Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Anti-Vaccination Groups: What's In a Name?

I just finished reading a piece on Slate written by Phil Plait entitled Antivaxxers Using Billboards to Promote Their Dangerous Message and I couldn't help but give a shout-out for an amazing article.

Plait speaks about the unfortunately named "National Vaccination Information Center" or NVIC, and how they are quick to point out what their perceive as "risks and failures" of vaccines, yet they never seem to mention any of the benefits.  The President of the NVIC, Barbara Loe Fischer, claims that she wants to have an honest discussion about vaccines, but the reality is she is only concerned with presenting her side of the issue and you will not find any pro-vaccine materials on her website (nor will you find peer-reviewed science detailing the effectiveness of vaccines).

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that Plait would find fault with the NVIC, because he himself is a scientist. He understands the scientific method, he understands that we need to let the science guide our beliefs rather than opinions and anecdotes, therefore I'm not at all shocked to learn his feelings of the NVIC.  In fact, any reputable student of the sciences or even anyone with an open mind should come to the same conclusions.

If an organization wishes to be anti-vaccine that is certainly their right.  I'll even support their right to do so provided they aren't dishonest about what led them to hold those views.  However, when an organization like the NVIC pretends to want an open and honest discussion about vaccines while actually promoting an obvious bias against vaccines and while refusing to acknowledge published data surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines... well then they have crossed the line into quackery and thus they don't deserve a place at the table.

Clearly people like Fischer and the other members of the NVIC's leadership team aren't concerned with educating the public about the pros and cons of vaccines but rather they are only concerned with spreading their unscientific antivaxxer viewpoints.  I find that upsetting not because of the message itself, but because they go out of their way to create these false front organizations with clever names that are actually designed from the start to confuse people.  Just look at their name: "National Vaccination Information Center".  That suggests by visiting their website you might actually find unbiased information about vaccines... but that simply isn't true, and it is nothing short of a marketing tactic designed to deceive - all in the name of spreading misinformation.

This is one case where I think other nations do a better job than we do in the United States. For example in Australia they have a group very similar in scope to the NVIC that goes by the name of "Australian Vaccination Network" (AVN). Prior to that name, they called themselves "Vaccination Awareness Network".  Both of these names are extremely misleading and suggest that someone visiting them could expect unbiased information about vaccines.  However the truth is, the AVN is a well known anti-vaccination group whose sole mission is to provide information against vaccination.  They have no interest in providing both sides of the issue, they have no interest in providing peer-reviewed data surrounding the efficacy of vaccines, and they have no interest in acting as a source of reputable unbiased vaccine information.

This is why, in December 2012 the New South Wales Office of Fair Trading issued an order for the AVN to change its name as the current name was misleading the public.  They have until tomorrow (March 21st) to change their name or they may face deregistration - although as of this writing their website is still operating under the Australian Vaccination Network name.

The obvious question at play here is - why don't they simply change their name to the "Australian Anti-Vaccination Network" or even simply "Anti-Vaccination Network" so they could keep using the same acronym?  That would be a much more accurate representation of their true purpose, and updating their letterhead and business cards would be quick and easy!  Yet we know they won't willingly allow the public to be alerted to their stance because their goal is to confuse the public and mislead them into thinking they are being presented with both sides of the issue when in fact they are nothing but a front for a well funded anti-vaccination group.

Anyway, the original point is that Australia saw a name which was misleading and downright dishonest, and they did something about it.  If the US did the same, the "National Vaccination Information Center" would be forced to use a name that is more in line with their purpose as well... which would likely result in them being called something like the "National Anti-Vaccination Information Center" or "The Anti-Vaccination and Anti-Science Center of America" (or TAVASCA if you prefer).  Better yet perhaps they could use my personal favorite name of "Barbara's Anti-Vaccination Emporium".  You have to admit no matter what you think of vaccines, there is a certain ring to any name with the word 'emporium' in the title.

