Vaccine Wars or not..

Attended a talk on ‘Vaccine Wars in the 21st Century’ by Dr. Gregory Poland from the Mayo Clinic at the University of Minnesota Rochester Campus

Major points Poland covered were on how we live in an age where information is confused with knowledge. Broadly he went over how the immunization rates are dropping and anti vaccine messages are being trumped. Quoting recent outbreak and the short story snippets behind them he covered diseases like measles and mumps. Stating that mistrust in people despite safe and effective vaccines was biased of, of emotions, heuristics and data they see.

Citing examples where the majority of audience failed to read an extra “in” in the phrase “Paris in in the spring” in a diamond shaped box among other tidbits of data and a simple math question of spending $1.10 where the bat costs exactly a $1 more than the ball – what could be the price of the ball 1c/5c/10c/20c, Poland justified how public (the audience in this case) messes up in understanding data.

He went on to cite examples of Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy regarding the measles vaccine and video hype of Desiree Jennings. He concluded the talk by pointing how people fail to see the data that they need to see to make ‘good’ decisions instead of getting vaccines for fear or by requirement/coercion.

Did the talk motivate the audience to spread the word about getting vaccines and being ‘good’ – that’s difficult to say. But the talk was certainly entertaining.

With so much information available, and I use the word information because what the general public sees is certainly not data. Interpreting data and getting information out of it is some hard work but forming a bead of knowledge from information is to each their own. Its difficult to say how a ‘vaccine war’ story unfolds – while you’re in the middle of it – the decision is solely yours, the end could work for you or totally not.

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2 thoughts on “Vaccine Wars or not..

  1. The problem with Jenny McCarthy is she jumped on the my son has autism hay ride and the media didn’t do their homework. Had they investigated, which good journalists do, they would’ve seen her story had huge gaps. For instance, her son radically improved after given seizure medications. As many doctors believe, this is more consistent with the diagnosis of landau kleffner syndrome, a syndrome easily misdiagnosed,even by experts, as autism. It would look better for Jenny to come out and deal with the seizures being the real reason her son regressed and exhibited autistic like behaviors that led to diagnosis. Unfortunately, she was picked up by media and others who have made a lot of money off her son’s misdiagnosis and they don’t want to lose that money now. There are books. Endorsements. Connections. Ties. Her name is on the my child has autism payroll and it’s making people in some places money. They don’t care if her son really has autism. Yet, at same time, these same people will attack BIG PHARM saying all they care about is making money. Well this appears to be the pot calling the kettle black. Jenny should be a spokesperson for Landau Kleffner, not autism. Her son obviously has issues and hopefully continues to progress, but her chronic misrepresentation of autism has rightfully angered many people. It’s equally disturbing that the website Age of Autism has a relationship with her that blinds them to the fact her son was never autistic. Now does she have a right to criticize vaccines? Of course she does. She’s a mom and wants to be sure what is going into her son isn’t poisonous.

    1. Thanks for your insight regarding Jenny McCarthy’s episode. I do agree with your comment on journalists – most of what we hear/know is a screen they present to us, it could be right on mark or sometimes created with some added hype. Though how the speaker pointed out Jenny McCarthy in the talk had more to do about who she is (her modelling career, and therefore lack of knowledge) and how she misinterpreted the knowledge about vaccines. From a distinct standpoint, an uneducated mother has every right to feel on behalf of their children. Her decision is wrong or not – is a test of time. Had she been right all along, perhaps she’d have been forgotten and lost, while for now she fits the bill to stress that you should trust your doctor more on vaccines than a model!

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