There is a new generation of antivaxxers. The antivaxxers don't view themselves as antivaccine in the traditional sense. Many of them see themselves as provaccine, but not pro-COVID-19 vaccines. Over the last two years, I have documented how they have recycled and reinvented every antivaccine stereotype under the sun in order to demonize COVID-19 vaccines. Two weeks after I wrote my last post, a couple of stories have occurred to emphasize to me that the new school antivaxxers are indistinguishable from the old school antivaxxers. There was a conflict between new school antivaxxers and old school antivaxxers. I am becoming more concerned about how radical anti-COVID-19 vaccine sentiment is fused with more traditional old school antiism in order to endanger childhood vaccination in a way we have not seen before. It occurred to me that it would be useful to look at these incidents and stories in the context of antivaccine misinformation as I contemplated what to write about over the week. Some of you may have read parts of this before. I will be able to show you how the new school antivaxxers are very similar to the old school antivaxxers.

Two-thirds of the Great Barrington Declaration authors, Drs. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, were confronted by how antivax was and said nothing. Dr. Vanden Bossche was confronted the same way. He tried to push back but was unsuccessful. Both cases show how old school antivax beliefs are now intertwined with new school anti-COVID-19 vaccine beliefs. Scientists are playing with antivaxxers and trying to ignore it. The second shows how fusion is happening between old school antivaxxers and new school antivaxxers.

GBD antivaccine

You saw what I meant. There is a man on the far left with a man on the far right and a man on the far right with a man on the far right and a man on the far right with a man on the far right and a man on the far right with a man on the far right and How can they deny that they're antivaccines?

When Drs. Bhattacharya and Kulldorff met Steve Kirsch

The propaganda document released in October 2020 that advocated a "let 'er rip" strategy for the pandemic with strategy of "focused protection" to keep mass numbers of the vulnerable from dying is not something we like to see. The idea was that the lock downs being put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 were doing more harm than good. The product of a libertarian free market think tank, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), and three useful idiot scientists who were recruited to draft it, is the Great Barrier Reef. The whole thing was designed to get businesses open again, and was a huge success in influencing government policies in the US and Europe. The Brownstone Institute, the spiritual child of the GBD, has become increasingly antivaccine despite the authors of the GBD reassuring themselves that they are pro-vaccine.

Two-thirds of the GBD appeared at an event organized by a tech bro turned antivaccine and conspiracy theorist.

The Real Truther gave a link to the antivax video.

If anyone wants to watch the panels (which also included Robert Malone because of course they did) here's the link:

— The Real Truther (@thereal_truther) May 17, 2022

Kulldorff and Bhattacharya forfeited any defense against being called "antivax" because they agreed to appear with people promoting the most crazy conspiracy theories. The data that led to the claim at the antivax panel are some of the highlights.

Over half a million people died from the COVID-19 vaccines. I noticed that he linked to two of his Substack posts. Over half a million people have been killed by the COVID vaccines so far. The opening paragraphs made me laugh.

A simple survey of my readers provided some extremely compelling evidence that 1) the US government has killed over 500,000 previously healthy Americans and 2) that the vaccine actually caused the deaths.

It took me around 30 minutes to create the survey and 11 hours to wait for highly statistically significant results.

I was able to accomplish something in less than 12 hours that the CDC has been unable to accomplish in 18 months: prove causality. We see both dose dependency and enormous changes in ACM deaths pre- vs. post-vaccine. We satisfy all five Bradford-Hill criteria applicable to vaccines.

That's amazing! It wouldn't be hard to determine adverse reactions up to and including death from vaccines. It's damn! Egghead scientists, epidemiologists, and clinical trialists didn't think of something that was obvious. The readers of an antivax Substack weren't surveyed.

There is a survey. If the reader knew anyone who had died after getting the vaccine, it was a question. According to the survey, at least half a million people have been killed by the COVID-19 vaccine. The details of his methodology are here and here, where he claims that the COVID-19 vaccine has killed more people than all other vaccines combined over the last 30 years. Since then, he has expanded his methods to survey his readers for other adverse reactions.

An interview with Andrew Wakefield is also being promoted. His responses were pretty weak when people began to criticize him.

I do not. I support and have supported the use of the vaccine especially for focused protection of the elderly and other vulnerable people. I belive in engagement with prime of differing views and I lament the use of guilt by association attacks as a tactic in public health.

— Jay Bhattacharya (@DrJBhattacharya) May 17, 2022

My philosophy in chairing sessions is to let panelists talk. I've no idea what you are talking about re: 500k. I chimed in on the Pfizer trial.

If I spent my time correcting misinformation, I'd spend it correcting lockdowners who have caused the world's poor devastating damage.