So this all makes us wonder - why are antivaxxers so determined to mislead the public?  Why must they purposefully choose names for their little organizations that cloud their true goals?  Why do they hide behind clever marketing rather than admitting their primary purpose is to spread anti-vaccine propaganda?  It certainly seems if they were proud of their stance against vaccines, and if they were really concerned with educating the public on their point of view, the very first thing they would do is use a name that is reflective of those viewpoints... yet antivaxxers never do.  I find that incredibly telling, and it shows us right from the start that antivaxxers have no interest in having honest discussions about vaccines.


  1. I do not agree with the vaccines one size fits all approach. Alot of mothers and babies are in different stages of health in regards to ie their physical, nutrional, social and emotional wellbeing we are different in our genetics as well. Some mothers may have underlying health issues such as secondary thyroid, aneamia, lacking in vitamin c or may have copper toxcity all of these conditions affect the conversion of important nutrients to the unborn child for their developement. When that child is born then has to be vaccinated again and again each time the amount of Metallothionein is compromised. Metallothionein is needed in many functions such as immunity, brain and gastrointestinal tract maturation and the regalation of heavy metals ie copper and mecury. The adrenal glands are compromised and so is the immune system. Depending on the Metallothionein reserve passed on by the mother through her diet to the child the results will then vary in that childs development and health. This has led me to believe that vaccines do not suit everyone are not consistent as immune system stressors and endocrine disruptors.

    1. You know what the great part about this is? Doctors actually are the first to tell you that vaccines aren't for everyone. They won't work on everyone, and in some cases there are pre-existing conditions or allergies that preclude their use.

      That is why it is so important for those of us who are healthy and who are able to be vaccinated to be up to date our on vaccinations. This minimizes the chances that we will contract diseases that could then be passed to those unprotected by vaccines. Herd immunity at work - it is an amazing thing.

      That said, the benefits of vaccines are exponentially greater than the risks, and you have a much higher chance of contracting a disease AND having life-threatening effects from that disease than you do with having any complications as a result of a vaccination.

      This entire concept reminds me of people who refuse to buckle their seatbelts because they claim if their car starts on fire it might take longer to get out. Never mind the fact that the number of people killed due to a lack of seat belt usage is likely millions of times greater than those killed from a random automobile fire... but logic isn't exactly a strength of the anti-vaxxer movement.

  2. Logic you say your logic is based on the fear of immediate death and all these scare campaigns that makes everyone cry out that someone will come and infect you all. Mass hysteria really to make the masses more compliant to get their shots. The luck of the draw argument of complications from vaccines doesn't convince me either I would rather avoid them altogether.

    My brother was vaccinated for mumps and whooping cough he still got both so what was the point of it all. At the same time I have met some anivexxers whose children are rarely sick who have organic diets to boost their immunity. Once again I will tell you that it is a known fact that Vaccines compromise immunity and our endocrine systems which then passes on to our unborn children. Therefore over each generation our immunity is being depleted by vaccines and because we are all different in health status and ethnicity we have a range of resulting conditions.

    Vaccines MAKE US SICK not HEALTHY ... and now we enter the age of chronic disease which is dominant in western society as well as coincidently vaccinations. Is it a coincidence that the two are connected no because once again I will tell you that Vaccinations disrupt the function of our endocrine systems which requires normal function for our metabolism and organs to function and because they are being compromised by vaccinating is it any wonder that diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and cancer rates are rising.

    You cannot blame people for looking outside of the box who are actually switched on they are seeing connections you do not want to see. Money is the name of the game here and at our expense chronic disease is big business. If WHO really gave a damn they should be putting health promotion information out there for everyone to take care of their endocrine systems then we wouldn't have so much chronic disease.

    But if this was so someone would be made accountable and a trillion dollar industry built on the trusting compliancy of masses will be lost. The scientific medical world will become a mockery and will lose face over the trusting masses over the money wasted on cures when prevention is really cheaper. I studied public health and I've started to see alot of contradictions. There are cancers that are preventable but there isn't enough information out there. Alot of conditions can be prevented but you really need to get a good head start in life and if you think vaccines are they way to go THEY ARE NOT.

