Spotting anti-vaccine actors hoping to scam and exploit the movement.
By Erin K. Costello
We often come across stories in anti-vaccine groups that leave us feeling suspect after reading them. We try to look into each one of these stories but we don’t always have the time. Contrary to popular belief, we are not paid shills. We aren’t even paid bloggers. None of us at What’s The Harm and NO MAM have earned a cent doing what we do on these pages and this website. Most of us have real life jobs that have no connection to our online advocacy. And by jobs this includes stay at home moms/dads since that is the hardest job of all. Almost all of us who work also have kids, and some of us even go to school. Every one of us has at least one of the three things listed above. We all have our own reasons for advocating for vaccinations, but profit is not one of those reasons. Because of this aren't always able to investigate every story or claim we read about, or confirm every Go Fund Me (GFM) campaign. The fact that we all do this for free is something that makes this blog post even more interesting. Let me explain how I learned of a couple anti-vaccine shills and a bogus GFM.
A couple of weeks ago I was looking up posts by someone selling Earthley. There was one name I kept coming across in anti-vaccine groups, especially Stop Mandatory Vaccination and Modern Alternative Mamas!, that stood out to me. This person, MC King, works as an Earthly affiliate. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I fully support selling whatever you want on Facebook. I even support selling Earthley, and I support this being done by dropping links everywhere you can. What I don’t support are the deceptive practices in which some people choose to do this. Dropping links on every post you find and commenting as though you were a customer and not someone who profits off the sales, is deceptive. Commenting in a Facebook group created to sell these products, with another affiliate as though you are a new potential customer and not a fellow affiliate, is deceptive.
August 9, Stop Mandatory Vaccination adds a post to their website by Melissa Curtin. In this post, Melissa interviews the mother of this child, Laura. In this interview Laura claims the baby had a doctor’s appointment at 9:30 a.m. on February 8, the day she passed away. Mom claims the baby received vaccinations at this visit. Laura then says, “I took their father to work around 3 p.m. and came home and cleaned while Sophia slept and my other daughter played. At around 7 p.m. we had all laid down on the couch to take a nap….” She goes on to say when the father came home around 10:15 p.m. she and the father discovered the baby was unresponsive. Once the ambulance arrived, the father rode with the baby to the hospital and Laura followed in the car with their other daughter.
In other words, the mom admits to Melissa that they *ALL* laid on the couch for a nap, meaning Laura, her baby, and her other daughter (2 years old), and that the nap lasted for about 3.25 hours.
When Melissa asked the mom if she had a copy of the child’s vaccination record the mom replied that she did not have a copy. She explains, “I do not - the police took my paper from her vaccines that day when I went to get all of her medical records from her doctor that’s the one thing they didn’t give me.”
Later in the interview, Melissa asked Laura if the hospital or doctors gave her a cause of death. Laura replied with, “I was not told a cause of death by the doctors. I’m not sure if they told her father before I arrived at the hospital with my other daughter.” Laura goes on to say that she and the father split up after their daughter’s death. This catches my attention. Somehow, according to Laura, since their daughter died about 6 months ago, Laura and Mark never discussed whether they were given a cause of death by the hospital. I just don’t believe this.
In the comment section to this interview on the Stop Mandatory Vaccination website, I posted a comment informing the website how the father disputes these claims and where he posted his proof.
There are no known documented cases where a baby died from a vaccine reaction 13 hours after administration. However, there are many known documented cases of babies dying due to unsafe sleeping conditions. Falling asleep on the couch with the mother while breastfeeding is common known unsafe sleeping practice with a newborn.
Please understand, I am not trying to blame the mother here. I have no doubt this mother id grieving and I don't wish to make this time more difficult for her. But, her incorrect claims have consequences. It is those consequences I wish to prevent. Had she never given an interview to Stop Mandatory Vaccination and supported a GFM campaign in her daughter’s name, I never would have known about this child or the death of this child. The fact that she is publicly stating her child died from receiving vaccinations, vaccinations that are proven safe and effective, is naïve at best, and dishonest at worst. I blame the mother for being naïve and/or dishonest. Her naïvety or her lies will likely cause other parents to refuse vaccinations for their children, which puts every one of those unprotected children at risk. I blame the mother for contributing to spread of vaccine preventable diseases, for the unnecessary suffering of future children contracting preventable disease, and for the possible deaths of these children in the future. She is not alone though. I blame every parent who incorrectly makes these claims.
Whether anti-vaxxers are shilling pseudoscience, snake oil, or unconfirmed claims made in GFM campaigns, they are all trying to profit from lies. When confronted with the truth about their claims they accuse the other person of being the shill, even though THEY are the ones creating GFM campaigns under “theft by deception,” THEY are the ones posting links to products while hiding the fact they stand to profit off of the sales. After Larry’s dead baby GFM campaign in spring of 2018, it seems everyone in these groups has a fundraiser for one reason or another, or has some product to sell. Everyone is trying to sell one product or another, one cure or another, one promise or another. I’ve yet to come across a pro-vaccine advocate who is using their child’s illness or death to make money. Don’t get me wrong, I'm sure there may be some since shitty humans exist everywhere, but there isn’t a network of pro-vaxxers working together to make each other rich like there is in the anti-vaccine movement.
** I would like to point out that the father left his comments on these posts on August 10. As of finishing this post on August 12 at 8:00 a.m., every post and comment I displayed in this blog post are still up on Facebook. The Stop Mandatory Vaccination website still has this story posted. Everything is still published except the GFM campaign. The GFM campaign has been down since Saturday night to my knowledge.
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