Bill Gates lays it on the line about vaccines

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 7 2011 7:00 AM

Bill Gates lays it on the line about vaccines

Geez, a ton of vaccination related news came in the past few days:

1) The big story folks are talking about is Bill Gates' very outspoken comments on the antivaxxers and Andrew Wakefield:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

Dr. Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it's an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn't have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts -- you know, they, they kill children. It's a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.

This is a very delicate situation, with parents making heart-wrenching decisions about their kids -- and as a parent, I know how tough those decisions can be. But a huge number of people against vaccinations out there believe in it for the wrong reasons, thinking there are toxins in the vaccines, or they cause neurological disorders, or a host of other provably wrong ideas. As we've seen with most alt-med related topics, this is not really an intellectual issue, it's an emotional one. And ironically, people like Jenny McCarthy, Barbara Loe Fischer, and Andrew Wakefield can talk about evil conspiracies trying to hurt your kids, but when we on the side of reality point out that low vaccination rates results in children dying, we are the ones castigated as uncaring and unfeeling.

Baloney. Last Friday would have been Dana McCaffery's second birthday. Read that, click the links, and tell me how uncaring we are.

Bill Gates is right. Low vaccination rates result in children dying. If you're the parent of an infant, talk to your doctor and get the facts.




2) One vaccine fear that's been around a while is that they can cause a nervous disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome. A new study has been released which shows no connection between the two, at least for the seasonal flu shot.




3) Wherever I go shopping I see those bottles of vitaminwater for sale. They claim to have all sorts of vitamins and also claim your body needs them, which may or may not be true, but when they claim you can drink this stuff instead of getting a flu shot, they've crossed the line. I know the ads are supposed to be humorous, but with the huge push for alt-med nonsense in the media and health claim benefits from products that are clearly outrageous, this is simply too far.




4) More health organizations are speaking up against the antivaxxers, and I love it when they target specific promulgators of nonsense as a health columnist for Canoe.ca did. Jenny McCarthy's claims are dangerous, pure and simple.

Tip o' the syringe to Joe Abietz, Robert Tapp, and Robert Estes

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 10:10 AM Where Do I Start With Sleater-Kinney?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 9:39 AM The International-Student Revolving Door Foreign students shouldn’t have to prove they’ll go home after graduating to get a visa.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.