Vaccines Are ‘sorcery'? How One Texas Legislator Is Hurting Public Health

One of the most important parts of our job as journalists is to make sure our information comes from trustworthy sources. And a big part of your job as a reader is to consider the sources of our information and to call us out if our sources are unreliable.When journalists write about childhood diseases and vaccines, we often call Dr. Peter Hotez for information. He is among the top scientific experts on infectious diseases in the world and he’s a pediatrician. His list of official titles is impressive: dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine; director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development; fellow in disease and poverty at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.Pretty good source on whether vaccines are safe for children. Oh, also, his daughter has autism. So he has faced the question of whether to vaccinate, both as a professional and a dad.You know who we wouldn’t trust as a source on medicine? A Texas Legislator.And yet, Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a Bedford Republican who runs an oil and gas consulting business, took to Twitter this week to challenge Dr. Hotez’s knowledge and motivation for promoting vaccines.Here’s the quote from Stickland that will go down in anti-vaccination history:“Make the case for your sorcery to consumers on your own dime.” He went on to accuse Dr. Hotez of gaining some financial benefit from advocating for vaccination and to tell him to “do our state and yourself a favor and mind your own business.”  Continue reading...

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