A listener shared with me a Facebook post that made me furious. Someone in New Jersey was shopping in a toy section and bought a package of PlayDoh for their child. When she got it home and opened the box, she discovered a card was slipped inside through a small opening and was filled with anti-vaxxing nonsense. Other commenters report making similar discoveries. A lot of this seemed to be centered in or near Hunterdon County but who knows where else in Jersey this is happening.

The card shows the common number of vaccines children got in 1962 compared to today, then went on to say "The U.S. Ranks #1 in Infant Deaths, #1 in Childhood Illnesses, & #1 in Vaccinations. IT'S NOT A COINCIDENCE."

It is an outright lie to say the U.S. ranks #1 in infant deaths. On a per capita basis, which is the only fair comparison, the infant mortality rate top ten nations are Afghanistan (#1 with 110.6 deaths per 1,000), Somalia, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali and Sierra Leone (#10 with 68.4 deaths per 1,000). The United States ranks #169, NOT #1.

That's infant mortality rate. While it's true other wealthy, developed nations rank even lower (meaning better) it is NOT the fault of vaccines. It is due to so much abject poverty in the U.S. and lack of universal healthcare. Canada, which has it for example, does better than us. Nothing to do with vaccines.

Now if you want to talk child death rates and not infant mortality, the odds of a child under the age of 18 dying are far higher in the U.S. than in other wealthy nations. But why? Studies show it is due to firearms and motor vehicle accidents. Not vaccines.

It is this sort of misinformation campaign that anti-vaxxers embrace.

On the back of the card, more misinformation. Under KNOWN VACCINE SIDE EFFECTS, there are no fewer than 44 listed. Autism is among them. Even though it has been irrefutably debunked, these quacks continue to perpetuate the lie that autism is caused by vaccines.

Vaccines do not cause autism.

Also on the list, "anger." Can we be any more vague? "Ear infections" is on the list. So common in childhood, do we really want to convince naive parents that their child got an ear infection because of a vaccine? Other things on the list that would give any loving parent a panic attack such as cancer, stroke, heart attacks, brain damage, etc.. Oh, speaking of panic attacks? Panic attacks are also on the list.

Vaccines apparently cause everything bad and have not been responsible for saving the lives of 732,000 children in the United States alone in the last 20 years (kidding, they have!).

The comments on this Facebook group were mostly intelligent. Most seeing how wrong this is for anti-vaxxers to skulk around store aisles slipping propaganda into packaging of things like diapers, formula, PlayDoh, toys, etc.. If you want to spread your false statements have some guts and show your face. Get a permit and set up a card table and go ahead and try to save the world. (You'll actually be killing far more kids than you'll be saving, but you don't seem to care about that. Because, you know, that's fact, and you're not interested in fact.) But to slip these cards into packages of children's products is product tampering and it is cowardly. Not to mention false.

These nutjobs ought to be prosecuted.

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