Here we go, again. I’ve written quite a few posts about the abuse and death threats which are heaped upon Dr Paul Offit by anti-vaccination activists, usually at the incitement of anti-vaccination leaders such as Barbara Loe Fisher, of the National Vaccine Information Center; Neil Z Miller, an anti-vaccination author; and Meryl Dorey, of the disgraced Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network.
Dr Paul Offit is a hero of public health. Our US friend, Skeptical Raptor, aptly describes Dr Offit:
I have long considered Paul Offit MD as one of heroes and leaders of the public discussion of how vaccines save lives, and how they have made the lives of the world’s children healthier and better. Dr. Offit, together with Edward Jenner (the father of immunology), Jonas Salk (discoverer of the polio vaccine), and Maurice Hilleman (inventor of the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella), should have statues place outside of every pediatric hospital in the country for the number of lives that they have saved.
Not a pretend “long-time vaccine researcher and author”,
like former AVN president Greg Beattie.
In January 2016, Medscape uploaded a video, with accompanying transcript, in which Dr Offit outlined how the provision of immunisation to children – including children whose parents are not acting in their best interests – is a civil rights issue; children have a human right to public health measures.
In California’s SB277 legislation, the state stood up for children by legislating immunisation requirements for school attendance. An increasing number of parents – vaccine refusers – had let their children down by refusing immunisation due to unfounded beliefs surrounding false claims of vaccine harm.
Dr Offit’s argument in this video is clear. He is talking about the state standing up for the rights of children whose human right to access appropriate public health measures is not being respected by their parents and guardians:
If you go to these rallies in California or Vermont or Michigan, you often hear parents say, “It’s about my rights. It’s my parental right to raise my child as I see fit.” But what about children’s rights? Who represents them? In this country, for example, if you are an African American and you feel that you are being treated badly, there are places you can go and people who will represent you. If you are Jewish and you feel that you are being defamed, there are groups you can go to who will defend you. But if you are a child, it’s assumed that your parents represent your best interests, and that’s not always true. When it’s not true, as in this case where parents have a false belief that vaccines cause autism and they don’t want to vaccinate their children, who do those children go to?
The answer is, they go to the state. That’s what happened, frankly, in California, which basically used a child’s rights issue as the central focus of how they made that change. A little boy who had leukemia would go out to those meetings and say, “What about me? Don’t I have rights, too? I can’t be vaccinated. I depend on those around me to be vaccinated.” In the end, in many ways, this is a child’s rights issue. It is a civil rights issue with a child, and it’s a right that is protected by the 14th Amendment.
“Who do those children go to [to have their human rights respected]?” Dr Offit continues, “they go to the state”:
On March 26 2016, the anti-vaccination website, Vaxxter, shared this lie on its Facebook page. Vaxxter turned Dr Offit’s statement – that the state will defend a child’s rights to access health care, when their parents will not – into a claim that Dr Offit is advocating for the state to remove children of anti-vaccinationists. Note the text in the post:
The reality of losing your children is no longer a far-fetched idea.
The linked blog post contains this inflamatory text:
Paul Offit Just Came Out & Said If You Decline A Vaccine, Your Children Should Go To The State
This is unbelievably discouraging. Please everyone remember, Paul Offit has pharmaceutical companies in his pocket. He is now saying that unvaccinated children should go to the state. We MUST stand up to this savage, greedy individual touting his fascist views.
Please remember that Offit is a scumbag who is in no way independent. In order to see this, look no further than a CBS News special report where Offit is featured. [edit: the CBS report links to a 2008 piece by discredited anti-vaccination journalist, Sharyl Attkisson]
I have downloaded this copy of the video which was dishonestly edited – by Robin Aris – with the type of bastardy one expects from an anti-vaccinationist. This edited version absolutely misrepresents Dr Offit’s argument:
Why would anti-vaccination activists practice such an act of bastardry? Well, to get these sorts of reactions from the cult members. Again, from the Vaxxter Facebook page:
But, this is not even the worst of the attacks against Dr Offit which were provoked by that dishonest video and blog post.
This post – from March 27 2016 – in the Vaccine Resistance Movement Facebook group incited worse:
There was this call for Dr Offit to be hung:
Marc Authier THIS BASTARD IS LIKE THE NAZI DOCTORS IN NURENBURG . PUT THIS BASTARD ON TRIAL AND YES !!!, HANG THAT FUCKER FOR GOOD !!!!!
Chris Savage Little communist
Commenting after that call to execute Dr Offit is Ralph Fucetola – a retired lawyer and vitamin sales adviser – who is the right-hand man to anti-vaccination activist, Dr Rima Laibow. Fucetola claims Dr Offit is committing crimes against humanity:
Ralph Fucetola JD Offitt the Profit is aiding an abetting a crime against humanity. DO NOT BE SILENCED! Share this […]
Ann Phillips EVIL AND SO SICKENING!!!!!
Christin Swanson this guy needs a swift kick in the ass.
Dr Offit was compared to Nazis:
Carol D Marino The war on anti-vaxers is a False Flag attack
Gary Combs when will Flying Monkeys like him start wearing their armbands outside their shirts.? no research on vaccines has ever been allowed to be releaced. except for the fraudulent faked research done with taxpayers money.
There was this, which I cannot even explain:
Patrick Flynn He is a darker stain on American medicine than even Jack Kevorkian.
Richard Diaz You stupid mother-fucker. You are a fish-eyed particularly offensive fascist pervert, with no claim to any empathy or compassion for anybody except for your own bank account. FUCK YOU.
Richard Diaz I forgot to mention that you look and speak like a steaming pile of dog’s diarrhea, recently deposited.
Daniela Mecheva Lol
There was another threat, from Jordan Rose, as well as some anti-Semitism from Heather Murray, who has been vilifying pro-science campaigners for months, including vexatiously gaming Facebook’s abuse reporting facilities for means of censorship:
Daniela Mecheva This guy is a shame and disgrace for the entire human race. Demon
Richard Stacy he should take a trip to OZ with Dorthy, help find him a brain.
Jordan Rose Somebody should take one for the team and handle this clown
Heather Ann Murray I think he should have a nose job procedure forced upon him.
Sheila Scott I almost selected his MOOC – massive open online course, for my project at Seminole State. Scumbag
And there were these usual slurs:
Eva Pawelzik Rot in hell Paul Offitt.
Sharon Conway E V I L
We know that the Heather Murray comment was anti-Semitic, from comments she made on the Vaxxed documentary Facebook page – also about Dr Offit – on March 28 2016. These awful comments were made using her other Facebook profile. Murray’s anti-Semitic comments still appear on Andrew Wakefield’s documentary’s Facebook page:
This is bog-standard anti-vaccination activity. Abuse. Death threats. Anti-Semitism. Lies. All done at the behest of – and condoned by – the anti-vaccination movement’s leaders. The anti-vaccination movement is akin to a cult in which good people are seen as legitimate targets: they are fair game.
This is the real anti-vaccination movement. Please alert your friends and family.