Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Correcting "misinformation week"-week

The Ministry for the promotion of infectious diseases has anounced a “Vaccine Awareness Week” from november 1-6. To counter the spread of the denialism-virus by the we-need-no-stinkin'-science-crowd David Gorski has suggested an antidotum. As Steven Novella writes:
we will be posting science-based information about vaccines, and countering anti-vaccine misinformation throughout the week. Look for these posts on Respectful Insolence (Orac has also announced the event), here at NeuroLogica, and on Science-Based Medicine.
The team supporting science consists of the people at Science-Based Medicine and Neurologica, Orac, PalMD, Tod W., and Science Mom. If you are resistant to the denialism-virus because of a predilection for the scientific method you can follow their contributions through their pages or via Twitter using hastag #vaxfax. Naturally, should you be suffering from, and willing to be vaccinated (pun intended) against, the promote-ignorance-at-all-costs-virus you are more than welcome too.

Update: Other participants are Science-Based Pharmacy, and Scott Gavura, and Skepacabra. Seed Magazine offers an explanation as to why people are unwilling to vaccinate:
As Sam Harris argues in his new book The Moral Landscape, we have a bias against sins of commission rather than sins of omission.     
This means that the consequences of action are perceived as morally worse than those of inaction. Even if the result is the same. In the manufactroversy surounding vaccination
they see the government or meddling doctors causing autism—a sin of commission. But parents who don’t get their children vaccinated and end up causing a measles outbreak are only committing the lesser sin of omission.
Humans are also naturally biased to favor their own children over others’ kids, and to prioritize present dangers (like the growing autism crisis) over remote ones (like the dim memory of measles). Other biases may be in effect as well. Powerful biases such as these are difficult to overcome, but perhaps as we begin to see more and more potentially deadly outbreaks of preventable diseases, public opinion will change. Our attention to the question of autism might then be redirected towards research on effective treatments—but sadly, only at the cost of serious illness in children who might have been protected by vaccines.
While CNN reports on yet another victim, Matthew Lacek, of the infectious-disease-promotion-movement. And in 2008:
Measles—a highly contagious disease-causing virus—is making a comeback in the U.S., thanks to parents fears over vaccines. Fifteen children under 20, including four babies, have been hospitalized and 131 sickened by the red splotches since the beginning of this year in 15 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
According to Scientific American. But hey, we all know vaccines are evil.

Update II: The fruits of years of being educated by irrational fanatics, as CNN tells us:
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has claimed the 10th victim in California, in what health officials are calling the worst outbreak in 60 years.
Luckily, pertussis is not as dangerous as vaccinations are.


  1. Hi Dr. N

    1. I tweeted a couple of blogging MDs like Doc Rob -- maybe you know more & can spread the word

    2. After the long-running conversation at Shot of Prevention


    583 comments! Thousands of page views!

    I want to draw a distinction between doubtful, fearful parents (who can be swayed by evidence) and the hard core, entrenched, evidence-resistant anti-vaccinationists.

  2. Unfortunately most doubt is a product of deliberate misleading propaganda by ideologues. So, those fearful parents are being manipulated by the fearmongering of predators from the anti-(medical) science camp.

  3. Thanks for the add.