— Jay Bhattacharya (@DrJBhattacharya) May 18, 2022

At the very least, allowing a platform for such blatant antivaccine propaganda was false balance, & poorly judged, however intentioned. Odious falsehoods do not help discussion, but do embolden cranks. Utility of vaccination is no more debatable than existence of Greenland

— Dr David Robert Grimes (@drg1985) May 18, 2022

He pretended that he didn't know what he was talking about.

Even after the fact, Dr. Bhattacharya didn't criticize Steve Kirsch or admit that he was spreading misinformation. He could have said, "I was deceived" or "I didn't know what was going on", but he didn't. One way that scientists who are not associated with the antivaccine movement react is by trying to deny that they are doing that.

The second example is similar to the first one.

Better Way

The one who looks like Kenny Rogers is one of the antivaxxers who refused to defend the vaccine schedule at the Better Way Conference. The man next to him is adjusting his glasses and wishes he were somewhere else.

The Better Way Conference

Many new school antivaxxers believe that they are not antivaccine because they view themselves as scientific. Antivaxxers used to say that they were not antivaccine but that they were against mandates or for freedom. The new antivaxers think of themselves as not antivaccine but just highly skeptical of the new vaccine. The more these new school antivaxxers mix with the old school antivaxxers, the worse they sound. A couple of weeks ago at a panel held during an antivax conference held in Bath, England, there was a display of this principle.

This is a good place to reiterate that, just as it was for "old school" antivaxxers, it is a delusion on the part of "new school" antivaxxers that they are not antivaccine, because they have been spouting the hoaries.

The Better Way Conference was held a couple of weeks ago by contrarians and antivaxxers. I couldn't find a way to watch the entire conference without paying. Del Bigtree included relevant clips in a segment of a recent episode of The Highwire with Del Bigtree. The segments show what happens when a new school antivaxxer is forced to confront the fact that they are all just antivaxxers.

The segment is here.

Segment: Del Debates Geert, The Highwire, May 26, 2022.

When old school meets new school

The Better Way Conference will show the tnsion between old school and new school antivaxxers that is being resolved by new.

Who are the people on the panel? There was more than one person on this panel, which was moderated by Del Bigtree. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was present at the conference but not on the panel. This was a meeting of the minds of conspiracy theorists.

You might recall that last year, Geert Vanden Bossche rose to prominence in the antivax world due to an idea about how COVID-19 vaccines are supposed to be harmful. He claims that it is very dangerous to conduct a mass vaccine program in the middle of a flu epidemic with a vaccine that can allow forward transmission of the disease. According to Vanden Bossche, the reason is that the vaccine selects for more deadly versions. This idea is less likely to produce more transmissible and deadly variant than it is to allow the virus to spread in a large population.

Vanden Bossche was wrong to say that allowing the virus to circulate widely was more dangerous than trying to minimize transmission and that the percentage of the population that had been vaccine wasn't very high. Vanden Bossche's claim that mass vaccinations would lead to the creation of a superviruses was a very old antivax trope, one that Andrew Wakefield published a few months before the first cases of COVID-19 were reported. The vaccine could cause a mass extinction, according to the author.

During his talk, Vanden Bossche stated that he thought that live attenuated vaccines could potentially be very important, as he thought that there could be more transmissible versions of the SARS- CoV-2 virus. The discussion panel was moderated by Del Bigtree, who was the MC of the Better Way Conference. When the time came for the Q&A session, instead of simply asking the questions that were being beamed to his iPad from the audience, Bigtree decided to "go there."

I don't know what I'm talking about when I say go there. The current generation of children is the sickest generation due to the expansion of the vaccine schedule. Even though he knew he would be blindsiding thePanelists, he did it anyway. Bigtree's debate with Vanden Bossche is an excellent way for me to show that most of the new school vaccine skeptics are just like the old school antivaxxers. They are antivaccines. Vanden Bossche is moving in that direction.

The panel was asked by Bigtree how many people thought vaccinations could be used to fight the Pandemic. Half of the panel did not raise their hands. Big tree asked:

How many of you are aware that, since the increase of vaccinations, when we were giving ten vaccinations—I’ll use the United States of America stats—we were giving ten vaccines in the United States of America by the time you were 18 up until about 1986 when we took all liability away that the vaccine program increased to 54 vaccines

How many of you are aware that in that time we went from a chronic illness rate in the United States of America of 12% to a chronic illness rate of 54% and that data has been given to us since 2012? How many are aware of that increase in chronic illness?