    This is an argument that will never be won when I was younger I wore rose tinted glasses too I never would have thought of such a thing to be wary of vaccines. While your motivation is fear based on immediate death. I believe most antivexxers motivation is based on life in the long term and choosing quality of life for their children. I'm not convinced enough on the logic of fear as a motivator for vaccines especially when there are not enough long term studies out there on them.

    1. Yes I understand every antivaxxer on the planet claims their unvaccinated kids are never sick and they are miracle children. Unfortunately anecdotal evidence isn't really good enough to base policy decisions on. Essentially - show me the science and then maybe we can chat.

      As to your comments surrounding the "age of chronic disease" again show me the science. We are living longer and curing more disease than ever before... in no small part to vaccines. Remind me again how many people die of polio and smallbox in today's age?

      Again - if you claim vaccines make us "sick not healthy" by all means show me the science to support this? Do you have a single peer reviewed study showing that the risks of vaccines outweigh the benefits? No - you don't - because no such studies exist. This is because everyone who has honestly studied the subject and who has let the data guide them has determined that vaccines work. They save lives. They prevent disease. They do exactly what they are supposed to do.

      To top things off you then resort to the old "big pharma, trillion dollar industry" conspiracy theory? Come on - surely you can do better.

      You may feel you have studied public health, but I don't feel that using Google qualifies as "study". If you really studied public health, the science and research would overwhelmingly drive you towards the commonly accepted fact that vaccines are one of the world's most significant medical and scientific advancements, and you would also be aware that there is a significant body of evidence that surrounds the long term safety and efficacy of vaccines. Yet you don't let the evidence guide you. Instead you resort to conspiracy theories and anecdotal evidence from people who most likely have never taken so much as a single college level science course and who are grossly unfamiliar with the scientific method.

  3. Brainless sheep you can't even hold a decent debate you are a wannabe intellect who regurgitates scientific data but I doubt you are even able to interpret it.

    1. So I guess that means you don't have the science to support your views that vaccines cause more harm than good? Color me surprised!

      Here is a bit of advice - if you wish to be taken seriously it is helpful if you come up with a better gimmick than simply calling everyone a "brainless sheep" or "sheeple". I realize it is frustrating when you aren't able to produce one single piece of scientific evidence that links vaccines to any of the random medical conditions you seem to think they are responsible for (autism, various brain disorders or even death)... but projecting your insecurities upon others who have science on their side isn't going to help your case.

      By the way, peppering your comments with direct insults probably isn't the best way to get your comments published. Feel free to keep your vitriol to yourself on your own blogs and websites if you feel that helps your "case".

      Have a nice day!

  4. Ha Ha ha you know whats SO funny about you is that you never posted my other comments because you are intimidated by my argument because all you can do is parrot big pharma and anecdotal evidence to shut my arguments down and you are STILL dillusional enough to think I am this other person. You are not even smart enough to decipher that I am Australian and I am well of aware of current health issues between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians.

    I don't think you understood my points about our endocrine systems either which are connected to the function of our organs and what impact vaccines have on it but how are you to know when you only see vaccines as harmless but you don't see where our bodies fit in this whole picture.

    Our bodies are amazing and we take them for granted we assume we are healthy but most people don't realise we may have underlying health issues. We don't just arrive in a diseased state we get there as it is progressive. That's why we need to prevent conditions from developing over time by doing whats right for our bodies and checking our health status continually ei gfr, blood cholestoral and blood sugar.

    I also never mentioned autism in my answer only chronic disease I bet you don't even know what CHRONIC DISEASE is since you mentioned autism as in my conclusion you are a wannabe intellectual who cannot can argue a point openly on your blog because you will look like a fool.

    There is no evidence and believe me I have looked to go against vaccines and you clowns know this to back your idiotic argument but I have seen there are lone doctors out there who give a damn about their patients who have put papers out and were shunned by medical associations who also are threatened to have their livliehoods taken away.

    ALL you have done is regurgitate information that is not your own which you were not there to see for yourself is true. You keep going on about scientific research but I bet you wouldn't even know the approaches to research and how quantitative data can be manipulated.

