ICB: Anti-vaxxers injecting credibility into their cause
Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit, a regular column that looks at pseudoscience and magical thinking. Unsurprisingly, vaccination pops up quite a bit.
Fluvax also has a “modestly higher” risk of side effects in adults – it is more likely to cause headaches, fatigue, vomiting and injection site pain.
All in all, far from ideal. The Health Department says CSL is “the only onshore manufacturer of influenza vaccine and, as such, is the only supplier that can guarantee sufficient supply of influenza vaccine to allow the national vaccination program to commence on 15 March each year, and ensure protection of people well in advance of the influenza season”.
It won’t be used on kids under 10.
For the purposes of I Call Bullshit, we’re going to ignore the very valid debate around whether the Government is really getting the best deal for its (our) money by buying a far-from-perfect vaccine just because it’s made here.
I Call Bullshit on the reaction this is starting to garner from the anti-vaxxers. Twitterers are already being twits about it. One wonders whether this shows that vaccines are a ‘bioweapon’.
The wildly misinformed, wilfully paranoid, and woefully mis-educated anti-vaccination movement loves to cherrypick stories about adverse events and use them to advance their campaign against immunisation.
Today’s story is by The Australian’s consumer editor, Natasha Bita, who won a Walkley Award last year for 23 articles which chipped away at the Fluvax scandal, and CSL’s and the government’s involvement.
The anti-vaxxers hold her up as an unwitting poster child for their fear campaign.
The Australian Vaccination Network (which says it is not anti-vaccination – you decide), called on members to write her letters of support.
They think Bita’s work supports their perspective. One letter writer said it ‘proved’ that “this is not some conspiracy theory found on the ‘net’”. I Call Bullshit.
Bita works with science. She works with facts. She only uses anecdotes to illustrate the human effect of adverse events; she doesn’t use anecdotes as data.
The AVN advertise on their site all sorts of shoddy books and even shoddier ideas.
They are promoting Melanie’s Marvelous Measles, a book that “takes children aged 4 - 10 years on a journey of discovering about the ineffectiveness of vaccinations, while teaching them to embrace childhood disease, heal if they get a disease, and build their immune systems naturally.”
Dear reader, I do hope that quote made you shudder.
The anti-vaccination movement still defend Andrew Wakefield.
In short, their approach is a haphazard piling together of disproven claims, fear-mongering nonsense, and bogus causal connections under the guise of ‘helping parents make informed decisions’.
Then they weave Bita’s good and thorough work through their own woo woo to give it undeserved credibility. It’s bullshit.
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