Readers who have been following the antivaccine movement will immediately recognize the talking points. There is a claim that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 took away all liability from vaccine manufacturers. The NCVIA mandated that all vaccine injury claims should go through a Vaccine Court, where they will be reimbursed for reasonable legal expenses and expenses incurred preparing their case, which is better than civil litigation. 50% and a feather is the standard for the vaccine court. The Vaccine Court has a list of "table injuries" which are known to be caused by vaccines based on science. If they lose in vaccine court, they are free to use Federal Courts. There is a tax on vaccine in the US.

Antivaxxers hate the NCVIA and the Vaccine Court and attack them based on misinformation. The vaccine court is not a good place for antivax lawyers. I think trial lawyers hate the Vaccine Court because they don't like the fact that they can extract one-third of the judgment as payment, instead of simple reasonable hourly rates paid by the Vaccine Court.

Familiar two should be the last two. The second trope was the exaggeration of the number of vaccines, which requires counting every dose of a series individually and counting combination vaccines as their component parts. RFK Jr.'s "sickest generation" trope refers to the fact that over half of children today suffer from a chronic illness, up from 12% in the past. It's a deceptive narrative that relies on cherry picked and carefullycurated studies that ignore context and the consequences of increased screening and widened definitions of chronic illnesses.

The panel responded. For the first time, he realized what he had gotten himself into and was forced to face it. He said that he didn't like the statements and that it was more complicated than he thought. Seeing that Vanden Bossche had fallen into his trap, Bigtree was more than happy to concede that he was strictly stating correlations. I can't resist repeating how Vanden Bossche was the only one who pushed back against Bigtree's attacks on the childhood vaccinations schedule.

Vanden Bossche was the only panelist who did not push back against the antivaccine narrative. The next clip showed Robert Malone emphasizing that, when he had raised his hand to agree that vaccination should be part of a better way, he was not defending our current childhood vaccine schedule.

In raising my hand, I was not in any way endorsing our current vaccine schedule. For me as a vaccinologist who has often assumed—has integrated—a belief system that I was brought up in about the efficacy and utility of childhood vaccines, I had a moment of epiphany when I sat down with Candace Owens and we talked about what the temporal relationship has been with many of these classic pediatric diseases and their quenching in the population, which was more concurrent with implementation of modern public health and sanitation practices than it was with implementation of vaccines. And yet the industry has taught me and many of us that there was a causal relationship when in fact it was correlation, which is one of the big flaws we’ve seen again and again, conflating correlation with causation.

One of the new school antivaxxers is also one of the old school ones. How many readers remember the old antivax claim that it was not vaccine that eliminated diseases? It shouldn't surprise anyone that he has embraced it, given how much he has drunk the antivaccine Kool-Aid and peddled conspiracy theories.

It is an easy one to deny. The only thing you have to do is ask if the US has changed since 1960. The incidence of the disease plummeted during that decade. It's simple. The Measles Vaccine was introduced in 1963. Improved Sanitation would not have much of an effect on the spread of the highly transmissible respiratory disease, Measles. What about the vaccine for the disease? Sanitation in the US was better in 1960 than it was 50 years ago. What happened in the 50's? There was a vaccine to protect against the disease. The list goes on and on with the introduction of the vaccine. The idea ofsanitation, not vaccination, is ahistorical and unscientific. No one is saying that Sanitation is not important for controlling infectious diseases spread by water or feces under control, but the fact is that vaccination was a much greater contributor to the elimination of most childhood diseases than Sanitation.

The next person to speak is Bret Weinstein.

Is it true that a great many vaccinations is bad for you over a lifetime and that we should treat this technology very sparingly, right, that we should be choosing very carefully which few things it makes sense to use it for and what to hold it in reserve for, rather than just imagining that if vaccines are good then more vaccines are better?

Do you know what the antivaxxer trope is? It sounds like a variation of the "too many too soon" line that was used to make the case that "too many" vaccines were making our kids sick. We have known for a long time that it is not true, even though antivaxxers have been repeating it for a long time. You're welcome to the antivax camp. I noticed that he nodded behind Weinstein. Vanden Bossche was more and more uneasy. I think it's good. I want him to be afraid of the antivaxers. It might lead him back from the brink, but probably not.

The next person to speak is Tess Lawrie. As has been the case with so many ivermectin cultists, she is now a member of the antivaxxers.

My opinion is that our children are not suffering from infections. They’re suffering from chronic diseases, autoimmune diseases, autism, and depression. So it seems we might need to reevaluate health and now we need to look at those things that potentially might be affecting our children’s health.

Is vaccines one of those things? Why don't our children suffer from infections anymore? It could not be due to vaccines preventing them from getting infections that used to kill so many children before they could grow up. It's clear that Lawrie went antivax as well.

