Whither the anti-vaccine movement now that it has been discredited?

Who me

The anti-vax movement has been exposed for what it has always been, intellectually and ethically bankrupt.

And it has been exposed in the most spectacular fashion due to the Disneyland outbreak of measles simultaneously demonstrating that the empirical claims of anti-vax parents are nothing more than nonsense and that the practical effects of refusing to vaccinate your children involves putting other children at risk of serious disease and even death.

So should we expect a mea culpa, and admission acknowledging that anti-vax advocates have been wrong all along, duped by lack of basic knowledge about immunology, science and statistics and aided by gullibility in trusting folks like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey?

Not in this lifetime!

Why not? Because as I have written before, anti-vax advocacy was never about science. It was always about EGO.

Admitting one’s mistakes is not an ego boost, so there won’t be any admissions of thoroughly misunderstanding (or never understanding) the science behind vaccination, and there won’t be any expressions of regret about harming other people’s children.

What there will be is retrenchment, and as the Facebook post below demonstrates, Mayim Bialik shows us how it’s done.

Mayim Bialik 2-10-15

Bialik writes, apparently with a straight face:

i [sic] would like to dispel the rumors about my stance on vaccines. i am not anti-vaccine. my children are vaccinated. there has been so much hysteria and anger about this issue and i hope this clears things up as far as my part.

How could anyone have thought that Bialik was anti-vax?

After all, look what she told People Magazine in 2009:

Bialik People 2009

We are a non-vaccinating family, but I make no claims about people’s individual decisions. We based ours on research and discussions with our pediatrician, and we’ve been happy with that decision, but obviously there’s a lot of controversy about it.

In 2012, she wrote a whole essay on why she didn’t want to talk about it:

Children today get about four times as many vaccines as the average 35-year-old did when we were kids. Besides visiting the CDC website … here are the books we used to research each vaccine and discuss each with several doctors before deciding what was right for our family.

She follows this with recommendations for anti-vax books by two celebrities beloved in the anti-vax community, Mothering Magazine contributor the late Dr. Lauren Feder (primary care medicine, pediatrics and homeopathy) and super-quack Dr. Bob Sears.

Does Bialik think we are idiots and don’t remember that she declared hers to be a “non-vaccinating family”?

I doubt Bialik is thinking of us at all. She’s attempting damage control for her own ego, not her public image.

Bialik, like most anti-vaxxers in February 2015, now knows that she was utterly, spectacularly wrong about vaccination. She faces two choices; she could admit that she was wrong and learn from her errors. That’s what typically happens when people learn that they were wrong about some aspect of science. Or she could preserve her sense of self esteem by pretending that she was never wrong because hers was never a “non-vaccinating family.”

See, her children are vaccinated! Against what and how closely have they adhered to the CDC vaccination schedule? I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that while Bialik’s children are selectively vaccinated according to a schedule that she, or someone she admires, made up in defiance of the CDC.

No matter what happens, Bialik needs to feel that she is both “empowered” by making a personal choice, and not one of those “sheeple” who accept that the expert opinion of experts has more value that her idiosyncratic personal beliefs.

Bialik will not be the only one. We are all vaccinating parents now!

I predict that anti-vax celebrities and celebrity quacks are embarking on an about-face so fast that their heads will spin. That’s how they will protect their egos. Then it is only a matter of time before they settle on some other form of quackery in defiance of authority to demonstrate that they have done their “research” and are “empowered” by refusing to follow the recommendations of experts.

As I wrote last week:

When refusing to vaccinate your children is widely viewed as selfish, irresponsible, and the hallmark of being UNeducated, anti-vax advocacy will lose its appeal.

That moment has arrived. Let the backpedaling begin!