Are Vaccine Skeptics Conspiracy Theorists?

This article is Part 5 of a 5-Part series on Vaccines. See the full list of (and links to) the rest in this series below.

Holocaust denial. Faked moon landing. Flat earth. Elvis is alive.

Some would have you believe that being a vaccine skeptic puts you in the category of a conspiracy theorist. Questioning the competence and ethical practice of the US vaccine program and the participants involved from the CDC and the FDA, to pharmaceutical companies and the medical establishment is tantamount to becoming some sort of basement-dwelling conspiracy troll. Right?

After all, who could believe a fantastical tale of maniacal villains who are secretly conspiring to harm children for pots of gold to swim in like Scrooge McDuck. Because that's what vaccine skeptics are alleging right? Right?

Is it rational for reasonable people to hold out skepticism? Are the issues that exist evidence which points to a systemic problem? Are the concerns either extremely minor or fabricated? Or are they legitimate? Let's have a look at just a few of the causes for skepticism regarding corruption and ineptitude in the US vaccine program.

Disconcerting Observations

Before we begin we must look at some terms which describe reasons for concern in any organization and their definitions. These terms are:

  1. Conflicts of Interest
  2. Confirmation Bias / Groupthink
  3. Gross Negligence
  4. Dishonesty / Lack of Transparency

 

We'll come back to these, but these terms are like red flags that should act to alert us to the increased likelihood of incomptence and unethical practices being present. There is no industry or institution that is immune to being compromised by these moral hazards

Vaccines are big business not only in the United States but also around the world. Profits are not evil, and neither is free enterprise; however a free enterprise system isn't what we have with the US vaccination program. Instead what we have is a tangled web of collussion between government agencies, bureucrats, regulators, and businesses where liability and competition is either minimized or erased, purchases of the products are coerced, and marketing the products are heavily subdizided. Here are the key dynamics in play:

  • The federal government enacted the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act which eliminated liability for doctors and vaccine manufacturers facing vaccine injury claims.
  • The FDA provides licences to vacccine manufactuers who enjoy a degree of immunity from competition with massive regulatory barriers of entry for those wanting to produce and sell vaccines. 
  • Vaccine manufactuers and government organizations like the CDC aggressively promote "public health" campaigns funding "non-profits" like the "Immunization Action Coalition" (IAC) to spread "vaccine awareness." The British Medical Journal recently released an article calling for transparency into possible conflicts of interest.
  • Boosted by the prospect of massive profits in a liability-free market, government-mandated customers, and free marketing, vaccine manufactuers dive in creating massive profits and making US children the most vaccinated in the world.
  • 4 giant pharmaceutical companies gain 80% of the marketshare (GSK, Merck, Sanofi, Pfizer). According to the Washington Post, these companies spend more money on marketing then they do on medical research
  • Former vaccine manufacturing executives and lobbyists routinely secure government positions involved in regulating the industry. Government regulators are routinely given lucrative jobs at vaccine manufacurers. This creates a "revolving door" problem as we will see.

Now, hopefully it doesn't suprise you that given this is the "lay of the land" we have noticed a continual slog of red flags.

The (Lack of) Credibility in the US Vaccination Program

The following are 10 examples of causes for concern regarding to the credibility of the US vaccination program that have popped up. These 10 are by no means exhaustive and are only a small sampling. None of these instances are made up, feel free to check the links. Some of these are only indirectly related to vaccination but are directly related to the credibility of the organizations which push the programs. Parents should consider whether these constitute a "goring ox" problem where the US vaccination program has a massive trust problem of its own making. Or in terms of a courtroom, these raise significant and serious questions as to the "character of the witness."

  1. Conflict of Interest / Dishonesty - A group of 12 CDC scientist whistle-blowers accuse the CDC of unethical behavior with conflicts of interest and "cooking the data".
  2. Gross Negligence - Study backing HPV vaccine was heavily biased and riddled with error. 
  3. Gross NegligenceCourt finds Health and Human Services not filling its vaccine safety obligations. 
  4. Conflict of Interest - State Medicaid agencies create perverse incentives for hospitals and care providers leading to no increase in quality and instances of medical neglect
  5. Conflict of Interest - Doctors financially incentivized by number of vaccines administered. Do they inform all their patients about how they are compensated for the vaccines they recommend? Here. Here. Here. Here. Here.
  6. Dishonesty / Lack of Transparency - CDC attempts to strike up public hysteria in order to increase flu shot acceptance.
  7. Conflict of Interest - Toxic mix: Federal Government issues vaccine mandates. Pharmaceutical companies receive immunity from liability for vaccine injury from Federal Government. Industry then pursues massive profits with no concern of restitution payments or being sued for vaccine injury liability. These same companies set up allegedly neutral "non profits" to spread pro-vaccine information and fund studies to support more vaccination. Revolving door of government regulators and non-profit advisers leaving for big compensation at vaccine manufacturers. Here. Here and here.
  8. Dishonesty / Lack of Transparency - Study on fabrication of data in scientific research returns report of 72% of researches witnessing questionable research practices and 14% outright falsifying data. The Study acknowledge these reported numbers are likely lower then the reality. 

