By Barbara Loe Fisher
The Vaccine Culture War is heating up.1 Ground zero is America, Europe and other economically developed countries, where the pharmaceutical industrial complex is raising an iron fist to protect multibillion-dollar profits by disempowering the people.2,3,4,5,6,7,8
In America, professors and doctors in academia and government are profiling parents by class and race to shame and discredit those challenging vaccine orthodoxy. Elite members of the highest paid professions in our society are using academic journals and mainstream media to openly preach fear, hate, prejudice and discrimination against people who disagree with them about vaccination.
Law Professor: Mothers of Unvaccinated Children Are Criminals
“When it comes to vaccines, rich parents get away with child neglect,” the headline in The Washington Post proclaimed on May 10, 2017. The OpEd was written by Linda C. Fentiman, a Pace University law professor promoting criminal prosecution of mothers whose children are not vaccinated.9
She alleged that state legislatures are accommodating “wealthy” mothers by allowing exemptions in vaccine laws, while poor pregnant women have “faced charges of criminal child abuse” and imprisonment for “failing to deliver adequate nutrition or delivering drugs via their breast milk.”
She suggested that ALL mothers who don’t vaccinate their children are criminals and should be punished — “regardless of socioeconomic status” — because vaccination is a “collective obligation” and “the science on the efficacy and safety of vaccines is clear.”
Boston Herald: Hang People Talking Bad About Vaccines
That “punish the mothers” OpEd was preceded by a May 8 Boston Herald editorial revealing just how far the persecution of people advocating for vaccine safety and informed consent has gone. The Boston Herald editorial staff called for the execution of individuals who exercise free speech about vaccine risks and failures.
As in, it should be “a hanging offense” to inform parents (especially, to inform parents in “immigrant communities”) that vaccines carry an unpredictable risk of injury or death and often fail to work as advertised.10
Nobody should be surprised. Prejudice and discrimination against groups of people, whether because of the color of their skin, their gender, how they dress, what they eat, where they live, their religious beliefs, their cultural values and political opinions — or simply because they choose to stay healthy in a different way — is always a slippery slope once it is allowed to gain a foothold in society.
MD, Professor, Vaccine Developer Calls for ‘Funeral’ of Vaccine Safety and Choice Advocacy
In 2011, Dr. Gregory Poland, a University of Minnesota professor of medicine and vaccine developer at Mayo Clinic,11,12 profiled parents concerned about vaccine risks in the New England Journal of Medicine.
He said, “Antivaccinationists tend toward complete distrust of government and manufacturers, conspiratorial thinking, denialism, low cognitive complexity in thinking patterns, reasoning flaws and a habit of substituting anecdotes for data.” Then he used a death image to invoke a thinly veiled threat. He asked, “What can we do to hasten the funeral of antivaccination campaigns?”13
CDC on Mothers: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?
Trash talk has become the weapon of choice for a select group of professors and doctors using academic journals and mainstream media to humiliate and bully people who disagree with them about the science, policy, law and ethics of vaccination.
In the 21st century, it has been going on in earnest since about 2004 when Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials kicked off the Vaccine Culture War by asking this question in the Journal of Pediatrics: “Children Who Have Received No Vaccines: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?”14 The CDC study authors played with the words “undervaccinated” and “unvaccinated” so mothers could be profiled by class and race. They said:
“Undervaccinated children tend to be black, to have a younger mother who was not married and did not have a college degree, to live in a household near the poverty level, and to live in a central city.
Unvaccinated children tended to be white, to have a mother who was married and had a college degree, to live in a household with an annual income exceeding $75,000 and to have parents who expressed concerns regarding the safety of vaccines and indicated that medical doctors have little influence over vaccination decisions for their children.”
There it was, the uncomfortable truth that it is college educated, financially stable middle class mothers independently evaluating the benefits and risks of vaccination rather than blindly trusting and relying on someone else to do their thinking for them.
Although the CDC’s 2004 profiling study drew lines between mothers based on race and socio-economic class, there was no discussion of the distinct possibility that those lines would disappear if ALL mothers were financially stable, able to access full information about vaccination, and were truly free to make voluntary vaccine decisions without being punished for the decision they make.
Your skin doesn’t have to be a certain color and you don’t have to belong to a certain socioeconomic class — or have a college degree — to figure out that you are not being told the whole truth about risks that doctors insist your child must take. All you have to do is vaccinate your healthy child and witness that child have symptoms of severe vaccine reactions and either die or become a totally different child physically, mentally and emotionally.
Delegitimizing Vaccine Exemptions and Those Who Take or Give Them
For more than a decade, professors at Johns Hopkins and Emory universities have published articles profiling parents making independent vaccine choices for their children for the purpose of creating a public narrative that delegitimizes vaccine exemptions and the human right to exercise freedom of thought, conscience, religious belief and informed consent to vaccine risk taking.15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24
In 2012 these esteemed professors also put the squeeze on pediatricians to discourage them from exercising professional judgment and conscience when giving children medical vaccine exemptions,25,26 directing them to strictly conform to narrow vaccine contraindications approved by the CDC, which exclude 99.99 percent of children from qualifying for a medical exemption.27,28,29
Since doctors cannot predict who will be harmed by vaccination,30,31 this kind of cruel utilitarian public health policy selects an unknown number of children, who are biologically vulnerable to being harmed by vaccines, for sacrifice. When doctors with big titles in government and academia put a target on the backs of parents and doctors opposing inhumane one-size-fits-all public health policies and laws, it gives a green light for legislators to do the same thing.
