By now, I think most readers can see through the Dr. Blaylock’s articles appearing in these pages. Dr. Blaylock is the former doctor residing in Ridgeland who 14 years ago turned in his white coat to focus on publicity for his alternative “wellness” Newsmax newsletter-- touting such alternative remedies as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. He has a line of herbal supplements for sale online and has been interviewed by the likes of Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. I’ll give this to him: he is Mississippi’s most public anti-vaxxer (just search him in Google).
So, what is Dr. Blaylock’s point in coming into these pages week after week to excoriate the vaccines, including his most recent one January 20, “Child vaccination makes no sense?” I can only imagine it would make him glad for all of us to throw ourselves to the mercies of the coronavirus, turning away from the life-saving vaccines in favor of his alternative remedies and herbal compounds--all unapproved against covid by the FDA.
Few have bought into his pitch. At this point nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population are fully vaccinated, 210 million Americans to date (63%). Plus, almost 40% of those are boosted. Almost all vaccinations are without incident. It is evident most Americans (and most readers of the Emmerich newspapers I feel sure) have ignored the advice of Dr. Blaylock and the other anti-vaxxers and gotten themselves vaccinated. Most people want to help stop the spread of the most dangerous effects of the virus on family, friends, or co-workers.
Now that most Americans are invested in the vaccines, Dr Blaylock is preaching deservedly to the wall—except those willing to pay the $54.95 subscription fee to the Blaylock Wellness Report. Apparently, those few are still misled by his misinformation. Dr. Blaylock has ensured though, by coming back to these pages, someone must answer him. While that’s me for today, I hope others will come forward as well.
First, Blaylock’s primary source is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. RFK Jr. is second only to the notorious Joseph Mercola in the “Disinformation Dozen” listed by the Center for Digital Hate (counterhate.com). Sure, RFK is the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy. Of course, his family is embarrassed. Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, RFK Jr.’s niece, an internal medicine physician at Cornell Medical Center, says “I love my uncle Bobby” but writes as a doctor: “when it comes to vaccines, he is wrong.” (NYT, Dec. 30, 2020). The rest of the family found it necessary earlier in 2019 to write a special piece in Politico entitled: “RFK Jr. is Our Brother and Uncle: He’s tragically Wrong About Vaccines” (authors Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Joseph P. Kennedy II, and Maeve Kennedy McKean, Politico May 9, 2019).
RFK Jr. recently complained bitterly Instagram kicked him off for vaccine misinformation. It slowed down fundraising. Let’s hope it also diminished his take.
Dr. Blaylock posts “Child vaccination makes no sense.” The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC say the opposite. I made that clear in a response to him in these pages just last November (“A fact check for Dr. Blaylock, NSS Nov. 18, 2021). Yet, he’s right back at it. I now hear only the words sung by Martin Luther: “And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear…”.
We must not fear, so let’s press ahead, first to an extraordinary recent article in Yale Medicine that answers Dr. Blaylock on all points: “COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Surge Among Children” by Carrie Macmillan (yalemedicine.org January 14, 2022). Ms. Macmillan writes, “pediatric case rates and hospitalizations are soaring—particularly among children under five, who are too young to be vaccinated.” Her hope is in the vaccines, stating: “two additional studies released by the CDC late last year offered reassurances about vaccine safety and efficacy in young children. One report demonstrated that serious problems in children five to 11 who received the Pfizer vaccine were extremely rare. The other examined hundreds of pediatric hospitalizations in six cities last summer, finding that nearly all of the seriously ill children were not fully vaccinated.”
The article quotes Dr. Marietta Vazquez, a Yale pediatrician and infectious disease specialist: “vaccination is our number one weapon” to prevent childhood covid hospitalization. Further, where the child cannot be vaccinated, the best protection is for the rest of the family surrounding the child to be vaccinated.
Next Dr. Blaylock goes after vaccines for pregnant women. He must have ignored my article last October where I said: “I grieve especially for the pregnant women and their unborn babies felled by covid,” citing the 15 pregnant women in the state who had died of covid up to that point (“A fact-check for Greta Mills,” NSS Oct. 21).
The CDC is clear about the dangers to pregnant women posed by covid and the need for the vaccines. The CDC’s advice: “ If you are pregnant or were recently pregnant, you are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. Pregnancy causes changes in the body that could make it easier to get very sick from respiratory viruses like the one that causes COVID-19. These changes in the body can continue after pregnancy.” Further, “people with COVID-19 during pregnancy are more likely to experience preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and stillbirth.” (CDC.gov Dec. 17, 2021).
Therefore the advice of the CDC is: “COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. In addition, everyone who is eligible, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future, should get a booster shot.”
Finally, Dr. Blaylock again misuses the government VAERS data to try to manufacture an issue of vaccine safety. I complained in detail about that last November (“A fact check for Dr. Blaylock, Nov. 18, 2021). This time around I again hear only words sung by Martin Luther (1529): “For still our ancient foe, does seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great….” Public health and safety remain in the balance.
Robert P. Wise is a Northsider.