Stupidity about the pros and cons (almost exclusively false cons) about vaccinations has been rampant on an adjacent forum. Largely I have ignored these scurrilous anti-vaxxers as too ridiculous to waste my time on; but let’s face it, that kind of false narrative is too reprehensible to ignore.
They manufacture false facts to fit their bogus narratives. Read on to discover some of the actual facts. But first some background: Like many people I waste a lot of time watching television in the evening. However, I did find one show that is beneficial and useful. Bear with me. The show is called Bullshit!, and features Penn Jillette and his sidekick Teller (the one who hardly ever talks). They called “bullshit” on things that annoy them or don’t seem to make very good sense. The show ran for eight seasons. I found it on Hulu. Here are some of the segments I have seen followed by a brief summary of the Penn and Teller take on the issue: spiritualists, they need to be exposed as the quacks they are; alternative medicine, it doesn’t work; alien abduction, it’s never happened as far as we know; life coaches, you don’t need one; environmental hysteria, calm down, it’s all pretty natural; the war on drugs, same problems as prohibition; gun control, the right to own a gun for self-defense should not be infringed; prostitution, it should be legal; immigration, illegal immigration is sometimes a problem but a wall isn’t going to fix it; and taxes, they are way too high and often disguised as something else.
The final episode of the last season of Bullshit! was on the topic of vaccinations, airing on August 12th. 2010, prior to the covid pandemic. Given their generally libertarian perspective, repeatedly making the point that government shouldn’t regulate harmless human behavior, I wasn’t sure what I would find when I tuned in. Fortunately, they agreed with me that being an anti-vaxxer is just nuts.
Vaccines against diphtheria, polio, meningitis, hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, mumps, whooping cough, flu, rotavirus, rubella, smallpox tetanus, and chicken pox, have done nothing but save lives.
The anti-vaccine hysteria began in 1998 when a prestigious medical journal, the Lancet, published an erroneous article suggesting a possible link between the measles vaccination and autism. That article has been completely debunked, refuted, and disavowed. There is no such connection. The measles vaccine did not cause autism nor did it cause any increase in that abnormality, but a panic set in, and the anti-vaccination movement was, unfortunately, born. The numbers of autistic children have not skyrocketed, as some people claim. Actually, the apparent increase is explained by the fact that the definition of what constitutes autism has been vastly broadened and awareness of the malady has increased.
Anti-vaccine nuts believe that vaccines are part of a global medical conspiracy to keep people sick and to make more money. Untrue! The internet enables these bogus conspiracy theories to flourish. They are still untrue! Also, they are detrimental to the general public and to our overall health.
Proposed: Let’s start shutting down on the anti-vaccine lies. It’s the right thing to do.