succumbing to peer pressure

Monday, February 18, 2008

xkcd just about sums it up

And Good Math, Bad Math does the dirty work of diving into the vaccine/autism debate (I pretty much have to stop reading about this one, my brain goes from calm to explode way too rapidly). Here's the latest:

Earlier this month, there was an outbreak of measles in San Diego - the first outbreak of measles in 17 years. None of the infected children were vaccinated. Why not?

There have been recent outbreaks of the mumps in Iowa - started by people who weren't vaccinated, and later transferred even to some who had been.
Naturally, the doctors who care for children are concerned about this. They're seeing parents put their children at risk, and they're seeing children come in with diseases and complications that should never happen anymore.

So they've decided to take action. Through the main professional organization for pediatricians, the AAP, they're putting together their own publicity campaign - trying to remind people of the fact that vaccines save lives. They're looking for people who didn't vaccinate their children, and who as a result have suffered from preventable illnesses with serious consequences:

From: Susan
MartinSent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 2:29 PMTo:
SPOKESPERSONS@LISTSERV.AAP.ORGSubject: parent spokespersons
As part of our ongoing response to media stories regarding autism and vaccines, the AAP communications department is compiling a list of parents who support the AAP and are available for interviews. We are looking for two types of parents who could
serve as spokespersons:

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders who support immunization and who do not believe there is any link between their child's vaccines and his or her autism.

Parents of children who suffered a vaccine-preventable illness. This could be a parent who declined immunization, whose child became ill before a vaccine was available, or whose child was ineligible for immunization.

We are asking for your help identifying parents who would be good spokespersons. They do not need to be expert public speakers. They just need to be open with their story and interested in speaking out on the issue. We will contact candidates in advance to conduct pre-interviews, to offer guidance on talking to reporters and to obtain a signed waiver giving us permission to release their name.
If a parent were placed on our list, we would offer their name and contact information to select media. We hope to build a list of parents from a wide range of geographical areas.

As the Jenny McCarthy and "Eli Stone" stories illustrate, this issue is likely to recur in the national and local media. The AAP is committed to doing all we can to
counter such erroneous reports with factual information supported by scientific
evidence and AAP recommendations. The anti-vaccine groups often have emotional family stories on their side. The ability to offer a reporter an interview with a similarly compelling parent who is sympathetic to the AAP's goals is a powerful tool for our media relations program.

Please contact me if you have any questions or to suggest a parent to interview.
Thank you,
Susan Stevens MartinDirector, Division of Media RelationsAmerican
Academy of Pediatrics847.434.7131


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