By Anne Dachel
On August 4th the New York Times published an opinion piece entitled, Anti-Vaccine Activists Have Taken Vaccine Science Hostage.
In that article, science and health writer Melinda Wenner Moyer sounded worried about the increasing number of parents who don’t vaccinate their kids. Moyer is sure these parents have nothing to worry about, but “what drives these wrongheaded decisions is fear — fear that vaccines are somehow dangerous, even though research shows the opposite.”
Despite her belief that no one needs to question the ever-expanding vaccine schedule, Moyer did talk about “hitting a wall” when she tried to discuss vaccine efficacy and safety with researchers. “When I did get them on the phone, a worrying theme emerged: Scientists are so terrified of the public’s vaccine hesitancy that they are censoring themselves, playing down undesirable findings and perhaps even avoiding undertaking studies that could show unwanted effects.”
“The goal is to protect vaccines”
Moyer made it sound as though pressure from “anti-vaccine activists” makes it impossible for scientists to openly talk about possible problems with a vaccine. She cited vaccine developer Dr. Paul Offit who feels that “worrying studies” shouldn’t be published.
It seems that public faith in vaccines is so precarious that EVEN TALKING about side effects scares people away from vaccinating. AND the anti-vaccine community is to blame for this situation. They will go after anything that raises questions about vaccine safety.
There’s no question that bad vaccine science does not deserve a forum — and much of the research cited by anti-vaccine activists is very bad indeed. But good science needs to be heard even if some people will twist its meaning. One thing vaccine scientists and vaccine-wary parents have in common is a desire for the safest and most effective vaccines possible — but vaccines can’t be refined if researchers ignore inconvenient data. Moreover, vaccine scientists will earn a lot more public trust, and overcome a lot more unfounded fear, if they choose transparency over censorship.
So is vaccine research really open and honest? Can any legitimate concerns be raised?
I contacted Dr. Chris Shaw, Canadian neuroscientist and professor of ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Shaw’s research on the use of aluminum vaccine adjuvants had been retracted from the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry in 2017.
(In 2012 I interviewed him about his research.)
Here’s what Dr. Shaw had to say about the NY Times story.
Dr. Shaw, what is your opinion of the Times piece? Are “anti-vaccine activists” to blame for shutting down legitimate debate on vaccines?
I think religion adds a lot to human affairs, in many cases, but also goes to extremism.
I was in Mosul as a medic in 2017. We were there to support the civilians coming out of Mosul, and support the military forces that were taking the city back from ISIS.
ISIS is an example of taking religion to an extreme. If you were not one hundred percent what they believe, you were an apostate and you had to be killed….
WHAT YOU SEE IN THIS ARTICLE—you can see the author is struggling really hard to make it come out a certain way—everything in this article points to the fact that the scientists who are honestly trying to do their jobs and find whatever there is to find, whether it’s good or whether it’s bad, or ambiguous, they are being penalized for being honest scientists—even by their own.
In some people’s eyes, they have crossed a path, they’re going against the creed of the religion. And Paul Offit typifies it perfectly.
Everything has to be one hundred percent pro. It cannot be ninety-nine percent pro, that’s not good enough. Papers should never be published if they’re critical, …they might scare the people, the ignorant unwashed masses who won’t get their vaccines.
Offit, as you know, he typifies what I think you’d call MEDICAL FASCISM.