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Anti-Vaxxers Defeated by Twelve-Year-Old Whiz Kid

And they know they’ve been defeated. Do you want to know how we can tell? Because they are spending their time trying to tear this kid down.

Perhaps you are the last person in the world who hasn’t seen the phenomenal video by science whiz kid Marco Arturo. Marco presents all the evidence that vaccines cause autism–in a folder full of nothing. (I’m embedding the video at the bottom of this post–please watch it an up-vote it!)

The anti-vaxxers sure haven’t missed it. Some of our favorites have written rebuttals. Let me type that again so we can all understand what they are doing. The anti-vaxxers are rebutting a satirical video made by a 12-year-old. Surely they are taking this video in stride, right?

Uh, no. No they are not. They are losing their minds.

Blogger and salesperson Kate, who runs Modern Alternative Health, claims the video is “devoid of facts and amounts to little more than uninformed bullying” [emphasis hers]. Really, Kate? A 12-year-old is bullying you? I know a lot about bullying, about how people use their social power to make you feel excluded and to gain control over you. What kind of small person are you that a 12-year-old you have never met has social power over you? But she’s not done. Immediately after claiming that she is being bullied, she resorts to this classless diatribe:

Naturally, it’s being heralded by the kind of brain-dead pro-vaccine nut jobs that the internet regularly produces.  The kind of people who don’t understand the importance of actually examining new scientific information critically and having an honest conversation. . . . I kind of imagine them as “cavemen” of sorts — pounding on their keyboards, drooling, and thinking that they have won, while all of the actual intelligent people are smirking and shaking their heads at how painfully, obviously ignorant they are.

In the world of Kate (MAM) and other anti-vaxxers, a 12-year-old is a bully, pro-vaxxers don’t understand science, and only anti-vaxxers are intelligent (and smugly so). Also, up is down, black is white, and the sky is green.

From there, Kate’s post goes nowhere, repeating that the kid is a bully and that pro-vaxxers are terrible and dumb in all ways. It also doesn’t actually present any science showing that vaccines cause autism. In other words, she kind of proves Marco’s point.

By the way, here’s some evidence (okay lots of evidence) showing that vaccines DO NOT cause autism.

But MAMKate is not alone. National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is getting in on the act of rebutting a 12-year-old’s satirical video. (Because NO voices must ever say anything positive about vaccines without being actively shouted down.)

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NVIC has a history of classless, terrible behavior, including promoting the harassment of children. This time, they are getting in on the “take Marco down” campaign by posting a hit piece written by “Levi Quackenboss.”

The Quackenboss piece begins by claiming scientific pursuits concerning vaccines are a religious belief and intimates that Marco shouldn’t even be on Facebook because he is not the requisite 13-years-old yet. So actually, the piece begins by slamming Marco for being young and influenced by his parents (and science).

Then, in anti-vaccine style, she (Quackenboss) picks up the goalposts and moves them downfield. SV-40! Acellular pertussis! HPV! Monkey pox! Faked moon landings! Spaghetti at the ceiling! She discusses anything except, you know, how vaccines don’t cause autism–the actual topic of the video. It’s pure throat clearing written by someone who loves her own voice.

Then she goes on with a condescending and easily refutable diatribe, writing:

Little dude, I totally get that you love science but I’ve got some sad news for you: there’s very little science in vaccine science.

And following with every possible anti-vaccine trope she can find. Here are some answers for her:

After all these myths, Quackenboss ends with a smug little kicker, something meant to put a 12-year-old in his place:

Look, clearly you’re a smart kid in your knockoff Polo shirt and your eyeglasses that look like wraparound safety goggles.  I trust that one day you’re going to figure out that you’ve been lied to, not only by your parents but by your government and the leaders of this world, and you’re going to look back on this insulting video and say, “God, what a little prick I was.”

And that’s OK, Marco.  We’ll be here for you when you do.

But you know what, anti-vaxxers? Marco doesn’t need you and he isn’t interested in you waiting for him. One of you visited him, and he was ready for you.

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Credit: Karen Halabura

A final piece of advice for anti-vaxxers: pick on someone your own size. I mean that two ways: while Marco is smaller than you in stature, he is far larger than you when it comes to class and intellect.

Here’s Marco’s video. Please give it a watch. It will restore your faith in our future.

 

Zucks!

You Can Stop Vaccine Hesitancy

Yesterday, while waiting to get his baby’s vaccines at the doctor’s office, Mark Zuckerberg did the one thing we should all be doing to combat vaccine hesitancy:

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And, no, I’m not suggesting you start your own social media empire. That’s not what you need to do.

