1)"Ohio measles outbreak appears to be winding down"
The Plain Dealer (OH)
July 22, 2014
"The measles outbreak that hit Ohio in late March appears to be winding down, with the last case reported about 10 days ago, and a stretch of three weeks with no cases before that, according to the Ohio Department of Health. It will be another month without new cases before the outbreak can be officially declared at an end, though, because the Centers for Disease Control defines the end of an outbreak at 42 days after the last case onset, said Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato. There have been a total of 374 cases of measles and 10 hospitalizations during the outbreak, which has centered around the largely unvaccinated Amish community of Knox County in central Ohio."
2) "Reactions to the Kennedy Profile"
July 22, 2014
"My recent Washington Post magazine piece on Robert Kennedy Jr. has prompted numerous reactions in media outlets, on Twitter, and in the blogosphere. Generally speaking, readers have found the story both compelling and maddening. What folks seem to be divided on is how Kennedy comes off in the story. Laura Helmuth at Slate says I was 'remarkably generous' to Kennedy, 'presenting him as dogged and genuine.' I disagree, in part. I don't believe my story can be read as 'remarkably generous' to him, but yes, he is portrayed as relentless and sincere. Phil Plait, also at Slate, similarly felt that I should have been tougher on Kennedy...This perplexes me, since I thought where the piece most succeeds is in showing Kennedy's true nature. Some science journalists appear to have picked up on that. Nonetheless, I think both Helmuth and Plait offer valuable perspectives and I appreciate them engaging respectfully with my story."
3) "Why Anti-Vaccination Movements Can Never Be Tamed"
Religion & Politics
July 22, 2014
"...In many ways, the history of compulsory smallpox vaccination echoes present-day vaccination controversies. Then, as now, the vaccination debate raised vital questions: what are the limits to the claims a state, acting in the name of the public good, can make on an individual and his or her body? When are individuals justified in resisting these claims, and what intellectual, spiritual, and moral resources can a person draw on in support of his or her resistance? What, ultimately, should be the role of science and medicine in a free society?...We can, and should, do our best to counter fear and misinformation with the evidence that vaccination is safe and effective. Yet we should also remember that the history of vaccination as the triumph of humanity over disease is not just a history of heroic doctors, intrepid scientists, and public health officials; it's also a history of concerned parents, anti-science spiritualists, and conscientious objectors."
4) OPINION: "That anti-vaccine utopia? We've been there, and it's a nightmare."
Los Angeles Times
July 22, 2014
"Humanity has benefited immensely from vaccines, and in many ways vaccines have been victims of that success. The backlash to the documentary by Carlsbad High students on the vaccine debate (and don't let the word 'debate' imply a false equivalency), reported in The Times by Eryn Brown, bears that out. A letter we received (more on that later) in response to the article paints a grim picture of a world not long ago where it wasn't unusual for children and adults to die from polio and other diseases, a reality people today are spared thanks to decades of universal immunization against these plagues. Perhaps because child funerals today are thankfully a rare occurrence and we don't see too many kids in wheelchairs or on crutches after 'beating' a paralysis-causing disease, the urgency of vaccinating our children on schedule is less apparent. Vaccines have been so successful that making the case for continued immunization is like asking an atheist to prove that God doesn't exist: No, I can't prove that my two kids haven't come down with measles, mumps or rubella because of a shot they received last year... MARK GENDREAU"
5) "High School Kids Brave the Anti-Vax Jihadists"
July 21, 2014
"Here's a heartwarming story for you. Prompted by the decline in vaccination rates among children in San Diego, a group of students at Carlsbad High School decided to make a short documentary about "the science of disease and the risks facing a society that is under-vaccinated." You can probably guess what happened next...Thanks to the McCarthyite cretins in the murderous vaccinations-cause-autism movement, to this day the documentary has barely been seen outside the confines of the school. It will finally get posted on the Web on August 1st. Maybe it will save some lives."
6) "Meet the Mom Who's Taking on Ai-Vaxers"
July 22, 2014
"When you hear vaccine advocacy, what's the first thing that comes to mind? A doctor in a white coat? A scientist with a microscope? How about a couple of moms, fighting for kids across America? Karen Ernst is one of those moms, and with partner Ashley Shelby, she has helped turn Voices for Vaccines, a fledgling website about infectious diseases, into the number one source for parents looking to fight anti-vaccine fear-mongering. With a scientific advisory board that includes world renowned pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit, they're an arm of the Task Force for Global Health that's completely parent-driven ... and completely parent-focused. The Stir asked Ernst, a mother of three from Minnesota, why she thinks every mom in America needs to announce to her family and friends when she gets her kids vaccinated -- and how to deal with anti-vaccine rhetoric."
7) "Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Still an antivaccine crank after all these years"
July 22, 2014
"Only really long time readers will remember this, but back in the day (June 2005, to be exact), I discovered Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his antivaccine nuttery when he published his epically bad piece of antivaccine conspiracy mongering, Deadly Immunity, both in Salon.com and Rolling Stone (the latter of which doubled down on it a few years later by reposting it). My deconstruction of the logical fallacies, errors of science and fact, and just general silliness of Kennedy's article was one of the first times I was ever really 'noticed' in the blogosphere. Since then, every so often, or so it seems, I'm drawn back to RFK, Jr., just because he can't seem to stop the conspiracy mongering over the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal in vaccines and his obsession with its link to autism. It's a link that's long been disproven by clinical trials, but that hasn't stopped him from trying to use various cases to 'prove' a link between vaccines and autism, insinuate that the CDC is covering up a thimerosal-autism link, out-crank another vaccine-autism crank Sharyl Attkisson, use the case of Poul Thorsen to distract from inconvenient science, and link his environmental activism to his antivaccine activism, thus tarnishing the environmentalist movement as long as the Kennedy name."