BARBARA LOE FISHER ON NYT COMMENTERS
By Barbara Loe Fisher
The discrimination begins, always, with the majority in a society pointing the finger at a minority for somehow endangering the public health and welfare. Individuals in the minority group are singled out as different - ethnically, biologically, spiritually, morally - from the majority. The human impulse to fear, judge, marginalize or eliminate those different from the rest has left a blood soaked trail winding throughout the entire history of man from the Great Inquisition to the Holocaust; from the killing fields of Cambodia to Rwanda, Serbia and Tibet; while the persecution of those with leprosy, TB, AIDS, mental illness, and handicaps continues in every society.
It was with a heavy heart that I read the March 21 New York Times ARTICLE, "Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines." Then I waded through the venomous comments posted on the NY Times website attacking parents of vaccine injured autistic children and those supporting informed consent to vaccination, specifically legal exemptions.
Some New York Times readers simply engaged in adolescent name-calling, angrily accusing parents of being "stupid" for questioning the wisdom of doctors in positions of authority and "selfish" for wanting to make informed vaccine choices:
"I'm so tired of these morons who refuse to vaccinate their children. It's stupid and selfish and, as usual, the kid suffers because of an hysterical, paranoid mother. What we need is a vaccine against paranoid conspiracy theory nuts. Oh, yeah....and by all means, let's trust a primary care doc from Arizona rather than the AAP and CDC. After all, what does some pinhead in private practice know that the best trained, most informed academic docs at some backwater like Johns Hopkins or CHOP or Children's Boston know, anyhow."
Others ridiculed parents for having faith in God but not in medical science, doctors and the safety of vaccines:
"The irrational decisions of adults, including parents and even physicians, supported by superstition, faith and magical beliefs, rather than data, evidence and proof, cannot stand in the way of science's obligation to create new knowledge to protect the members of a society, especially its most vulnerable members."
"Western religion's relationship with God requires a scapegoat. Since the Satan bit is worn a little thin they have once again decided that science and technology are to blame for all man's evils. As a civilized society we have given far too much deference to religion. Those not wishing to participate should simply not be included in schools, hospitals, etc. Not allowing their children to participate is the cruelist of abuse and should be removed from their "care."
"The parents whose personal beliefs cause them to fail to vaccinate their children should be seen clearly for what they are - child abusers. They are as monstrous as people that allow their children to die because they are convinced that if their god wants their children to live, he'll take care of it."
"Science is not infallible but it works. No one doubts that savagely beating a kid and offering "religious beliefs" as a pretext is a crime. These parents are doing the same thing. They should be prosecuted for endangering the health of their children - and ours."
The idea that the unvaccinated should be made "outcasts" in society and kept in isolation or even banned from being able to go out in public was a popular one:
"To those who demand an exemption, the choice should be clear and simple. No vaccine, no attendance at any public venue, schools in particular. Let these leaches live up in the woods as hermits."
" Parents of immunized children should not allow their children to play with [unvaccinated children]. Being an outcast is a powerful tool to use against these very selfish people."
Doctors defending their belief in vaccination weighed in, too, calling for elimination of the unvaccinated from society:
"As an epidemiologist who believes in the power and strength of herd immunity, I would like to ask these people who forgo vaccination to politely leave the herd."
Several more suggested the unvaccinated be publicly branded and forced to reveal their vaccination history to all who come in contact with them:
"Those making this decision [to not vaccinate their children] should be ineligible for access to public schooling. They should also be mandated to inform any and all people with whom they come into contact of their lack of vaccinations. They should also sign a waiver to any public or insurance pool funding for treatment of avoidable disease and/or long term damage caused by contraction of that disease."
"Should parents get to decide what happens to their child, even when that decision flies in the face of all evidence? Yes. But then should I have a right to know who these children are, so that I can keep my own child away from them? Indeed, I think I should......"
Another went further, calling for hospital and medical care to be denied to the unvaccinated:
"They should not be permitted in clinics and hospitals, where immunocompromised children and adults have the right to safety. No exception, whether based on religious faith or just garden-variety ignorance and superstition."
