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VACCINE REFUSAL: WHITE, COLLEGE-EDUCATED, “WHOLE FOODS MOMS” DEEMED THE ENEMY~VACCINES MARKETED BY STOKING FEAR OF DISEASE~HPV VACCINES ASSOCIATED WITH DEATH, DISABILITY
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
If you are someone who has questions about the safety of vaccines or the wisdom of giving so many vaccines at one time and over the course of a lifetime, or if you question the ethics of forced vaccination laws that deny the right to informed consent to vaccine risk taking, or if you just simply want to exercise the human right to bodily autonomy for yourself and your children when it comes to medical interventions in general, the chances are you’re a “college-educated white woman making decent money.”1
This is what reporter Alfred Lubrano suggested in a recent article in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to Lubrano, “The rebel forces in America’s latest culture war—the so-called anti-vaxxers—are often described as middle- and upper-class women who breast-feed their children, shop at Whole Foods, endlessly scour the web for vaccine-related conversation, and believe that their thinking supersedes that of doctors. Typically their families earn more than $75,000 a year.”1
This characterization of the very broad and derogatory label “anti-vaxxers” is based on “various studies,” wrote Lubrano, including the National Immunization Surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.1
In a 2017 referenced public commentary titled “Class and Race Profiling in the Vaccine Culture War,”Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) cited one of these studies published by the CDC in the Journal of Pediatrics.2 The authors of the 2004 CDC study wrote:
Unvaccinated children tended to be white, to have a mother who was married and had a college degree, to live in a household with an annual income exceeding $75,000 and to have parents who expressed concerns regarding the safety of vaccines and indicated that medical doctors have little influence over vaccination decisions for their children.3
These women, then, are intelligent, caring mothers who spend time doing their own research when it comes to health care issues, shop for healthy and nutritious food and come from families that are relatively stable and financially secure. The only negative trait Lubrano was able to discern about these women is that they are so confident in their research skills and ability to make rational decisions about risk taking that they prefer to think for themselves and not always take the word of doctors at face value, notably as it pertains to weighing the benefits and risks of using pharmaceutical products like vaccines.
It is worth noting that this is not an unreasonable preference, given the limited amount of training and education about vaccination that doctors receive in medical school and the fact that, after getting a license to practice medicine, doctors get much of their information from the Internet like everyone else.4567
Lubrano quoted pediatrician Paul Offit, MD who pushed back on the idea that well-educated mothers (and fathers) have the required intellect to make informed health care decisions for their families. “Frankly, these Caucasian, suburban, educated parents believe they can Google the word vaccine and get as much information as anybody,” said Dr. Offit.1
Epidemiologist Neal Goldstein, PhD agreed with Offit that “affluent” college educated parents are incapable of making rational decisions about vaccination. Goldstein stated:
The affluent classes tend to be more hesitant about vaccinating. [But that’s based] on wrong information that leads them down a rabbit hole of falsehoods. I can spot credible data online, but the general public doesn’t have my training.1
Lubrano also cited professor of sociology Jennifer Reich, PhD, who said, “Vaccine resistance has become a ‘form of privilege’ and that educated mothers develop a “sense of entitlement” that helps them decide which vaccines are unnecessary, and that their efforts to promote healthy practices at home enables them to think they know more than doctors “who don’t know their children.”1
The implication is that higher education leads to a “sense of entitlement” that gives college educated mothers the mistaken impression they should be allowed to engage in independent thought. The suggestion is that education and economic stability can lead to misguided and perhaps even dangerous thinking about health and medical care, and that the better way is for parents to trust doctors and do what they tell them to do.
Lubrano quoted professor of nursing Alison Buttenheim, PhD, who unfavorably compared educated independent thinking middle- and upper-class mothers to “minority mothers who ‘never hesitate’ to get shots for their kids.”1
“They (minority mothers) say, ‘A good mom does what the doctor tells me to do,’” said Dr. Buttenheim.1
That appears to be the crux of the message Lubrano intended to convey in his article. It is the same message many mainstream media sources and medical trade publications are marketing—Moms, don’t think and don’t ask any questions, just shut up and obey.
