Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Washington Post looks at the way social media spreads the anti-vaccine activism, damaging herd immunity; an example for other areas?


The Washington Post reports in a video on how social media still spreads anti-vaccine information online (especially for measles) and results of some communities having considerable numbers of children unvaccinated, reducing herd immunity and risking those who cannot take vaccines for genuine medical reasons. 

Yet a story by Lena H Sun and Ben Guaring today in the Post reports a few sensational incidents in the past, including a child severely disabled in 1980 (not really from a vaccine) and a Lancet study in 1998, as encouraging doubt in the expertise of public health officials.

The herd immunity issue is a serious one for social media, and Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are “cracking down” and at least demonetizing or shadowbanning posts.

The problem is that we can think of other issues where herd welfare is a potentially legitimate issue, and don’t want to face it.

You can start with climate change but go much further.

I had measles in 1950 just before my seventh birthday.  
I make it a point to remind college students to get both meningitis vaccines, especially B.  I don’t anyone I know to become maimed by this sometimes horrific disease.  Meningitis B can cause a kind of blood poisoning that leads to gangrene and amputations.


What if some day we do find a connection between childhood vaccines and some other autoimmune disease late in life?  At a policy level, what would we do? 

Update: June 9, 2019

Sharyl Atkisson, a "conservative" (somewhat) journalist who reports on Sinclair's "Full Measure", reported this morning on the case of "pro-vaccine" researcher Andrew Zimmerman had once questioned the absolute truth of idea that vaccines could never cause injury and thought he had found rare genetic cases where it could, and that his research was silenced.  There is even a secret "vaccine court".  "The Hill" carries her report here.  The matter was reported on her show on WJLA June 9.  Note that public health departments already do exclude children with a few known rare conditions from vaccinations, where herd immunity still protects them. 

Stat News also reports a recent study from Denmark (March 2019) confirming the safety of vaccines for practically all children. 

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