A reaction to factual stories on vaccination (Part 5).

Wired Fear CoverNote: You can now read this at Wired Magazine. Day 1. Day 2.

This is the fifth part of Amy Wallace’s (website) (twitter) tweet session following up her amazing article in Wired Magazine with comments and emails she has received.

As with the last few days, I have decided to consolidate this in to a blog post that is easier to read for those who, like me, find it annoying trying to read bottom to top and in such short snippets.  Again the only changes I have made have been the adding of paragraphs (something not possible in 140 character tweets) and the occasional full stop, comma or space.  Other than that, the section in block quotes below is directly as they came from her twitter stream.

It’s Friday morning and I’ve just heard from the 415th reader of my Wired story on vaccine panic.

A new blog on misogyny and J.B. Handley/Gen. Rescue: http://bit.ly/2YjLKb

This just in: 3 studies find pregnant mothers’ flu shots make for healthier babies. Read it here: http://bit.ly/jyBkw

Okay, back to the mail bag. There’s a new development over the past day: a campaign to send me the same letter again and again. So far, I’ve had it forwarded to me 11 times. It is from a mom who describes herself as “a tad cranky.” I have to hand it to her: The woman can write.

“Most of us on this tumultuous ride don’t have time to run around shouting death threats and sending hate mail to Mr. Offit,” she says. “Most of us use our precious few free moments to sleep, or earn extra money or try like fools to get reimbursed by our insurance companies for the loads of cash we’ve already kissed goodbye.”

She was insulted by the story, she says, because she is smart and committed and she doesn’t believe vaccines are safe. She says the studies That have found no link between autism and vaccines are inconclusive. Oh, and she thinks I have a crush on Dr. Paul Offit:

“Now, real quick, let’s talk about Paulie. Do you like, love him, or do you loooooove, love him? A cozy car ride, ‘seat belts on’? The blatant plugging of his new book and his hopes for it’s ‘cinematic, visually riveting’ on screen potential, I am assuming?”

“Well,” she continues, “for all your efforts, I hope he like, likes you back.”

Sigh. First J.B. Handley says Offit raped me. Now, this woman turns that inside out: I’m in love with Offit. I just received the letter for the 12th time. Not to beat a dead horse, but I can’t help but think if I were male, I’d be spared all this innuendo about love and sex.

Just got my first email from Canada. A mom of twin 9 month old girls who said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

She says:

“I have been defending my right to vaccinate my kids to some family and friends, who all bow at the feet of Jenny McCarthy.”

Thanks to @blobbybirdman for passing on this http://bit.ly/1tP2Jo.

J.B. Handley is the gift that keeps on giving/proving my point. This just in from Generation Rescue’s founder: I’m a whiner.

J.B. Handley:

“Amy: Perhaps when you are done whining, you can support some of the drivel you wrote.”

This kind of taunting seems expressly designed to make a girl (yes, a GIRL!) take the bait and say: Neener neener!  Instead, I will quote an email I just got from a reader in Colorado who says my piece in Wired

“isn’t really even about vaccines. It’s about what Tom Friedman calls the modern American ‘dumb as we wanna be’ attitude, which combines stunning intellectual laziness, the erroneous concept that all information is equal, and the internet to create a witches brew we’re using to commit national suicide. Vaccines are just the tip of the iceberg,” this reader writes. “The same mentality has led to catastrophic stasis—or at best tepid action—on the key issues of our time: climate change and health care reform.”

Just heard from a Tennessee M.D., who says while doing his residency he visited the home of Dianne Odell. Odell was believed to be the nation’s oldest survivor of polio to have spent almost all of her life inside an iron lung. Last year she died at age 61, when a rainstorm cut power to her home and her family couldn’t start a temporary generator. She was three years old when she contracted polio.

Says this doctor:

“Those stories NEED to be told over and over again…. doctors need to be re-educated over and over again. “

For a story on Odell, look here: articles.latimes….

From a Wired reader in New Mexico:

“I am old enough to remember a measles outbreak at the elementary school I attended. Two kids never came back:one died and the other suffered severe brain damage.No way could my kids have evaded their various vaccinations.”

I stand corrected: I have heard from more than one person from Canada. Thanks @CorinaBecker

@EvidenceMatters Epidemiologist John Kiely wrote strong piece about his 1 month hospitalisation with measles. ajc.com/opinio..

Methodology & stats prof sez

“I intend to use your article as required reading for seeing the logic/utility of careful/critical thinking.”

Heard from a veterinarian who says thank you,

“because people are scared to vaccinate their pets just like they are their kids!!!”

From a father who disliked the story, a wrenching illustration of why it’s so vital that research dollars not be wasted. People need help:

“My son was born in 2001. He was diagnosed with Autistic Disorder at 26 months. He is 8 years old now and still in diapers. We have to lock the doors, and I have to sleep in front of the front door in case he gets up and tries to leave (he loves to wander). His rages are sometimes so violent that we have to force his sisters to leave the room in case he tries to attack them.
He can, in the throes of his anger, lift his 6’4″, 230 lb father off of the floor,”

says this dad, who is sure that the MMR and DTap vaccines caused his son’s suffering.

“There is no other explanation.”

Until there IS another explanation, vaccines will b falsely vilified.

This just in from Pieter, respondent #433 to my Wired story about vaccine panic:

“About the poo-flinging you’re undoubtedly a victim of, There’s an African proverb: ‘When you throw a rock into the bush and hear a lot of noise, you’ve hit something.’ “

Part 1: Initial response to feedback.

Part 2: Quotes from most eloquent letters.

Part 3: Feedback from people with ASD.

Part 4: Comments from the article.

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