[SaneVax: The question is – where is the most propaganda coming from – medical consumers with legitimate concerns about vaccine safety and efficacy, or national health authorities? Pharmaceutical policy researcher at the University of Victoria, Allan Cassels, summed it up quite nicely in a recent article when he stated:
“At the end of the day, most parents just want to know the answer to one simple equation: what is the likelihood that a vaccine will prevent a deadly disease, versus what are the chances of a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine? Shouldn’t this be a simple question to answer? But it isn’t. If public health authorities want to improve vaccination rates, they’d drop the patronizing assurances and start providing the public with some hard evidence of the benefits and harms of immunizing or not immunizing. And the media would help by not scorning parents who ask legitimate questions. Only then will you see vaccination rates improve.”
The SaneVax team agrees, it is time to stop vilifying those who ask questions – their questions need honest, scientifically sound answers.]
Time to outlaw vaccine propaganda: Are we taking the easy way out by labeling vaccine questioners anti-science loonies?
By Alan Cassels
Are lifesaving vaccines being ignored by parents because of illegitimate safety concerns?
That’s what many prominent health pundits think, including André Picard at the Globe and Mail. When commenting on an apparent rise of whooping cough, Picard wrote that the increase was the result of parents “shunning vaccination in small but significant numbers because of imaginary fears largely concocted by quacks and charlatans.”
Steven Salzberg, a blogger at Forbes Magazine echoed this sentiment pointing to celebrity doctors who “use their medical degrees and their faux concern ‘for the children’ to frighten parents into keeping their kids unvaccinated.” Salzberg also added that the “the media has been complicit in spreading some anti-vaccine misinformation.”
I’d agree that the media might be a problem, adding to the illegitimate vaccine fear floating around, and likely reducing parents’ willingness to immunize their children. And we certainly have our share of charlatans and quacks in cyberspace, aided and abetted by cyberchondriacs of all stripes.
Yet there is real fear among parents, a fear that is palpable.