Recently, the world press is breathlessly reporting an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”). It was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Predictably, the second that the story about this coronavirus hit the clickbait headlines across the world, the anti-vaccine conspiracists started pushing all kinds of ignorant nonsense.
You know those conspiracies like the military (unknown which one) created the virus to kill people. Or China is trying to destroy ‘Murica. Or Bill Gatesinvented the virus (well, if he did, it’s because of Windows 7). Or Big Pharma created the virus because they have a secret vaccine that they can sell for billions of gold bars.
Of course, there isn’t a scintilla of evidence that any of those conspiracies are true. However, if the coronavirus does become a worldwide epidemic (and it hasn’t so far), then the CDC, WHO, and Big Pharma will work feverishly to find a vaccine to prevent it.
Recently, I wrote an article about measles immune suppression, a serious complication of the disease, and one of the great reasons to get the measles vaccine. According to two peer-reviewed articles, one published in the prestigious journal Science and the other article in a sister journal Science Immunology, researchers described that measles infections destroyed some immune memory cells, causing the individual to lose protection to some diseases.
It’s been well known for years that measles damages the immune system, one of the many dangerous complications of the disease. That’s one of the many reasons why we are so strongly in favor of the MMR vaccine and so strongly against measles outbreaks.
Of course, the anti-vaccine zealots will continue to believe that “natural” measles infections will confer some super-immunity to their children. Many deliberately try to infect their kids with the disease.
Even though dogs have access to a Lyme disease vaccine, there has not been a vaccine available for humans for 18 years. But that’s about to change, considering how much the tick responsible for the disease has spread.
Just to be clear, vaccine manufacturers do not value dogs more than humans for a Lyme disease vaccine. In reality, the blame for why there isn’t a Lyme disease vaccine can be placed right where some of you expect it to be – loud-mouthed, misinformed anti-vaccine zealots who lacked any scientific evidence supporting their claims.
Of course, the issues with the original Lyme disease vaccine happened in the mid-1990s, and the internet was in its infancy (hello AltaVista). But there were people pushing the same narrative that we hear about the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine – they claimed, without any scientific evidence, that the Lyme disease vaccine was actually worse than the disease itself.
That certainly sounds familiar!
But a new Lyme disease vaccine might be on its way fairly soon. That means adults and children can run in the grass, go hiking, and generally enjoy the outdoors without worrying about this debilitating disease.
Here we go again, another anti-vaccine trope based on one paper without adequate scientific criticism of the said paper. What is this trope? Mumps and measles infections prevent heart disease and stroke. Let me jump right to the conclusion – wrong.
By my calculations, natural infection with the measles and mumps will prevent millions of heart attacks and strokes. Why is this information not all over the TV and internet? I will tell you why. Because mainstream media is in bed with Big Pharma who pay their bills. The politicians are slaves to their corporate masters. Our children should be exposed to every virus and bacteria for which a vaccine exists.
The author’s shrill claim is based on a 2015 article published in the lower impact factor journal, Atherosclerosis. The authors concluded that “measles and mumps, especially in case of both infections, were associated with lower risks of mortality from atherosclerotic CVD (cardiovascular disease).”
One of the tropes of the anti-vaccine religion is that childhood diseases, like measles or whooping cough, are not dangerous. But real science tells us that measles complications, like SSPE (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis) and death, are not innocuous. The ignorance about measles puts our children at risk.
Despite this lack of scientific, medical and clinical evidence, a whole cottage industry has arisen to promote the myth of chronic Lyme disease along with selling expensive treatments that have shown little or no clinical efficacy. Furthermore, a whole activist movement that argues that CLD is a real disease, and they can be a vociferous and radical as your every day anti-vaccine activist. In fact, a lot of the arguments are similar between the CLD and anti-vaccine groups – over-reliance on anecdotes, cherry-picking scientific articles, and claims of some sort of conspiracy.
Despite the rigid beliefs of the anti-vaccine religion, the science is settled – vaccines are not causally linked to autism or any other neurodevelopmental issue. Arguing about this is a waste of time, if not for the fact that some parents might resist vaccinating their children because they heard these unfounded claims. But that doesn’t mean scientific research has quit looking for what causes autism.
Of course, these outbreaks and epidemics have lead to the “blame game” from the antivaccination cult, because they have claimed that since A) most kids are vaccinated, and B) we’re having this outbreak, then C) either the vaccines are useless or are actually the cause of the outbreak. Seriously. They blame the vaccines.
Since this outbreak will undoubtedly lead to the typical antivaccine rhetoric about the whooping cough vaccines, DTaP or Tdap (which also protect against tetanus and diphtheria), I decided to search the internet to find the most popular vaccine denialist arguments regarding pertussis vaccinations–then debunk them. Hopefully, this will be useful for those who are observing what’s going on in Reno.