Several others believe mothers and fathers with unvaccinated children should be not only be charged with a crime but have their children taken from them:
"This should be a reason to notify CPS so that they can remove these children from parents who endanger their lives. This should be a crime."
There was a call for legislators who vote for vaccine exemptions to be punished:
"The parents who unilaterally decide to withhold immunization from their children should be sent to jail. The legislators who voted to condone this behavior should be identified and subjected to recall."
And some wanted to see parents and their unvaccinated children physically harmed:
".....Fine, so long as these parents are forcibly exposed to the illnesses themselves. And if their children either die, or are permanently injured, criminal charges should be laid. Then we'll see how much they still believe in their voodoo- science......"
Like sharks in a feeding frenzy, they gave public witness to their fear and loathing of fellow human beings who do not believe, think or act as they do.
I could not help but think of the children and parents forced to line up last November at a Maryland County Courthouse patrolled by armed police with dogs, a stark reminder that the parents were under threat of imprisonment and fines for failing to show schools proof that their children got chicken pox and hepatitis B shots.
I remembered the news report out of Belgium last month describing how a State court had sentenced mothers and fathers to five months in prison and a $4,000 fine because their children had not gotten vaccinated.
I thought of the persecution of Andrew Wakefield, M.D., who is being punished by his British colleagues for daring to report an association between the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine and neuroimmune dysfunction, including inflammatory bowel disease and autism. Like when the heads of heretics were impaled upon stakes on the Tower of London as a warning for all to see, the Wakefield inquisition is a spectacle designed to persuade all doctors contemplating questioning the safety of current mass vaccination policies to remain silent.
And then I thought of the Jewish orphan from Philadelphia, whose DNA I inherited from several generations back, and whose lineage in my mid-west Protestant family was not known to me for many years. Her blood is my blood, her genes belong to me just as the Norwegian and Scottish-Irish genes that predispose me and my children to autoimmunity and vaccine reactions are part of who I am.
I wondered how many of the readers of that New York Times article, who spewed fear, prejudice and hate into cyberspace and urged discrimination against and punishment of the unvaccinated, remembered that we are who we are because of the genetic strengths and vulnerabilities inherited from our mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers going back generations and generations.
I come from a family of doctors and nurses, physical therapists and social workers, historians and soldiers, artists and writers, pastors and farmers, public administrators and builders; feminists and teachers, who have made the world a little better because they were allowed to live. And all through our family there is a history of autoimmunity, including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, diabetes, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, severe allergies to foods, prescription drugs and pollen, and vaccine reactions.
My mother died of lupus two years ago this week, her body unable to protect itself from self. A nurse who once took care of polio victims at Mayo Clinic, she left three children and 11 grandchildren, all of whom carry her genes.
We do not choose the genes we inherit that make us the unique individuals we each are, as different from one another as we are similar within the human species.
My mother would have gladly laid down her life for any one of her children or grandchildren in order to protect them from harm, as I and countless other mothers around the world would do. The biological imperative, which prompts mothers and fathers to willingly sacrifice their lives to ensure their children survive, dictates we do that in order to ensure the survival of the human race.
For what is the human race but a collection of individuals from individual families living in different communities, all joined together to make up the whole of humanity? When any one life is devalued and deemed expendable, by extension, the well being and integrity of the whole is compromised.
Individual health IS public health.
Vaccine policies issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) do not recognize the potential biological vulnerability of my family and many other families to be harmed by vaccination. It does not matter if we have a vaccine injured child: CDC and AAP policies turned into law by state legislators do not provide for vaccine injured children or the siblings of vaccine injured children to be medically exempt from vaccination. Children, who have had seizures and other health deterioration after vaccination, often do not qualify for medical exemptions.
In the past quarter century, the numbers of vaccines the CDC and AAP insist that children must get has increased from 23 doses of 7 vaccines to 48 doses of 14 vaccines by age six without any large, credible studies proving it is safe for all children. How many of those genetically vulnerable to repeated atypical manipulation of the immune system through forced multiple vaccine use are among the highly vaccinated American children who are chronically ill and disabled today: 1 in 6 learning disabled; 1 in 9 asthmatic; 1 in 150 developing autism?