    I am not Mr Hubbs I live here in Australia I am up to date with the social model of health and I am a female mature age Primary health graduate who has noticed alot of contridictions which has impacted on my health. You also know nothing of the burden of cardiovascular disease because you don't have access to papers written by the university of Qld university school of population health.

    The whole point of policy is for quality improvement but we are up against a public system who are authoritive and rigid in their approach and flatly deny symptoms and if not put people on unecessary medications.

    I do actually want to contribute to preventative health rather than the bio-medical model of health. Vaccines are not for those children of women who have underlying autoimmune conditions as well as secondary hypothyroid. Those illnesses are not recognised readily in the public health system this is an issue I want to advocate on.

    Research and Policy can be manipulated to suit one's agenda just like it was done to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population so why not NOW the agenda is to keep dummies like you in the dark. Heres to longevity but not to quality of life thanks to vaccines.

    We are living longer but in our own backyard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aren't. And finally why blog openly on an issue when you aren't prepared to back your point of view for someone like me to disagree with you.

    1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't make a habit of posting comments where people just toss around insults and unsubstantiated nonsense. If you have a point I'm willing to discuss it, but when you just post comments meant to attack and insult... I'm not going to waste my time responding.

      Also, because you fired off a series of rapid-fire comments, I noticed several of them were found in the spam bin. That means Google either felt you were a bot, or that you had nothing worthwhile to contribute. I'll let you decide which is more appropriate, but frankly I'm not going to apologize for not posting comments where you claim I'm a "moron", a "plague on the world", or "an ignorant jack***" as I don't really feel that adds to the discussion. If you wish to be taken seriously, then act like someone worthy of such an honor.

      Then again, you freely have admitted that you "do not support vaccines" and "do not give a rip about the benefits of vaccines" so clearly you aren't one to allow the science to guide you and instead you are searching for evidence to support your current anti-vaccination viewpoints. I see no value in discussing the subject with someone who willfully ignores evidence and who has no interest in actually learning.

      Good day.

  5. Lowell Hubbs: "Whats the matter editor? Why did you remove the availability to the public of using the anonymous selection for posting?"

    I find it odd you would even notice since you claim you always post as Lowell Hubbs using your blogger account. Seems to me the only reason you would be upset that "anonymous" can no longer post is because you were continually attempting to post comments as anonymous. Don't worry Mr. Hubbs... I caught on to your little game long ago, and as much as I would love to give you credit for the reason I removed anonymous comments, the reality is I did so because of a recent run of spam-bots who were posting comments trying to sell various products such as vitamins, exercise machines, website tools, and many more.

    If a real human being still wishes to comment, there are a number of options available to them including OpenID, so they don't even need to have a Blogger or Google account. Thus is real humans wish to be heard... they can still be heard - no excuses required.

    Enjoy your day.

  6. Again your comprehension skills are majorly lacking. What I was referring to quite obviously was the removal of the anonymous posting option, right after the last post by Anonymous, above. I have as you know a blog as well, and is also on Blogger. My settings have always allowed for Anonymous replies, and still do. I am not getting any such said spam bot comments, so I guess you must be special, or possibly just making it up.

    Your false claims of being all knowing and of proclaiming my using Anonymous to reply are clearly all washed up as bogus, as you have even accused the person reply posting above being me, when that is all to obviously not the case. You have in the past accused anyone at all that does not support your agenda, of being me. Nothing would be enough, and you still proclaim to always be right. What a false and self inflated image you have. Here is a question for you? Do you NOT find it a bit hypocritical be be blogging yourself without any identity at all, yet you require an identity for anyone else that replies on this blog. You have also allowed multiple and slanderous attacks to be published on this blog, personally attacking me directly; and those replies were as well allowed to be made without any identity left behind whatsoever. Every option you have left available for reply commenting here, can potentially reveal the persons identity.

    In fact, this blog page alone, loses every shred of credibility you could have ever hoped to have had left standing; even with the shills and sheeple. Obviously all that took was to allow opposing commenting without censoring, just once. Nice job. I told you that was the case; and it always was and will be.

