The barely concealed extremism of an anti-vaccine group

We’re gearing up for another round of the philosophical-exemption debate at the Statehouse. As you may have heard, a State Senate committee is considering a bill that would remove the philosophical exemption for childhood vaccinations. Which has the anti-vaccine community’s knickers in a knot.

Well, they don’t call themselves “the anti-vaccine community,” but that’s exactly what they are. Vermont’s primary anti-vaxx group is the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice (VCVC). It publicly presents itsels as entirely focused on parental choice. From its website:

We are not “anti-vaxxers”… We are dedicated to preserving health choice and informed consent for parents and all Vermonters.

Vaccine movie posterProblem is, the leaders of VCVC just can’t help themselves. Their website prominently trumpets the work of, among others, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an anti-vaxxer who promotes the discredited vaccine/autism canard and who has called vaccination “a holocaust.”

But if you want to see the real scope of VCVC’s nutbaggery, you ought to follow its Twitter feed. You’ll find links to every scattered anecdotal report of alleged vaccine harm, every fringey “scientific study” attacking vaccine efficacy or safety, every alternative-medicine type promoting their own agendas, and every rhetorical excess about vaccination, doctors, nurses, government, and science.

Here are a few choice examples. Reminder: these are communications from a group that claims NOT to be “anti-vaxxers.”

Let’s start with a ham-fisted attack on Vermont media for the unforgivable sin of reporting the science on vaccines, which is fully as probative as the science on climate change and evolution:

They’d probably call me a sellout too. Problem is, I haven’t seen a dime from Big Pharma. I just happen to believe the massive preponderance of scientific evidence. VCVC, on the other hand, searches through the flotsam and jetsam of junk science.

The study was published in the Open Journal of Pediatrics, one of many “open journals” created by Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP), which offers “244 English language open access journals.” SCIRP is based on Wuhan, China, and has been accused of being a predatory open access publisher.

Predatory open access publishers don’t provide the editorial oversight of real scientific publishers; they aggressively solicit papers, publish them with little or no review, and then try to bill the authors for publication costs. In other words, their articles are not to be trusted. But if an article calls vaccination into question, VCVC is happy to accept it at face value and promote it.

More… after the jump. This Tweet links to a VCVC Facebook post that says legislators who support vaccination “are either being misled, or they are part of the corruption.”

So those who disagree with VCVC are either fools or puppets, I guess. Thanks for that.

In this Tweet, VCVC appears to endorse a return to the bad old days when measles, mumps, and other childhood illnesses ran rampant. But why not stop there? Let’s bring back polio! Heck, safe public water supplies and sewage disposal are also draining our kids’ immune systems. Let’s bring back the Good Old Days when our friends, the diseases, weeded out the weak!

VCVC frequently uses its Twitter feed to trumpet the debunked claim that vaccines cause autism:

In this Tweet, VCVC cites the noted public health expert Ayn Rand, who draws a comparison between mandatory vaccination and the worst excesses of the French Revolution and the Soviet Union.

And finally, the inevitable endpoint of single-issue nut groups: linking mandatory vaccination to Nazism.

The linked article asserts that “compulsory vaccination has national socialist roots… that spring from the same drive for a ‘master race’ that led the Nazis to embrace eugenics (including forced sterilization) and dysgenics (including execution of the Jews and others deemed ‘undesirable’).”

This is what the non-extremist, purely pro-choice folks at VCVC are peddling in their effort to retain the philosophical exemption. I can’t understand why anyone could possibly think VCVC is an extremist hotbed of anti-vaxxerism. Unless, of course, “anyone” can read.

2 thoughts on “The barely concealed extremism of an anti-vaccine group

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Well, y’know, sometimes authority is right. Says this child of the Sixties. And the point of this post wasn’t to refute all the anti-vaxxers’ arguments; it was to point out that they’re playing a double game: presenting themselves as all about choice, while actively trying to undermine the vaccination program.


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