Do you remember cardiologist and supplement peddler Dr. Jack Wolfson? Part of his schtick is convincing parents that vaccines are bad and disease is good–a schtick that gets him quite a bit of publicity.
For example, during the Disneyland measles outbreak he told the Arizona Republic: “We should be getting measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, these are the rights of our children to get it.” Why would a doctor want your children to get sick? After all, most pediatricians try to prevent illness, and therefore suffering and potential complications, in their young patients. But Wolfson is not a pediatrician; he is a cardiologist-turned-supplement salesman. He is not without conflicts of interest.
When asked about children who cannot be vaccinated and who might be particularly vulnerable to diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox, he told a Phoenix news station:
It’s not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [another child] to be supposedly healthy…I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure. It’s not my responsibility to be protecting their child.
Not only does he think it is your child’s right to be sick, but he also thinks it is not your responsibility to contribute to community health.
After spouting off about the glories and disease and the pretend dangers of vaccines, Wolfson went silent, perhaps in part because he was under investigation by the medical board. What a relief that was!
Our reprieve was short-lived, though, because he is back. In a in a poorly written article chock-full of false balance, Wolfson is given a platform where he weighs in about vaccines against a doctor who is for them. The article focuses on the vaccine “debate,” framing it as a debate between scientists even though practically every doctor and scientist working in a field related to immunization agrees that vaccines are generally safe and effective.
In the article, Wolfson claims that “Zero is the number of randomized, placebo controlled vaccine trials,” casting doubt that vaccines have been studied. Granted, they have been studied, but Wolfson wants them studied in a way that would divide a group of children in two, giving half of the children vaccines and half the children a placebo, revealing to no one who has been immunized and who has not, and setting them free into their communities to potentially contract and disseminate diseases.
What sort of parent would agree to that study? Would an anti-vaccine parent agree to possibly having their child vaccinated without their knowledge? Would a pro-vaccine parent agree to leaving their children vulnerable without their knowledge. Of course not, but that doesn’t matter. Such a study is completely unethical.
Even though Wolfson suggests that unethical studies be performed on children, he has the gall to say, “Our children are not an experiment.” I call bologna. Those who perform actual studies that are both rigorous and ethical on immunizations know that they are studied more than any other pharmaceutical before they are given to our children and are continuously monitored unlike any other medication. Vaccinating children is not treating them like an experiment. Suggesting that disease is good and then turning around and selling unregulated supplements is treating children like an experiment.
Making unsupported, ridiculous statements about vaccines and then turning around and selling supplements seems to be a hallmark of anti-vaccine doctors. They are immune to being reasoned with or even shamed as long as their marketing scheme of frightening parents away from vaccines and into the loving embrace of their online stores keep working. We can work on those parents and give them good information about vaccines before they encounter the grifters and their sleight of hand. I fear, though, that nothing can stop these doctors except shutting down their online stores. In the meantime, as loudmouths like Wolfson continue hawking their wares under the guise of answering questions about immunization, we might have to be louder in our response.