EDITOR: What are the origins of the Anti-vax movement and those false claims you have been receiving? Part of the origins lie in the different ways doctors are trained and Social Media as a new medium of communication of knowledge or disinformation. Homeopathy is a medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself.
Homeopaths use tiny amounts of natural substances, like plants and minerals which they believe stimulate the healing process. Starting in Germany in the 1700’s, it is common in Europe but not so popular in the USA. It believes in “like cures like” where homeopathic doctors weaken their ingredients by adding water or alcohol. Then they shake the mixture vigorously, as part of a process called “potentization” which they believe transfers the healing essence and that the lower the dose, the more powerful the medicine. Another medicine art form, Osterpathic Medicine (DOs), licenced in 85 countries, was started by Andrew Taylor Still, in the 1800’s and initially involved the manipulation of joints and bones to achieve treatments.
Both forms of alternative medicine fields successfully merged into mainstream Modern Allopathic Medicine by the 1950’s and with new insight into nutrition and technonogy, the three are now indistinguishable. However, a small arm of homeopathy and osteopathy motivated by extreme unproven therapies, money and a fight for market-share have emerged.
While some of their views do have interesting medical benefits, others are considered as snake oil and scams. This is a small, growing entity since the 90’s and a common denominator is that they are passionate Antivaxxers,
In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic caused these classical Anti-vaccine activists to expand their reach by joining forces with anti-mask advocates and others dedicated to what they call “health freedom”. They also found common ground during the pandemic with persons suspicious of drug companies, (Big-Pharma), business shutdowns and other government restrictions or mandates.
Then it went crazy, into a twilight zone, embracing Q-ANON, non-traditional health practices, promoting healthy eating as a vaccine alternative and slogans like “Force veggies – not vaccines”; Covid=Scam”; assertions of gene therapy and a host of false claims.
A recent report in March 2021 by a watchdog group, Center for Counteracting Digital Hate and Anti VCAx Watch identified “THE DISINFORMATION DOZEN” as the authors of a targeted disinformation campaign, aimed at misleading and indoctrinating people about the Covid-19 pandemic, using social media. The report accuses 12 individuals of 812,000 or 66% of all Antivaxx posts on Twitter and Facebook between February 1st and March 16th 2021, a prolific quantity of false claims, creating their own non-medical terminology and language to help redirect search engines users to further A-Vax rhetoric. The Dishonest Dozen are:
1. Robert F. Kennedy Jr; uses his Children Health Defense organization as a cover to launch and lead a massive Antivaxx campaign. Denounced by his famous family, his rhetoric resulted in his ban from Instagram in February.
2. Joseph Mercola (DO); owns the lucrative Natural Health Center. He created the Association of American Physician & Surgeons and advocates a number of unproven alternative medicines relating to homeopathy and opposition to Vaccination.
He wrote the book Great Bird Flu Hoax. The FDA has warned that he mixes sensible health advice with pseudo-science and has promoted unproven theories such as: using high doses of Vit-D; Peroxide nebulizers; HIV is not the cause of AIDS and Cell phones cause cancer. He has donated 4 M to Antivaxx.
3. Ty and Charlene Bollinger –Acupuncturists; whose Twitter accounts were briefly suspended at the start of the pandemic for promoting, Cancer Chemotherapy does not work and Aroma therapy & Applied kinesiology is better. Their dubious specialty claims the removal of toxins from your body, sales of numerous merchandise, a principal promoter of Bill Gates intention to inject everyone with a chip and their pro-Trump election was stolen.
4. Sherri Tenpenny DO; is Antimasks. She still advocates the disproven links between vaccines and autism. She falsely claims in books; that smallpox, typhoid & diphtheria vaccinations caused the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and erroneous suggests, Polio vaccinations was the cause of the 1954 Asian flu (a totally different organism).
5. Rizza Islam is a Nation Of Islam (NOI) member. He is the first black person on this list and has promoted “Not Another” and “Beyond Tuskegee” citing reference to the racist Syphilis study in Alabama (a denial of treatment). His Antivaxx campaign in New Jersey USA promotes the slogan “so what does the experimental jab actually do.
