NY Times Admits Vaccine Researchers are Bullied; Results Buried

{Image used with permission Pexels/Gratisography}

I am leaving this piece open to the public as a free read so that @DrPaulOffit and the reporter @lindy2350 will be able to read it when you tweet it to them, as I trust you will.


Have you ever read a news piece where the facts speak for themselves, but the reporter tries to twist those facts into something else entirely, and you have to laugh at their baseless conclusion because only a person with an IQ of 88 would fall for it? 

That's what happened on Friday in the New York Times opinion section when a reporter got Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Vaccine King, Dr. Paul Offit, to talk about burying unflattering vaccine research. 

Melinda Wenner Moyer, a quite pro-vaccine science writer for Slate and Scientific American, stated in her opinion piece that "Dr. Offit says that researchers should handle findings differently when there’s a chance they might frighten the public. He thinks that small, inconclusive, worrying studies should not be published because they could do more harm than good. 'Knowing that you’re going to scare people, I think you have to have far more data,' he explains."

What kind of small, worrying studies is Dr. Offit referring to, you wonder? A case series of 12 kids? Or maybe one with only 25 infants?

No. He's referring to the 2017 study of 458 mothers whose bodies spontaneously aborted their babies within 4 weeks after getting the flu vaccine. That study concluded that mothers who were vaccinated for the flu were 7.7x more likely to lose their baby than mothers who weren't.

Dr. Offit wanted that study buried. He told Ms. Moyer that the study should never have been published because "it was small and conflicted with earlier research."

Like we just don't correct science?

It's interesting that there was a separate, headline-making flu vaccine study published just five months before the miscarriage study. It included only 358 pediatric deaths and concluded, "most kids [with severe disabilities] who die of the flu are unvaccinated." Yet Dr. Offit didn't consider that study to be too small for him to trumpet in the media, even though there were 100 less people in it than the "too small" miscarriage study that should have "never have been published." 


Ms. Moyer highlighted researchers from two somewhat recent studies:

1. A 2005 study that found the flu vaccine was not very effective at saving lives in people over 65 years old; and

2. A 2010 study that associated people who got an annual flu shot with an increased risk of catching pandemic flu-- the finding was replicated five times before the study was published. 

Ms. Moyer spoke to the lead researcher of the 2005 study, Dr. Lone Simonsen, and reports that "vaccine people" told Dr. Simonsen, "You are ruining everything."

OK, first off, who the hell are the "vaccine people?" And what "vaccine people" have access to Dr. Simonsen to tell her such a thing? Someone really high up? Or a troll who lives in his mom's basement? It would be nice to know what we were talking about here. 

{I don't appreciate being called a "conspiracy theorist" when the Times references these authoritative "vaccine people" without even telling us what they're talking about.}

Dr. Simonsen reports that she was ostracized at work, excluded from meetings, and felt the scientific community considered her study to be "controversial" for at least a decade. Two years after her piece was published, she left her position at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to work at George Washington University. 

Danuta Skowronski, the lead researcher in the 2010 study, reported "tremendous pushback" from her own colleagues when she shared her findings. She was told they were "not appropriate for publication." 


It took this journalist, Ms. Moyer, five months to write her NY Times opinion piece because she kept running into walls while attempting to interview researchers about the unflattering vaccine science they managed to get published. Those scientists didn't want to talk to her because they were told not to. They'd been shunned themselves, excluded at work, and told directly not to discuss their findings.

And that's the point where Ms. Moyer begins to contort logic. "Scientists are so terrified of the public’s vaccine hesitancy that they are censoring themselves," she writes. 

Terrified of the public's vaccine hesitancy? I don't think so. She, and everyone who thinks like her, is skipping over several very important, very scary, middle men here. Scientists are scared of:

1. Getting pushed out of their universities for bringing unfavorable media coverage;

2. The NIH refusing future funding for their laboratories, thereby forcing them out of work; 

3. Ending up on a pharmaceutical hit list where they will be neutralized, discredited, or sought out and "destroyed where they live";

4. Being slandered by Dr. Paul Offit on a national platform as "obviously having some sort of psychological problems";

5. And of course, being found in a shallow body of water with a gunshot wound to the chest. 

I am completely certain that raising the national rate of unvaccinated American babies from 0.8% up to 0.9% is not why vaccine researchers do not want to talk to Ms. Moyer. And, on some level, she has to know this too, but that's not a letter that would have gotten printed in the NY Times. 


Apparently someone told Ms. Moyer that she would have "blood on her hands" for publishing this opinion piece that discusses two researchers who were shut out because they printed unflattering flu vaccine studies 8 and 13 years ago. What intelligent human being really believes that sentence? That parents are going to skip vaccines, and their children will die, because Melinda Moyer brought up research from 13 years ago that highlighted a fact about vaccines and the elderly that the CDC openly admits today?

Do you really believe that, Ms. Moyer? That children will die because of your piece? I saw your Facebook page where you talked about your own fears.

You can't rationally think that something the CDC admits today is going to cause people to die from skipping vaccines. So what is your fear, exactly? Who is going to have the angry reactions? It's not me, or anyone I know. "Angry" doesn't describe anyone's response to your bizarrely helpful piece. Is Dr. Offit going to be angry with you? Are you going to end up discredited and out of work?

Oh. Yes. You are afraid for your job. Message received, loud and clear. And the way you contradicted yourself completely was just "careful nuance." Sure it was.

And what about this little gem from your Twitter feed? Just having a laugh back and forth with the scientific madman who predicted dozens of times on national television that America would be taken over by zika in the summer of 2016?

Are you nervous that this completely batshit vaccine pusher tweeted your article and thanked you for citing directly to the 2010 study about vaccinated people succumbing to pandemic flu? I would be very nervous if I were you. Dr. Hotez thanking you for an avalanche of negative attention in the New York Times is asking you to suspend disbelief even more than your article asked of us.


In the past, Ms. Moyer has written in favor of adult pertussis vaccinations, in favor of vaccinating babies for the flu, in favor of vaccinating the elderly for the flu despite the vaccine being ineffective, and in favor of vaccinating for chickenpox rather than acquiring natural immunity. 

Ms. Moyer is no anti-vaxxer in disguise, and she is no fence sitter. 

But she is this: a staunchly pro-vaccine reporter who stumbled down the rabbit hole of vaccine science and she will never be the same again. She has seen how people are silenced, and she's waiting to see what happens to her. 

Knowing how writers never get to choose their headlines for major publications (remember when the Daily Beast pranked Paul Offit with a headline on his piece that read, "The Unhealthiest State in America Has the Best Vaccination Rate"), I am certain that Ms. Moyer did not write the NY Times headline, "Anti-Vaccine Activists Have Taken Vaccine Science Hostage." 

Because clearly her entire piece, as validated by her own Facebook post, is about how Paul Offit, the research industry, the vaccine industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and I'm going to go ahead and throw in academia, are the ones who have taken vaccine science hostage. 

And they have done so for four decades now. It's the only way they can rewrite history and make vaccines the "greatest public health advancement of all time."

So not only are we blamed for pertussis outbreaks when the vaccine fails, and we're blamed for the "anti-vax" movement when mothers see damage done to their babies first-hand, but now we are blamed for unflattering vaccine science not getting performed and publicized even though there is a clear directive coming from the very top of the food chain to not perform or publicize unflattering vaccine science.


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