7 Worst Sources for Vaccine Information
I don’t know why so many people are propagating the idea that vaccines are harmful. There is clear evidence showing that it saves lives and is perfectly safe. But I’ve found a few groups which promote it. If you see information coming from these sources saying vaccines are harmful, report the post or share it with me. But first, let me introduce you to the six worst sources for vaccine information (and most other health advice too).
#7 Conspiracy theorists
They say “Big Pharma” is responsible for promoting vaccines as a way to keep us sick and stupid. If you look at the massive gap in autism rates vs vaccine rates, you’ll see that this just doesn’t make sense.
Pharmaceuticals companies are indeed for-profit, and they will only charge rates that will earn them money. But that’s the case in any industry in a capitalist economy. It’s for privately funded education, healthcare, infrastructure, scientific institutions and any other industry you can think of. Jut because it’s for-profit, doesn’t mean it’s a conspiracy to suck you out of every buck you have. You also need to provide a product with benefits that are worth that cost so that people will be willing to buy it.
Also, it’s not just individuals buying vaccines for profit. Many countries are subsidising vaccines or even offering them for free. Why do they do that? To save the lives of their children!
Vaccines are proven to save lives and have helped drop infant and child mortality rates drastically since they were introduced. They are necessary to save lives, and they are worth the cost.
Also, conspiracy theories like this have one major flaw. That is if vaccines were a part of the Big Pharma conspiracy, every single doctor in the world would have to be a part of it. There are approximately 10-15 million doctors worldwide, and that doesn’t count pharmacists, manufacturers and distribution networks who are also involved in the sales of medicines. Do you think they can all be paid off to go along with the plot to keep everyone sick? Even if they were, don’t you think someone would let it slip somewhere?
This just isn’t plausible.
#6 Alternative Medicine Practitioners
It seems like a lot of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) proponents seem to support the anti-vaccine sentiment. I’m not particularly surprised since they have no medical or scientific experience, even if they claim they do.
What really pisses me off is that they usually plug their own remedies to “boost immunity” or “naturally” protect your child from diseases. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that any of these work. That means they are actively trying to put children in danger to promote their so-called remedies.
These guys seem to be among the biggest propagators of bad ideas, with vaccines being one of the worst. Start with Jenny McCarthy’s claims that vaccines gave her son autism. Later, it was rumoured that her son never had autism in the first place. Instead, he seems to be suffering from Landau–Kleffner syndrome, which is a rare neurological disorder in children. Later, in a Time magazine article, she claimed she wasn’t anti-vaccine, but rather trying to make vaccines safer by reducing their frequency and toxicity. This, of course, is also wholly unsubstantiated. But we’ll talk about that a bit later. Her ex-husband, comedian Jim Carey, is also against vaccination as are Robert F Kennedy Jr and Robert De Niro.
Kennedy and De Niro actually offered $100,000 to ‘‘the first journalist, or other individual, who can point to a peer-reviewed scientific study demonstrating that thimerosal is safe in the amounts contained in vaccines currently being administered to American children and pregnant women”.
This challenge has been brilliantly analysed and exposed by Craig A Foster, professor of psychology, in his 2017 paper on this topic, in the journal Vaccine. In brief, no single study can demonstrate safety! Nothing is 100% safe in every way, and it can’t all be covered in one study. On top of that, the rules, fees and conditions of entering also made sure almost no one would enter it.
Either way, celebrities should not be relied upon for any information. They are just people, like you and me, who have the same gullibilities and biases.
#4 Social Media & Messaging App forwards
Please, FFS, DO NOT believe random WhatsApp messages, Facebook posts, Tweets or Instagram posts when it comes to your child’s health, or even your own, for that matter. This goes for information shared by your family members, friends, other parents or people you look up to like celebrities, community or political leaders or even your boss. They are not medical professionals, and they may not have accurate information about vaccines. They’re probably just forwarding you something without even thinking about it or looking it up. They probably don’t even know the person who first cooked it up. Fact-check forwards and shares on Snopes.com and altnews.in.
You shouldn’t even take my word for anything I’ve written on this website. That’s why I’ve added a whole bunch of resources, reading materials and lots more so you can read through it yourself and find the original sources of information. Especially when it comes to yours and your child’s health, you need to be extra cautious that the information you’re getting is reliable.
#3 Wellness Influencers
Social media is overflowing with people who claim vaccines don’t work, even though they have no medical or scientific background. Some are concerned parents (I’ll come to them next) or just influencers riding the trending algorithms to get hits, views or followers. They have nothing close to medical degrees or anything resembling credibility.
Would you believe the streetside snake-oil salesman? Would you be convinced about any topic by a person you’ve never met before and know nothing about? I certainly hope not.
The bottom line is they are not reliable sources, so you have no reason to believe them.
#2 Other Parents
They are at the centre of the whole issue, but I don’t think they should be mocked in any way. All they want is to protect their children from harm. Their only fault is their blind belief in information without thinking critically about any of it. This is driven primarily by their fear that something horrible will happen to their child. Parents fear autism over diseases they have never seen, even if autism isn’t connected to vaccines in any way.
Their fears, confirmation biases, and social and peer pressures lead them down the antivax path. And all the other culprits I’ve mentioned in this list feed on this and convince them that their fears are valid.
#1 Real doctors with bad ideas
All this started with a legitimate doctor who got paid to published a sham study showing a false connection between vaccines and autism. This was Andrew Wakefield, who has since been discredited and banned from practicing medicine in the UK. So he moved to the US and is still peddling his nonsense. I’m sure he knows he’s bullshitting, but I think he’s in too deep to back down from his stand now.
Along with him stand a small group of trained MDs who have wholeheartedly embraced alternative medicine, vaccine fear mongering and other quackery. Toni Bark, for example, now practices homoeopathy aside from being antivax and anti-GMO too. Suzanne Humphries is a nephrologist who has also gone against vaccines.
If you see any of these names, just go the other way. They are obviously more interested in self promotion than evidence and saving lives.
There is hope, though. Some parents are even beginning to realise how mistaken they are, especially when some kids are going out and getting vaccinated by themselves. Government measures are also taking effect in several American states and in Europe too.
Parents should also think critically and learn how to look up scientifically accurate information. Aside from avoiding the sources I’ve mentioned above, they should consult the WHO website, the CDC, UNICEF and sites of good paediatric hospitals like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They have excellent content on health, nutrition, vaccines, common childhood ailments and a lot more. Of course, they should also consult a good doctor.
Have I missed any propagators of wrong vaccine information? Let me know in the comments. And if you like this content, bookmark this page and subscribe to its RSS feed.