6. Rashid Buttar DO; Was twice reprimanded in North Carolina and by FDA for illegally marketing unapproved, adulterated drugs and therapy, including Chelation and unapproved topical creams. He made a false claim that he was certified by American Board of Preventive Med and in 2009 he assisted Desrie Jennings (antivaxxer) in her false claims of Dystonia after a Flu vaccine. His practice treats damaged cases, not indemnified for vaccines.
7. Erin Elizabeth, (Joseph Mercolas Girlfriend); is owner of Health Nut. Her alternative Weight loss methods got numerous consumer fraud claims. She & Mercola are purported to be USA’s wealthiest online product salesmen.
8. Sayer Ji, Homoeopathist. After Louis Pasture’s 1870 discovery of germs and his Germ Theory dispelled opposing erroneous theories, like Bechamp’s pleomorphic disease theory. In 2021 Ji’s still does not believe in germs. His GreenMedInfo.com website has 1 Mil views/month. He promotes Hippocrates; “Let food be thy medicine”; “food alters your genes and bad food alters it further”. This and his opposition to Obama care & Big Pharma may sound reasonable but his pandemic plea is Freedom of Speech to express his erroneous views.
9. Kelly Brogan; is a Holistic Psychiatrist & Ji Sayer’s partner. She also promotes that Infectious human diseases are not caused by infectious germs and is the biggest promoter that Covid-19 and the Pandemic are a hoax and it is the fear of the virus that’s really making people sick. She has expressed support for Joseph Mercola’s claims.
10 Christiane Northrup; It is said that superstitions did not just appear in this modern age, but the pandemic has forced people to spend far more time on-line, where superstitions has found them. Northrup is the author of several Women’s books. She was one of Readers Digest’s most trusted people in 2013 and an Opra Guest. Unfortunately, it is hard to gather new good health information and stay relevant and this is why Northrup has ventured & veered into pseudoscience, superstition and the occult. Every night, she addresses 10,000 followers. While denying the reality of the Pandemic she proclaims as a hoax, she endorses other magical and false theories. She talks of time travels, vaccines targeting genes and DNA and other false notions. She does not believe in modern medicine but rather old alternative medicine and that Hydroxychloroquine is a Covid cure.
11. Ben Tapper; Chiropractor; is one of the chief sources of thousands of screenshots shared on instragram. He promotes:
(a) Sweeden was right on natural herd immunity; (b) 95-99% of Covid cases are Asymptomatic and unable to spread Covid-19 (while WHO has stated only 20-40% remain completely Asymptomatic and CDB states 10% to 50%, not 95%; (c) He denies asymptomatic people infect others; (d) Claims 80% are already immune due to other corona viruses; (e) He is the source of the false Kerry Mullis statement on the PCR test not good for Covid; (f) Big Pharma is forcing countries to buy Vaccine and (g) Vaccines contain artificial intelligence (chips) which can alter DNA. Tapper was also the prime pusher of the 5G theory. Both Northrup and Tapper are huge QANON supporters and allowed these grossly false views to be deliberately introduced into Qanon culture.
12. Kevin Jenkins; is the second black antivaxxer, and promotes freedom to travel without masks. He targets the black community, fueling mistrust linked to the Tuskegee trial and Hank Aaron’s vaccination.
These 12 entities are not alone, Dell Bigtree, Simmone Gold, and a stream of other extreme alt-medicine advocates see this as an All-In, Must win war in which lies, false claims, clips, cuts and paste are the weapons and social media is the Covid-19 battleground. It is going to be difficult to combat this. Even as the pandemic rages on. It is no hoax, as millions have died and many more have chronic Long Covid symptoms. The share number of false claims (The Dirty Dozen) is still being promoted by the Dishonest Dozen. People are now becoming more aware and angry that they have been duped, placed in harms-way and possibly death. Expect the false claims to intensify and shift to a new Dirty Dozen. Expect the discussion to shift to Freedom of Expression and the God-Given Right of personal choice and expect a new claim of one’s Right to influence and even infect another person and to be the cause of their death.
Dr Jerrol Thompson