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
The marketing of vaccines is one of the most aggressive public health policies today.
The most common marketing strategy used by stakeholders to promote vaccines is to create a culture that fears disease.
Fear-based marketing generates vaccine demand and calls into question ethical standards in journalism.
One of the most visible and aggressive public health policies in the United States is the marketing of vaccines. A common strategy adopted by many media sources, medical trade associations, government health officials and pharmaceutical companies to market vaccines is to help create and fuel public fear of disease.1
Creating a Culture Fearful of Disease
Headlines such as the following have become all too common in the media:
“First Pediatric Flu Death in Three Years Raises New Concerns in Maine”2
“Opting Out of Measles Vaccine Could Be A Death Sentence for Others”3
“Why Intentionally Exposing Your Children to Chickenpox Is a Terrible Idea”4
“Unvaccinated Boy Almost Dies of Tetanus, CDC Says”5
If you carefully examine such articles, the content, words and tone used are presented in a manner that creates fears and elicit anxieties about infectious diseases that were once not considered as dangerous as they are portrayed today.
In order to sell a vaccine, you first have to sell people on the disease itself. The most effective way to generate vaccine demand is to market the disease as a threat of great proportion. The most common underlying theme in such news articles is that everyone is at risk of contracting these diseases and that everyone is at risk of serious complications regardless whether an adult or child is considered healthy.1
This theme is often paired with the claim that “vaccines save lives.” The theme of “threat” and the “solution” provided insinuates to the reader that the disease threatens their very existence and their child’s existence; therefore, triggering a sense of fear and driving the reader to consider vaccination.1
Understanding Fear-based Marketing
There are two main goals of fear-based news programming. The first goal is to grab the viewer/reader’s attention. This is usually done through selecting strategic attention-grabbing words in a headline. Words such as deaths, outbreak, hospitalization, children, etc. are usually used in association with the particular disease. The second goal is to present the viewer/reader with a solution for eliminating the identified fear. In many of these articles, vaccines are always presented as the solution for eliminating the fear of disease.16
According to an article in Psychology Today, “The success of fear-based news relies on presenting dramatic anecdotes in place of scientific evidence, promoting isolated events as trends, depicting categories of people as dangerous and replacingoptimism with fatalistic thinking.”6
This is reflective of fear-based media articles on infectious diseases. They typically lack context and scientific evidence and include selective reporting which often results in misleading information that triggers anxiety within the viewer/reader, thus driving the demand for vaccines.
Questioning Journalism Today
Historically, the mission of journalists has been to straightforwardly and with professionalism report news that contains accurate facts, fair balance and does not reveal the journalist’s bias or forward a perspective or narrative with a specific political, ideological or business agenda.
Peter Doshi, PhD, an associate editor for the British Medical Journal and assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy wrote a feature article in the BMJ explaining the importance of good journalism on the issue of vaccines. He writes:
Good journalism on this topic will require abandoning current practices of avoiding interviewing, understanding, and presenting critical voices out of fear that expressing any criticism amounts to presenting a “false balance” that will result in health scares.7
Dr. Doshi adds…
… And among those uncertainties are the known and unknown side effects that each vaccine carries. Contrary to the suggestion—generally implicit—that vaccines are risk free (and therefore why would anyone ever resist official recommendations), the reality is that officially sanctioned written medical information on vaccines is—just like drugs—filled with information about common, uncommon, and unconfirmed but possible harms.”7
Doshi ends by writing that, “Medical journalists have an obligation to the truth. But journalists must also ensure that patients come first, which means a fresh approach to covering vaccines. It’s time to listen—seriously and respectfully—to patients’ concerns, not demonize them.”7
The vaccination to help prevent cervical cancer has been on offer here since 2008 and more than 200,000 New Zealand girls have had it. The scientists say it’s safe. But in tonight’s 3D Investigates, Paula Penfold hears from girls and their families who have serious doubts and want to know whether Gardasil is to blame for what’s happened to them. In two cases, that was sudden and unexplained deaths and others crippling illness. Are these families right to be concerned or is science on the vaccine side?