    1. Well Mr. Hubbs, the fact is you wouldn't have noticed you wouldn't post as anonymous if you weren't trying to do so... sorry for your fail.

      Second, the fact I get spam comments and you do not should probably tell you something about the amount of traffic this blog actually gets. Thanks to people like your friend "Dr." Blaylock, I get a ton of hits from various blogs and websites... and that all means more visibility to spam-bots. If your blog doesn't have any issues with spam, well sorry nobody seems to care. I don't visit your blog so I have no idea what commenting options you allow - but it seems nobody else visits it either, so it probably doesn't matter.

      The truth is Mr. Hubbs, there have been several "anonymous" posters here which aren't you... but you have posted as anonymous many, many times and you have specifically tried to lie about your identity on numerous occasions. You've been busted doing so more times than I care to count, and yet you continue to lie about it because you want everyone to believe we live in a world where your level of crazy isn't isolated to a single human.

      As to your statements of hypocrisy - I'm not mandating that anyone reveal their real name Mr. Hubbs. I'm merely asking them to create some form of an account so when they do post we can identify them from the others who are posting. If three people post as anonymous, I'm sure you might understand it can be confusing. However, if they wish to create an account and call themselves "John Doe", "Batman", or "Mr. Pickle" I couldn't care less provided it is a name unique to them so they aren't confused with anyone else.

      If someone can't figure out how to create a username that isn't tied to their real name... then they are probably too stupid to bother commenting. Then again I'm probably wasting my time trying to explain this to a guy who has been known to post comments as "Elvis McFecalmatter" or "Cornhullio Rubensteen", or who was busted numerous times trying to create sockpuppet accounts on the Argus Leader website as well as ARS Technica.

      Deny it all you wish Mr. Hubbs... I fully appreciate dishonesty is a necessary trait for those of you fully entrenched in the anti-vaccine camp.

  7. Your replies Editor, get more bent, again falsely accusing and twisted with every one you add here. You have no evidence whatsoever that I reply posted under any other name nor as anonymous. If that were true you wouldn't again right here on this blog page be falsely accusing this person who posted under Anonymous, of being me. You did that and the evidence of that is obviously right in front of you.

    You further admit that you are unable to tell who is who, or if the same person, if people reply post here anonymously. You are admitting right here that you do not know who is who if people reply post Anonymously, but yet you claim to be able to tell which one is me, if I were to post anonymously. Do you see any contradiction at all in your claims? No, you wouldn't would you, because anything goes in regard to your false accusations and deliberate attempts to discredit any and all information I put forth. You have repeatedly and falsely accused me of posting as someone else, with absolutely nothing to back that claim; and you know it. In regard to the fact that you have no identity yourself, I find it absolutely ridiculous that you would have justified cause to accuse anyone else at all of using a Anonymous option, or any other option for a reply posting name. I mean the twisted hypocrisy level here is just highly indicative of the false level of personal grandeur you have in your own mind. And yet you want to accuse of conspiracy theories, regarding anything put forth that does not fit with your page and biased message agenda. You look pretty darn silly, if you ask me. And why would that even matter to you of course, as you have no identity; and leaving a blog page full of misleading and false information is all you need to accomplish; one after another.

    1. Mr. Hubbs, if you wish to continue lying about how you have repeatedly attempted to post comments here (and elsewhere) under sockpuppet accounts that is your right. But we all know you are lying, and we have seen multiple times where your actions have backfired and where you have been caught red handed posting under multiple IDs.

      I will admit I do not always know who posts anonymously, but in some cases it is very clear and there are a variety of methods and techniques that allow me to know when someone changes their username to post as someone else. Again you can deny it, but both you and I know you are being dishonest.

      Now did you have anything valuable to add to the discussion about the actual blog post or did you just want to continue to complain about unrelated matters? If the latter - please don't bother posting again as you're just wasting time writing comments that nobody cares to read.