The doctors in charge at the CDC and AAP have refused, for more than a quarter century, to acknowledge the existence of a growing number of vaccine injured children and so they have refused to identify and screen out children biologically vulnerable to vaccine-induced brain and immune system dysfunction. One-size-fits-all vaccine policies and state laws have become a de facto selection of the genetically vulnerable for sacrifice. It is a very small step from that kind of societal thinking to the prisons, concentration camps and killing fields that stand as chilling testimony to the human impulse to dehumanize others in order to control, exploit or eliminate them.
Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel has said "When you take an idea or a concept and turn it into an abstraction, that opens the way to take human beings and turn them, also, into abstractions."
Individuals harmed by vaccines are not abstractions. They are human beings who deserve to be spared a lifetime of suffering rather than being thrown under the bus to prop up forced mass vaccination policies that fail to acknowledge biodiversity within the family of man.
In the face of a medical community committed to the utilitarian rationale that a minority of human beings can be sacrificed in service to the majority, the only way parents can protect children from being injured or killed by vaccines is by the free exercise of non- medical legal exemptions for deeply held religious or conscientious beliefs.
Doctors inside and outside of government, who have instilled fear of and discrimination against parents with vaccine injured children, bear responsibility for the hate and prejudice expressed on the New York Times website last week. It is a wake-up call for all Americans who cherish freedom and the human right to make informed, voluntary medical decisions that involve a risk of injury or death.
Barbara Loe Fisher is co-founder and president of the Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). She is the co-author of DPT: A Shot in the Dark (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1985; Warner 1986; Avery 1991); author of The Consumer's Guide to Childhood Vaccines (NVIC 1997); editor of the bi-weekly NVIC Vaccine E-News and a blogger at www.vaccineawakening.blogspot.com
All people deserve good life and loans or commercial loan would make it much better. Because freedom relies on money state.
Posted by: RomeroVILMA34 | May 28, 2010 at 12:22 PM
I too saw those comments. They want to make parents such as myself criminals because we don't want our children vaccinated...they accuse us of endangering our children.
Yet they don't hesitate to put blinders on and endanger their own children by having them injected with mercury, formaldehyde/formalin, aluminum, and all those other toxic chemicals. If that's not child endangerment right there, I don't know what is.
I used to be pro-vaccine until I found out what was in them. By then my son had already had his vaccinations (he was 2 when he had his LAST one). Needless to say we turned in an exemption form when he started kindergarten. And he has a speech delay and a developmental delay--though he is improving.
Posted by: Alexandra | March 30, 2008 at 10:59 AM
In the face of government's latest spin of trying to convince society that the parents of unvaccinated children are child abusers and putting the rest of the population at risk, I am happy to report that sales for my "natural immunity" tee and onesie have soared this month. I proudly dress my own toddler in this tee and I am thrilled to see that other parents are choosing to promote their educated decision instead of keeping it a secret as if they are doing something wrong.
Posted by: Sara Reider | March 28, 2008 at 10:03 AM
To suggest that the vaccinated are at risk for contracting the disease (they're vaccinated against) if exposed to the un-vaccinated is an indirect admission that vaccines can't be all that effective. If you are vaccinated you are supposed to have immunity - so what is there to fear?
There is not one single random double blind controlled study involving even as few as 100 subjects that has ever been carried out and published in a peer reviewed journal to demonstrate vaccines are even safe let alone effective.
That the esteemed New York Times with all its medical reporters and experts has yet to produce such studies - the gold standard of scientific evidence - speaks volumes.
Virus 101 tells us that viruses do not readily jump to humans from birds and reptiles, horses, dogs, cats and our relatives the apes; Unless vaccines are incubated in chicken egg or embryo (influenza - bird flu viruses), monkeys (early Sabin and Salk polio vaccines infected the recipients with monkey virus SV-40), and pigs (swine flu viruses).
The habit of breeding vaccines in the diseased tissues of other species is a guarantee of spreading viruses and auto-immune disease causing foreign proteins throughout the human population.
Perhaps some people will eventually understand why vaccine manufacturers cannot buy liability insurance for love or money and the United States government (taxpayer) has to foot the bill. Since 1987 over one billion U.S. dollars have been paid out to victims or their families for vaccine induced injury or death - representing only 10 percent of the claims for compensation - information, I am sorry to say, the New York Times has not seen fit to print.
