Polio vaccine in the crossfire of misinformation

By Monique Ngo Mayag and Simon Valmary

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© 2020 AFP

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The huge disadvantage that science based health interventions have against antivaxxers is that a scientific organization has the duty and responsibility of informing based on objective information that can be corroborated, sometimes this is not available and being honest would mean saying "we are not sure at this point".

Antivaxxers on the contrary have no such honesty and usually lie and misrepresent as much as possible in order to manipulate people into their cult-like belief, as mentioned in the article they will say "polio cases now come from the vaccine" forgetting to say the number of cases is less than one thousandth of what would be expected without vaccination, and that the few cases still remaining actually are from people refusing to vaccinate.

Most of the vocal segment that promote their beliefs don't even have the capacity to read a scientific paper, and just repeat what is indoctrinated to them by people that cherry pick and misrepresent their results. For anybody with a little time it is easy to follow what they reference and find out how badly they lie, unfortunately most people do not invest this small amount of time and just end up believing the misinformation.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

In spring, Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times falsely claimed that a polio vaccine tested by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation paralyzed 490,000 children in India.

Are those "false claims" referring to this paper:

How does the reporter know these claims are false?

As stated here:

Indian researchers recently described the relationship between rates of “non-polio acute flaccid paralysis” (NPAFP) and the country’s practice of “pulse polio immunisation” (periodic OPV vaccination of all children under age five). The number of polio rounds “had a high correlation with the NPAFP rate,” and the mortality rate in NPAFP patients was “twice the mortality rate for wild polio.” When the researchers calculated “the number of paralyzed children each year which exceeded the expected numbers” for the period from 2000–2017, they found that there were “an additional 491,000 paralyzed children” above the expected number of 149,000.

I wonder how much of Gates' money is going to media to block or counter all the negative publicity.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

How does the reporter know these claims are false?

Well, it takes like one minute to see very detailed debunking of the claims by googling and seeing any of the multiple places on the internet where it is done by professionals, it takes no effort to know it

"India has a lot of NPAFP cases but no polio cases and no sign of poliovirus.

Inadequate sanitation, insufficient hygiene, human habits and population density have likely created an ideal storm for virus transmission. Among these viruses are some capable of causing NPAFP. This is on top of the many non-viral causes."

The argument from antivaxxers depends on the excess of NPAFP to be thanks to poliovirus, but that reason is excluded even from the studio precisely because polio virus and antibodies against it are NOT being found in the patients. Which bring the N to the NPAFP. Again they want people to think there is a global conspiracy where all doctors, nurses and scientist make their own family and friends sick and die but keep it as a secret and hide the proof only so somebody else can make a fortune.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

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