While, thanks to the recent CDC report documenting the resurgence of measles in the U.S., thanks to worrisome pockets of decreasing vaccine uptake that could portend a much wider resurgence if the antivaccine brigade, now led by Jenny McCarthy, has its way, I’m back on the topic of vaccines after having amazingly managed to stay away for an uncharacteristically long time, I thought that one last post for a while (I hope) is in order.
Yes, in September, there is reason for some optimism in the P.R. war, which the antivaccination forces have clearly winning in recent months. That’s because a new book by the man whom antivaccine activists consider the Dark Lord of Vaccination himself, Dr. Paul Offit, will be hitting the bookstores. It’s called: Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure:
I’m in the middle of reading a review copy of the book. Besides being a good, concise read on the history of the whole myth that vaccines cause autism, I’m thus far shocked at just how really nasty antivaccine activists have gotten with respect to Dr. Offit. It goes far beyond verbal abuse and insults, including the usual “pharma shill” gambit. There’s a really, really visceral hatred of Dr. Offit among the Jenny McCarthy clan, to the point of death threats and times when the University of Pennsylvania had to provide armed guards to protect him. Even if all the bad things the antivaccine movement say about Dr. Offit were true (they’re not), this goes far beyond the pale.
Personally, I fear for his safety this fall after his book comes out, especially if he does extensive publicity tours. I also fear a single book will be no match for the celebrity and pro wrestling-funded propaganda machine that, thanks to Jenny McCarthy, the antivaccinationists have built up. Still, it’s a hopeful sign, and I hope more books like this will be forthcoming. It’s time to get serious about countering the dangerous idiocy of the Jenny McCarthy brigade. This is far more important than even the evolution-creationism manufactroversy. Public health is at stake.