State stepping on rights of parents.

Knowledge is the Antidote for Vaccine Orthodoxy

by Barbara Loe Fisher
National Vaccine Information Center

Humans have experienced two centuries of vaccine orthodoxy. That orthodoxy dictates that we believe vaccination is safe and effective and should be mandated by governments. It began with medical doctors insisting we get one dose of smallpox vaccine,  1 and has exploded over the past century into a U.S. government dictate that every child get 69 doses of 16 vaccines.  2

Vaccine orthodoxy equally applied to every disease, every vaccine and every person, regardless of need or individual susceptibility to harm.

Today, everybody knows somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again. And when the risks of vaccination turn out to be 100 percent for us or someone we love, the logical course of action is to learn more so we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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Pediatricians: Keepers of Vaccine Knowledge

When I was growing up, the place to acquire knowledge for free was the town public library and I happily checked out books on history, art, biology, philosophy and literature. Then, in the 1960’s, I joined the 15 percent of women attending college,  3 in greater numbers than any generation before, and gained access to a university library where I could learn even more.


When I became pregnant in the late 1970’s, one of the first things I did was go to the public library and read books on pregnancy, childbirth and nutrition so I could learn how to give my baby the best start in life. But those parenting books did not contain information about vaccine risks. And pediatricians, who were the keepers of vaccine knowledge, did not share vaccine reaction information with mothers trusting them to “first, do no harm” to their children.

Lack of knowledge was why I did not know how to identify classic symptoms of brain inflammation  4,5 that developed within hours of my son being injected with a fourth DPT shot.

1982: Parents Renew Protests About Vaccine Safety

Dissatisfied with the fact that I was not empowered with knowledge about vaccination that could have kept my child safe, in 1982 I joined with parents of vaccine injured children and launched a new vaccine safety and informed consent movement in America, one that renewed the parent-led grassroots dissent of earlier generations.  6,7,8

That was 16 years before a doctor in Great Britain wrote an article about MMR vaccine and autism; 9 and 26 years before a Hollywood actress talked about how her son developed autism after vaccination; 10 and 34 years before $3.3 billion dollars had been awarded to victims of vaccine injury and death under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, with brain and immune system damage caused by pertussis, measles and influenza containing vaccines accounting for 75 percent of the cases. 11

Knowledge is Power

President Thomas Jefferson said, “Knowledge is power, knowledge is safety and knowledge is happiness.” 12 A lifelong champion of education and free thought, he ensured that freedom of religion, speech, and press be among the most important rights outlined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 13


Yet, today in America, when we take the initiative to become educated about vaccination and infectious diseases, we are publicly labeled as “ignorant” and “selfish” if our newfound knowledge leads us to disagree with vaccine orthodoxy. 14,15,16 Knowledge is power and, as a 19thcentury poet said so well, “doubt grows with knowledge.” 17 So, it is no wonder that physician keepers of vaccine risk knowledge, secrets and myths 18 are threatened in the 21st century by the people’s ability to gain free access to the Library of Medicine online 19 and engage in uncensored conversations about vaccination.

Educated Parents Rejecting Vaccine Orthodoxy

Study after study reveals that, increasingly, it is college educated, financially stable middle class parents, who are seeking knowledge and rejecting vaccine orthodoxy.20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27 In response, those controlling and profiting from the mass vaccination system are using classic propaganda techniques 28 to persuade lawmakers to legally compel all Americans to be vaccinated according to orthodoxy or be punished with denial of civil and human rights. 29


Last year at this time, we saw an unprecedented, highly orchestrated media campaign whipping up hysteria about a few cases of measles at Disneyland to justify eliminating personal belief vaccine exemptions from California education and child care employment laws. 30,31,32 Parents objecting to vaccine mandates were demonized and there were calls for their imprisonment, 33 as well as online censorship of public discussion of vaccine risks and failures, 34 and the de-licensing of doctors questioning vaccine safety. 35,36

This year, public humiliation of anyone who rejects vaccine orthodoxy has already begun. A New Year’s Eve editorial in a Colorado newspaper branded parents, who will not “listen and comply” with government “vaccination rules,” as “odd,” “foolish,” “irresponsible” and “reckless,” and said a law should be passed to force them to comply. 37

Two days later, a national business magazine targeted a Jewish holistic family practice doctor for shaming because he wrote a blog criticizing vaccine safety and objecting to the banning of children from Jewish summer camp if they have not gotten every dose of every vaccine on the federally dictated schedule. 38 He was described as a “threat to public health” and it was suggested that doctors like him criticizing vaccine orthodoxy should be stripped of their medical license.

