I was invited to discuss vaccines with antivaxers for a panel called One Conversation. Recognizing an antivaccine trap, I politely declined. Unfortunately, other legitimate medical authorities did not, thus enabling the illusion of legitimization of antivaccine views.
The antivaccine group SaneVax, which specializes in spreading misinformation about the HPV vaccine, has released part one of a three-part series of short films. Unfortunately, these are propaganda films disguised as an issue documentary.
A year ago, I wrote about some bad science from Italy from Stefano Montanari and Antonietta Gatti, in which an electron microscope was used and abused to claim that vaccines are contaminated with horrific “nanoparticles.” A year later, Gatti and Montanari’s homes, labs, and offices were raided and their computers seized in an investigation. Not surprisingly, the antivaccine movement has spun a conspiracy theory out of the raid. The real explanation is likely to be much less sinister.
There is a type of “vaccine injury” story promoted by the antivaccine movement that is particularly pernicious, a narrative I call “death by Gardasil.” The stories, which use tenuous connections between vaccination against HPV to prevent cervical cancer and the unexpected death of a teen or young adult, are always tragic, and you can’t help but feel incredible empathy for the parents. However, none of these stories constitute compelling evidence that Gardasil kills young people. Basically, antivaxers exploit the grief of these parents and their understandable desire to find a cause for their child’s demise to demonize HPV vaccinations as dangerous and deadly.
Antivaxers fear and detest vaccines, but one of the types of vaccines they fear and detest the most is the HPV vaccine, such as Gardasil and Cervarix, which have been blamed for everything from sudden death to premature ovarian failure to autoimmune diseases. A couple of Mexican “researchers” from a cardiology institute try again with a “critical review” of HPV vaccine safety that lacks anything resembling critical thinking.