You could also call this, “How To Write an an Article Bashing Vaccine Critics, in 10 Easy Steps.”


Step 1) Paint yourself as a former member of the group you wish to attack (“them”), starting with the title, and continuing with every possible “crunchy” alternative to Western medicine.

Title:  “Growing Up Unvaccinated.”

First paragraph:  “I wasn’t vaccinated. I was brought up on an incredibly healthy diet: no sugar till I was 1, breastfed for over a year, organic homegrown vegetables, raw milk, no MSG, no additives, no aspartame. My mother used homeopathy, aromatherapy, osteopathy; we took daily supplements of vitamin C, echinacea, cod liver oil.”

Take it even further.

“I wasn’t even allowed pop; even my fresh juice was watered down to protect my teeth, and I would’ve killed for white, shop-bought bread in my lunchbox once in a while and biscuits instead of fruit, like all the other kids.”


Step 2) Show how dangerous it is to be one of “them.”

“As healthy as my lifestyle seemed, I contracted measles, mumps, rubella, a type of viral meningitis, scarlatina, whooping cough, yearly tonsillitis, and chickenpox.

Take it even further.

“In my 20s I got precancerous HPV and spent six months of my life wondering how I was going to tell my two children under the age of 7 that Mummy might have cancer before it was safely removed.)”


Step 3: Introduce a red herring, using the polarizing term “anti-vaccine advocates” instead of the more truthful “vaccine critics” or “vaccine questioners” or “vaccine safety advocates.”

“So the anti-vaccine advocates’ fears of having the “natural immunity sterilized out of us” just doesn’t cut it for me.” (Note: this is a red herring, because the concerns about vaccine safety are not that “the natural immunity is sterilized out of us.” This is actually a very clever double entendre. There is some concern in the Philippines that vaccinating young women for tetanus (probably a DTP) resulted in a high rate of sterility amongst those young women. Some have questioned whether this was deliberate. But very few in the US are aware of this debate, and it’s not a concern with US vaccines. What IS a concern is autoimmune reactions to vaccines.)


Step 4: Use personal anecdotes to imply that vaccination results in better health for all, and that lack of vaccination results in poor health for all.

“My two vaccinated children, on the other hand, have rarely been ill, have had antibiotics maybe twice in their lives, if that.”


Step 5: Add denial of existence of any other side of the issue. 

“I struggle to understand why I know far more people who have experienced complications from preventable childhood illnesses than I have ever met with complications from vaccines.” (And she knows the personal medical histories of people, HOW?)

Take it even further.

“I have friends who became deaf from measles. I have a partially sighted friend who contracted rubella in the womb. My ex got pneumonia from chickenpox. A friend’s brother died from meningitis.” (Note: the author, age 37, was born around 1977, and would have grown up amongst the most vaccinated children in history. Since the occurrence of vaccine-preventable diseases was so low, and the rate of complications from such diseases even lower, [except for meningitis], it is highly unlikely that she is even telling the truth here.)


Step 6: Discredit “them” by painting your former self (as one of “them”) as a vacuous, gullible cult devotee, with extreme beliefs and bizarre behavior.

“I was studying homeopathy, herbalism, and aromatherapy; I believed in angels, witchcraft, clairvoyants, crop circles, aliens at Nazca, giant ginger mariners spreading their knowledge to the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Egyptians, and that I was somehow personally blessed by the Holy Spirit with healing abilities. I was having my aura read at a hefty price and filtering the fluoride out of my water”

Take it even further.

“I was choosing to have past life regressions instead of taking antidepressants. I was taking my daily advice from tarot cards. I grew all my own veg and made my own herbal remedies.”


Step 7: Imply that “they” are paranoid and delusional, and that “their” sort of thinking made you sick.

“It was only when I took control of those paranoid thoughts and fears about the world around me and became an objective critical thinker that I got well.”

Take it even further.

“It was when I stopped taking sugar pills for everything and started seeing medical professionals that I began to thrive physically and mentally.”


