By Barbara Loe Fisher
Many years ago when I was having a conversation with a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) during a public engagement meeting, we explored the reasons for why public health officials and parents of vaccine-injured children were at such odds with each other. I said it was because we disagreed about the science. He said, no, it was a disagreement over values and beliefs. This week a physician dean at Baylor University College of Medicine made it clear that it is a lot about doctors getting off on demonizing and bullying parents of vaccine injured children.
According to an article in the Duke Chronicle, Peter Hotez, MD, PhD gave a global health lecture at Duke University in which he called on medical scientists to “engage the public” to promote more financial investment into the development of more vaccines.1Apparently, he also called on them to counter what he labeled as the “anti-vaccine movement,” which he believes has been “propelled” because “anti-vaccine websites exist with names such as the National Vaccine Information Center.” The article reported that Dr. Hotez castigated politicians from the “peace, love, granola” political left, who believe that “we have to be careful what we put into our kid’s bodies,” and politicians from the political right, who tell doctors like him “you can’t tell us what to do with our kids.”
But Dr. Hotez reserved the bulk of his venom for parents of vaccine injured children. Like a schoolyard bully who engages in name calling when he can’t come up with anything intelligent to say, he slapped the label “anti-vaccine” onto parents of vaccine injured children speaking about what happened to their children after vaccination. Then, he went further and viciously accused those parents of hating their children:
[Anti-vaccine organizations] camouflage themselves as a political group, but I call them for what they really are: a hate group. They are a hate group that hates their family and hates their children.2
In an email, he expanded on his personal feelings about the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), founded by parents of DPT vaccine injured children, who have worked for 36 years to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and to secure informed consent protections in vaccine policies and laws.3 4 He said:
The National Vaccine Information Center, is the National Vaccine Misinformation Center. It’s a phony website designed to intimidate and spread false and misleading information about vaccines. The NVIC is an important driver of the antivaxer movement and one that places children’s [sic] in harm’s way to perpetuate its twisted ideology.’
A vaccine developer, a former president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development, Professor Hotez is a doctor with a lot of titles who brings a lot of prestige, power and money to any academic setting in which he works or appears.5 6 7 He is also the father of a daughter with autism, who he insists is not vaccine injured.8 Regardless of the cause of his daughter’s brain and immune system dysfunction, as the parent of a developmentally disabled child, Dr. Hotez should know better than to vent his anger and frustration by striking out at other parents with children requiring special education and lifelong care.
This is not the first time that Dr. Hotez has revealed his prejudice against parents, who disagree with him about the safety of vaccines and one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies. In 2017, in Scientific American magazine, Dr. Hotez called on the U.S. government and G20 nations to take steps to “snuff out” the “American anti-vaccine movement.”9 To “snuff out” means to “crush or kill.”10
In his interview for the Duke newspaper, Dr. Hotez chose to use the word “hate” four times in two sentences when he defamed the National Vaccine Information Center by calling it a “hate group.” Branding an organization a “hate group” is not an inconsequential action, morally or legally.