Via Mother Jones, the latest wave of anti-vax resistance — this time, to a new RSV vaccine:
Drug companies have been trying for years to develop a pediatric vaccine for the virus with little success—until last month, when Pfizer announced that it would seek approval for its new shot after clinical trials showed it was extremely effective. Pfizer’s RSV vaccine, which is given to pregnant women before delivery so that they can pass antibodies on to the developing fetus, was hailed by pediatricians as a major accomplishment.
Yet it didn’t take long before anti-vaccine activists began to distort the facts about this vaccine and others in the pipeline. Some of the most prominent have suggested that pharmaceutical companies are exploiting the current RSV surge in order to create a market for their forthcoming shots. Joseph Mercola, the influencer who built an empire on spreading health misinformation, made this argument in a rambling article he published earlier this month. “The fact that RSV is now being highlighted as a severe risk is understandable,” he wrote, “in light of the fact that the first-ever RSV vaccines are now in the pipeline.” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the founder of the anti-vaccine advocacy group Children’s Health Defense, swiftly tweeted that article out to his 481,000 followers.
I’m so old, I remember when Joseph Mercola was crusading against flouride in the water supply!
Dr. Kristina Bryant, a pediatrician who specializes in infectious disease at Norton’s Children Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that any attempts to portray the current RSV surge as a marketing ploy are demonstrably untrue. Her hospital recently had to add extra bed capacity due to the overwhelming number of RSV cases. She pointed out that RSV numbers were lower in the last few pandemic years because more people were wearing masks, which prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. But before the pandemic, the cases of the disease regularly strained hospitals during particularly intense surges. The virus, she said, has “been a concern for pediatricians and parents for a long time,” she said. “RSV is real.”
According to the anti-vaxxers, RSV is a result of the covid shot — even though the virus has been around since 1956. (Wait, it must have been the polio shot!)
Earlier this month, I wrote about the ominous downturn in rates of routine childhood vaccination rates in Florida. Pediatricians there told me they believed that misinformation around Covid vaccines had scared some parents off of immunizations more broadly. Bryant, the pediatrician, said she, too had noticed “more vaccine hesitancy, not just about Covid vaccines, but more questions about routine vaccines.”
“We’re starting to see the impacts of the broadening of anti-vaccine campaigns over the last few years,” says Gallagher. “But I think it’s going to be years down the line until we really come to terms with the effect they’re having.”
Of course, the Epoch Times is right in front of this clown parade:
And we all know about this guy:
And then there’s this guy, who has almost 50K followers: