The cracks in the anti-vaccine movement’s armor grow

The anti-vaccine movement continues to lose not just on the scientific front but also in the court of public opinion. Since the height of the movement’s popularity resulting from Jenny McCarthy helping to mainstream anti-vaxxer groups and their ideas to its fast decline into unpopularity resulting from the demise of Andrew Wakefield’s career due to his fraudulent study, anti-vaccine groups refused to admit defeat even when the science didn’t confirm their talking points linking vaccines to autism and reality kept smacking them in the face.

Jenny McCarthy even went so far as to attempt to distance herself from her prior statements on vaccines but, fortunately, media outlets were able to hold her accountable. In light of measles and pertussis outbreaks occurring in states with low immunization rates like Michigan, Ohio and California, state legislatures are tightening laws requiring vaccination of children attending school. A Los Angeles Times editorial states that since California mandated parents seeking waivers for their kids be given information about the risks of not immunizing their children, vaccination rates of kindergartners were up .2% statewide.

An Australian federal court recently ruled against a homeopathy company whose website stated that the pertussis vaccine was unreliable and ineffective and that homeopathy treatments were a better alternative. According to Australian News, the court ruled the company Homeopathy Plus! had violated the country’s consumer laws for making such claims. Consequently, Homeopathy Plus! faces fines of up to $1.1 million. One Australian government official, Sarah Court, who first ruled on the matter stated the court reviewed a huge amount of medical evidence while hearing the case.

“They heard from three medical experts and Homeopathic Plus also called some medical evidence. But the court found that there was no credible scientific basis for the claims that Homoeopathy Plus! was making and that there is ample evidence that the whooping cough vaccine does a good job in protecting the majority of people.”

Fortunately, every effort on the part of anti-vaccine groups to make false claims has been thwarted either by science not confirming their claims (such as vaccines causing autism) or by legal means such as in the case of Australia. There is also life experience too as I am sure that with parents seeing unvaccinated children suffer resulting from the child’s parents decision not to vaccinate them has caused people to change their minds or provoke the having their kids immunized. The anti-vaccine movement has a right to their opinion, but not their own facts.