V is for vexatious; antivaxers and their misinformation campaigns

What has been happening in anti-vax land lately?  As you can see from the pictures below, they have decided to have cosplay protests, complete with matching, themed outfits, and professionally-printed posters.  It started with the Disneyland protest in California, moved to Washington for the Hoopfest protest, and the most recent was the San Diego Comicon protest.

Disneyland in California


San Diego Comicon


Spokane, WA Hoopfest


Now, the main instigator in California, Joshua Coleman (California anti-vaxxer) is taking it to the internet so an anti-vax group near you can do the same! He has started a new website called V is for Vaccine.   His says his website is a grassroots campaign to raise public awareness. The website will be selling “basic facts” and “vaccine poster” graphics.  So, this will be a money-making venture for Joshua.

The main instigator in Washington is Jaclyn Gallion, of Spokane. She is on the Board of The Informed Choice of Washington group.

(note: I am not sure if the Spokane ladies got their ideas from Joshua)


Let’s debunk the posters, shall we?

I am going to list them and debunk them, one at a time.

  1. Vaccine mandates violate bodily autonomy
  2. Vaccines makers are exempt from liability
  3. Vaccines mandates are the path to the dark side
  4. Vaccines are unavoidably unsafe
  5. There is no escape. Forced vaccination is imminent.
  6. Children received 24 vaccines in 1988 and not receive 69 vaccines. Also, children received 10 vaccines in 1977 and not receive 72 vaccines.
  7. Vaccines are not placebo safety tested
  8. Vaccines can cause injury and death; $4 billion paid out by US Gov for vaccine injuries and death
  9. Vaccines are made with aborted fetal cell. Also, vaccines are made with aborted fetal DNA
  10. Vioxx, opioids, vaccines – all have the same makers
  11. Vaccine injuries are not rare, they are rarely reported
  12. Pharma profits should not outweigh individual rights
  13. Live viruses, vaccines shed and spread
  14. Vaccine ingredients cause cancer and autoimmune diseases
  15. Average FDA testing: drugs 4.5 years, vaccines 4.5 day


Vaccine mandates violate bodily autonomy

How? In all 50 US states and in every country I know of, you can choose not to vaccinate. Just because there is a consequence like you have to homeschool or you do not get your tax credit that does not mean your bodily autonomy is violated. This is an example of anti-vaxxers acting like drama llamas. They want their way or the highway. I say, stop being selfish and own your choices.

Vaccines makers are exempt from liability

No, they are not. In the USA, per NCVIA, you can sue in certain situations and also after you go through the no-fault Vaccine Injury Compensation Progam (VICP). For example, here is a case, with Robert F Kennedy Jr on the legal team, where a lawsuit has been filed against Merck and Kaiser for vaccine injury. The plaintiff, Jennifer Robi, has already gone through VICP and lost. Also, other countries have their own laws and ways of dealing with vaccine injury.

Vaccines mandates are the path to the dark side

That is just silly

Vaccines are unavoidably unsafe

One of my favorite bloggers, The Logic of Science, put it this way: “Basically, it means that there is nothing that can be done to make the product safer without compromising the function of the product. The term comes from the legal document, “Restatement (Second) of Torts, Section 402A,” and it is about protecting manufacturers from frivolous law suits, not about providing consumers with health information. The basic idea is simply that companies cannot be held accountable for an injury that arises from unavoidably unsafe products because there was nothing that the company could have done to prevent that injury (inherent in this term is the requirement that the product was manufactured correctly, labeled correctly with adequate instructions for how to administer it, etc.).”


There is no escape. Forced vaccination is imminent.

They are reading the Healthy People (USA) 2020 plan and having a meltdown because they did not read it correctly. There is no plan in the USA nor any other country (that I am aware of) for vaccinating all citizens by force.

Children received 24 vaccines in 1988 and now receive 69 vaccines. Also, children received 10 vaccines in 1977 and now receive 72 vaccines.

This is also silly. In the USA, we vaccinate children for 13-16 vaccines, between ages 4 and 18.  That is not a bad thing. Vaxopedia (Dr. Vincent Ianelli’s great blog) has gone over this and you can also read the CDC Immunization Schedule for Children here. Is it a bad thing that we protect children from more diseases? No. You can also compare to other country’s vaccine schedules in my post: The USA does not vaccinate more than other countries.

Vaccines are not placebo safety tested

This claim has two parts: placebos and safety.

