Social media, aided by Russian propagandists, is spreading disinformation about the pros and cons of vaccines
WASHINGTON, DC – A teen who defied his mother and got himself vaccinated told the Senate Committee on Health last week that social media duped his mom into believing vaccines are dangerous.
Meanwhile, it is being reported that the Russians may be using robots to sow dissension in the U.S. by spreading anti-vaccine propaganda via the internet. The American Journal of Public Health reported that a study they conducted showed there is credible evidence the Russians seek to “weaponize” the anti-vaccine movement in America and elsewhere. “Russian trolls promoted discord” by disseminating false anti-vaccine messages via social media, the Journal concluded.
And, the World Health Organization reports that there has been a 30% increase in the numbers of measles cases worldwide as well as a reappearance of measles in countries that had been in the process of eradicating the disease.
The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] says that 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger of Norwalk, OH told the Senate Committee on Health that instead of heeding the advice of credible authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control [CDC], his mother turned to Twitter and Facebook. He said “the information leading people to fear for their children, for themselves, and for their families is causing outbreaks of preventable diseases.”
Lindenberger’s testimony came a day after the Annals of Internal Medicine published the results of a massive Danish study of 657,461 children provided strong evidence that the MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine is safe. “The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination.”
The study was conducted by Copenhagen’s Staten Serum Institute from 1999 through 2010.
AMAC noted that the lead investigator of the study, epidemiologist Anders Hviid, went so far as to declare emphatically that “MMR does not cause autism,” according to NPR.
Dr. Hviid told NPR that “the idea that vaccines cause autism is still around despite our original and other well-conducted studies. Parents still encounter these claims on social media, by politicians, by celebrities, etc.”
AMAC says that all the empirical evidence shows that the MMR vaccine is safe. In addition, the vast majority of pediatricians urge parents to get their kids vaccinated. Yet, the CDC reports that vaccination rates for American children have dipped. “It is possible that the dip caused a recent resurgence of measles in Washington State.”
Washington declared a state of emergency after 70 cases of measles were reported in in Clark County where a disproportionate number of residents are openly against vaccinations. Things got so bad there that more than 800 students who may have been exposed to the disease and do not have proof of vaccination have been told to stay home.
Meanwhile, there have been more than 260 cases in New York State, including 133 cases in New York City where the anti-vaccine movement has a foothold .
It should be noted, says AMAC, that just days ago a young student in New York City went to school despite the fact that he had the measles and wound up infecting 21 others.
“There’s plenty of scientific evidence that the MMR vaccine works and no empirical proof that it can cause autism. But, hearsay can be powerful, especially if it is being surreptitiously amplified under the state sponsorship of Russia. It has the effect of spreading confusion when it comes to making decisions, especially decisions that impact the health of a loved one. So, we recommend that if you have doubts, you should ask your doctor about the pros and cons of having your child vaccinated. In fact, the National Vaccine Information Center provides a list of questions that you should put to your physician, questions that may aid in making a decision.”
The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us], with 1.7 million members, is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join.