CA Board of Education President Pimps Anti-Vax Propaganda Film
Seriously, California? Or more specifically: Seriously, San Ramon Valley Unified School District? Or even more specifically: Seriously, Greg Marvel, Board of Education President of San Ramon Valley?
What am I going on about, reader? Well, this letter, mostly. In it, a man named Marvelous Greg Marvel recommends that parents in his school district make sure to watch the outrageously misleading anti-vaccination propaganda film known as The Greater Good, which has been dissected quite accurately over at science-based medicine. In his letter, Marvel states that
Well, okay. The film is definitely provocative, but also intensely inaccurate and full to the brim with misleading statements and emotional appeals to ignore common sense. It’s certainly not thought-provoking in any positive way, and to call it balanced is, in fact, unbalanced. But Marvel isn’t done there. He goes on to add his own personal anecdote, a strategy of many anti-vaxxers, as follows:
Marvel does not elaborate on what is meant by “seriously ill” but from the sounds of things it was certainly well within the bounds of a normal reaction to a vaccine. Further, while he states that no one ever told him of the potential for long-term damage, he quickly goes on to clarify that his daughter is just fine, thank you very much.
Most disturbing, is the following quote from Marvel:
“However, it is important that parents fully investigate and understand the benefits and the risks associated with the current recommended vaccinations and their opt out rights under their respective “mandatory” state vaccination laws.”
Notice that Marvel puts the word “mandatory” in sneer quotes. Here he is leading his parental flock to the concept that nobody can make nobody get no vaccines in California, a fact already well-known by the population as well as by public health practitioners. You see, California is one of those states for whom vaccine exemptions are so easy to obtain that all you have to do is sign a form saying “I don’t want them”. Fortunately, legislation has recently been proposed which will hopefully put an end to this nonsense once and for all.
It would be remiss not to mention that San Ramos Valley Unified School District happens to be in a particularly vaccine-adverse region. It’s not far from Berkeley, where there was recently a mumps outbreak. And of course California is now sadly infamous in the annals of public health for the 2010 pertussis epidemic in which there were 9154 cases and 10 infant deaths. The last direction in which California needs to go is toward LESS vaccination.
So why is Marvelous Greg Marvel smiling? Is it because he employs several tactics of anti-vaccinators to make his position appear on the surface to be educated, reasonable, and fair? He states that he is a “strong believer” in vaccines, but then goes on to seed his missive with a meaningless emotional anecdote and to cast doubt on the safety of vaccinations, with no scientific evidence to support his view. He then says that he just wants parents to be able to make an “informed choice”, but urges them to view an inaccurate and misleading “documentary”. Surely Mr. Marvel, who is deeply entrenched in the world of education, understands that one cannot make an informed choice without accurate information. If he were truly interested in balance, he would have directed his parents to read relevant pages on the CDC’s website. But perhaps he already knows that the dry science presented on those pages often cannot overcome the irrational emotional response elicited by films such as The Greater Good.
If you live in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and are opposed to frank misinformation being given to your community, feel free to write or call.
San Ramon Valley Unified School District
699 Old Orchard Drive, Danville, CA 94526
(925) 552-5500 Phone
(925) 838-3147 Fax