It’s all the rage these days to name yourself something when what you are really about is the opposite. The Patriot Act and the Internet Freedom Act come to mind. Too bad we don’t see something pithy like Citizens for Unspeakable Truth where the group is really ardent followers of Cthulu bent on the destruction of the world,
So, imagine my surprise when I came across the website of the Maryland Coalition for Vaccine Choice. Amazingly you’ll find no clear-headed discussions of choice here, only scare tactics and reasons not to vaccinate. The website should have the balls to call itself for what it really is, antivaxxer propaganda. If you have a good BS meter then you’ll quickly find plenty of shady tactics like quote-mining, misrepresenting conclusions of studies and a barrage of links that reads like a check list of pseudo-scientific nonsense with an agenda.
Here’s a rundown of where they fail:
There is a page on their blog under the title, Top Ten Reasons. Once again there is nothing about choice here, it’s ten fallacious reasons not to vaccinate. Let us tear a couple apart.
They say, “Vaccination is the only mandated medical procedure.” – scare tactic. Any parent that’s taken their kid to a doctor knows that you can refuse vaccinations. You can run into situations in public education where your child is expected to follow procedures laid out to prevent the spread of diseases and illness. So, yes, it’s required that your little Johnny not be a plague bearer in the classroom. This is the same basic expectation we have of individuals with tuberculous to not be a douche-bag and board a plane. By not getting vaccinated, little Johnny weakens the herd immunity. For those individuals that cannot be vaccinated due to medical complications, strong herd immunity is what keeps them healthy.
They also say, “Additionally, adverse reactions from vaccinations pose significant health risks.“- scare tactic. Yes, some people have adverse reactions from vaccines. Some people have had irrevocable complications and some have even died. The chances of this happening are incredibly low. For example, you will often hear of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) being trotted out given the resurgence of the H1n1 flu. According to the CDC, there are 1-2 cases of this happening per million vaccinations. Those are big odds. You have a far greater chance of dying by… well just about anything else. Here’s ten ways you have a far better chance of dying.
Life is a game of odds, there are no certainties, and maybe some individuals need to realize nothing is 100% foolproof. You need to look at it this way – by not getting vaccinated, when there is no medical reason not to, you have increased the chance of others becoming infected by orders of magnitude. Understand this isn’t about you anymore. This is about everyone around you, your family, your neighbors, the people you come into contact during everyday life. You are screwing them over.
They say, ” There is substantial evidence that links vaccines to neurological disorders, including autism, as well as chronic and acute illnesses.” – outright lie. If you read actual peer reviewed and published journals this is where you begin laughing. Since most people don’t, this lie that there is substantial, moreover, any evidence that links vaccines to things like Autism is easily spread. Dismantling this claim can take up a whole blog, so please follow the trail and learn just how much of a (rotten) red herring this claim is.
Check out their Resources links. Its an encyclopedia of organizations that are so agenda-driven that they ignore any facts that clash with their message. One of the biggest transgressors there would be Age of Autism who is blowing through upper management because of their inability to see past their own failure of marketing vaccines as the cause of Autism.
Check out their Headlines links. It’s a great way to practice spotting logical fallacies. Hell they even link to an article titled, “Got the flu? Consider Homeopathy.” Really? Homeopathy? You mean you actually believe water has magical properties that remembers what you diluted in it to the point it’ll only contain parts per million of said substance? And you realistically expect that to cure something?!
To put it all in perspective, and see something for more amusing than this rant, check out this video of Derren Brown during his stand-up routine. Comedy usually says it better anyway!
Perhaps the thing that amuses me the most is the manner in which they manage to contradict themselves utterly in the span of one paragraph.
First they say, “Bringing a Pro-Choice Initiative to Maryland,” and in the next sentence, “We are an alliance of parents, professionals, organizations, and individuals desiring to create a conscientious belief exemption for vaccinations in the state of Maryland.”
This isn’t about choice. This is about skipping out on being responsible which is in turn justified by a mountain of pseudo-scientific bullshit. Yes, getting yourself or your kids vaccinated is stressful. The amount of misinformation being peddled by the antivaxxer crowd (and make no mistake the MCVC is anti-vaccination, not pro-choice) doesn’t make the process any easier.
If you are going to be scared, at least admit to it, and follow-up with due diligence of doing your own research from reputable, evidence based, peer reviewed studies and journals rather than listening to copy-pasted talking points (MCVC) or vapid celebrities (Oprah, McCarthy, Carrey, etc).
You are fundamentally screwing with other people’s health.