In case you haven’t been paying attention, the anti-vaccine crowd is losing their collective minds over the so-called “CDC Whistleblower.” The CDC Whistleblower is a researcher by the name of William Thompson. Dr. Thompson made the mistake of confiding some of his anti-vaccine unease over some vaccine studies at CDC to BS Hooker, known anti-vaccine “researcher” who has a pending case before the vaccine court and would probably want nothing more than to have something (anything!) link vaccines to his son’s autism. If that failed theory doesn’t turn out to be true, there would probably be little else for BS Hooker to do on his spare time… Other than caring for his child, of course.
Bill Thompson had the genius idea of calling Hooker and saying, more or less, “Hey, Brian, I don’t understand vaccine studies very well, and you can probably help me muddy the waters a little more, being as how you’re not an epidemiologist and all.” To which Brian S. Hooker probably replied, “Sure thing, WT, I’ve been shitting on vaccine science for a bit. How about I give it another go?” And he did. Brian S. “BS” Hooker shat out an anti-vaccine paper of such poor quality that it was roundly criticized by several of us and then was properly retracted by the journal that published it.
Months after several phone calls from Thompson to Hooker were recorded by Hooker (legally, illegally, I don’t care), Hooker and Andrew Jeremy Wakefield decided that they were going to tell the world about this “whistleblower” and that his true identity was going to be revealed to the world as well. (That outing really made the kid angry, by the way. Poor kid. He can’t catch a break, and he can probably count his friends in one hand.) Once outed, Thompson had no option but to lawyer up and shut down his conversations with everyone and anyone about his anti-vaccine feelings about vaccines.
For a full discussion of this whole debacle, check out this post by Dr. David Gorski over at Science Based Medicine.
If this incident can teach us anything, it’s not that vaccines are bad, or that there are anti-vaccine-minded people working at CDC. As I told you in the last post, there can be anti-vaccine people in the darnedest of places. This incident should teach us to always be mindful of the things we say or do, even if we think we’re doing it in private, or to a small group of people we trust. We could say or do something that embarrasses us immensely, or makes us look bad in the eyes of others.
Imagine that, a life lesson from the anti-vaccine activists out there.