The difference between tobacco science and vaccine science

From “Reasonable Hank” comes this gem from Meryl Dorey, leader of the anti-vaccine group “AVN” in Australia:


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It’s the old diatribe from anti-vaccine fanatics who claim that one day they will be vindicated. You see, the truth is out there, and it will come to light, and they will be seen for the saviors that they are. They will stop the “holocaust” that is going on. One day, the scientists, healthcare providers, epidemiologists, and everyone who dared to save lives of children by preventing vaccine-preventable diseases, one day they will all pay for what they’ve done.

Notice that she mentions “tobacco science”. I’ve covered that before. But I’d like to reiterate this one more time, especially since Meryl is blowing fuses left and right. Vaccine science is not tobacco science.

Vaccine science has been around since Edward Jenner developed a cowpox inoculation to prevent smallpox. Before him, there were controlled smallpox inoculations that were reasonably successful at preventing epidemics. After him, the use of cowpox vaccine eventually led to the eradication of smallpox. It took a couple of centuries, but it got done.

It is precisely the fact that it took a couple of centuries that we know it’s not tobacco science. Tobacco science refers to paid scientists who tried to cast doubt on the findings of public health authorities on the dangers of smoking. In the course of a few years, their attempts at casting doubt were quickly quelled by the overwhelming evidence that smoking dramatically increases the chances of developing cancer (and not just lung cancer). Today, you don’t have pro-tobacco activists threatening the livelihoods and lives of public health officials over the evidence. You certainly don’t have them calling people “whores.”

Vaccine science, on the other hand, has been tried over and over again. Smallpox was eradicated. Polio is on the ropes. You don’t see outbreaks of chickenpox and measles at schools. Women don’t have to worry about having malformed children from German measles. Patients in healthcare settings are at less risk for death from contracting the flu from healthcare workers. The list goes on and on. And it doesn’t matter what Meryl Dorey or any other weirdo say or do. Vaccines are here to stay. We will not look back 50 years from now and thank any of them for their “work.” Their names will be washed away and the memories of their actions forgotten.

Meanwhile, people like Salk, Sabin, Jenner, Offit, or Hilleman will all be remembered for their work. They will be remembered forever while the savior of the anti-vaccine crowd will never, ever come. And that burns white-hot in the loins of the anti-vaxxers.

One thought on “The difference between tobacco science and vaccine science

  1. Good news: The AVN just lost their tax exempt charity status. Hopefully, that will cut into their budget and their bots will go away.

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