Posted by: Croft Woodruff PhD MH | March 27, 2008 at 01:27 PM
I had so much anger reading the NY Times - in fact - I try to stay aways from it. They print pure drivel and just do not care about those affected by autism. They have financial interests in keeping the norm.
After my son was damaged by his vaccines I got really religious, philisophical and medically oriented when my son entered kindergarten. I am grateful these exemptions exist. We need to fight for the basic rights of being able to choose care for our children. Barbara - a big thank you for leading this charge and continuing your efforts.
What I am not grateful for are people telling me that I missed my son's development (vs. his regression), or that I should always trust doctors and do what I am told, or a variety of cruel mentions in Barbara's article above. It is heartbreaking to think we live in the U.S. where choice is not an option when it comes to the health and well being to our children. Children with autism are just another population that receive harsh treatment and discrimination. I want to ask these folks if they would treat families that have children stricken by cancer?
People should walk a mile in our shoes before they make such comments. For the biggots who commented in the NY Times article I would love it if they would live in our house for a month. I would gladly host one. I know where they are sleeping.
Posted by: Lisa | March 26, 2008 at 06:50 PM
Thanks for the cry, I guess I shouldn't read age of autism at work now, should I? You have an incredible eye for the human rights issues at work here and I am glad you wrote this piece.
Posted by: Heidi | March 26, 2008 at 03:28 PM
I just attended a vaccine seminar last night titled: "Pro's and Con's of vaccines, a lecture on theis very controversial issue". It was given by a pediatrician who vaccinates. She extolled the virtues of vaccination, showing 40 year old research, and 40 year old pictures of children damaged by the diseases that vaccines have now "cured" . When I asked about the "cons" mentioned in the flyer, she said "I can't think of any". When I started quoting respected medical sources that showed the real dangers of vaccines, her medical partner laughed at me, and said there is on evidance of harm. I then held up the book, "Evidance of harm" by Kirby, and then started listing the many other medical authorities, including vaccine developers, who speak out strongly against vaccination. I was cut short by the moderator and host of the lecture, and asked to get off this topic, for which they had no valid scientific answer. At the end of the talk she just made the blanket (and absolutely false) statement that "all theses conditions, including Autism and Diabetes are all genetic". As a scientist, and someone who is well versed in genetics, I was astonished at the statement. They then rushed to pack up and leave.
Since the main-stream media controls what "news" we are allowed to hear, how are we to get the true word out, without people like you?
Posted by: BillPuglisi | March 26, 2008 at 03:26 PM
A sacred cow will not protect the herd.
Posted by: Sandy Gottstein | March 26, 2008 at 01:50 PM
Thank you Barbara!! Tha blatant character asassination of our families by Gardiner Harris is really astounding. Maybe he should quit his job at the NYT and ghost write all those Paul Offitt editorials. Harris is obvioulsy a great admirer of the man and his myths. Offitt's book must be his bible. The title is so pompous book- "One Man and His Quest to SAVE THE WORLD WITH VACCINES," or some such lunacy. The NYT is allowing one grossly uninformed man who is absolutely obsessed with the measles to dictate all autism coverage, or lack thereof, for their paper. Did anyone else notice that the Polings case was the leading national news in all other newspapers and the leading story on national television news while the NYT ignored the story for days?? Pathetic. I guess Gardiner could not figure out a way to castigate the the Polings, a physician and a nurse, for their "dangerous and reckless behavior." Oh- right- their daughter WAS vaccinated.
Gardiner Harris- the new Judith Miller of the NYT.
Posted by: Katie Wright | March 26, 2008 at 09:49 AM
Keep in mind all these angry readers all probably have varying degrees of mercury poisoning, which is why they act so herdish to begin with. Just because your not fully autistic doesn't mean your brain hasn't been affected to some degree. We live on a very poisoned planet now.
Posted by: James | March 26, 2008 at 08:44 AM
Sadly, the Wall Street Journal comments are just as hateful. This has turned into a subject that clearly breeds hatred. Your article is great and thanks for all you do for our children.
