May 8, 2012

Vermonters for Vaccine Truth

The Vermont legislature ended its 2012 session this past Saturday evening.

One issue that came up during the session proposed elimination of the philosophical exemption for vaccination of school age children, known as bill S.199. A group that opposed the bill was formed calling itself "Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice" (VCVC). The group is comprised of many members of Vermont's anti-vaccine, homeopathic community including the State Director in Vermont for the euphemistically called National Vaccine Information Center, a name that according to some was carefully chosen to suggest a governmental connection; the National Vaccine Disinformation Center would be more accurate, appropriate and truthful.

Nationally, the anti-vaccination movement, or anti-vaxers as they are commonly known, has taken a three pronged approach to thwarting appropriate medical efforts to raise the level of virus or disease immunity community wide. (Note that I've said "raise" rather than to imply that 100% immunity is the goal; anything that falls short of that 100% figure is exploited by the anti-vaxers as somehow demonstrating the complete ineffectiveness of vaccinations generally - more on that in future posts.)
"The anti-vaccination movement (AVM) is at least two-pronged: one prong denies a causal connection between vaccines and the eradication or significant reduction of diseases like smallpox, polio, measles, and rubella; the other prong perceives vaccines as causing diseases, e.g., it claims that the MMR (mumps-measles-rubella) vaccine causes autism. Either way, the AVM proponents oppose vaccination against disease."

"One might consider a third prong of the AVM to be those who advocate homeopathic "vaccines" or isopathic preparations for such things as meningococcal disease, the "flu" childhood illnesses, malaria, and HIV. Such people offer magic water in place of an actual vaccine developed and properly tested by scientists. They believe the water has been energized and has a selective "memory" of molecules long gone in the homeopathic dilution process. Most homeopathic vaccines are nothing but water or inert substances and cannot protect anyone from anything. They endanger people's lives when they are offered as protection against diseases like malaria. They are sought out by people who do not trust real vaccines and who live according to the principles of vitalism and magical thinking. Thus, we might well say that those who recommend homeopathic vaccines are part of the AVM since, in effect, they oppose real vaccination against disease."

The Anti-Vaccination Movement
First off, homeopathy is quackery. It is neither a science nor true. Studies of homeopathy show that its results are the same as those of placebos. Homeopathy is aptly known as a "pseudoscience."

At its heart homeopathy requires the suspension of rational thought. Naturally, that was the strategy used by the anti-vax activists of VCVC. That and a few lies thrown in for good measure, also an essential part of the "medical" kit of the homeopathic activist community.

In addition to promoting extremist, pseudoscientific, junk "medicine" whose foundation is based on pseudohistory, the Vermont anti-vax crowd has allied itself with the wingnut political fringe of Vermont's body politic. More on this in a future post.

Despite the fact that the anti-vaxer goal was for complete defeat of S.199, across the Internet the forces of anti-vaccination are alive with hubris laden posts about what what they perceive to have been a complete victory. Complete victory would have been a scuttled bill. The legislation that was passed contains additional provisions that should help Vermonters who may likely be harmed by the anti-vax forces in the future fight back. It definitely isn't a done deal. Those provisions will be examined here as well in future posts. Less fortunately, that same legislation contains in its final form a provision that will assist anti-vax parents in limiting the potential to be held accountable for their irresponsible behavior, a provision (Sec. 2. 18 V.S.A. § 1122 (a)(3)(D)(c)(1)(2)) similar to that which, ironically, the anti-vax crowd complains about with regard to the pharmaceutical industry.

Over the coming weeks and months this blog will reveal some of the nonsense proposed by Vermont's homeopath activists as well as the likely harm their activism exposes all Vermonters to, along with the vested financial interests of some of VCVC's anti-vax leadership, or as I like to call them, the agents of the multi-billion dollar industry many call Big Quacka, that were undisclosed during the House and Senate discussions. These interests are of the sort that usually require registration as a lobbyist but at the very least should have been explicitly disclosed to Vermonters and their elected representatives. Hopefully, I'll be revealing what many already know in a less humorless fashion than the anti-vaxers usually display.

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