  9. Dishonesty / Lack of Transparency - Vaccine Manufacture GlaxoSmithKline found guilty of criminal charges and ordered to pay 3 billion in fines for various improprieties related to the marketing of 8 different drugs.

  10. Conflict of Interest / Dishonesty / Lack of Transparency - Top CDC scientist William Thompson and advisor Dr. Brian Hooker Phd. P.E. accuses the CDC of fraud and gross misconduct in seeking to hide the relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism in african-american boys along with other conflicts of interest and unethical behaviors.

 

Again, this list is just the beginning. None of these issues are made up or fabricated. None of them are minor quibbles even by themselves. When put together they cause massive concern. This isn't an issue of some evil puppet master pulling the strings. We are talking about what can happen in a situation where you have everyday, normal people caught up in a toxic mix of conflicts of interest and confirmation bias. 

In our naiveté, what we often miss is that the witness of history tells us the greatest outward threats we face are not from an obviousl mustache-twisting, consciously-malevolent sadistic force intent on destruction. Evil in society is frequently more subtle than that. Far more commonly these evils are perpetrated by self-deceived crusaders who presume their goals are unassailably virtuous and without flaw. They are so determined to achieve their goals that bias begins to creep in. Sometimes influenced by conflicts of interest of which they are not sensitive to. They begin to make shortcuts.  They exaggerate. They twist the facts. They ignore or even hide inconvenient facts. They spread misinformation or half truths to stoke public fear against an existential threat. 

Before they know it, they've engaged in all manner of moral compromise and what looked like a molehill of minor ethical slip-ups transforms into a mountain of moral disaster.

The Greater Good Phenomenon

Studies confirm what we all pretty much know: People will actually lie and deceive more brazenly and about bigger things if they can rationalize that it's for what they think is a good cause. Implications abound. Business practices, church practices, medical practices, politics. The bigger the perceived goal, the more they perceive that the ends justify the means, the stronger the willingness to lie. 

Any contrary data or expert testimony that arises which conflicts with all these passionate convictions and their years of work towards their virtuous goal is minimized or ignored. The whistle-blowers who sound the alarms and shed doubt on key presumptions are written off as lunatics or haters who become obstacles to the greater good. They are sidelined and marginalized. 

Meanwhile there are many cogs in the machine who are incentivized not to question the status quo, to not look quite so hard under the microscope as they otherwise would, to look the other way, don't cause a stir or to go along and get along. After all, conflicts of interest don't apply in the medical world right? People looking for transparency and due diligence are just rabble-rousers right? Either that or the cogs are so far deep into the machine that they don't have the perspective to see the bigger picture of the systemic problem of which they are only a tiny part, knowingly or unknowingly. 

You've probably noticed that in American society there is the perception that every profession in the world is prone to being compromised by monetary conflicts of interest, confirmation bias, laziness, wastefulness, selfishness, greed, groupthink, callousness to human dignity and ambivalence to the needs of others. Every profession except for doctors, public school teachers, government regulators, pastors, police, and the military. It kind of depends on the circles you run in. 

But in every circle, there are some institutions that we just can't question, at least not broadly. When they are questioned. the response is some version of HOW DARE YOU?! It's only attorneys, politicians & "big oil" who are prone to this stuff right?

This is not to pick on doctors, etc. If you're a doctor or a nurse or whoever and you're reading, to be clear this is not a personal attack on you. The point is, there is no crevice in society into which sin cannot slip in and for which the propensity for depravity and incompetence is null. No one is immune. No one gets a free pass. 

5 Counter Articles on Vaccines

Part 1: Vaccines & Aborted Babies: Should Christians be Concerned?

Part 2: Are Vaccines What Saved Us from Epidemics of Infectious Disease?

Part 3: Is the US Vaccination Program Safe?

Part 4: What About Herd Immunity?

Part 5: Are Vaccine Skeptics Conspiracy Theorists?

Author

Jordan Wilson

Jordan Wilson is pursuing the Great Commission with his wife and children and is a regular contributor at New City Times.