Anti-vaxx march to be held in Port Neches

Published 5:38 pm Friday, June 16, 2017

The vaccination debate will be coming to Port Neches today.

Children’s March for Humanity is a movement that urges individual choice for vaccinations. The group is opposed to vaccines. This puts the organization at odds with most of the medical community and with conventional wisdom.

CMFH will hold a march and rally at 10 a.m. Saturday at 2025 Merriman St. in Port Neches. It is part of a nationwide initiative that is set to run in 25 other cities. The event will feature guest speakers, bounce houses, face painting, sack races and other activities. Children are encouraged to dress as whatever profession they may want to be when they grow up.

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“The march is getting everybody together and giving information about the toxicity in our air, our water and our food,” Peggy Hartman, speaker and March organizer, said. “We want everybody to take a look at what’s happening around us.”

Hartman contended that one in six kids have a neurological disability.

“If it’s not coming from air pollution, where is it coming from? There’s evidence of vaccination causing the problems,” she said.

Hartman cited the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, where compensation was reduced for people injured by certain vaccines, as the starting point for many of these disorders.

“Before the National Vaccine Injury Act, we didn’t have these problems,” she said. “Once the vaccines were no longer liable for what’s happening to our kids, the autism and cancer rates have skyrocketed.”

According to Hartman, one can’t trust doctors about vaccines because doctors profit off of giving vaccinations.

“One child who doesn’t get a vaccine can keep an office from making thousands of dollars,” Hartman said. “The medical field is controlled by the pharmaceutical industry. When you look for the truth on it, you can’t find it.”

Hartman claimed that various metals like aluminum and mercury were part of the vaccines given to children, and thus very harmful to their overall health.

“We’re trying to wake up the public. Look what they’re doing to your children.”

For today’s march, Hartman encouraged all children to dress up as whatever they want to be when they grow up, including doctors and lawyers.

“They’ll run our nation one day, but they won’t be able to run our country if they suffer from a neurological disability,” she said.

“So many people don’t want to look at it because doctors say (vaccines) are safe… Unless it hits your home, people don’t pay attention.”

However, this is still a fringe belief, rejected by science, scientists and mainstream society.

Karl Haro von Mogel is a plant geneticist and science communicator with Biology Fortified, Inc., a small, independent, nonprofit, reader-supported organization where he serves as Director of Science and Media. He is also co-founder of March Against Myths.

“I know some people who are very active in educating and combating misinformation regarding science-based medicine,” Haro von Mogel said. “But it’s also something very important to us among the science communicators because we see the same kinds of patterns and fear going on whether we talk about food or medicine, and it ends up being the same people.”

Haro von Mogel holds a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics and a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He has written in newspapers, talked on radio shows and lectured about a variety of scientific issues.

“When I see something like March for Humanity, my first thought is that these are people who have been rejecting science for a while now. They have failed to convince the mainstream and now they have placed kids in front of it, to use children as political weapons.”

Haro von Mogel said it infuriated him when children are used like that, but then he realized most people who do that actually care for their kids and they’re operating under severe misinformation.

“They don’t understand what vaccine-treated diseases can do and what they have done,” Haro von Mogel said. “People in favor of vaccines and mandates are not motivated by hatred; they’re motivated by love for their children. And it’s the same motivation for the other side, but the facts are not well understood.”

Haro von Mogel attributed the fear of losing someone to the fear that creates the conspiracy that someone or something is trying to harm their children.

“My advice would be to find parents of children who are more at risk from (vaccine-treated) diseases and tell their stories and why this is so important for them.”

Haro von Mogel related a story in Wisconsin where a group of anti-vaccine proponents reached out to an immigrant community and told them that vaccines cause autism. As a result, the immigrants chose not to receive vaccinations and suffered a measles outbreak when no one was inoculated against it.

“The danger is not just immune compromise, but diseases that kids should not have to get,” he said.

When commenting on why some people oppose vaccinations, Haro von Mogel credited people relying too much on their senses where math or science would show a different picture.

“There is a disconnect between what we know through the scientific method and what appears to be true through common sense,” Haro von Mogel said. “Out in the field, common sense is fast but not always right. When people looked at the earth, they thought it must be flat and go on forever. But, they knew through mathematics and models that the earth was round.

“It took extending our common sense with science for something that is not so obvious to our eyes.”

Haro von Mogel extended this comparison to some people’s stance against vaccinations.

“When it comes to vaccines, parents don’t see measles around them and figure it’s not a risk anymore. By taking the vaccine, there is the perceived risk of taking the vaccine compared to no risk as presented by the disease. And, perhaps logically, they conclude for no vaccination.”

However, if this were to occur, Haro von Mogel referred back to the incident in Wisconsin where the immigrant community suffered a measles outbreak because there were no longer any vaccinated individuals to resist the disease.

“It takes understanding of how diseases and nature works to understand that.” Haro von Mogel said. “The fact that certain diseases are not around is fact that vaccines do work.”