Posted by: healingjack | March 26, 2008 at 07:23 AM
Beautifully written and very upsetting article. There is a lot of this bizarre vitriole in the WSJ blog (3/21 AOA link) as well. One of the oddest bits of twisted logic is the belief that the reason why all children should be vaccinated is that vaccines aren't 100% effective. So the unvaccinated kid is a threat to the vaccinated kid since the vaccines might not work. But if they don't work, why should they be mandated? So that we can have "herd immunity".
Unfortunately, along with the "herd immunity" comes "herd immune system dysfunction and learning disorders". What kind of a herd will we have if we keep this up?
The fears of illnesses are so exagerated. Until recently, everyone came down with chicken pox. Until about 25 years ago everyone got measles, mumps, German measles, whooping cough, and flu. The vast majority of us were fine. But these "anti-antivaccionists" act like 30 years ago we were living in the Middle Ages, with hardly anyone surviving to adulthood.
Yet these people are totally blind to the problems with vaccines.
Posted by: Twyla | March 26, 2008 at 03:04 AM
Thank you Barbara. Only you could have written this so eloquently.
Posted by: Theresa Cedillo | March 26, 2008 at 02:19 AM
I'm amazed at the complete lack of empathy and the utter vitriole from parents of typical children. Appalled. They should walk one day in my shoes and then tell me what a selfish mother I am.
Posted by: Stagmom | March 25, 2008 at 08:38 PM
I work in a hospital and recently overheard the angry rant of a Radiologist who had just learned that his young daughter had been possibly exposed to chickenpox by, as he called her, "Typhoid Mary". He was referring to preschooler whose parents had declined the chickenpox vaccine. As his rant continued, he stated the child should of never been enrolled in pre-school and the parents should be arrested for child abuse. Now keep in mind the Radiologist's daughter had been vaccinated for chickenpox and "Typhoid Mary" had only left school with a fever and rash and hadn't even seen a doctor yet.
Posted by: Charlie Hoover | March 25, 2008 at 07:48 PM
"And some wanted to see parents and their unvaccinated children physically harmed:"
We didn't detect an iota of compassion in all of that diatribe, did we? There was no mention of the handicap even by the reporter (whose intentions have been so discredited that it would be better if his name was left unsaid), or the physical pain and symptoms of the auto-immune disorder the children have to endure, not to mention the severe emotional and mental anguish parents go through when they see their child regress and disappear into another world altogether.
There was no talk even of what was happening to all of these children and why doctors and the CDC not doing anything to find out the cause for this. There was no examination of why the number of Special Needs children had multiplied manifold to the extent where 50% of a mainstream classroom was now constituting special needs children.
There was no talk of what would happen to these kids when they grow up and who would be bearing the cost of looking after them, and where the money for that would come from.
There was no mention of the cost of medical care for these kids that was not covered by insurance, or the fact that the behavioral therapies came at a huge cost, or that the special diets were a challenge, or even that the behaviors that the families had to put up with on a daily basis bordered on calling upon insane levels of patience.
There was no acknowledgement or recognition of the fact that despite all these challenges, there were a certain number of parents trying to get the word out to the community at large that their children were in very grave danger of being assailed by a serious life-threatening (for some) and permanently disabling (for others) condition. That it was of paramount importance to recognize the fact that the current vaccine schedule WAS and IS unsafe for all and sundry.
There was NOTHING by way of any of this from the NYT readership at large. Sufficeth to say my opinion of both the publication and of its clientele is at an all time low. If I were the Editor of this paper I would be very ashamed not only of the state of society, but more so of the type of people that constituted my readership. Some sort of apology or some semblance of hanging of the head in shame should be in order, but going by past experience is not really expected here.
Posted by: The state of society | March 25, 2008 at 05:42 PM
Here's a blog post about the Times piece from the guy at Wired magazine who was conned by Amanda Baggs.
I recently learned that the enemy is so afraid of what I have to say about them that they filed enough complaints to Blogger that Blogger has restricted my blog from being found by search engines. Anyone with a blog should go to google webmaster central and see if they have added something called robots txt to your blog to prevent it from being found. The fact that they organized this blog flagging campaign shows they are terrified of the truth.