Vanden Bossche said that if you are just considering safety issues you are not thinking about the impact of losing herd immunity. You know what. He was absolutely correct. The reason we don't deal with so many children with infections is because they don't have immunity from vaccine-related infections. He asked how you can maintain herd immunity against diseases without having the "Next Epidemic" if you don't have vaccinations.

He said something.

I’m having a huge problem with taking these shortcuts, right, and with saying, “No injections.” OK, guys, then we are not going to vaccinate, and these diseases that we have kept under control for many years through herd immunity, lose that herd immunity, and have your epidemics to reestablish it every single time.

Vanden Bossche was right about some things. Before safe and effective vaccines, there wasn't any immunity to any of the childhood diseases we routinely vaccine. It was simple. Millions of children were born every year who were susceptible to diseases. I don't want to be too hard on Vanden Bossche, but on the other hand he did throw in his lot with antivaxxers and has been promoting a narrative about COVID-19. Vanden Bossche was forced to wrestle with his cognitive dissonance over his COVID-19 antivaccine fear mongering and the consequences of it that led him to be on a panel with some major leaguers.

Vanden Bossche wondered if Bigtree wanted to sacrifice the elderly and people with comorbidities that make them susceptible to infectious diseases. He doesn't know that Bigtree has advocated that and blamed people for their comorbidities associated with lifestyle. He can't blame people for their age since they have no control over it. Anti-COVID-19 vaccination sentiment is now indistinguishable from old school antivax sentiment.

The fusion of old school and new school antivaxxers endangers us all

The end of the antivaccine movement has always been to get rid of all vaccine mandates. The rise of the "new school" COVID-19 antivaccine movement has given antivaxxers an opportunity to realize that dream much sooner than they would have thought possible.

The fusion of new school with old school antivaccine views is fueling a movement that is endangering childhood vaccinations according to an article in the New York Times.

In 2019, even before the pandemic struck, the World Health Organization listed growing vaccine hesitancy as one of its top 10 threats to global health. W.H.O. officials often refer to the contagion of misinformation that foments vaccine hesitancy as an “infodemic”: mountains of incorrect and sometimes flagrantly conspiratorial information about diseases that leads people to avoid lifesaving medical practices, like the vaccines used to fight them. Now the pandemic has given anti-vaccine advocates an opportunity to field-test a variety of messages and find new recruits. And one message in particular seems to be resonating widely: Vaccines and vaccine mandates are an attack on freedom.

Thanks to anti-COVID-19 vaccinations.

But instead of feeling confident about vaccines, a growing segment of the population may be primed to feel more anxious and doubtful about them, and that doubt may be seeping into their relationship with medical science — or governmental mandates — in general. Kate Williamson, one of the pediatricians I spoke to in Orange County, told me that because vaccine skepticism has become linked with patients’ political leanings, many doctor-patient conversations are now much harder. Merely bringing up “science” at all can be interpreted as a personal attack. “Politics for a lot of people, it is an identity,” she says. “It is a culture. I feel like if I talk about science, then I’m going against their political identity.”

It was leading to.

Perhaps most ominous, from a public-health perspective, is that school mandates have started to come under attack in state legislatures. Numerous states have already passed laws restricting or prohibiting mandates for the Covid-19 vaccine. And in a few, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, bills have been proposed that would weaken school vaccine mandates or even prohibit them altogether. “I’m not sure that the people fighting for these bills truly believe in them, but they’re doing it because it’s politically expedient,” Jason Terk, the pediatrician in Keller, Texas, told me. “It matters not to them that there might be consequences to these bills passing.”

None of these legislative efforts have succeeded in becoming law yet, but they highlight a broader development that’s easy to overlook. “During the pandemic, the antivax movement was able to springboard to the mainstream,” Koltai says. “I don’t think it’s that taboo anymore to be vaccine-hesitant.”

Sean O’Leary, vice chairman of the Committee on Infectious Diseases at the American Academy of Pediatrics, suspects that, hesitancy aside, we are probably in for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the near future. Young children are undervaccinated. Polio and measles are already flaring up in some parts of the developing world, where the pandemic has stymied vaccination efforts. He worries that one of those infections will hop to the United States, where it would now find a public-health infrastructure that is stretched very thin and a combustible population of under-vaccinated bodies to burn through.

I like to quote a line from The Empire Strikes Back, "If you don't listen to me, I'll blow you away."

If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.

Antivaccine conspiracy theories and misinformation are very similar to the Dark Side of the Force in that they are corrupted by the Dark Side. The path of antivaccine pseudoscience will always dominate the scientist's fate even if he dips his toe in the waters of skepticism. People who study antivax conspiracy theories tend to go further in their studies. We are grappling with how COVID-19 antivaccine conspiracy theories are combined with old school conspiracy theories about childhood vaccine safety. It is at risk.