Didn't your mom ever tell you that you can't believe everything you read on the internet? Not to buy crap from mean people? She probably even told you not to trust the CDC, but you'd no doubt tuned her out by that point. So you bought the popular vernacular hook, line, and sinker. Even if you weren't an A-hole about it, you still cringed when you thought of some little sick kid whose parents obviously didn't love him enough to simply protect him from life-threatening diseases. Am I right?
But despite the vigorously repeated attempts to discredit "anti-vaxxers" and write them off as societal nightmares, the anti-vax movement has never been bigger or stronger. More and more people are questioning vaccine safety, efficacy, and purpose, and it's a message that is resonating more than ever. Lest some think that "anti-vaxxers" never bring solid evidence to the table, I'd like to humbly point out that this couldn't be farther from the truth. Not only are thousands of parents coming out of the woodwork with their own injury stories, making it crystal clear that vaccine injury is neither rare nor unimportant, but there is SOLID scientific evidence that vaccination is potentially quite dangerous. It's really not hard to find. You could start here if you're curious. You won't dumb down humanity, I promise.
One interesting point to note is that everyone seems to feel differently on how to accurately sum up "Anti-Vaxxers". This couldn't be clearer by performing a simple google search of the term.
Definition From Oxford Dictionary:
A person who is opposed to vaccination, typically a parent who does not wish to vaccinate their child.
‘experts say several diseases that are avoidable are making a comeback due to anti-vaxxers who refuse to vaccinate their kids’
Definition of "Anti-Vaxxers" from Urban Dictionary:
A particularly toxic kind of narcissist who places their own science illiterate beliefs in woo over the welfare of their own children and that of the general population.
"Oh great, another measles outbreak, thanks to those dumbass anti-vaxxers."
There are others. I'll spare you.
Dr. David Gorski, hard-core vaccine apologist and distraction-tactic extraordinaire, admits that defining "Anti-Vaccine" is trickier than just lumping everyone into one category, as is frequently done for a negative lighting effect. In an aggressive piece from "Science Blogs", a popular and easily searchable site that sadly claims to provide accurate information, he attempts to sum up the definition of "Anti-Vaxxer".
He quickly and utterly falls flat in explaining his rationale, as I'll expand on a bit in (parentheses):
- Claiming to be “pro-safe vaccine” while being unrelentingly critical about vaccines. (well, because if something isn't safe, and has been repeatedly proven to be unsafe, shouldn't we be critical of it?)
- The “vaccines don’t work” gambit. (a very narrow perspective of a very deep and complex belief that is based on scientific studies showing that often vaccines either don't stimulate an anti-body response or only offer a temporary, artificial immunity)
- The “vaccines are dangerous” gambit. (Thousands upon thousands of public vaccine injury stories, VAERS, and HRSA statistics don't lie, Doc.)
- Preferring anecdotes over science and epidemiology. (Believe it or not, anecdotal evidence is key in identifying a problem; even in science. Refer back to point 3.)
- Cherry picking and misrepresenting the evidence. (Not that cherry picking and misrepresentation ever occur on the pro-vax side...)
- The copious use of logical fallacies in arguing. (logical fallacies such as what? The disease mortality/morbidity rates falling before vaccines with the widespread use of plumbing, refrigeration, and sanitary practices? That vaccines only target a small part of the immune system? That militant pro-vaxxers such as Dr. Gorski use ad hominem attacks, bullying, and shaming to get their point across? Please be more specific here, dude.)
- Conspiracy mongering. (Again, specify? If someone believes that we never landed on the moon, does that automatically make them an anti-vaxxer? Again, this is simply a common tactic used to make "anti-vaxxers" look crazy. I'm going to assume - dangerous, I know - that the good doctor is referring to the more common "vaccine conspiracies", like how the CDC knew vaccines were causally linked to autism, and covered it up. Sounds, crazy, right? Until you read the documents that William Thompson turned over to congress proving this very thing.)
- Trying to silence criticism, rather than responding to it. (Again, take a look in the mirror. However, in my experience with thousands of other"anti-vaxxers", we tend to ignore(not silence) criticism, because we know what the truth is. We watched it with our own two eyes in our children. We've researched for large amounts of time, and know more about vaccines and the diseases they were designed to protect against than most doctors. #truth. For this reason, our critics are generally ignored, or met with evidence that is immediately rejected in favor of clinging to the misinformation we've been spoon fed since the mid-1900's. We always respond, sir. Always.)
1. Their child was injured by vaccines, launching them into a whirlwind of research on the topic. (Bingo.)
This includes yours truly.
To be transparent, I'm one of the "lucky" ones. My child isn't dead and wasn't catapulted onto the autism spectrum. She displayed many of the typical signs of vaccine injury immediately after her MMR round, including high fevers, lethargy, temporary loss of some motor skills, lack of response, general "fogginess". We were able to alter her diet at the time and over time, she eventually "came out of it", although three years later she still struggles with speech and communication in general, which has always been a strong suit of both her parents and her other siblings, much like it was for her before that fateful day. The injury was blatantly obvious to me at the time, although at first I didn't consider vaccines as the cause.
It triggered in me a sudden, furious impulse to start looking into causes, and when I started seeing many stories identical to mine, I started really digging in. From that point, I couldn't stop. Just ask my poor wife. It became an obsession, and turned into a way of life. I now devote my spare time to raising awareness and helping people find the truth that is hidden right under their noses. It's exhausting, but I've never wavered, despite a very busy life. It's my calling. And no, I haven't made a dime for my time.
I have now researched this topic for literally thousands of hours, and have collected numerous scientific studies, thousands of injury stories, doctoral testimonies, all the vaccine package inserts, Vaccine Court statistics, and much, much more. There's no going back now. Call me biased, but I'll probably call you the same. We need to realize that the petty word games we play don't change the truth.
I consider myself quite knowledgeable around this topic, but I don't claim to be a scientist or doctor, so much of what I know has been learned the old fashioned way: lots and lots of reading. I have studied both sides with as much objectivity as possible, and try hard to keep an open mind. That said, I've never been more sure of anything in my life as I am that the risks of vaccination outweigh any perceived benefits.
So, who better to accurately define "anti-vaxxer" than someone who has walked in both shoes?
I find combining the two views to be the most effective way to understand this phenomenon:
1. An individual who expresses his/her first amendment right to publicly question one or more of the following: The safety and/or efficacy of vaccines, the science behind them, the theory of herd immunity, the modern severity of 'vaccine-preventable' diseases, the body's role in natural immunity, the corruption of the government as it relates to vaccines, doctoral conflicts of interest, pharmaceutical ties, or the issue of blind societal trust in the system.
"That dumbass anti-vaxxer is really out-there, isn't he?"
2. Someone who has witnessed vaccine injury in someone else, including but not limited to: parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, acquaintances, & distant relatives. Typically these individuals are the loudest ones.
"Did you see that anti-vaxxer's testimonial about how their kid got hurt by vaccines? He's obviously lying. What a liar."
3. One that has spent considerable time researching vaccines and has decided to make the informed decision to not vaccinate their child.
"I can't stand those anti-vaxxers. I hope their kids die from all the diseases and stuff."
1. The action of deciding to stop vaccinating.
"Shit. That idiot just anti-vaxxer'd."
And there you have it. This anti-vaxxer just anti-vaxxer'd you. Feel free to prove him wrong.