Posted by: John Best | March 25, 2008 at 04:16 PM
Thank you, Barbara, for this article, and for all the good work you have done on this subject matter particularly since the book you co-authored with Harris L. Coulter, PhD, 'DPT: A Shot in the Dark', first published in 1985. (If more people had read that book, perhaps we might not have had the earliest form of the DPT shot for so long; although I haven't discovered yet, from the literature available, if the acellular form of the pertussis vaccine component to it is really any safer than the whole cell form was.)
These replies to the NY Times article are scary stuff. They show just how brainwashed the 'herd' has been, by their authorities. Are we really so close still to the days of vigilantism? String'em up! - without their day in court, where their case can be heard calmly and completely. If they're lucky....
The really irresponsible ones in this matter, of course, are the authorities, who have failed to notice that their 'safe and effective' mantrum has been undercut for a long time, and especially with the blowout of vaccine-schedule activity in the 90s. If the public hadn't been so trusting of the 'experts', they might have known long ago about the whole litany of side effects from this good intention - all the allergies & asthma & anaphylaxis, the convulsions & seizures, the CFS/ME, the type 1 diabetes, the ADD/ADHD & dyslexia & dyspraxia (& yes, the ASD), the Guillain-Barre syndrome, the MS & other autoimmune diseases - which have made us chronically ill from our modern medicine. So, many childhood diseases have been prevented; but at what cost? And what continuing cost, when many of these ASD children will not be able to be returned to their normalcy but will be on Social Security for the rest of their lives?
Thank God for those medical practitioners who have broken out of the mental & professional straightjacket imposed by their peers and are treating these ASD kids with biomedical interventions. But what about those who are still in the care of practitioners who were asleep at the switch in numbers of children adversely affected by the increase in the v. schedule, and have refused to acknowledge that the emperor they serve has on no clothes?
Good luck to all those parents who are refusing to kowtow to the leaders of the current regime. May they be honored in the days to come - and those days will; the truth will out; the whole truth - for their willingness to stand up and be heard. And they WILL be heard; brainwashed vigilantes notwithstanding.
And then we will also find out that there any number of natural substances that can treat the childhood diseases, which don't have the damnable side effects to them that the vaccines have. And which approach also allows for the proper maturing of the immune system, conferring lifelong immunity, that the mother can then pass on to her child, via the placenta and her milk, until its own i. system kicks in. And so forth. What a can of worms has been created here, by a good idea gone so horribly wrong...
Posted by: Stan | March 25, 2008 at 01:50 PM
You are a powerful voice for reason in these debates. Thank you for continuing to be an advocate.
All the best,
Posted by: Kent Heckenlively | March 25, 2008 at 01:26 PM
Thank you for that Barbara, it was just wonderful. I have to say, reading the vile comments from the NYT article, I too had a heavy heart.. and much anger... but then peace came over me and I realized, with the numbers rising they way they are - so many children affected by vaccines/autism - many of these vicious people would soon be personally touched by vaccine injury/autism. For some reason that made me feel better... and then worse. Because sadly, it is going to take more injured children for the winds to change. The reality is, until these people are personally touched by this, they will never understand. They will continue to be the arrogant individuals they prove themselves to be by their nasty comments. But I think history has proven the path of arrogance is one of failure. When one is held down and bound to one’s inflexible views, he eventually falls prey to his ignorance. Arrogance breeds ignorance, and ignorance breeds intolerance.
Posted by: Jeanne | March 25, 2008 at 01:03 PM
"It is a very small step from that kind of societal thinking to the prisons, concentration camps and killing fields that stand as chilling testimony to the human impulse to dehumanize others in order to control, exploit or eliminate them."
With all respect, i think a system (whatever you might think of its scope) implemented specificallly to protect people's health is actually a pretty large step from a system set up specifically to persecute, torture and kill people.
"We do not choose the genes we inherit that make us the unique individuals we each are, as different from one another as we are similar within the human species."
As the parent of a wonderful boy who was born autistic, i think this is beautifully said.
Posted by: qchan63 | March 25, 2008 at 12:55 PM