You need to tell people that you are (or have been) vaccinating your children. You need to tell people publicly. Because if everyone who did vaccinate their children simply posted a photo like this on social media, the anti-vaccine movement would look like that tiny less-than-one-percent that they are instead of a loud, social media enterprise.

It’s called social norming, and it might be more effective than debating other people about vaccines and debunking their misinformation. A simple I VACCINATE statement, when made by everyone, shows just how ubiquitous this decision is, and also just how safe the decision to do so is. Imagine being a new parent and seeing photo after photo of friends saying “Time for vaccines!” on the internet (or heck–in person!). All those babies that you know who are vaccinated and are fine show just how safe immunizing can be.

Because I am so passionate about social norming, I am willing to insist that your duty speak up about vaccinating is just as important as your duty to vaccinate your children. If you truly want to protect your child and your community, it is your responsibility to help stem the tide of vaccine hesitancy. I bolded that because it is important.

In fact, there is evidence that your advice about vaccinating makes a difference. According to research by Dr. Emily Brunson out of Texas State University, “the variable most predictive of parents’ vaccination decisions was the percent of parents’ people networks recommending nonconformity” to the immunization schedule. In other words, the more people who recommend you not vaccinate on-time, the more likely you are not to vaccinate on time. Conversely, if everyone you know recommends you vaccinate on-time, you are unlikely to deviate from the vaccine schedule.

So get out there and tell your friends and family members and FarmVille collaborators that you vaccinate your children, end of story.

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Here’s the Good News Following the GOP Debate

Cringe-worthy. You could see the inner workings of their minds as they figured out how to straddle the different sides of the vaccine “debate” during the (actual) CNN debate. Some GOP Presidential candidates were trying to make everyone happy, like Ben Carson, who wants people to vaccinate and think some nebulous idea about spreading vaccines out is reasonable. I mean, if it makes parents feel better, who cares if they are leaving their children at risk for diseases longer than is safe?

Others have a core base that supports the idea of parents have freedom to do whatever they want to their children. And the last guy is a narcissist who isn’t used to his ideas being challenged and wouldn’t know a fact if it bit him in the rear.

These men who would rule the most powerful nation in the world and could easily unleash nuclear weapons also want to unleash measles on us. It’s easy to become disheartened if you stop at the debate.

But the debate isn’t the only thing that happened this week. Come Thursday morning, a torrent of backlash was unleashed on these candidates. They may not have expected it because anti-vaccine activists are loud and persistent and focused on only that one issue. They may have assumed that the debate was equally matched.

They were wrong. So many articles were written debunking these candidates and their misinformation that every word in this sentence has its own fabulous, lovely, pertinent, excellent hyperlink. The backlash was so great, I even had to add adjectives to my sentence. And I am guessing the backlash isn’t done.

The backlash is great enough that the campaigns are likely strategizing right now about how best to untangle themselves from their debate statements. If they want my opinion on how to do so, here’s my suggested language: “During the debate, I made statements about vaccines that were wrong. My wrongness was great and horrible, and I regret threatening public health with my wrongness. Children’s lives are too important to allow my wrongness to stand. Therefore, I retract my wrongness, and will gladly state now that vaccines do not cause autism and that parents should stick with the CDC schedule.” Not hard. Statements like this are made in marriages across the world.

Another presidential candidate has sniffed out this backlash. Bernie Sanders met with Rachel Maddow and stated:

I think the evidence is overwhelming that vaccines do not cause autism. It really is a little bit weird for Trump, who has no medical background, to be raising this issue. And obviously it is a concern because when somebody like that says it, thousands of people are going to hesitate to get their kids their shots, and bad things may happen.

I predict good news to come. Being pro-vaccine is now mainstream, and anti-vaccine statements are not allowed to stand. I predict a flurry of pro-vaccine statements by candidates and public figures  in the weeks to come.

But if you are listening carefully, pro-vaccine statements are embedded in our culture. References to the value and importance of vaccines are now part of casual allusion, such as the analogy made in the preview of Benicio Del Toro’s new film, shared on Jimmy Fallon’s show this week.

Despair not. Pro-vaccine voices are becoming more significant.
Although, if Donald Trump becomes President, you should despair. You should despair a lot.
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My Kid Got His Shots

Usually, I try to debunk vaccine myths or help frame some of the social and community discussions about vaccines when I write here. But today I was busy–getting my kid vaccinated. It is important for all parents to simply let others know that they do vaccinate, even if saying so leads to no further discussion. It’s a normal thing to do and, therefore, a normal thing to let others know about.

So here’s my child’s arm (the HPV-9 side), all Tweety-bandaided up. The other side (not pictured) has MCV4 and Tdap. Now I just have to get our records to the school district!

IMG_5440Get your kids vaccinated, and let others know you did!