The past is present (non autism related post)

5 Jan

Kev has recently discussed the book, Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All. Besides discussing the dangers the movement poses in its current form, Dr. Offit puts the anti-vaccine movement into historical perspective.

Ever since there was vaccination, there was a resistance to the practice. One of the easiest hooks is to discuss the ingredients. In the case of the original vaccine (which used the cowpox virus to protect humans against smallpox), the target was clear: it comes from cows. One of the more famous images was a cartoon made by James Gillray, showing people growing cow parts after vaccination (click image to enlarge):

It’s so 19th century. Or, is it?

I wasn’t aware of this image (or didn’t remember it) before I read the book. I was taken aback by the similarity to recent imagery used to frighten people about the rotavirus vaccine. If you recall, fragments of a pig virus were found in one of the rotavirus vaccine brands. This was a time for a reasoned, serious discussion. Was there potential for these virus fragments to be harmful? (as it turns out, the virus does not infect humans. It is even found in the fecal matter of humans who have recently eaten pig products).

Here’s one image:

Yeah, kinda cute and funny. The text of the post has headings like “Rotavirus Vaccines Use Monkey, Cow, Pig Materials for Production” and, for some odd reason, “Using Cancer Cells to Produce Vaccines? ” What this has to do with pig virus fragments in rotavirus vaccine is beyond me. The post goes on to link to a video by Barbara Loe Fisher, who discusses “fatal pig viruses”. Fatal to infant pigs, yes. Fatal to humans, no. But, Ms. Fisher doesn’t make that distinction.

Here’s another image, this time from the Age of Autism blog:

There is room for a real vaccine safety movement. In fact, vaccine safety advocates have been successful in creating real change. Dr. Offit makes this clear in his book. But scaring people with these images isn’t helping anyone.

2 Responses to “The past is present (non autism related post)”

  1. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. January 5, 2011 at 08:20 #

    “But scaring people with these images isn’t helping anyone.”

    Nope. But it is a good indicator of how sodding stupid these people really are.

    In the words of Marvin (the paranoid android): depressingly stupid.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - The past is present (non autism related post) « Left Brain/Right Brain -- - January 5, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev. Kev said: The past is present (non autism related post): Kev has recently discussed the book, Deadly Choices:… […]

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