Racial Profiling and Shaming of Caucasian Parents

Another disturbing type of propaganda to re-emerge as we head into 2016 is what I described in 2012 as “turning vaccine exemptions into class warfare.”  39 This involves highly educated, well-paid physician politicians and professors in academia, who are engaging in racial profiling and the shaming of educated, middle class Caucasian parents challenging vaccine orthodoxy.


“Rich, white and refusing vaccinations,” screamed one racially charged newspaper headline on Christmas Eve.  40 “If you live in a rich, white community where lots of people don’t vaccinate their kids, that could be dangerous” claimed a health policy professor.  41

As a middle class woman who worked my way through college and learned the hard way as a mother why it is unwise to blindly accept vaccine orthodoxy, I find it interesting that graduating from college, attaining financial stability and being born Caucasian has been turned into an excuse for normalizing prejudice, intolerance and discrimination that would not be condoned in America in any other setting.

Vaccine Injury and Death Does Not Discriminate

Vaccine injury and death does not discriminate between races or social classes, except when people are kept ignorant, economically dependent and unable to make informed choices. As more women, no matter what their race or social class, graduate from college in even greater numbers in America,  42 they will be seeking knowledge about vaccine risks after they become Moms. It is one reason why we are witnessing an accelerated push by government and industry to eliminate the legal right to informed consent to vaccine risk taking in America.  43,44,45,46

Those embracing vaccine orthodoxy have a right to their beliefs, but they should not be given the legal right to persecute and punish fellow citizens refusing to convert. Tyranny by any other name is still tyranny.


Exercise and Defend Civil and Human Rights

While we still have freedom of speech, press, thought, conscience and religion in America, please exercise and defend those civil and human rights at every opportunity. If we all stand up for the freedom we have left today, we will not lose more of it tomorrow.

Knowledge is the antidote to vaccine orthodoxy because knowledge is power.

Subscribe to the free NVIC Newsletter and The Vaccine Reaction journal and gain knowledge. Learn about how to identify and report vaccine reactions. Read about vaccine ingredients in the vaccine manufacturer product inserts. Download an illustrated, fully referenced Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law guide and sign up for the free NVIC Advocacy Portal to work with others in your state defending vaccine informed consent rights.

In 2016, empower yourself with knowledge about vaccine science, policy and law. Be a teacher and pass that knowledge on to your family and friends and leaders in your community.

You never know whose life you will save.

It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.

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1  NIH. Smallpox VaccinationUS Library of Medicine July 30, 2013.

2  CDC.  Recommended Immunization Schedule for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years – United States, 2015. 

3  Bidwell A.  Women More Likely to Graduate College, but Still Earn Less Than Men.  US News & World Report Oct. 31, 2014.

4  Medline Plus. Encephalitis Causes and Symptoms. Dec. 2, 2015.

5  Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee.  Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines. Encephalopathy (pp. 86-88).  Washington, D.C. National Academies Press 1991.

6  Johnston RD.  The Politics of Healing: Histories of Alternative Medicine in Twentieth-Century North America.  New York. Routledge 2004.

7  Humphries S. Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines and the Forgotten History. 2013.

8  Morrison P.  Historian Elena Conis takes a look at decades of vaccination skepticism.  Los Angeles Times Jan. 27, 2015.

9  Wakefield A, Murch SH, Anthony A et al.  Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children  The Lancet 1998; 351: 637-641.

10  McCarthy J.  Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. New York. Penguin Group 2008.

11  HRSA.  Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Data & Statistics. Jan. 1, 2016.

12  Jefferson T.  Letter from President Thomas Jefferson to George Ticknor, Nov. 25, 1817.  Thomas Jefferson Foundation,

13  FindLaw for Legal Professionals. U.S. Constitution – First Amendment.

14  Editorial.  Blame Disneyland measles outbreak on anti-science stubbornness.  LA Times Jan. 15, 2015.

15  Chang A.  Measles Outbreak Casts Spotlight on Anti-Vaccine Movement.  Associated Press Jan. 23, 2015.

16  ABC News Radio.  Pediatricians Push Back Against Parents Who Won’t Vaccinate Their Kids.  ABC Feb. 2, 2015.

17  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). “Doubt grows with knowledge.”

