Shot of Fear

Friday, October 09, 2009


A 14-year-old British girl named Natalie Morton died last week after receiving a vaccine for cervical cancer. Her tragic death was a result of a tumor near her heart but the media coverage stoked the nation's fear about vaccines. Physician and Guardian columnist Ben Goldacre says the media often exacerbate vaccine phobia.

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Comments [10]

Camille DeBoer from Michigan

After listening to many friends make their inoculation decision based on a You Tube video, I was glad for the perspective of this piece and the historical context it placed the debate in. We have indeed all been here before and it's good to know where you information is coming from and if possible...why.

Oct. 31 2009 03:22 PM
Jon Belmont from Washington, DC

I'm surprised and disappointed by the reaction on here. Bob's piece was not so much about vaccines as it was about the way the media can use scare stories about vaccines to increase circulation and further their own agenda. I think it was very cynical what the The Daily Mail did in spinning the story two entirely different ways for the UK and Ireland.

Oct. 15 2009 08:36 AM
Bob Koelle

Yeah! And why wasn't Jenny McCarthy interviewed on this show?! (rolls eyes)

Oct. 12 2009 05:51 PM
Bob Koelle

Quote from above: "Is it surprising or misguided that people including women, black people and the poor are suspicious of what the real purpose of mass vaccinations are when, unlike the swine flu, cervical cancer isn't epidemic or contagious?"

11000 new cases expected per year with almost 4000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society, with HPV causing about 70% of those cases. 90% of genital warts also caused by HPV. May not meet your definition of "epidemic" but certainly congagious.

Oct. 12 2009 05:49 PM

Vaccine deniers make me crazy. What, you would prefer to do back to the days of Smallpox!? Look at the REAL science, not the fear-mongering washing all over the internet.

No vaccines means you are endangering your children and mine, and millions of others. Truly sad.

Oct. 12 2009 02:40 PM
Claudia Tomaso from California

Bob Garfield usually does a more thoughtful job but in hosting stories related to vaccines this week, his personal bias came through loud and clear...concerned citizens bad, drug companies good.

Oct. 12 2009 02:36 AM
Kristina Stykos from Chelsea VT

I'm sorry that your host was so biased in his presentation of the vaccination issue. It was clear that he prejudged all those questioning compulsory vaccinations (any particular one or all) as either a kook driven by fear or a rebellious anti-government reactionary.

There is a huge middle ground populated by intelligent NPR listeners and others whose worst offense is to demand a conversation that includes differing medical models. Many of us who are well into our 50s and 60s have been utilizing alternative modalities to the standard western allopathic medical system for years and have accumulated a more complex view of health issues that do not immediately stop at accepting what is touted by the pharmaceutical industry. Please make your next feature on the vaccination issue include some of those highly respected and credentialed voices.

Oct. 11 2009 09:53 PM
Bob from NC

Excellent article on the frustrations of dealing with vaccine phobia's. I have been looking at the science and always wondering why it persisted, your cultural angle was revealing. You should look to having Dr. Steven Novella on OTM

Oct. 11 2009 02:43 PM
Ivan Corsa from NYC

What is the segue music (minimal bass, drums and organ instrumental) used between the segments on the LA Kings reporter and the SEO story?

Oct. 11 2009 04:26 AM
Claire Taylor from Pembroke, NH

I listened to this broadcast and found myself getting increasingly disgusted at the talk about people jumping to wrong conclusions about the vaccine for cervical cancer and Dr. Goldacre's criticism of his publication's competitor, The Daily Mail.

What his rhetoric obscures is what is really at the bottom of people's distress. Great populations have been scared by pharmaceuticals with endless commercials equating care of one's children with getting their young daughters vaccinated. These girls have really become an unpaid group of laboratory test participants because no one really knows the long-term affects on them. This was hoisted on the public without its approval.

Is it surprising or misguided that people including women, black people and the poor are suspicious of what the real purpose of mass vaccinations are when, unlike the swine flu, cervical cancer isn't epidemic or contagious?

Is Dr. Goldacre aware of instances of involuntary sterilization (and injections of syphilis) in America, Africa, South America and although my knowledge is limited, I would guess Ireland, too?

Has anyone proven that these vaccinations are more effective than encouraging and making more available the means to teach young women to go get regular check ups/pap smears to combat cervical cancer? It can be halted relatively easily when it is detected early.

We are not fools and our protest is not based in ignorance. I genuinely do protest the fact that you offered no other perspective in the broadcast. More propaganda and more dismissing what are conscious real concerns based on what has happened in the past.

The pharmaceuticals making TONS of money from whole governments instituting and supporting this vaccination are the most immediate benefactors. Did you ask the good doctor if he is on the payroll of a pharmaceutical company? I would at least want to know that.

Oct. 10 2009 04:30 PM

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