This is some silliness started by Del Bigtree.  His organization, Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) sued the US Government’s Health and Human Services division, asking for a report to one of two committees describing vaccine safety in the USA.  No reports to those committees were found but that does not mean there is no vaccine safety data. In fact, there are vaccine safety and efficacy studies done all over the world and, in the USA, vaccine safety is monitored by the independent members of the Vaccine Safety Datalink. It is a complete lie to say there are no vaccine safety studies.

As for placebos, Bigtree claims vaccines are not studied with an “inert placebo.” He has even testified, in many US states, that “Very basically – not a single childhood vaccine in our program of 16 vaccines has ever been through a double-blind inert placebo study – it’s never been done. That is the gold standard of science for all drugs, vaccines are not going through it.” His claim is that only saline solutions are completely inert and that, in clinical trials, vaccine studies don’t always use a saline placebo. Therefore, he claims, vaccine clinical trials are of no value to society. But, there are important reasons why some vaccine clinical trials do not use a saline placebo. (some do, by the way)  The World Health Organization has guidelines for when saline placebo can and cannot be used:

“Placebo use in vaccine trials is clearly acceptable when (a) no efficacious and safe vaccine exists and (b) the vaccine under consideration is intended to benefit the population in which the vaccine is to be tested. In this situation, a placebo-controlled trial addresses the locally relevant question regarding the extent to which the new vaccine is better than nothing, and participants in the placebo arm of the trial are not deprived of the clinical benefits of an existing efficacious vaccine.

Placebo use in vaccine trials is clearly unacceptable when (a) a highly efficacious and safe vaccine exists and is currently accessible in the public health system of the country in which the trial is planned and (b) the risks to participants of delaying or foregoing the available vaccine cannot be adequately minimized or mitigated (e.g. by providing counselling and education on behavioural disease prevention strategies, or ensuring adequate treatment for the condition under study to prevent serious harm). In this situation, a placebo-controlled trial would not address a question that is relevant in the local context, namely how the new vaccine compares to the one that is currently in use, and participants would be exposed to unacceptable levels of risk from delaying or foregoing a safe and effective vaccine that is accessible through the public health system.”

Thus, it is clear that using another vaccine or an adjuvant as a placebo is ethical and valid, in some vaccine studies.  I addressed more of the issues here, here, and here.

Vaccines can cause injury and death

Well, yes, they can but vaccine-preventable diseases have infinitely greater risks. According to vaccine injury data in the USA, the risk of vaccine injury is literally minuscule.  The USA has given out 6631 total vaccine injury awards between 1989 and 2019.  The USA has given 3,454,269,356 doses of vaccines between 01/2006  and 12/2017 and compensated 6363 vaccine injuries in that period. That means the risk of vaccine injury in the USA is 0.000018%. Disease risks are infinitely greater.

Vaccines are made with aborted fetal cell. Also, vaccines are made with aborted fetal DNA.

Cells are used to grow viruses for vaccines. Before they are used in vaccines, the viruses are removed from the cells. Some of these cells come from legal abortions done decades ago. Even though this is not an issue with the Catholic church or any other major religion, a small group of anti-vaxxers finds this a moral issue.  One person who has recently made a big deal of this issue is Teresa Deisher. Dr. Deisher lost her son, a few years back, to cancer and has, ever since, devoted her research to proving DNA from fetal cells in vaccines caused his cancer. This is pseudoscience. She even took her case to the vaccine court and lost. The special master did a very thorough job reviewing the evidence Deisher presented and found vaccines did not cause her son’s Burkitt lymphoma. That some vaccines are made using aborted fetal cells is not an ethical issue. Vaccines save infinitely more lives. The court also found the idea that there is residual DNA in vaccines is not supported by sound evidence.

Vioxx, opioids, vaccines – all have the same makers

This is saying anti-vaxxers have a paranoia about corporations. Since vaccines are international and there is science from all over the world, I find this claim too paranoid to bother addressing.

Vaccine injuries are not rare, they are rarely reported

This claim relates to the idea that anti-vaxers believe vaccines cause autism and SIDS and everything else under the sun. There is no good evidence to support their claims. There is no autism epidemic and the claims that vaccines cause autism are not grounded in sound science. SIDS risk is cut in half by vaccines and SIDS rate is at an all-time low in the USA and other Western countries. There was a study done by one of the Vaccine Safety Datalink members, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, which found that, within that system, reports of vaccine adverse events were low. VAERS and HHS readily admit that minor vaccine reactions are underreported. As of now, we don’t have good evidence that serious vaccine reactions are underreported nor do we have evidence to support claims made by anti-vaxers that vaccine cause autism, SIDs, etc.

