The other problem with fake vaccine scares

It's not just that bad information on the "dangers" of vaccines is working to reduce the number of children getting vaccines — a fact that affects herd immunity. Now, there's evidence that the fake scares (and efforts to debunk them) are getting in the way of scientists publishing real evidence about actual problems with certain vaccines. These aren't the kind of broad "vaccines are poison" claims you're familiar with. Instead, we're talking about legitimate science documenting side effects that are usually very rare, but still have an impact on certain subsets of the population and need to be addressed.


  1. True, if you search PubMed with keywords related to vaccines/vaccine ingredients, you get stacks of papers about the effects of scares, debunks, how to counter message them, and why. All mixed in with papers about actual vaccine development and other hard science.

    It’s good that it’s being done, but terrible that it is necessary. Hundreds of papers that could have been efforts spent elsewhere.

  2. Thank you for posting this, Maggie.  I agree; this is a troubling problem.  

    I remember during a flu threat (bird?), where I did a report, and asked several medical people after the press conference why my family had gotten so sick from the inhaler flu vaccine.  

    They said that the live viruses were often not sufficiently weakened, and thus the “vaccinated” person not only got three strains of flu at once, but infected everyone around them.  “The whole family gets ‘innoculated’,” they joked.

    So effectively, they said, the inhaler vaccination was causing the flu(s) across society.

    We all agreed that this was a serious problem, and expected that the inhaler would be pulled, or seriously modified, particularly since it wasn’t necessary; the injected flu vaccine rarely had the same problems — although it did have (duh duh duuuuhhhnnn) thimerosol/mercury.It’s several years later, and as far as I can tell (as a casual observer), the inhaler is still a mass, “let’s all have these flu(s) right now” treatment.

    Yet any mention of the problem is met with a massive “shushing” from the media, medical community, etc.

    And just a few weeks ago, on Diane Rehm’s show on NPR, a president of a pharmaceutical company was asked directly about this.  He sidestepped the question, and said the injected version absolutely positively did not cause the flu.  And Diane Rehm just went on to the next question.

    If you can’t even talk publicly about such problems, not only will they not get solved, but as the facts eventually trickle out — “truth will out” — everyone’s credibility is undermined, and  an atmosphere of mistrust is created which can have dangerous repercussions, far beyond getting the another flu.

    1. If you’re big pharma, the stupid vaccine scares are the ones you want in the news. Everyone loves to point the finger, and scorn for the stupidity of people can drown out actual critical reasoning. Kind of like how the absolute dumbest product liability lawsuits are the ones that make the headlines, the tendency is to brand *any* product liability as fraud.
       I have questions about the large numbers of vaccines given at once. I have issues with some of the diseases being protected against and their timing. But it’s so much easier to shut me down as an ant-vaxxer than it is to ask critical questions about the way we’re going about this.

       It’s odd that Big Pharma gets roundly criticized for so many of its practices, but when it comes to vaccines, their motives are absolutely 100% in the public interest. If you doubt that then you’ve got to be one of those know-nothing angry parents with a defective child.

  3. Global warming deniers, vaccine scares, Creationism/ Intelligent Design …

    What went wrong that major parts of the US public started hating science?

Comments are closed.