Congressional Leader Expresses Anti-Vaxx Concerns To Google and Facebook

Vaccines Save Lives resolution (H. Res. 327), recognizes the importance of vaccines and immunizations in the United States

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A leading member of Congress sent a letter to Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg today, the CEOs of Google and Facebook, respectively, to express concern about social media platforms that are recommending information that discourages parents from vaccinating their children. 

This ‘anti-vaxx’ information contributes to declining vaccination rates which could reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases, wrote Representative Adam Schiff, on February 14, 2019.   

“As a Member of Congress who is deeply concerned about declining vaccination rates, I am requesting additional information on the steps that you currently take to provide medically accurate information on vaccinations to your users, and to encourage you to consider additional steps you can take to address this growing problem,” Rep. Schiff wrote in the letter. 

“I was pleased to see YouTube’s recent announcement that it will no longer recommend videos that violate its community guidelines, such as medically inaccurate videos, and encourage further action to be taken related to vaccine misinformation.” 

In 2017, Rep. Schiff and Rep. Tom Marino introduced the bipartisan Vaccines Save Lives resolution, recognizing the importance of vaccines and immunizations in the United States. 

That resolution sent a message of unequivocal Congressional support for vaccines and urges parents, in consultation with their health care providers, to follow scientific evidence and the consensus of medical experts in favor of timely vaccination for the well-being of their children and surrounding communities. 

‘The scientific and medical communities are in overwhelming consensus that vaccines are both effective and safe,’ wrote Rep. Shiff.

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Recently, two independent sources published data that supports Rep. Shiff’s request. 

An article in The Guardian on February 1, 2019, found Facebook and Google users were nudged toward anti-vaxx information sources. 

And, a January 2019 article said a recent study by the Royal Society for Public Health found that half of all parents with small children were exposed to misinformation about vaccines on social media.

Additionally, a new book, Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism, by Dr. Peter J. Hotez, challenges the alleged link between autism and vaccines.

Dr. Hotez draws on his experiences as a pediatrician, vaccine scientist, and father of an autistic child. He outlines both sides of the debate, examines the science that refutes the concerns of the anti-vaccine movement. 

Dr. Hotez reminds readers of the many victories of vaccines over disease while warning about the growing dangers of the anti-vaccine movement, especially in the United States and Europe.