Pharma profits should not outweigh individual rights

This claim is about deep-seated paranoia that no one could possibly support vaccines unless they are paid by pharmaceutical companies. This is silly. Nobody pays me to support vaccines. I experienced what vaccine-preventable diseases are like in children not vaccinated.  I am pro-vax because #vaccineswork. There is no good evidence that every doctor, nurse, healthcare organization, medical and nursing association, medical school, nursing school, research organization, WHO, UNICEF, and millions of doctors, scientists, and nurses are paid by “big pharma.” That is just silly.

And, the public has a right to avoid preventable diseases. In the USA, all court challenges to vaccine mandates have failed because individual rights do not trump the rights of the public. For example, six challenges to California’s SB277 have failed in courts. Here is an analysis of one of those cases.

Also, the argument that drug makers only make vaccines for profit is not grounded in reality. Vaccines are not the most profitable drugs, not by a long shot. From an Atlantic Article,  “But that argument is historically unfounded. Not only do pediatricians and doctors often lose money on vaccine administration, it wasn’t too long ago that the vaccine industry was struggling with slim profit margins and shortages. The Economist wrote that “for decades vaccines were a neglected corner of the drugs business, with old technology, little investment, and abysmal profit margins. Many firms sold their vaccine divisions to concentrate on more profitable drugs.””

Live viruses, vaccines shed and spread

Ugh. I get really tired of this argument. Page five of the Merck MMR insert states: “There are no reports of transmission of live attenuated measles or mumps viruses from vaccinees to susceptible contacts.”  The National Vaccine Information Center, an anti-vax group in the USA, has a document outlining the rarity of vaccines shedding and causing actual disease. Reading through it, you get a picture of just how rare it is for chickenpox, rotavirus, or smallpox vaccines to shed to others and cause disease. Measles, mumps, rubella, and flu don’t shed to others at all unless you count one case of rubella shedding via breastmilk to a baby. But, this is why we don’t ever vaccinate pregnant or nursing women anymore! Honestly, this argument is so tiresome.

Vaccine ingredients cause cancer and autoimmune diseases

See Deisher argument above for debunking of cancer claims. As for autoimmune disease, this claim comes from the research funded by Dwoskin Foundation and The Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute (funded by Claire Dwoskin). They have had many studies retracted but they won’t say that on their website. My blogging friend, Abe, has spent quite a deal of time debunking their poop, err, studies. Dr. Abe Al-Ahmad is on faculty at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center school of pharmacy and holds a Ph.D. in integrative molecular medicine. He has published many studies related to these issues and also has written about them on his blog. He has explained how aluminum adjuvants are not crossing the blood-brain barrier. He has explained how polysorbate 80 works in vaccines.  And he has addressed many of the studies published by Shaw, Exley, and others funded by CSMRI as well as the vastly unscientific explanations of those studies by “vaccines papers.” Vaccine ingredients DO NOT cause cancer or autoimmune disease.

Average FDA testing: drugs 4.5 years, vaccines 4.5 days

Vaccines go through 10-15 years of research and testing. This claim comes from clinical trial data in vaccine inserts. Antivaxers apparently only read vaccine inserts, and not vaccine safety studies, so they are oblivious to the decades of research outside of clinical trials. Pretty sad.

As you can see, it is pretty easy to debunk the claims made by Josh and Jaclyn.


If you ever see costumed antivaxers with fancy protest signs, now you have a guide to debunking them





9 thoughts on “V is for vexatious; antivaxers and their misinformation campaigns

  1. Re mandates and bodily autonomy: Further, at least when it comes to school mandates, it’s important to note parents’ right to bodily autonomy does not extend to their children’s bodies. Their children are separate people. Parents may claim the right to make medical decisions for their children, but their bodily autonomy simply does not extend to the children, and it’s a little troubling that they think otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 🤣 your whole article is a bunch of BS. You can’t debunk facts. I suggest you further educate yourself and stop spreading lies!!!


  3. Pingback: I got shingles and antivaxers mocked me | vaccinesworkblog

  4. Pingback: Dear Joshua Coleman, if you hate the autism then, you hate the autistic person. | vaccinesworkblog

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