As I pointed out earlier, a rare thing happened this week, namely I don’t have a full post ready for Science-Based Medicine because I’m at the Lorne Trottier Symposium. Not only have the organizers have packed my day with skeptical and science goodness, but I only have Internet access when I’m back at the hotel, which isn’t very often. I suppose I could pay outrageous international roaming charges by activating international roaming on my iPhone, but why on earth would I do that except in urgent circumstances? Fortunately, David Ramey stepped in with his usual excellent work.
The trials and tribulations of actually trying to do more than be at home, work, and blog aside, I couldn’t let this one pass. The ever-observant Mark Crislip sent his fellow SBM bloggers this little tidbit from the website of that well-known promoter of quackery Joe Mercola. Buried near the bottom of Mercola’s “newsletter” is an announcement of this intriguing (from a blog fodder perspective) initiative:
Mercola.com & NVIC Dedicating November 1-6 Vaccine Awareness Week
In a long-scheduled joint effort to raise public awareness about important vaccination issues during the week of November 1-6, 2010, Mercola.com and NVIC will publish a series of articles and interviews on vaccine topics of interest to Mercola.com newsletter subscribers and NVIC Vaccine E-newsletter readers.
The week-long public awareness program will also raise funds for NVIC, a non-profit charity that has been working for more than two decades to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and protecting informed consent to vaccination.
The November 1-6 Vaccine Awareness Week hosted by Mercola.com and NVIC will follow a month-long vaccine awareness effort in October that was recently announced on Facebook by parents highlighting Gardasil vaccine risks.
The six-week-long focus this fall on vaccine issues will help raise the consciousness of many more Americans, who may be unaware that they can take an active role in helping to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths and defend the legal right to make voluntary vaccination choices.
“Six week” focus? Methinks Dr. Mercola meant “six days.”
Be that as it may, Mercola and Fisher apparently think that their simply declaring the first week of November to be “Vaccine Awareness Week” will make it so. Of course, there actually is an Immunization Awareness Week here in Canada, but it was six months ago. In the U.S., August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Still, if anti-vaccine loons want to make the first week of November “Vaccine Awareness Week” in order to peddle their pseudoscientific and dangerous misinformation claiming that vaccines cause autism and various maladies, I say we let them have it.
Just not in the way they expected.
So, given the power invested in me as editor of Science-Based Medicine and the power of my fellow partners in crime at SBM (which is the same power Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher, except that we have science on our side), we at SBM hereby second the call to declare November 1-6, 2010 “Vaccine Awareness Week.” As part of the activities that week, we at SBM plan on spending more time than usual–perhaps even all of our posts that week–emphasizing the dangers of the anti-vaccine movement and providing science-based rebuttals of the lies of the anti-vaccine movement. In particular, we will concentrate on whatever propagandistic misinformation Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher decide to publish that week. Given whatever persuasive power we have as bloggers at what is a well-respected medical blog, I now request that any and all medical and skeptical bloggers out there also take advantage of Vaccine Awareness Week to do the same. I’ve already taken advantage of proximity here in Montreal to speak with Ben Goldacre and will be contacting other bloggers after I arrive home from Montreal. Tomorrow I’ll have a chance to meet with Randi.
Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher want to declare a week “Vaccine Awareness Week” in order to bury readers in a deluge of pseudoscience? Let them! Surely we can do better than they can and make sure that when anyone Googles “vaccine awareness,” what is found is not the current list of anti-vaccine pseudoscience but rather a flood of rational, science-based discussions of vaccines and refutations of the lies of the anti-vaccine movement. What I’d love to see from November 1-6 are a tsunami (word choice intentional) of posts that:
- Include science-based discussions of the safety and efficacy of vaccines
- Include science-based refutations of anti-vaccine misinformation
- Specifically refute posts by Joe Mercola and Barbara Loe Fisher during that week. (You can throw in Age of Autism, too, if you like.)
Spread the word and join the crusade. Anti-vaccine pseudoscience is pseudoscience that hurts and kills children.