to diseases of infection facing the modern man; there was also a brief period of a few years when the prevailing knowledge from the medical community seemed to suggest formula was superior to breast milk; in recent years, the “experts” have announced there is no appreciable difference between same sex parents and traditional heterosexual parents as far as being beneficial for child rearing; and finally, the recent foray of physicians into the arena of gun control. These are four examples of medical doctors and their cohorts espousing beliefs as science settled fact when most rational thinking humans know intuitively these “facts” are erroneous.

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