The followers of Andrew Wakefield, a medical swindler
When I talk about antivax on this blog, it’s not just a person who has learned about vaccines and is skeptical. I’m talking about the real anti-vaccine activist, conspiracy theorist and proselyte trained on social networks. There are nuclei of influence inspired by Andrew Wakefield, a former British surgeon stripped of his title of doctor. In 1998 he published a fraudulent study, in the Lancet, intended to convince his colleagues of the responsibility of the measles vaccine in autism. Whistle-blower? He is not the benefactor he seems. His rigged work was bought by private interests and families seeking compensation, as the investigation will demonstrate.
What do you think he has become? After having his diploma withdrawn in England, he went to the USA where he became an antivax guru. He becomes a millionaire by selling magic potions to the gullible on the internet. The story is told in detail in an Arte documentary, ‘The Merchants of Doubt‘. Edifying.
Viral extension of antivax networks, in conjunction with COVID
French antivax movements such as RéinfoCovid were created by influencers steeped in the Wakefield discourse, and “anti-Big Pharma” convinced after the scandals that tarnished the reputation of the pharmaceutical industry. Any innovative product is suspicious in their eyes. RéinfoCovid is an antivax network long before the first COVID vaccine was born.
The purpose of antivax is therefore not to inform but to systematically discourage, to prevent by all means the use of the vaccine. In Noumea, RéinfoCovid activists didn’t just hold up signs at the entrance to vaccination centres. They prevented people from entering!! Look for consistency when their signs read: “They want to take away our freedoms!». They started by suppressing that of others.
Long COVID, a sequel to the antivax movement?
The antivax were responsible, without any doubt possible, for BILLIONS of nocebo effects in the crowd largely worried by their diatribe. Anyone with an ordinary illness has come to believe that the vaccine is responsible. Example among thousands: An overweight lady comes for heel pain, caused by an overload of her plantar fascia. I notice that despite my explanations she remains concerned. She finally let go of the piece: “Are you sure it’s not related to the vaccine I did 1 month ago? »
A neurotic way of thinking
The danger comes from the conspiracy thinking of the antivax. Suppose for a moment that the government wanted to minimize the dangerousness of SARS-CoV2 (it did so briefly at first but quickly changed its tack). We would very quickly have seen the same conspiracy community denigrate the attempts of our decision-makers to cover up the affair, lowly motivated by the concern not to endanger the economy. Starting on this hobbyhorse, the conspiracy theorists would have demanded radical measures against the virus.
In this alternative scenario, we would have seen today’s antivaxers demand the urgent development of a COVID vaccine, on the pretext that the government showed little enthusiasm to acknowledge the seriousness of the disease. The content of the discourse is secondary in the antivax milieu. What matters is to oppose. Uncover the conspiracy, omnipresent in this world very stingy for our unfulfilled desires. A little balm is to earn his legion of honor as a whistleblower… whose antivax destroy the reputation in the process.
Because there are real finders, all the more honest that they do not seek fame. Read about this the comic Book Whistleblowers, by Flore Talamon, Bruno and Corentin Loth. Above all, read the even more exciting Fake News, by Doan Bui and Leslie Plée. Mind-blowing world tour of fake news, where antivax are in a good place.
Let us protect freedom of expression. But not proselytism. Especially when it worsens the number of deaths in an epidemic.