Today there is a six-year-old boy lying in a London, Ontario hospital fighting for his life. He is in critical condition with a vaccine-preventable illness, tetanus. Most North American's have never known a person who has suffered from this life-threatening disease, and it isn't on most people's radars. Rare, yes. But REAL.
Flu shots have raised similar alarms in young children. In the 2011 flu season, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed 42 cases of seizures, 36 of them involving infants and 10 of them deemed "serious," after vaccination with Fluzone, a vaccine made by Sanofi-Pasteur.
The CDC's decision to play up flu deaths dates back a decade, when it realized the public wasn't following its advice on the flu vaccine. During the 2003 flu season "the manufacturers were telling us that they weren't receiving a lot of orders for vaccine,"Dr. Glen Nowak, associate director for communications at CDC's National Immunization Program, told National Public Radio.
Those who question vaccination programs are kooks or quacks, the press repeatedly tells us. The Globe and Mail, CBS News, Mother Jones and even scientific journals like Nature label skeptics as "vaccination deniers," much as global warming skeptics are called "deniers." This wholesale demeaning of vaccine skeptics defies explanation. Granted, kooks and quacks exist in the vaccination field, just as they exist elsewhere. But why taint the skeptics as a whole, and fail to respectfully report dissenting views?