On July 10, 2012, I received an email from a producer at Katie, Katie Couric’s daytime talk show, about a show the program was planning on vaccines. Here was the pitch:
I am interested in talking to Seth Mnookin about his book ‘The Panic Virus.’ I am researching a story about parents who opt out of immunizations for their children because of their personal beliefs. As Seth knows, parents’ fears have lead to a resurgence of diseases like measles and Pertussis and it poses a real danger to society. The goal of the hour will be to better inform the public that still questions links between vaccination and autism and need to better understand the scientific truth.
Over a period of about a month, the producer and I spoke for a period of several hours before she told me that the show was no longer interested in hearing from me on air. Still, I came away from the interaction somewhat heartened: The producer seemed to have a true grasp of the dangers of declining vaccination rates and she stressed repeatedly that her co-workers, including Couric herself, did not view this as an “on the one hand, on the other hand” issue but one in which facts and evidence clearly lined up on one side — the side that overwhelmingly supports the importance and efficacy of vaccines.
Apparently, that was all a load of crap. Here’s the teaser for tomorrow’s show on the HPV vaccine:
The HPV vaccine is considered a life-saving cancer preventer … but is it a potentially deadly dose for girls? Meet a mom who claims her daughter died after getting the HPV vaccine, and hear all sides of the HPV vaccine controversy.
As I assume Couric and her staff know — they are, after all, literate — here are “all sides” of the HPV vaccine issue:
* More than 100 million doses of the vaccine have been given since it was approved in 2006.
* A study published in the British Medical Journal in October evaluated 997,000 girls, 296,000 of whom had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. More than 150,000 of those girls received all three doses. The results? Absolutely no link to short- or long-term health problems. As Lisen Arnheim-Dahlström, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health, “There were not really any concerns before our study and no new ones after.”
But hey, you know, what’s years of data based on hundreds of thousands of verifiable results when you have a single “mom who claims her daughter died after getting the HPV vaccine,” right Katie?