In another example of media hype and spin, The Australian newspaper in Australia ran this headline: “No jab, no play campaign reveals vaccination refusals high as babies die”.
From the title, one would think several babies had died recently but that is not the case. The story mentions several infant deaths – one from 2009, one from 2011, and one from 2012. While these infant’s deaths are tragic, given that they occurred in the past, one wonders whether this is truly news or rather a thinly veiled attack on those who question the safety of vaccines and vaccine schedules and an attempt to demonize them.
While this story attempts to place blame on non-vaccinators for these deaths, on whom does the author place blame when babies die after vaccines? The author also does not say whether the baby who died at 9 weeks had just received her 2 month shots, and whether the 4 week or 6 week old had received hep b at birth.
Also noteworthy is the claim that these areas of high “vaccine refusers” are alleged to have had higher rates of whooping cough outbreaks in recent years in contrast to the situation in the US where 40,000 cases have been seen in recent years, mostly in fully vaccinated people.
Of course addressing the complexity of the situation including infant death after vaccination, vaccine failure and long term health outcomes of vaccinated compared to unvaccinated children doesn’t serve the purpose of turning friend on friend and demonizing those who have educated themselves and chosen their own path in keeping the families well.
No one wants babies to die from infectious diseases or vaccinations but when journalists emphasize one over the other and in the process downplay the seriousness of vaccine injury and parental concerns over vaccines, they only serve to alienate more people, not make vaccine programs any safer.
Spinning the news may seem to serve their purpose of frightening parents in the short term but in the long run, more and more parents read these kinds of stories, lose faith in the mainstream media, and inform themselves through other means.
Read the story here.