In 2012, California pediatrician politician Richard Pan lobbied to eliminate the personal belief vaccine exemption for children to attend school. He told The Associated Press that, “In private schools, these are people who have money, who are upper middle-class, and they are going on the internet and seeing information and misinformation.”32,33
Educated Critical Thinkers Eating Organic, Leaning Holistic
In 2013, the flames of prejudice were fanned by an online publication profiling parents in a San Francisco community and labeling them “vaccine deniers.”34
The parents were described as “wealthy, educated, liberal leaning” and often working in “technology, law and other white collar professions that demand critical thinking skills,” who put their children at risk by feeding them non-GMO organic food, taking them to holistic doctors, and paying $20,000 a year to send them to private schools where self-reliance, independence and critical thinking are taught.
So, by 2015, the narrative about parents being stupid and crazy for questioning the safety of vaccines had morphed into one profiling parents by class and race. The New York Times had no problem running the headline, “Rich, White and Refusing Vaccinations.”35
2015 Measles in Disneyland Unleashes Media Hate Fest Attacking Parents and Civil Liberties
And when a measles outbreak popped up in 2015 at Disneyland, it didn’t matter that only 2.5 percent of California children were attending kindergarten with a personal belief vaccine exemption.36
It was an opportunity for the pharmaceutical industrial complex to create a media hate fest that turned into a competition for who could suggest the most egregious violations of civil liberties and the nastiest kinds of punishment for parents declining to give their children every one of the 69 doses of 16 vaccines on the CDC’s poorly studied childhood vaccine schedule.37,38,39
An Arizona State University magazine editor wrote, “Shouldn’t we know where they live? Every single exemption request should be reviewed in a public meeting and approved by a public body (like a city council or school board). And if the exemption is approved, basic information — the parent’s name, address and the vaccinations declined — should be available on the internet via a publicly maintained registry.”40
Professors at major universities suggested the government should impose a tax on unvaccinated people,41 suspend free speech about vaccination,42 and deny elected representatives public office and strip doctors of their medical licenses if they talk bad about vaccines.43A science writer urged Americans to turn on each other and conduct a “concerted campaign of person-to-person shaming and shunning.”44
A USA Today OpEd stated flatly: “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail.”45 By the end of 2015, the California legislature had narrowly voted to eliminate the personal belief vaccine exemption, while denying medical care to the children of parents making vaccine choices had become standard behavior in pediatric offices across the country.46,47
Professor and Vaccine Developer: ‘Snuff Out’ Vaccine Safety and Choice Advocates
In 2016, the profiling of vaccine hesitant parents based on race and class had become so politically correct in America that two Michigan pediatricians felt comfortable describing them this way: “These parents almost always come from privilege, and they are almost never punished for their actions … they are by and large white, educated and affluent.”48
By 2017, Peter Hotez, a Baylor University professor of medicine and vaccine developer,49,50 slapped the “high educational attainment and socioeconomic status” label on parents defending vaccine freedom of choice. In Scientific American magazine, he called on the U.S. government and G-20 nations to take steps to “snuff out” the “American anti-vaccine movement.”51 To “snuff out” means to “crush or kill.”52
It is no wonder the Boston Herald editorial staff did not hesitate to suggest that the hangman’s noose was the kind of punishment that these “white, educated and affluent” parents deserved.53 Apparently, you get a free pass to engage in race and class baiting if you have M.D., Ph.D. or J.D. written after your name and or bang the drum loudly for forced vaccination, suggesting that those who refuse to believe get a taste of the whip.
History does reveal that it is much easier to wage a reign of terror when the gallows and guillotine in the public square are used to teach unbelievers a lesson. Clearly, the doctors and professors demanding that we roll up our children’s sleeves to prove we are willing to take one for the team are getting nervous. They know that more than 90 percent of American parents are asking pediatricians questions about vaccine safety and want to make voluntary vaccine decisions for their children.54
Professor and Vaccine Developer: Take Away Vaccine Exemptions
Wealthy vaccine developers, like pediatrician and professor of vaccinology Dr. Paul Offit,55,56,57 are lobbying to eliminate all vaccine exemptions that have not been approved by doctors, so parents are legally prohibited from exercising freedom of thought and conscience when making health care decisions for their children.58,59,60
Offit believes that children can safely receive 10,000 vaccines at once61 and has contempt for parents who do not agree with him about that. He said, “They’re people who believe they can know anything and know as much as their doctor — if not more — by simply studying it, reading about it.”62
Wealthiest Profession in America: Medical Doctors
Offit is a member of the highest paid profession in America — medical doctors63,64 — and he also belongs to an elite academic community where professors of medicine at some universities are paid $3 to $4 million per year,65 which is comparable to pharmaceutical company salaries. In 2011, the annual salary for an M.D. vice president at Merck was $6 million.66
There are about 750,000 medical doctors working in the U.S. and, although currently the top five medical specialties earn an average $400,000 to half a million dollars per year, the average annual income for most doctors is between $190,000 and $240,000, which is more than six times the U.S. median income of about $36,000 and four times the U.S. household median income of $56,000.67,68,69
There are about 33,000 medical doctors working for the federal government, and they are paid an average $206,000 per year.70 Full professors at colleges and universities are paid on average between $140,000 and $220,000,71,72 but some are paid millions.73
Give No Safe Harbor to Race and Class Baiting
While doctors and professors certainly have the legal right to make a lot of money, it does not give them the moral right to dictate what other people in society can value, think, believe, say or do. Their vicious attacks on people who disagree with them about health and vaccination is an attack on basic human rights that protect all people, rich and poor, and of every race in every country, against tyranny.
Class and race baiting has no place in the public conversation about vaccination and there should be no safe harbor for those who engage in it. Until laws are passed limiting the authority of medical doctors using the heel of boot of the state to violate human rights, the people’s health and freedom will be in danger. Learn more about vaccination and health within NVIC.org.