Step 8: Introduce another red herring, based on a false assumption.

“If you think your child’s immune system is strong enough to fight off vaccine-preventable diseases, then it’s strong enough to fight off the tiny amounts of dead or weakened pathogens present in any of the vaccines.” (Note: one’s ability to fight off a virus acquired in the community has nothing to do with one’s predisposition to autoimmune and allergic reactions. So that’s both a false assumption, AND a red herring, since most people criticizing vaccine safety are not worried about fighting off dead or weakened pathogens. They are concerned about autoimmune reactions, and the lack of understanding of those mechanisms in the medical community.)


Step 9: Imply that vaccine critics lack compassion and a sense of responsibility. Imply that they teach their children to be self-serving and unreasonably frightened. Imply that they disdain people with disabilities. But be very careful not to SAY so.  Extra points if you can sound like you are earnestly begging.

“I would ask the anti-vaxxers to treat their children with compassion and a sense of responsibility for those around them. I would ask them not to teach their children to be self-serving and scared of the world in which they live and the people around them. (And teach them to love people with autism spectrum disorder or any other disability supposedly associated with vaccines—not to label them as damaged.)” (I have to admit, that was brilliantly done.)

Take it even further.

“Most importantly, I want the anti-vaxxers to see that knowingly exposing your child to illness is cruel…I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy watching children suffer.” (Also brilliant; she has just implied that vaccine critics are cruel, and enjoy watching children suffer.)


Step 10:  End by implying that all vaccine critics are leeching off of those who vaccinate. 

“Those of you who have avoided childhood illnesses without vaccines are lucky. You couldn’t do it without us pro-vaxxers.”

Take it even further, and add a threat.

“Once the vaccination rates begin dropping, the drop in herd immunity will leave your children unprotected. The more people you convert to your anti-vax stance, the quicker that luck will run out.”


And there you have it.  A formula to write a hit piece, disguising yourself as a former member of the group you wish to attack.


ETA:  There are several inconsistencies and errors in Ms. Parker’s little piece which also deserve mention.

1) UK residents in her age group were not given mumps vaccine. It wasn’t available in the UK until 1998:  So it was actually the norm for British children her age to get mumps.
2) The varicella vaccine, for chicken pox, has still not been added to the NHS pediatric vaccination schedule in the UK.  Virtually all children in her age group, as well as the age group of her own children, would have had chicken pox.
3) How does she know she had rubella? Rubella is considered a very mild disease, with many people having few or no symptoms.  If the characteristic rash occurs, it can look like many other viruses.  Doctors did not and do not test for it routinely.   The only real risk is to unborn babies exposed to rubella.
3) There is no vaccine for scarlatina, which is a common form of strep infection. 
4) There is no vaccine for tonsillitis.
5)  There is no vaccine for viral meningitis.
6) I can find no reports that Queen Elizabeth I died of quinsy, as Ms. Parker claims. All historians suggest that she died of either arsenic poisoning from the white arsenic in her makeup or of old age (she was nearly 70 years old, which is about twice the expected life span for a woman in 1605 when she died). There are a few speculation of cancer.  No mention of quinsy.
7)  Ms. Parker reports that, in her 20’s (she’s now around 37), she “got precancerous HPV and spent 6 months of my life wondering how I was going to tell my two children under the age of 7 that mummy might have cancer before it was safely removed.”  Well, first of all, HPV testing was not incorporated in the NHS’s cervical screening program until 2012.  Second of all, it seems unlikely that her doctor would wait 6 months to deal with that.
8)  Aspartame was not even approved in the UK until 1982.  Even at that time, it was not commonly added to anything but diet sodas, which were not recommended for children anyway.  She writes that her mother didn’t allow her “pop” anyway.
8)  Finally, I’m left wondering, how, if her mother was “the biggest health freak around” who “lived alternative health,” how on earth did Ms. Parker receive so many antibiotics that she became resistant to them? In her own words, she “got so many illnesses which needed treatment with antibiotics that I developed a resistance to them.”