  8. The problem with these pro-vaccine bloggers is that they are all spoon fed wannabe researchers who cannot even decipher that there are different people in the public like myself who think the one size fits all approach of vaccines does not suit everyone. Therefore we all must be you mr hubbs.

    She continually accused me of being you but the one thing they all have in common is that they do not have any formal education regarding research approaches which they think can only be done in a clinical trial or lab. They all quote anecdotal evidence to shut arguments down and scientific research when they aren't even aware of research methods using quantitative and qualitative data.

    They seem to have no formal education regarding health because they don't realise there are different types of health systems in public health but they have the nerve to get up on a blog to spout or regurgitate information about the medical world that is not their own and when you do put up a debate this woman in particularly couldn't even address my points as to why she disagrees. I think it just went over her head or she doesn't have the capacity to even comprehend my points to argue her point.

    What she claimed was extremely contradictive in regards to how our health system works here in Australia we still have people living longer yes but is it quality of life or are they on medication for the rest of their life living in nursing homes and we still have people dying from preventable diseases here because there isn't enough education out there on prevention. So much for scientific research so why are people still dying?

    Depending on what agenda research is based on does it truly only benefit the researcher. Medical research based on the bio-medical model of health is invasive, intrusive and highly secretive owning rights to have bragging rights.

    They seem to miss the point that some cancers and up to 12 chronic conditions can be prevented but not enough money and resources are put towards prevention however there are more different variations of the same drugs and medication being manufactored to be better treatments than the last. Some are hitting the market without being fully trialed look at the poor french guy Didier Jambart who got compensation for using a parkinsons drug.

    So could you say the bio-medical model of health anticipates and expect people to be sick regardless. Its a far cry from health prevention isn't it which is cheaper in the long run for governments.

    So what is my point here prevention is better than the cure and please don't blog on issues if you have no formal education on research and the scientific method when you's have no clue of the processes.

    By the way her blog is complete and utter rot she might as well be a bot because she as well as all the other pro-vaccine bloggers have no will or mind of their own. Keep being mushrooms people as long as there are guinea pigs like yourselves our cycle of ill health and depedency on the scientific bio-medical model of health will continue at our expense.

    1. I've noticed even after being asked several times for evidence to support your position, all you are able to do is offer in response is more insults. That tells us a lot more about your inability to support your viewpoints than it does about me.

      Now I will admit originally I thought the "Anonymous" comment above was Lowell Hubbs as he likes to post as anonymous on a regular basis. He also has been proven to use multiple other usernames and sockpuppet accounts, so it isn't surprising to see him try again. However upon further review I can tell by your grammar, syntax, and subject matter than you aren't Hubbs - thus I edited the comment above to remove that statement. I am willing to admit my error.

      That said you have a few things incorrect and you are clearly making assumptions. Number one, last I checked I was a male, so I'm not a "she". Number two, you have no idea what my occupation or training is, and I'm not going to debate my credentials with you, but I will tell you that yes I've spent time in a lab, yes I have post-secondary training in related coursework, and yes I'm more than familiar with the scientific method. In short - your assumptions are incorrect.

      You are free to think whatever you wish, but until you are able to actually provide some level of evidence all of your claims and all of your excuses are considered invalid.

      You mention people are dying from preventable diseases, but I'm not sure you are helping your case. We can prevent diseases via vaccination, yet you seem to suggest that is the wrong course of action. Vaccinations have been proven to save lives and prevent disease (do you see a lot of polio or smallpox these days?), yet you seem to suggest they should be avoided. So much for caring about preventing disease.

      You won't see me argue against prevention in any form however, and I won't deny that there needs to be more focus and funding directed towards prevention of disease rather than treatment of disease after the fact.

      Now - if you wish to offer some scientific evidence such as peer-reviewed research to support some of your prior statements then by all means do so. However if you wish to simply continue to post comment after comment which adds nothing other than excuses or insults, then please don't be offended when I don't bother to publish them.


All comments are moderated and comments from obvious sockpuppet accounts as well as spam accounts that do not add anything of value to the discussion will not be published.