The anti-vaccination movement continues to grow, despite the retraction and thorough discrediting of the 1998 scientific study that spurred much of its growth. The stubborn persistence of anti-vaxxers shows how difficult it is to dispel misinformation once that information is out there, even after dozens of new studies and millions of dollars in research that demonstrate that vaccines are safe.
One of the most dangerous trends is the growing number of parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids, or who choose “alternative” vaccine schedules, such as the one promoted aggressively by Robert Sears (who goes by “Dr. Bob”). Sears appears to have simply invented this alternative schedule without bothering to conduct any scientific studies, in part to promote sales of his 2007 book, The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child. Vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit explained, in a 2009 article in the journal Pediatrics, why Dr. Sears’ schedule was a very poor choice for children and for the public health. After thoroughly dismantling Sears’ anti-science positions, Offit concludes, “Sears has a poor grasp of the scientific method.” That’s an understatement.
Other doctors, perhaps jealous of all the attention that Sears has gained through his anti-vaccine writings and television appearances, have created their own alternative vaccine schedules. One of them, Donald Miller, even goes so far as to say that vaccines cause childhood cancer, despite the complete lack of evidence for this wild claim. Somehow Sears, Miller, and others like them have managed to convince many parents that their children don’t need vaccines.