By Barbara Loe Fisher
This summer, inaccurate and misleading information about B. pertussis whooping cough and the pertussis vaccine is being put out there by medical doctors, who should know better. Media campaigns designed to create fear about infectious disease are nothing new. This one appears to have three goals: first, to emphasize pertussis risks while ignoring vaccine risks; second, to place blame for whooping cough cases and deaths on the unvaccinated; and, third, to attack religious and conscientious belief exemptions, which serve as informed consent protections in U.S. vaccine laws.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman: "Just Get the Damn Vaccine"
In 2009, public health officials declared a pandemic H1N1 influenza emergency and played up the potential complications of the swine flu while playing down the potential risks of the untested new swine flu vaccine. When two-thirds of Americans "just said no" to swine flu shots, NBC's chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman ridiculed them and quipped "Just get the damn vaccine."
Now Snyderman has issued a similar order to "get vaccinated" but, this time, she is accusing parents of unvaccinated children for causing the deaths of six California infants, who have reportedly died from complications of B. pertussis whooping cough. On July 28, 2010, Dr. Snyderman further alleged that "most people" with religious objections to vaccination are not telling the truth and that the "needs" of the "community as a whole" are "better than the individual" and "more important."
Doctors Using Media Bully Pulpit to Misinform
Ordinarily I would not take the time to address specific comments by a prominent doctor, who is careless with the facts when voicing an opinion. But as more doctors use the bully pulpit of the national media - unchallenged - to disseminate incorrect information, promote personal ideological views and advance political agendas, it becomes more important for informed Americans to speak up.
Responding to recent press releases and media reports, in which California health officials say the state is experiencing the worst whooping cough outbreak in 50 years with about 1500 reported cases and six infants dying from B. pertussis, on July 28 Dr. Snyderman offered the following explanation: "I think that what we are seeing here is a tipping point in unvaccinated children because the hot pockets are in families where, frankly, parents have under-vaccinated or decided not to vaccinate their children."
A quick fact check reveals that both California health officials and Snyderman have not been entirely honest with the people. The Centers for Disease Control's published morbidity and mortality report shows that in the past 12 months, between July 24, 2009 and July 24, 2010, there were a total of 809 "provisional" cases of whooping cough reported in California. In fact, in the entire United States of America for the week ending July 24, there were only 187 reported cases of whooping cough, with no cases occurring in California...To read more with live links to references and to watch a video, click here. HERE.
Read a Never Before Published Partial Transcript of the May 12, 1986 Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). HERE Parents of babies, who died following DPT vaccine reactions or were been brain injured, questioned the Committee 25 years ago and challenged the reports of pertussis outbreaks in eight states in 1985.