18  Fisher BL.  The Vaccine Culture War: Are You Ready?  NVIC Newsletter Mar. 8, 2015.

19  U.S. National Library of Medicine .

20  Smith PJ, Chu SY, Barker LE.  Children Who Have Received No Vaccines: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?  Pediatrics 2004; 114(1): 187-195.

21  Salmon DA, Moulton LH, Omer SB et al.  Factors Associated With Refusal of Childhood Vaccines Among Parents of School-aged Children  .  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(5):470-476.

22  Salmon DA, Sotir JS, Pan WK et al.  Parental Vaccine Refusal in Wisconsin: A Case-Control Study.  Wisconsin Medical Journal 2009; 108(1): 17-23.

23  Omer SB, Salmon DA, Orenstein WA, deHart PM, Halsey N.  Vaccine Refusal, Mandatory Immunization and the Risks of Vaccine Preventable Diseases.  N Engl J Med 2009; 360(19): 1981-1988.

24  Leib S, Libertato P, Edwards K.  Pediatricians’ Experience with and Response to Parental Vaccine Safety Concerns and Vaccine Refusals: Survey of Connecticut Pediatricians.  Public Health Rep 2011; 126 (Suppl 2): 13-23.

25  Siddiqui M, Salmon D, Omer SB.Epidemiology of vaccine hesitancy in the United States.  Hum Vaccin Immunother2013; 9(1): 2643-2648.

26  Lai YK, Nadeau J, McNutt LA, Shaw J.  Variation in exemptions to school immunization requirements among New York State private and public schools  Vaccine 2014; 32(52): 7070-7076.

27  McNutt LA, Desemone C, DeNicola E et al.  Affluence as a predictor of vaccine refusal and underimmunization in California private kindergartens  Vaccine Dec. 8, 2015.

28 Propaganda and Propaganda Techniques.

29  Fisher BL.  Testimony opposing SB277, a bill eliminating personal belief vaccine exemption  California State Assembly Committee on Health June 9, 2015.

30  Fisher BL.  Measles in Disneyland: Vaccine Exemption Ban and Third MMR Shot?  NVIC Newsletter Jan. 28, 2015.

31  Dutro M.  Next Up for Vaccines: Requirements for California Child Care Workers?  KQED News May 18, 2015.

32  Richardson D.  The Fallout from California SB277: What Happens Next?  NVIC Newsletter Sept. 5, 2015.

33  Berezow A.  Jail ‘anti-vax” parents  .  USA Today Jan. 28, 2015.

34  Kluger J. Facebook Must Shut Down the Anti-Vaxxers.  Time Magazine Feb. 19, 2015.

35  Lipson P.  Anti-Vaccine Doctors Should Lose Their License  Forbes Jan. 30, 2015.

36  Caplan A.  Revoke the license of any doctor who opposes vaccination  Washington Post Feb. 6, 2015.

37  Editorial.  Mandatory Vaccination Reform Must Be Among 2016 Colorado Legislative Goals  The Aurora SentinelDec. 31, 2015.

38  Lipson P. No Vaccination, No Camp. Finally.  Forbes Jan. 2, 2016.

39  Fisher BL.  Turning Vaccine Exemptions Into Class Warfare  NVIC Newsletter Sept. 14, 2012.

40  Bakalar N. Rich, White, Refusing Vaccinations.  New York Times Dec. 24, 2015.

41  Bonifield J.  California’s rich, white unvaccinated kindergartners  CNN Dec. 30, 2015.

42  Rampell C.  Data Reveal a Rise in College Degrees Among Americans  New York Times June 12, 2013.

43  Fisher BL.  Blackmail and the Medical Vaccine Exemption  NVIC Newsletter May 18, 2015.

44  Fisher BL.  Despite High Child Vaccination Rates, CDC Calls for Public Shaming of Schools  The Vaccine ReactionSept. 2, 2015. Also see:  Parents Deserve to Know More Than School Vaccination Rates. 

45  Hodge JG, Campos-Outcalt D. Legally Limiting Lies About Vaccines.  Jurist Nov. 17, 2015.

46  Billington JK, Omer SB.Use of Fees to Discourage Nonmedical Exemptions to School Immunization Laws in the U.S.  Am J Public Health Dec. 21, 2015.

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