It's been 5 years since the mainstream media began writing about the "dangerous and misinformed anti-vaccination movement." Who are the kooks in this crazy unhinged movement? Surely they are hanging out in labor and delivery rooms, throwing mercury on expectant mothers, making threats against anyone who vaccinates their newborn for a sexually transmitted disease. Certainly they are sneaking into Boy Scout meetings by posing as den mothers and brainwashing neighborhood parents into hosting chickenpox parties. They organize violent protests, vandalize the homes of known pediatricians, and detox children at slumber parties without parental consent.

Take a look around you - undoubtedly someone from this "anti-vaccination movement" has infiltrated your very own social circle. Thank goodness for the media, otherwise you would never have known.

Except, there is no such thing as the "anti-vaccination movement." A "movement" is a growing organization of people, all pushing toward a common goal. People who exempt their children from vaccination don't have a "common goal." There is no target percentage of "anti-vaccination" they conspire to achieve. There is no agenda to push down anyone's throat. There is no point in time at which they hope to declare victory. The only thing that exemptors have in common is this: they don't care what you do with your kid. They only care about their own.

The "pro-vaccination movement" is funded - in cash, in product donations, and in intellectual manpower - by people who have gotten rich from the manufacture and sale of vaccines. Sure, they have uncompensated foot soldiers of uncertain mental stability, but the driving force is from a higher level. The goal of the "pro-vaccination movement" is to have 100% compliance with the vaccine program. Exemptors? Exemptors don't care if anyone complies.

The "pro-vaccination movement" teams up with local health departments to get state legislators to sponsor laws that take away parental rights. Exemptors? They don't care how anyone else parents their children; just don't tell them how to parent their own.

The "pro-vaccination movement" goes to their contacts in the pharmaceutical-owned media to call names and paint portraits of ignorance and mis-education of the parents who exercise their right of exemption. Exemptors? Most of them don't have any friends in the media and if they do, they sure aren't slinging mud. Why? Because they don't care what other people are doing with regard to vaccines.

See the pattern here? One group is trying to force the other group to bend to its will, but the roles aren't what the media tells you they are. There is no such thing as an "anti-vaccination movement."

The common thread in all of these scenarios is this: the exemptors aren't making anyone else do anything - they are minding their own business and worrying about their own. Do they talk? Sure. Do they answer questions? Absolutely. Do they call your home and threaten you - claiming to know where your children go to school - if you write a pro-vaccination piece on your little mommy blog?

No. No one reads your little mommy blog and exemptors certainly aren't threatened by what you write on it.

Exemptors aren't convinced that vaccines are safe enough to be administered to all children across the board and they don't subscribe to the notion that they're effective enough to create vaccine-induced herd immunity. What, they're not allowed to talk about that?

Comment: Key points to consider when addressing the idea of 'Herd immunity'
  • Even though endemic outbreaks of common childhood diseases, such as measles, have been eliminated in some regions after prolonged mass-vaccination efforts, we are still being constantly reminded that reducing vaccination coverage of children in a community poses the risk of a reimported disease outbreak with potentially dire consequences to infants and immuno-compromised individuals. We are also being persuaded that implementing strict vaccination compliance will prevent an outbreak and protect vaccine-ineligible infants via the herd-immunity effect.
  • There is no question that a disease outbreak can happen in a non-immune community, if a virus gets there. The real question is, how well can high-vaccination compliance ensure herd immunity and protect a community from an outbreak?
  • The belief in herd immunity has no doubt been influencing vaccine-related legislation in many U.S. states and other countries. This notion is used as a trump card to justify and mandate legal measures aiming to increase vaccination compliance. An implicit assumption is that liberal vaccine exemptions somehow compromise this precious herd immunity, which the public-health authorities strive to establish and maintain via vaccination.
  • The medical establishment got it all in reverse: it is not vaccine-exempt children who endanger us all, it is the effects of prolonged mass-vaccination campaigns that have done so. When will the medical establishment (and the media) start paying attention to the long-term consequences of mass-vaccination measures instead of hastily and unjustifiably blaming every outbreak on the unvaccinated?

Where did this idea of there being a dangerous movement underfoot come from, you wonder?

Let's look at what else happened five years ago: Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, admitted in an interview that HHS "reached out to the media to get them to stop giving equal weight in their reporting" of the views of parents of vaccine injured children.

Wow. Did you hear that? One of the highest-ranking officials in the US Health Department admitted feeling threatened by moms and dads who tell the story of what vaccines did to their children. But worse than that, she admitted to gagging the media from speaking about it, which turned the tides and created the non-existent "anti-vaccination movement" out of thin air. In September of 2007 Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah to talk about vaccines and her son's autism. Two years later the media was gagged by the US Health Department and Jenny was made into a villain.

Despite what the media says, there is nothing new or trendy about being an exemptor, and it certainly doesn't have any roots in Malibu or Beverly Hills. Laws granting freedom from vaccination are celebrating their 117th birthday this year so instead of picturing a sexy actress like Alicia Silverstone when you think about exemptors, picture Queen Victoria (born in 1819), who, despite being the first member of the Royal Family vaccinated for smallpox, was the reigning Monarch during the birth of Conscientious Objection.

Even in the 1800s there were people who proclaimed the smallpox vaccine to be dangerous after seeing their family and friends become disabled or die after inoculation. Then they witnessed vaccinated neighbors come down with smallpox years later, so they weren't convinced of the vaccine's effectiveness, either. Some things never change, huh?

In 1853 vaccination for smallpox became mandatory, with fines for non-compliance and imprisonment for non-payment of the fines. This led to massive demonstrations by the working class, celebrities, and parliament members. In 1885, with over 3,000 prosecutions pending in one county alone, a demonstration of 20,000 people led to what eventually became the exemption of Conscientious Objection of 1898.

The 1898 Vaccination Act removed penalties for not vaccinating and allowed parents who did not believe that vaccination was safe or effective to obtain an exemption for their infant children. But there was a catch - in order to obtain the exemption they had to satisfy the requirements of two magistrates before the child was 4 months old. Unsurprisingly, many magistrates refused to perform their duties under the law and the intention behind granting liberty from vaccination floundered.

The exemptors pushed harder and the British government responded by passing the 1907 Vaccination Act. With that, a parent could exempt their child by mailing a written declaration to the local Vaccination Officer that stated their belief that vaccination would harm their child's health. In 1908 a whopping 17% of the British population filed for Conscientious Objector status. It was the advent of the modern Philosophical Exemption, born of oppressive government intervention and community meddling in parenting rights.

That, my friends, was an "anti-vaccination movement."

So no, in 2015 there is no "anti-vaccination movement," but keep it up. Keep hurling insults in the media, keep schmoozing with local law makers. Keep going after infant children to receive vaccines that you yourself haven't had in decades. Keep on talking about this "anti-vaccination movement" and exemptors are going to give you something to talk about, mark my words. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.